x bracing

This Larsons-built Maurer 595 model has X-bracing and a slightly arched solid spruce top.

This museum-ready flattop was built by a legendary Chicagoan luthier duo.

In the early 20th century, Chicago’s reputation was one of grit, and the city was full of factories, gangsters, and slaughterhouses. But in a small shop on the North Side’s Elm Street, brothers Carl and August Larson built fine acoustic instruments under a variety of brand names, including ornate statement pieces like this Maurer 595.

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When braces are scalloped, material is removed from the center of the brace, which makes it more flexible in this area.

Those scalloped, tapered supports do way more than just keep your flattop from caving in.

Acoustic guitar bracing is something the general guitar-buying public rarely considers. And why would they? A guitar's braces are hidden on the inside of the instrument and, with the exception of the back braces, are never seen at all. However, the fact remains: When a bracing system is combined with the soundboard's material, it has the single most profound effect on the performance of a guitar. At their best, a guitar's braces help to offer superior sound, response, and reliability. At their worst, they are either overbuilt, which makes a guitar feel laborious to play, or are underbuilt and fail prematurely. Guitarists simply need an understanding of what the various bracing styles are communicating, how they affect the soundboard, and what that might mean to the player.

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