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  1. #1

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    What's the purpose in putting sound posts in hollowbody guitars?
    Does it reduce feedback? Improve tone? Eliminate wolf tones? Increase sustain by acting somewhat like a centre block?

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  3. #2

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    I think for the most part they are to reduce feedback and keep the top from sinking. As far as I know all the Peerless hollowbodies have sound posts. I imagine that other guitars like the current iterations of D'Angelicos do as well but I am not sure of that.

  4. #3

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    Is it just a less costly process than installing bracing and all the other suggested reasons are a smoke screen?

  5. #4

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    For my 1961 ES-175D it was a "temporary" solution to a sinking top. Funnily enough I have the impression that I have more mids and bass when playing acoustically, so I'm staying with the soundpost rather than pay for the bracing to be replaced.

  6. #5

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    My Lyle is a Japanese-made semi-copy of an L5. It has the identical body shape and depth, but with a laminated construction not carved. And a 24.75" neck.

    Without bracing, they used a small thin block about 1/4" thick and 2" wide under the bridge. Which is something used actually in a fair number of guitars. I'm sure it was easier than making braces.

    A couple luthiers have posted comments here or been quoted as to why one would use a sound block. You could search this forum's boards probably.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  7. #6

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    I have a similar experience as Ray175: my ES-125 came to me without tonebars (completely missed that during the purchase, boy did I feel like a rookie), so rather than doing expensive surgery (remove the back and install new tone bars), I opted for installing a sound post to prevent the top from sinking. Works well, guitar has been stable since (5 or 6 years I think?).

    I only noticed a slight reduction in acoustic volume, no deterioration of the tone. I think the tone even got better: more woody, more mids. I did not notice more sustain. The sound post did significantly improve resistance to feedback and I can surprise many a fellow ES-125 owner by playing mine on loud stages and even let it wail with overdrive Sound Posts in HollowbodiesSound Posts in Hollowbodies

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by rNeil
    My Lyle is a Japanese-made semi-copy of an L5. It has the identical body shape and depth, but with a laminated construction not carved. And a 24.75" neck.

    Without bracing, they used a small thin block about 1/4" thick and 2" wide under the bridge. Which is something used actually in a fair number of guitars. I'm sure it was easier than making braces.

    A couple luthiers have posted comments here or been quoted as to why one would use a sound block. You could search this forum's boards probably.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    I have an L5 Lyle copy exactly as you mentioned. It was first guitar my dad gave me in 1973. Great guitar really all things said. Mine is in mint condition still have it. I have posted pictures of this on the forum. But actually sound post keep the top from vibrating so they kill the sound of an archtop completely. If you have no need for the acoustic property then they probably don't hurt things. A 175 does not have them and they are pretty much the sound of jazz guitar so have to make choices.

  9. #8

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    I’ve seen at least one Gibson laminate from 1946, an ES-300 with absolutely no bracing of any kind and a perfectly arched top. Sound Posts in Hollowbodies

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    But actually sound post keep the top from vibrating so they kill the sound of an archtop completely. If you have no need for the acoustic property then they probably don't hurt things. A 175 does not have them and they are pretty much the sound of jazz guitar so have to make choices.
    I've got both, an ES-175 and a great old Aria 2302 with a sound post. No real differences in acoustic sound (or electric, for that matter), and I've already posted soundclips to prove it.

    If soundposts were so deadly for the archtop sound, why would Gretsch insist on them so much? Trestle bracing, ML bracing, soundposts, you name it - Gretsch has it. And it works.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Roll
    I've got both, an ES-175 and a great old Aria 2302 with a sound post. No real differences in acoustic sound (or electric, for that matter), and I've already posted soundclips to prove it.

    If soundposts were so deadly for the archtop sound, why would Gretsch insist on them so much? Trestle bracing, ML bracing, soundposts, you name it - Gretsch has it. And it works.
    I was surprised to see Tresle bracing for the first time- it’s a substantial amount of wood inside a Gretsch!

  12. #11

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    My Japanese Condor ES-175 has no bracing and a sound post as well. I put a Golden Age humbucker in it a long time ago. I A/B-ed that guitar extensively with a friends ‘68 single pickup ES-175 and they sounded quite similar electrically but acoustically the Gibson sounded quite a bit darker and woodier. I don’t remember much difference in acoustic volume though. I must admit the Gibson had the edge over the Condor, but I don’t think the sound post made that difference.

    My ES-330 copy has a similar construction: no bracing with a floating block under the bridge that connects to the back thru a smaller post.

    I did glue rudimentary braces from neck to bridge into the Condor once, as an experiment (notched, so they would follow the arch when clamped). That did not improve the sound: it got very brittle. (I used water dissolvable glue so I could remove them again

    Based on that experiment I cautiously conclude that just placing a sound post in a guitar with bracings might not always yield good results, and a guitar with no bracing and a sound post can sound good. Based on my ES-125 and my ES-330 copy I think prefer that over a guitar with conventional bracing.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan
    I’ve seen at least one Gibson laminate from 1946, an ES-300 with absolutely no bracing of any kind and a perfectly arched top. Sound Posts in Hollowbodies
    That’s why I didn’t suspect anything when buying my ES-125 that turned out to have lost its bracing - perfect arch with no sign of sinking. I did not want to take the risk though, so I put a sound post in.

