Bubinga / Cedar model

The bubinga model features a western red cedar AAA top and a nicely structured bubinga (with sapwood) back and sides.

Some information about Bubinga as “tonewood”

I chose a 640 scalelength and in order not to impace the sound of the instrument given that the slightly shorter scalelength will reduce the tension of the strings I decided to compensate for this by reducing the top thickness 0,1 mm of the standard thickness I would target for a standard size guitar. In the end, I cannot notice any reduction in volume or response. (This being said, that could have been the same without the addditioal thinning of the top… who knows 🙂 )

How does it compare to the other 2?

Well, it is loud. I would say its the loudest of the 3. The harder you attack the strings, the louder she sings. To reach its limits, you really have to hit the strings in a way that is beyond regular playing. In other words, all the dynamic range is really there for you to use.

On the page about the blanko model I mention the impact that string tension does have on the sound of that guitar. The same stands here, but is different.

High tesion strings on the bubinga are almost ‘a little too much’ for my personal likings. I used to play it initially with the Hannabach exclusive high tension string. Very very nice, and the overtones and harmonics above the 12th fret are fenomenal…. almost too much when you play her hard. Alex, a friend of mine who is more a fingerpicking specialist absolutely loves her with high tension strings.

Since its my guitar (lol) I swapped the high tension with Augustin blacks (since the goldings regular tension are on the blanko) What a surprise…. I was expecting it to lose its character with these low tension strings, but this is not so. It has become less loud of course, but I feel that I have a lot more subtle control on tone shaping with these. I never liked the way the tremolo sounded with the Hannabachs, but with these Augustin blacks, I can really shape the sound production of the quick succession of notes, without them becoming muddy etc. Since I never played low tension strings before I was a bit scared the the greater vibration radius of the strings would actually negatively impact the tremolo playing ability. But this is not so.

Not to forget that we’ve got a cedar top here (that is really on the ‘thin side’). Overall, I’m a lot more pleased with her now that I switched to the Augustin black strings.

An interesting aspect just came to mind that I think is worth mentionning. On me previous guitars (the ones I bought before staring to build my own) I occasionally switched strings as well, but could never really make out such a huge change in overall sound. My personal conclusion. It really takes a optimized overall instrument (and defenetely not an overbuild one) for you to be able to really take advantage (sound-wise) of different strings.

On the page where I discuss my prototype model this becomes really clear. That model really excells with high tension string. If it remains ‘OK’ with normal tension strings, I think it would suffer in overall tone quality if I were to fit her with low tension strings, whereas this is not the case for the other 2 guitars..

What does this tell me: simply, the stiffness of the blanko was probably almost optimal. The bubinga probably a little bit on the ‘light’ side, at least if you prefer high tesion strings, no matter what. This reminds me that I read an article about top “overloading” with too high tension strings…. looks like I’ve just experienced what the auther (whom I can’t remember-sorry) was trying to express in his excellent article.

Here some pictures of the finished instrument: