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Author Topic: The latest project...  (Read 2489 times)
fitness1
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« on: November 29, 2016, 08:31:56 PM »

I've had 3-4 of these Cordoba Acero steel string dreads, and found them quite bass dominant with attenuated mids and trebles.   I found this D11 at an absolute steal price so I could see if I could "tweak" it some to get the most out of it - I felt they had potential, but there was something fundamentally "wrong" with them.  

Of course my first "fix" was cutting a port in it - decided to go with the original Todd-port design on this one - being a dread, I made it a little larger than normal.

It made a very big difference, but the mids and trebles still weren't completely "there".  

I started feeling around inside of the bracing on the top and found two HUGE braces that run parallel to the neck and along both sides of the soundhole.   There are over an inch wide and nearly a half inch thick ohmy   and run all the way down to the x-bracing.  

Intuition told me to take the one down on the treble side of the soundhole, so I rounded the edges with 100 grit and took maybe 15-20% of it away.    I waited a few days of playing and put a fresh set of strings on and WHOA nellie - now weren't talking!!    

I've been through some more tweaks of the setup (nut slots were way too high and saddle was too low when I received it) and another set of strings.    I just can't believe what I'm hearing for a guitar I paid less than 400 bucks for.    I've had high dollar guitars here that didn't sound and play like this one.    On the last string change I took just a bit more off the treble side brace and a little off the bass side one too......let the new strings stretch in last night and played it a bunch today......by far (like miles) the best bang for the buck I've ever experienced.

I'm going to write Cordoba and tell them my experience - they've discontinued this line and now have the Leona series.  I think they may be interested in the effect those huge braces have on the tone.

Now, just cross my fingers that it doesn't implode   Looks like it's going to be the Koa Triplets at Todd's house.... bigrin   Another big appeal for me is the 1.8" nut!!


Actual guitar (koa and spruce)









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bobw
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2016, 10:27:24 PM »

 +1       nice guitar    Looks great... glad it sounds good too....   
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fitness1
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 01:32:58 AM »

... glad it sounds good too....   

I'll put a recording up soon - just getting to know it a bit....
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George
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 01:47:27 AM »

I love koa too...  Great find Todd, can't wait to hear the results of your magic touch...  both with tweaking the guitar and recording...
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George
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2016, 05:44:19 PM »

Got a little crazy today - I've always wanted to try out one of these designs on the lower bout.

Again, intuition told me maybe a little more change in air resonance may even out the response....it did just that, the tubby-ish bass response was lessened and became more tight and it has headed more toward a very balanced tonal picture.

It's interesting the effect seemingly small changes can have.

I've got a bone saddle to replace the Tusq on the next string change - that should put the exclamation point on it....



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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2016, 11:07:11 AM »

Just an observation.  When you analyze and report on the changes achieved by your mods, is it from the perspective of what you hear as the player or what it sounds like out front to a listener or maybe a recording microphone in front of the guitar?
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Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
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fitness1
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2016, 11:10:53 AM »

Just an observation.  When you analyze and report on the changes achieved by your mods, is it from the perspective of what you hear as the player or what it sounds like out front to a listener or maybe a recording microphone in front of the guitar?

From both the perspective of the player and what comes out front.  When I'm listening critically, I play about a foot and a half from a wall so I can hear what's coming out front better.   Then I back away and just hear the difference that's coming up to me from the ports, and also A/B it with the ports closed (which is normally pretty eye opening!)
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 11:17:43 AM »

From both the perspective of the player and what comes out front.  When I'm listening critically, I play about a foot and a half from a wall so I can hear what's coming out front better.   Then I back away and just hear the difference that's coming up to me from the ports, and also A/B it with the ports closed (which is normally pretty eye opening!)

That helps and thanks for you quick response.
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
fitness1
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2016, 10:05:33 PM »

Well, I spent about 4 hours on it today - took those monster braces down some more, masked off the top and took the bridge down and filed off those sharp corners, enlarged the ports on lower bout (and made the middle one the largest)   and put a bone saddle in.   I just put the strings that were on it back on, but I'm pretty sure when I get some fresh on there I'm going to be 90% of the way "home".

Interestingly enough, the bracing below the X's is pretty minimal - didn't touch that, just those two Louisville Sluggers along the sound hole.

The bridge actually looks much better now - I sanded it down (mostly the shoulders and the leading edge, but also the rest of the top to get consistency)  then went at it with 0000 steel wool, then put about 4 treatments of Lizard Spit on it.   Looks like a bridge from a 'spensive guitar now (-:

Oh the things I don't do when golf season is over - LOL

Here's a pic of those "Louisville Slugger" braces (that are a shadow of their former selves)

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George
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2016, 11:16:04 PM »

Do you hire out to do this work for others Todd?  I have a little OOR that I would like to hear ported...
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George
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2016, 11:20:20 PM »

Do you hire out to do this work for others Todd?  I have a little OOR that I would like to hear ported...

