This is the 5 Best Tips for Bracing Your Acoustic Guitar. In this post, you’ll learn the five things you need to know about your braces on your guitar to have a better build. Enjoy.
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Acoustic Guitar Braces
Bracing your acoustic guitar can be one of the most stressful and challenging parts of the build. However, it doesn’t have to be. Most of the stress actually comes from the amount of emphasis to place your braces.
Not that bracing isn’t important, it’s just not as important as some people like to make it out. A minor mistake is not a total catastrophe. Also, following an established bracing plan is actually a great way to start as a beginner.
As you build more and more guitars, you’ll understand more about how the internal braces work and how you can manipulate subtle aspects of the guitars sound. In the beginning though, just worry about getting the woodworking done well and everything will work out fine.
Don’t Worry Too Much
The very first tip for your internal braces on your acoustic guitar is to stop worrying. If you worry, you’ll make mistakes, make bad decisions, and your guitar will suffer.
When you are worried, you are not yourself. When you spend countless hours fretting over your bracing design and trying to establish which competing opinion is the right one, you’ll drive yourself nuts.
Instead of going through all of that, just settle in on the idea that it’s going to take you building several of your own guitars in order to develop the practical understanding that you need in order to brace your guitars at the higher level.
That’s not saying you can’t do a good job right now, all it’s saying is that you are going to need to have first-hand experience building acoustic guitars in order to become better at the bracing aspect of the build. That’s OK, everybody else has to do the same thing too.
Use the Right Wood Species
Another tip that is not mentioned as much but is a fair topic when it comes to bracing is the species of wood that you use. Most theory on internal braces has to do a Spruce, so my recommendation is to always use Spruce.
The problem with varying the wood species is that you’re never going to really learn what is doing what when you have too many variables. If you constantly switch your bracing material, it’s going to take much longer to figure out how the braces really work.
Instead, always use Spruce as your baseline because you’ll develop your practical knowledge much quicker working in the same medium over the course of several instruments.
Use the Best Bracing Strategy
Another thing that’s important to do is settle on a bracing strategy, but think of something that has a tried and true track record that you don’t have to worry about.
Don’t be afraid to be a beginner, and throw away the outlandish and experimental bracing patterns that are very attractive when you see them. Instead, opt for a classic design that has a long and steady track record.
This way, you know that your method of bracing will not betray you if you do it correctly. It will fit within the style, and you’ll have a guitar that sounds like it should if you follow the directions right.
Listen as You Carve
The best way to learn about carving your internal braces is to listen while you work. Don’t just carve aimlessly and look for the braces to appear a certain way as an indication that your job is complete.
Instead, tap your acoustic guitar top and back often as you’re carving in order to hear the sounds it makes and start to develop an understanding for the changes that will happen. You would be surprised what big difference you can here by carving away some of the wood.
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You are not going to understand necessarily what difference each of changes made and why, but over time you will start to get a feeling for it. This is how you get better at your bracing, and get better at making a good sounding top.
This is an Evolving Skill
Understand that you are going to be a part of this process for a very long time. The answers are not going to come right away, and you can really spend a lifetime discovering all of the subtleties of instrument bracing.
It’s OK though, because that’s part of the journey. After a few instruments you’ll actually have quite a good handle on the entire process if you just pay attention as you are building. Tap the guitar top often, listen to the way it sounds, and take good care of your braces.
Over time, and with the building of several different instruments, you’ll be very good at bracing your guitars.
Your Action Assignment
Now you know these five great tips to making your internal bracing work better than it has before, it’s time to get out into your shop and take action.
If you have been working on a guitar for a while, or if you have been wanting to build one but haven’t started yet, now is your time. It guitar is no different than any other project, but it’s definitely more fun in the end.
If you have any questions on bracing your guitar, please post a question in the forum and I’ll be happy to answer it. Happy building.
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