flatter or more arched top

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by kurt muroki, May 16, 2004.

  1. Hi y'all, just had a question that i've been curious about... what differences does the arching in a top make in the sound and playability of an instrument? Also, if someone could say if re-forming a top is bad for a bass? I have a bass that had a bulge down where the tail piece is, and the luthier i took the bass to said that it should be re-formed. The work was done a while ago. I'm curious...is this ok?


    Kurt Muroki
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Arching makes a big difference. It is thought that flatter tops create a deeper sound and more highly arched tops a sweeter sound. However, I've seen and heard so many exceptions to this "rule" that I don't really think it applies to basses so well. This may sound like voodoo, but I think the important thing is to match the arching to the type of wood being used and also to the style of playing the instrument is intended for. A softer top wood should probably have a higher arch and be carved a bit thicker than a stronger, harder wood. A solo or jazz bass should probably have a higher arch than an orchestral bass. But these are just my personal generalizations...I've heard lots of good orchestra basses with a high arch, and the opposite as well. As important as the height of the arching is the arching scheme--where and how much it slopes. The maker can tailor somewhat the sound he's after by assigning strength to certain areas with the arching as well as the thicknessing (graduation).
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
  4. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Welcome to talkbass!

  5. [Quote from Nicklloyd] You don't need sophisticated equipment to measure/observe wood flexibility, density, and resonance. It's been going on for 300 years. However, spell check is a wonderful new invention; maybe you should try it.

    Funny! That is a good one. Must have been late when I posted that one. It kind of sounds like you are trying to put me in my place though. :confused:
  6. No, that's just Nick's sense of humor. If he were trying to put you in your place (as you put it), you would know it.
  7. Okay, thanks Bob. It seems I misinterpreted the original question anyway. So I deleted my response.
  8. thanks for everyone's comments! Arnold, your reply makes complete sense to me and makes me realize more things about my bass. Also thanks to everyone!