I'd be too nervous to start choppin' on someone else's guitar.  I'd be happy to walk you through it though.
The kind like I put on the upper bout of this one is super easy.  Just need a hard tube shaped object (like a vacuum cleaner extension) some 220 sand paper and some crazy glue.
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2016, 06:38:26 PM »

Well Todd, since you have the most experience on porting, of anyone here I am aware of, I would ask you a couple of questions.  I am certainly not afraid to cut holes in a guitar... and I do know how to polish out the edges.  What I don't know is how to determine the starting size and shape of an upper bout port?  Is it somewhat specific to the size of the guitar body?  The guitar I am wondering about whether it would improve the sound the player hears, is a Morgan OOR oiled finish.  This guitar has no strap pins and never will as long as I have it.  I also do not intend on installing a pickup in it.  I bought this one strictly for sitting down and playing.  The strings I have settled on are Newtone double-wound bronze and the guitar sounds really good as it is, but I cannot help wondering if a port would change the tonal quality I hear?  Based on the numerous threads you have written on this subject, I would think that the appropriate size port would be an improvement.  What are your thoughts?
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2016, 08:39:37 PM »

Well Todd, since you have the most experience on porting, of anyone here I am aware of, I would ask you a couple of questions.  I am certainly not afraid to cut holes in a guitar... and I do know how to polish out the edges.  What I don't know is how to determine the starting size and shape of an upper bout port?  Is it somewhat specific to the size of the guitar body?  The guitar I am wondering about whether it would improve the sound the player hears, is a Morgan OOR oiled finish.  This guitar has no strap pins and never will as long as I have it.  I also do not intend on installing a pickup in it.  I bought this one strictly for sitting down and playing.  The strings I have settled on are Newtone double-wound bronze and the guitar sounds really good as it is, but I cannot help wondering if a port would change the tonal quality I hear?  Based on the numerous threads you have written on this subject, I would think that the appropriate size port would be an improvement.  What are your thoughts?

The method I use for the standard port like the one on the upper bout of this guitar DICTATES the shape - a nice oval with a bevel.   The advice I'd give you on placement and size is this:   Sit in your typical position to play (mine is with a footstool/semi-classical-ish)  and find the spot on the upper bout that is aimed toward your nose or just left of it.  Use that as a starting point and measure top to bottom to center it and put a mark with a sharpie dead center.     

Regarding size - definitely start small - for a 00, I'd say less than 1" long and 1/2" wide (actual hole, not bevel) to start.  It's amazing how that can effect the tonal picture and volume even that small.   It's really a lot of intuition past that.  As I said above - play against a wall and away from it - plug and unplug the hole to attempt to get insight into where to go with it.
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2016, 08:50:48 PM »

I am going to give it a try.  It is hard to image a hole that small will be tonally significant so I am intrigued!  Thanks for the advice Todd.
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George
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2016, 11:13:11 PM »

I am going to give it a try.  It is hard to image a hole that small will be tonally significant so I am intrigued!  Thanks for the advice Todd.

Just remember - once you remove it, you can't put it back!


Much more sawdust was made today regarding the Cordoba.  Threw a fresh set of strings on and this thing is scary good.
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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2016, 12:04:47 AM »

HA HA!  I know that!  I already did it.  1/2" x 1" oval was a bit small so I enlarged it a little bit, but not too much.  It wound up in the shape of a jazz pick (sort of).  Needs a little more polishing to be completely finished, but I can Hear the Difference quite easily.  Almost sounds like stereo acoustic guitar...  Thanks for the tips.
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George
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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2016, 12:10:53 AM »

HA HA!  I know that!  I already did it.  1/2" x 1" oval was a bit small so I enlarged it a little bit, but not too much.  It wound up in the shape of a jazz pick (sort of).  Needs a little more polishing to be completely finished, but I can Hear the Difference quite easily.  Almost sounds like stereo acoustic guitar...  Thanks for the tips.

No problem - let's see some pictures!   Plug it up and play it, then remove the plug and see what happens.  It will also be interesting to see if it works (like all of mine have) as a breather hole on a gas can and increases the output out front as well.
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Charis SJ Koa/Sitka
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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2016, 12:14:11 AM »

Oh it did, it is noticeably Much Louder.  Amazing what a small hole can do!  I am also amazed at just how powerful the OO and OOO can be...  Hopefully you get the gist from this pic.
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George
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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2016, 12:58:32 AM »

Nice job - glad it worked out so well!!!
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2016, 05:49:23 PM »

Here's a tune I recorded with it this morning (one of 5 or 6) - Never Saw a Miracle by Curtis Stigers.  Slide the volume up on the Box player before listening...

https://app.box.com/s/tnk8i1421yfkd5evarkin36e6dfpnokj
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Charis SJ Koa/Sitka
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"One small heart, and a great big soul that's drivin"
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