This is a bit offtopic from CBG. I got a super cheap (70€) acoustic guitar with great intonation. I am trying to see how much I can improve it. So far I have made bone nut and bridge, adjusted the height of the strings, adjusted the truss rod and changed the strings. It already sounds a lot better but not as good as I wish. It got a lot of treble, but the low frequency response is bad. This is especially noticeable as I do mostly finger picking.

I am considering to try to fix it by reshaping the bracing a bit with help of a sandpaper. Then I could do it by just putting my hand/arm into the sound hole and not needing to take the guitar into pieces. How would you reshape the X bracing to make it more sensitive to lower frequencies? From where would you remove some material?

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  • Oops, looks like I responded to your photo and not the post here???

    • Thank you for your reply! The sanding of the bracing really did some magic. I might sand a little bit more the next time I change strings. Also now that the retro strings has set in, they do have better sound than when they were completely new.

      I normally just do finger picking, but in Open D, instead of standard tuning. In the video I used standard tuning, because that way you are best able to judge the sound. The strings are a bit floppy in open D.

  • Hi, possibly what you are hearing is the string sound vibrating off the top of the guitar and not the top vibrating and creating sound waves by exiting the air in the box. A cheap guitar would possibly have little attention paid to timber type, placement, dimensions, and the thickness of the lacquer. 

    A bone saddle may also add to the brightness of the guitar.

    Thanks for getting back with updates.

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    • I am looking for modifications I can do without opening the sound box as I am sure I would not get it glued nicely back. There is not much I can do about the timber type without completely taking the guitar into pieces.

      So far I have made bone nuts and saddle for the guitar, reduced a bit the bracing by sanding through the sound hole, tried different set of strings and adjusted the truss rod.

      The lacquer is very shiny and it looks like it is thick. What would you do about the lacquer?

      What kind of saddle gives the warmest sound?

      Tomorrow I will maybe make a short video to show what kind of sound it got at this point.

  • How would you modify a guitar if you want warmer sound for the plain steel strings (E and B)? Is it possible to do this by taking away something from the bracing? Or are there string sets that just gives more warmth to the sound for these strings? I am afraid there is not much difference between sets when it comes to these strings as plain steel is plain steel.

    As a side note and not related to my question: I have experimented so much with my guitar and because of that I have loosened the strings many times over. Last Thursday the G string snapped so yesterday I bought some new string sets. I decided to try something else than the D'Addario EJ16 I have been using. I bought one set of Thomastik Plectrum and one of Martin Guitars Retro. I put on the Retro strings and it gave a lot more of volume and sustain, but also even more treble which it already got too much.

    • I am not able to edit the original post anymore, but I just wanted to correct one thing: now after several hours of playing guitar with the Retro strings it does not have the same strong treble as they had as when the strings were new. They sound more pleasant now. The strings are actually quite good.

      Still I wonder what I could do to get warmer sound from the plain steel strings?

  • What guage strings are you using? Heavier guage strings (11 or 12) will sound darker and Flat wound strings as apposed to round wound might help.

    • I am using D'Addario's phosphor-bronze light (12-53) strings.

  • Taff is right, sanding the bracing will not remedy low quality materials?

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