    You think that ES-300 had no bracing from factory?

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    ...and they sounded quite similar electrically but acoustically the Gibson sounded quite a bit darker and woodier. I don’t remember much difference in acoustic volume though. I must admit the Gibson had the edge over the Condor, but I don’t think the sound post made that difference.
    It could be that those differences are down to (generally) thinner tops on Japanese guitars. My Aria's top is almost 30% thinner than my 175's.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Roll
    I've got both, an ES-175 and a great old Aria 2302 with a sound post. No real differences in acoustic sound (or electric, for that matter), and I've already posted soundclips to prove it.

    If soundposts were so deadly for the archtop sound, why would Gretsch insist on them so much? Trestle bracing, ML bracing, soundposts, you name it - Gretsch has it. And it works.
    No archtop guitar builder who is trying to build an acoustic archtop will ever put a sound post in their guitar. Gretsch can use them all they want and in fact played electrically as I mentioned it does not make too much difference. However just to be clear from a purely acoustic standpoint and making an acoustic archtop, sound post are an enemy. For anyone who wants to make a comparison to the violin ( they have soundpost) and and an archtop acoustic, this is not a valid comparison. As the legendary Bill Barker said over 40 years ago that violin and guitars produce sound completely different. The back of an acoustic archtop is made to stop the sound and a violin the back and top work completely together, in addition the violin is bowed.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    That’s why I didn’t suspect anything when buying my ES-125 that turned out to have lost its bracing - perfect arch with no sign of sinking. I did not want to take the risk though, so I put a sound post in.

    You think that ES-300 had no bracing from factory?
    Yes, from the factory. The inside was completely clean, no glue or anything.

  17. #16

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    I put a sound post in a 1972ish Epiphone Howard Roberts. I don't remember the year exactly. But it was Kalamazoo built and had a carved spruce top. The feedback was difficult to deal with, but I was playing rock (only could afford one guitar then).

    This older jazz player took a dowel he cut at the right length, reached in the sound hole, and locked the dowel in between the top and back- no glue. That might have helped a little.

    Gretsches are electric guitars. The trestle bracing may have made the sound brighter. My Country Gentleman had feedback that was about as bad as the Howard Roberts, as I recall. Maybe less. It still took a lot of effort to control feedback.

  18. #17

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    Back when I was playing Borys guitars Roger offered a sound-post option in a B120. AFAIR it had standard B120 construction. I didn't opt for that in mine.

    Danny W.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    No archtop guitar builder who is trying to build an acoustic archtop will ever put a sound post in their guitar.
    Well, as said in a post above, Roger Borys does. Ken Parker did. The problem is in execution, not in the concept. Hence so many different claimed results - from people saying soundpost saved their lives, to people quoting Terry Pratchett: "The guitar (now) sounds like a cat going to a toilet through a sewn-up bum." No wonder, since the art of installing soundpost in a violin teaches us that 1mm makes all the difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    Gretsch can use them all they want and in fact played electrically as I mentioned it does not make too much difference.
    Gretschers claim it does. Reduces mid frequencies, some of them say. Since the mids are key ingredient in feedback, it makes sense.

    Archtop without mids is closer in sound to a flattop, then to a solid body guitar. "Acoustics" are very present in every good Gretsch I've played so far.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Roll
    The problem is in execution, not in the concept. Hence so many different claimed results - from people saying soundpost saved their lives, to people quoting Terry Pratchett: "The guitar (now) sounds like a cat going to a toilet through a sewn-up bum." No wonder, since the art of installing soundpost in a violin teaches us that 1mm makes all the difference.
    You think it’s that critical? I must have been very lucky with my ES-125 then…. I just took a 1”x1” cedar piece that is used in cigar boxes (for nice smell?) and put it under the bridge. Since I have an early 125 with a flat back braced like an acoustic, it has a seam running in the middle cover by a wood strip, so I couldn’t center it, so I put it next to the strip on the bass-side. To my ears it sounds great, this guitar can sound pretty dark sound but also has enough enough treble and high mids to cut trough ( just with a flick of the treble knob).

    Dark and woody:



    Jazzy:




    Bright and funky:


  21. #20

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    Great sound and playing! I especially loved the Hard Rock Cafe tone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    You think it’s that critical? I must have been very lucky with my ES-125 then….
    I guess it's less critical with guitars, what with all that plucking going on. But, man, do cellists and violinists get fussy about that millimeter.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Roll
    Well, as said in a post above, Roger Borys does. Ken Parker did. The problem is in execution, not in the concept. Hence so many different claimed results - from people saying soundpost saved their lives, to people quoting Terry Pratchett: "The guitar (now) sounds like a cat going to a toilet through a sewn-up bum." No wonder, since the art of installing soundpost in a violin teaches us that 1mm makes all the difference.



    Gretschers claim it does. Reduces mid frequencies, some of them say. Since the mids are key ingredient in feedback, it makes sense.

    Archtop without mids is closer in sound to a flattop, then to a solid body guitar. "Acoustics" are very present in every good Gretsch I've played so far.
    Note Bory’s offered the sound post on his laminate guitar not acoustic voiced. Gretch guitars with sound post are electric guitars.