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Discussion Starter #1
Just a couple of questions that are bothering me:
1) aside from wood choice(s) is there such a thing as a body mass index ?
eg: cubic inches of area/density that must be maintained when designing a body
2) is location and type of on board electrical components equally or more important than body mass?
3)on a "standard" double and/or single cutaway type guitar how interchangeable are pups before you have to get out a router? Are they generally "bolt on"?
thanks
RIFF
 

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Hi Riff,

I have done allot of my own research on this sort of thing (on hardbodies)over the past couple of years, and here are my opinions on some of your questions (I'm not sure how far off I am from the norm with my opinions though and as usual I am long winded):

1: (body mass index) There may be such an index, but I have never used it. I have found that if you have ever designed loudspeaker enclosures and you understand damping factors and how they effect sound, then this is directly relational to the density of wood that you choose for the body of the guitar. Dense, heavy woods provide high damping factors and lighter less dense woods provide lower, less controlled damping factors.

A hard rock maple body is heavy and dense (high damping factor), it provides a bright accurate top and bottom end but is not very 'open' in the mid range. Sustain is accurate, but subject to the velocity in which you strike the strings. The fundimental tone is very prominent in the sustain of heavier woods. These elements of control may make it attractive to some players that manipulate dynamics in their playing style and don't mind strapping on a very heavy guitar.

A lighter, less dense wood, like basswood has a lower damping factor. They have a more 'open' tone and they 'sing' throughout the midrange with less accurate top and bottom notes. The sustain is less susceptible to dynamics and velocity and can tend to get 'mushy' if you play hard into it. It is very easy to sustain notes and they ring evenly with the 1st and second order harmonics supporting the fundimental note. Basswood is very popular as the drawbacks with the clarity in the top and bottom end are nicely offset with a maple neck and even more so with a dense cap wood.

Very light woods are wild and hard to control. Dynamics are very limited and they get mushy quite easily. Sustain almost comes too easy, and the fundimental note can get lost in a sea of harmonics. Balance becomes an issue with a very light body and a maple neck is not enough in itself to offset its wild properties. Some players may like this experience, and it does have its applications.

Body wood choice is very much a personal thing. Different playing styles are supported by different damping factors, some sound more refined than others while others can be more enjoyable to play. Combining woods to create different characteristics is more of an artistic process than a scientific one. Sitting down in a music store with a bunch of different guitars that you know for sure what they are made out of is a pretty good way to find a combination that suits your style.

The type of bridge you choose and the material that it is made of also effects the overall sonic properties of the guitar, but I have found this to be true more so for the initial attack rather than sustain. The same hardness/density rule applies - hard chrome bridges are snappier and aluminum, soft brass etc have a mellower, less pronounced attack. Combining the properties of bridge, body and neck gives you allot of variations so you can create a rough 'recipe' if you know what you are after.

2: I don't really have an opinion on this, except that the type of pickups that you choose should compliment the natural sound of the guitar not mimick it. If your guitar is dense and bright, a bright pickup will be over the top.

I often hear people refer to pots changing the sound of their guitar but this is only if the player actually uses them (i.e. if you leave the pot wide open all the time it should be effectively out of the circuit). 500K ohm pots are generally used for (passive) humbuckers and 250K ohm pots are generally used with (passive) single coils. In either case, the pots should be logarithmic and not linear as we hear things logarithmicly.

3: Generally humbuckers will be interchangable that are the same style/shape. If you are planning on swapping pickups out to find ones that you like, I would put a connector in the pickup cavity and wire the oposite gender on all of the pickups you want to try. This will let you swap pickups quicker and make better comparisons.


I hope this helps, these opinions are based on my own experiences in testing and combining parts, which is an ongoing learning process. There are always unexpected exceptions that I am hoping to stumble upon someday.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Hamm.
lots of time and energy in your response. You answered my questions IMHO in a very understandable way. I have often wondered about the various popular styles of guitar body such as flying V's etc. VS standard body types.

please don't take offense, but your moniker reminded me to wish everyone a Happy Easter, LOL

cheers
RIFF
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey Kicker......that site is a kicker LOL
lots of goodies, but a bit pricey. Would like to try an LP kit some time, in the meantime I am humming and hawwing over a T kit.
cheers
RIFF
 
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