Chambering

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by J_Mac, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

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    I’ve read plenty about chambering but apparently it’s a black art. What is the collective knowledge here at SSO?

    I plan to try some chambering on an upcoming build. The physicist in me wants to use forstner bits to drill many small chambers with diameters equal to the wavelengths of certain frequencies. I have also seen many builds which hog out as much wood as possible, huge chambers. But these can make the tone muddy apparently.
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I'm not really going to go too in depth on this one. It tends to spark a good deal of debate which tends to get fairly nasty, much like discussing "tone woods" and all that jazz.

    What I will say however, is that I've played and owned many chambered guitars, from ones which were said to be "especially tuned" to ones which the builder plainly said "eh, I just did it like that." I can't say either method really did anything appreciable through an amp. Some sounded better than others, but nothing makes me think that was solely due to the methodology of the chambers.
     
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  3. Andrew Lloyd Webber

    Andrew Lloyd Webber Enjoyed by 4 out of 5

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    I’d rather you drill sober.

    I prefer chambered guitars, if only for reduced weight. Let us know what you settle on.
     
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  4. crackout

    crackout SS.org Regular

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    I don't like chambering if the top thickness is below 6-8mm, because this makes the guitar feel flimsy, especially when fingertips wander along the top and it sounds like a delicate and fragile acoustic.

    I like full unchambered more. Relief is achieved by generous belly and arm cuts.
     
  5. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    Please elaborate on why that's so “apparent“? I've played a number of chambered guitars and built several myself and can't confirm that at all. If even a steelstring acoustic can be very clear, snappy and defined, why should that be an issue on an ES-335 type guitar with solid sustain block. Think of it like that: sawing off the wood left and right of the sustain block completely won't change the sound a lot. You can chamber for weight relief as you like, won't make a significant difference on the sound as long as you keep your fingers off the middle section of the body...
     
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  6. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Nah, that's the latent engineering in you... Unless you're one of those "experimental" physicists, in which case you already have a series of guitars with varying sized holes, in varying arrangements, planned out. :lol:

    The typical wisdom is that holes just reduce weight w/o affecting tone/resonance because the material between the holes and the top act like lattice, stress skin panel, torsion box, etc. and don't allow for much additional flexibility.

    Left-Side Toan!!!!!!
     
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  7. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire grossly incandescent

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    I don't think chambering is going to give you some magic tone.. Unless a guitar is going to be super heavy like >10lbs/5kgs i wouldn't even bother with chambering.
     
  8. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I always wanted to try routing some big Chambers and filling them with foam. To make it feel rigid or prevent standing waves or something. Honestly I'm not sure the physics checks out but I still want to try it.
     
  9. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

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    It’s the Crimson Guitars YouTube podcast on chambering, Ben said this.
     
  10. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

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    It is, it’s a mahogany Explorer :eek:
     
  11. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire grossly incandescent

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    yeah definitely chamber it then. I have a jazzmaster I put together with a poplar body and it weighs more than some of my 8 strings. really wish I'd chambered it now :lol:
     
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  12. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

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    LMAO left siyyeeed tone! :lol:

    This makes more sense to me, I need to consider the vibrating material rather than the vibrating air in the chambers. So if we assume that material around chambers will have a higher amplitude vibration then I need to chamber at anti-nodes in a 2D pattern associated with those frequencies that I want to enhance.

    I am actually building 2 explorers, one will be chambered with a big random cavity under a set wooden pickguard, and the other I might do in this anti-node sort of pattern...

    Might be bollox tho.

    Probably the best part of a year before I finish them anyway, but at least it’ll be a quicker build time than the LHC. Then I can record some comparisons...
     
  13. Andrew Lloyd Webber

    Andrew Lloyd Webber Enjoyed by 4 out of 5

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    This may just be the physicist in me but, perhaps if you’d said Misha claimed it...
     
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  14. pondman

    pondman Build Whore. Contributor

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    Chamber and make the body thinner, a lot thinner.
     
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  15. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Bass Player in Exile

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    I think Ben drinks a little too much kool-aid.

    Clambering is principally done for weight reduction. There may be some tonal benefit to certain configurations of chambering, but I have yet to see any experimental data, so as far as I'm concerned, it's largely mythical.
     
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  16. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

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    :lol:

    Right, thanks chaps that’s just what I was after. So I can chamber where convenient rather than worry about dimensions and locations.

    I do intend to build two similar explorers, first one will be a a large convenient chamber under an inset pickguard. Second one will have my half-arse physics and logic applied to it.
     
  17. Deegatron

    Deegatron SS.org Regular

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    I would expect the size of the chambers to have a major play on the affect on the guitar. multiple small chambers should react more like a solid body with reduced weight, where as a build with fewer larger chambers would act more like a hollow body.
    That comment about chambers making a guitar sound muddy seems like rubbish to me. they've obviously put the wrong pickup in that guitar is all.
     
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  18. Eptaceros

    Eptaceros Wayfarer Contributor

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    I've only seen one chambered guitar (it was the Holdsworth Carvin), and it sounded HUGE unplugged. Cranked through an amp however, there was no recognizable difference in tone.
     
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  19. Andrew Lloyd Webber

    Andrew Lloyd Webber Enjoyed by 4 out of 5

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  20. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    If you have the time and money you can experiment.
    At the end of the day...it's still going to sound like a guitar, especially after it's recorded and processed.

    I love modern cnc chambering. My prs hollow body II is essentially just a solid back where the entire inside is turned to sawdust. It's wonderfully wasteful. It sounds great but the main benefit is the weight and comfort.
     
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