Why convert a ladder braced flat top guitar to V-bracing? Why not convert to X-brace pattern?
From an engineering perspective, ladder bracing is the worst possible design for long term top stability. It contributes nothing toward preventing bridge roll or upper bout distortion. Ladder bracing was strictly a cost saving method. Any unskilled worker can quickly install braces in a straight across pattern. I have seen terrible top distortion on Harmony and other ladder braced guitars. The worst was a ladder braced Oahu acoustic lap steel. The top on that guitar was like looking out over the ocean.
The image below shows original Harmony Sovereign ladder bracing:
We hear and read claims and myths that ladder bracing offers that vintage sound, or that we should retain the current bracing so as to keep that vintage sound. Those folks often have a ladder braced guitar to sell you. And there are "restored" ladder braced guitars for sale all over the place with high price tags. Bunk I say!
Why would you want a guitar that will continue to degrade under string tension no matter how carefully you take care of it?
Why would you want a guitar that sounds like it was designed to be cheap to build?
Why would you want a guitar that plays like a wet noodle?
So why convert to V-bracing? Below shows our current V-brace pattern:
Tail Block View
Neck Block View
Note the extra spruce pad between the neck block and upper bout brace. Like the Martin pop cycle brace, this part transfers neck block rotation pressure to the upper bout brace preventing neck rotation into the sound hole.
Now here is a new term, "Vibration Cancellation". I have a theory about why V-bracing works so well. When the strings make the bridge and associated top area move in and out, the top around and above the sound hole want to move in the opposing direction. The top just below the sound hole tends to work like the center support on a Titer-Totter. The bridge moves in and the upper bout moves out, etc. If the upper bout area of the top is allowed to move in the opposite direction from the bridge area, sound waves (i.e. moving air) tend to cancel each other out. If the upper bout is stabilized with V-bracing, the bridge area and the associated top can move air without interference from the upper bout area.
The top is very much like a huge loudspeaker. You want the bridge area to the pump as much air as possible, especially in the higher frequencies which where the harmonics and brilliance occur. V-bracing supports and allows this.
In short, our V-braced tops sound as good or better than any guitar you can buy, assuming equal quality top planks. In most cases, even top quality has no effect. The only exception is the top grade Taylor acoustics. They offer additional top preparation machining which we cannot offer. But that will cost you $2,500 and up.
How can I prove to you what I have stated above? Just listen to one of our V-brace converted guitars. Listening is believing. This is a dramatic improvement in acoustic guitar top bracing design.
So why V-bracing? Buy our guitars only if you want crunchy lows and brilliant harmonic highs and over tones. Otherwise, keep looking for that dull sound. You will not be able to put our V-braced guitar back in the case.
We build the best sounding acoustic restorations on the planet. (<-period!)