See the kerfing so proud? Try to ignore the dye puddling, too.
This is a post full of conjecture. I’m pretty certain that the kerfing that was installed on the bass guitar kit was installed in ‘creative’ ways. There is no consistency in how proud it is from the rims of the guitar body. Since I don’t want to chisel out the kerfing and re-install it [OK, I do, but that costs more money], I’m going to have to plane, sand or carve out the bits that are a bit excessively proud. We don’t need a bass with an ego [rimshot!]. What I understand from all of my reading, video watching, and general preparation is that when you install the kerfing you’re supposed to pre-bend it and then keep it carefully lined up as you’re putting the clamps/clothespins on the kerfing. Since the kerfing is put in as a whole strip, but clamped on 3/8″ by 3/8″ it should be easy to visually gauge if you’re missing the height you’re after. Kerfing wood is flexible, but it’s also still wood and now I have to try to adjust end grain – and that’s just not pretty because it’s more prone to chip and break.
The moral of the story: Do a job of installing your kerfing that you’d be proud of, but don’t make your kerfing proud.
bracing on the old, cracked spruce top
Since my kit’s guitar top died the death of a thousand dry climates I have to re-create the top piece (I’ve already mentioned that, I know). But as I was studying up on the bracing I kept running into the arc that is on the bottom of the X-brace. I kept wondering, “But do I need a radiased dish to place the top into?” And the answer? No. The reason is this: the bracing material is flexible and as the luthier shapes the pieces to the brace template the slight curve will be small enough [12' to 30' radius] that the go bar deck [which is another topic for discussion] will press the flexible braces down to the flat top and when the go-bars are removed the slight curvature of the braces will be picked up by the whole top. This creates tension for resonance as well as creating a shape that (as I understand it) will direct the sound internal to the acoustic guitar through the sound hole.
Bracing is amazing to me from an engineering perspective. My dad was a civil engineer (now a pastor, the past tense is not to indicate his passing) and so I grew up with some moderate exposure to things like structural engineering and since we lived in Nevada and California earthquakes were part of that discussion. The whole point of bracing is to keep the wood in tact as it handles the abuses thrown at the guitar body parts. This isn’t a surprise, but it’s important to recognize it’s job is to handle vibration and keep it down. Except that the top and back make more awesome sounds when the (right) vibration is up! So, bracing is rather interesting because the patterns that are out there help structurally, but do impact tone and resonance. I’m not an expert on bracing yet, but I do hope to become one.