Skillful guitar design reflects not only an appreciation for quality materials, but a nuanced understanding of how they behave.
In order to make a great instrument, there are a few basic elements to balance: the materials, the design, and the maker’s ability to execute the design. While there are scenarios where the quality of a material can overcome some limitations of design or workmanship, and vice versa, the best results are found when these three elements are brought into balance with each other.
This formula is pretty easy to imagine. When the materials are selected appropriately for a certain design, and that design is constructed with a corresponding level of care, the outcome will likely be successful. This recipe becomes more complex and dynamic where the boundaries of these categories meet each other. One such example is seen on the back of a solid wood guitar. Commonly, the back will be made of two matched pieces of wood joined in the center, or three pieces with matching seams on either side of the centerline. As with any other visible difference between guitars, this is a natural invitation for a player to ask which is better.
To better answer this, we need to understand a little about wood. Wood is a complex material to work with in that it generally has a different set of characteristics in all three dimensions. While you could weigh a plank of wood and calculate its overall density or a similar characteristic, close examination will reveal unique behaviors along the board’s width, thickness, and length. All three dimensions will have small or big differences in strength and dimensional movement in response to the surrounding environment.
Wood is always moving, absorbing, or losing moisture from the surrounding air as it seeks equilibrium, which results in continuously changing dimensions. While we picture a board having a square or rectangular shape, it’s important to realize it grew as a cylinder. As a result, these three dimensions of wood are not laid out like the X, Y, and Z axis of the graphs we drew in school. They are arranged from the center outward toward the rim like the spokes on a bicycle tire, in concentric circles around the center like the grooves on a record, and, finally, in the direction of roots to leaves. Sawing a board lengthwise from this cylinder will reveal grain lines curving throughout the piece of wood. A second complexity is the practical reality that trees really don’t grow particularly large. Trees may grow tall, but seldom will they achieve the large diameter needed to yield exactly the sort of object a maker desires.
The boards a sawyer cuts the cylindrical log into are rarely large enough to make something wide like the back of a guitar. Even if they were, the result wouldn’t be a good one. Since we know the grain lines of the tree would be curving and shifting directions throughout the expansive width of the back board, and we know there are different characteristics along each axis of the tree, it becomes clear a one-piece back would have a wide variety of strengths and dimensional movement behavior across its width. And this would result in cracks, warping, and poor resonance response. So, this scenario would make it difficult for a maker to build any sort of consistent, stable, and good-sounding instrument. A far better approach is to take a board half the width of a guitar back, split it in two, and join the two halves together. With this approach, both halves should behave as evenly as wood will allow.
If the grain lines are still curving away more than desirable, a maker can take this idea a step further. With tightly curving grain lines seen in trees with a smaller diameter, or near the center of a large tree, a maker could choose to join together a larger number of narrower boards, effectively limiting how much irregularity there is across the entire guitar back. In this case, three or more narrow boards can be assembled to provide increasing evenness in grain direction and stability.
The drawback of this approach is the effort required to build the guitar. If it takes a certain amount of time and work to carefully make one joint, it requires twice as much time to add a second joint, and so on. With very careful joinery work, and appropriate glues, these joints are acoustically invisible. Done poorly, they can overly dampen the character of the wooden back.
When we look at the back of a guitar, whether assembled from two, three, or more pieces, the number of individual boards is largely unimportant in comparison to the quality of workmanship, stability, evenness, and resonance of the whole guitar.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
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About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.