Size of Steel String guitars

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Dave M
Blackwood
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Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:44 am
Location: Somerset UK

Size of Steel String guitars

Post by Dave M » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:26 am

My last two builds have been Torres size classicals, using his very light bracing pattern which have worked very well. But this week I went back to my last Gore design medium steel string to finesse the setup and am very struck by the very much bigger body size.

I seem to remember talk of a larger body volume giving better base response to counter the tendency to high volume trebles.

The player who has one of my earlier Gore steels thinks that the base may be a little too strong - though not by much.

I wonder if there is much experience on the forum of smaller bodied steels and how they turned out...?
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Trevor Gore
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Re: Size of Steel String guitars

Post by Trevor Gore » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:02 pm

The falcate steel string in the book is "medium" size, about the same size as a Martin 000 and quite a bit smaller than a J45, J200 or Dread. A standard classical is very similar in size to a Martin 00.

The amount of bass you get out of a guitar is related to where you position the T(1,1)1 and the T(1,1)2 and between the 00 and 000 sizes there is quite a lot of overlap, so one can sound pretty much like the other, if you want to set it up that way. However, if you want more bass, it's easier to get that using a larger box, if you don't want to compromise on a stack or other variables.

I use my neo-classical shape (classical sized but with a higher waist) quite often on steel string guitars and there's no doubt that I can get as much bass as I need. I've made a few steel strings on my standard classical chassis, including the Shed guitar. Here's a recording, so you can judge for yourself:


youtu.be/9QcVIYEvuns

I've also made steel strings on my small body classical chassis (340mm lower bout). That's about as small as I'd want to go a keep a full bass response. Here's one (no sound, though).
DSCF9799_C2s.jpg
DSCF9799_C2s.jpg (268.75 KiB) Viewed 1171 times
For more, check out this link: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=6443&p=82846 from Jim Schofield. Jim went down to 320mm on the lower bout and still managed to get a good bass sound.

Dave M
Blackwood
Posts: 316
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:44 am
Location: Somerset UK

Re: Size of Steel String guitars

Post by Dave M » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:02 am

Thanks for the comprehensive reply Trevor. Jim's 320 really is narrow but as you say sounds fine.

I've been building my classicals like this which has the overall dimensions of Torres SE114 but using your high waist which I like. With the lower bout at around 350 the outline doesn't differ very much from the Torres.

That black top really is seriously black!
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