Soundboard Question

Started by William2, September 24, 2023, 04:27:39 PM

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I have seen some instruments where half the soundboard has a darker shade than the other half. Is there a term for this and is it considered less desirable than a soundboard that is one shade of color?

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this has something to do with the book matching of the two quarter sawn halves. It's because the grain goes in opposite directions on the 2 halves. I have heard that if you turn the guitar upside down (lefty style), the colors flip flop. Completely natural and it has no effect on the sound. It's an optical illusion, in a way. 
Larrivee P-03
Epiphone USA Texan
Larrivee LV-03R



Quote from: ducktrapper on September 24, 2023, 07:01:05 PMIt is called runout.

http://www.lutherie.net/frankford.runout.html

I'm gonna go on a limb here and suggest that Larivee makes a point of having as little runout as possible. Their bookmatching is always darn near perfect with very little center seam.
Larrivee OO-05 • Larrivee OOV-03 SS • Larrivee OO-44  • Taylor 322ce • Strat • Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/jpmist

Quote from: jpmist on September 25, 2023, 09:14:57 AMI'm gonna go on a limb here and suggest that Larivee makes a point of having as little runout as possible. Their bookmatching is always darn near perfect with very little center seam.


I think you're right. I would guess guitars with runout don't make it out of the factory. I wonder if we have CNC to thank for that. You don't see it on most expensive guitars. I used to see more of it but quality control everywhere is aware of it and buyers don't like it.

There's a guy on YouTube who does some really nice blues lessons and he plays the Eric Clapton signature martin 000-28 and his top definitely has this runout. Luckily, it looks like the cheap plastic binding hasn't started to separate yet.  :bgrin:
Larrivee P-03
Epiphone USA Texan
Larrivee LV-03R

Quote from: StringPicker6 on September 25, 2023, 11:35:20 AMThere's a guy on YouTube who does some really nice blues lessons and he plays the Eric Clapton signature martin 000-28 and his top definitely has this runout. Luckily, it looks like the cheap plastic binding hasn't started to separate yet.  :bgrin:

That's an expensive guitar! There's an argument about whether runout is a problem or not. I suspect it's mostly aesthetic. However, I wouldn't like it in a guitar that cost upwards of $100.00.  :laughin:

Quote from: ducktrapper on September 25, 2023, 10:25:54 AMI think you're right. I would guess guitars with runout don't make it out of the factory. I wonder if we have CNC to thank for that. You don't see it on most expensive guitars. I used to see more of it but quality control everywhere is aware of it and buyers don't like it.

I attribute it to PaPa Larrivee's sharp eye for picking raw logs with perfectly grained top woods. Then there's machining the perfectly parallel grained soundboard blanks from those logs where the center seam matches up perfectly, but that's me being an amateur armchair luthier.

Gibson and others can do this, perhaps they've simply gotten away without having to.
Larrivee OO-05 • Larrivee OOV-03 SS • Larrivee OO-44  • Taylor 322ce • Strat • Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/jpmist

Quote from: jpmist on September 26, 2023, 10:01:10 AMI attribute it to PaPa Larrivee's sharp eye for picking raw logs with perfectly grained top woods. Then there's machining the perfectly parallel grained soundboard blanks from those logs where the center seam matches up perfectly, but that's me being an amateur armchair luthier.

Gibson and others can do this, perhaps they've simply gotten away without having too.

The more guitars you make, the more likely something goes wrong?

Quote from: jpmist on September 26, 2023, 10:01:10 AMI attribute it to PaPa Larrivee's sharp eye for picking raw logs with perfectly grained top woods. Then there's machining the perfectly parallel grained soundboard blanks from those logs where the center seam matches up perfectly, but that's me being an amateur armchair luthier.

Gibson and others can do this, perhaps they've simply gotten away without having too.
It's been said many times (and not just by Larrivee guitar enthusiasts) that Jean Larrivee has the best inventory of cut sitka stock anywhere.

Quote from: Queequeg on September 26, 2023, 12:03:56 PMIt's been said many times (and not just by Larrivee guitar enthusiasts) that Jean Larrivee has the best inventory of cut sitka stock anywhere.


He sources his own wood from around the world.

Runout can potentially be an issue, but usually isn't. If you (as a builder) are just selecting the stiffest and best sounding boards you may care less about runout. If you don't have a lot to choose from because you're using adi or a wood that's prone to twisting, you care less. Some of the best prewar Martins have clear runout.

Personally, the look drives me nuts. Only on a cosmetic level. If it's a competent builder there's nothing to be concerned about. I wouldn't accept it from a newer builder or on a cheap guitar. An example of what can go wrong is if the bridge lifts and tears a good bit of fiber with it because it was "running out" and wasn't a long thread of strongly connected fiber to resist tearing.
D-09 Brazilian w/ Eagle inlay. D-02-12
Used to own and love; SD-50, J70 maple Mermaid, SD60sbt, D03R, LV03E.

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