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DOUBLE-TOP GUITARS

The best Double-Top Guitars at Siccas Guitars

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The origin and development of the double top guitar

Strictly speaking, the term “double top construction” is not entirely correct, but it has become established in the trade jargon. The term “sandwich” or “composite” would be more appropriate for this construction method, in which the guitar top or other components of the guitar are laminated from several layers.

The best-known method is the laminate developed by Matthias Dammann and Gernot Wagner in the 1990s of the 20th century of two very thin layers of wood with a middle layer of aramid honeycomb fabric (“Nomex”).

The outer layer of guitars is usually made of European spruce or Canadian red cedar, and the middle layer of aramid honeycomb fabric. This construction method aims to reduce the top weight while maintaining the same stiffness, and thus above all, to optimize the response of the instrument, its carrying capacity, and its dynamic breadth. The instrument’s sound duration, balance, and sound aesthetics also differ from guitars with traditional, “solid” tonewood tops.

The volume of double top guitars

A weight advantage of up to 25% can be achieved with this construction method compared to a solid top. This advantage is one reason for the improved volume of double top guitars, but not exclusive. Laminated sides, for example, increase the volume even more. The sides are no longer traditionally bent over the bending iron. Several thin layers of precious wood veneer are form-glued together with the help of a jig. This creates a very stiff construction and supports the double top optimally. The result is strong, forward sound development.

Some double-top guitars are not louder than a traditionally built guitar. The reason for this is a too heavy construction of the top. If the double top is heavier than a solid top, the advantage is gone.

Response and “echo effect” of double top guitars

But the lighter weight does not only improve the volume. It makes the guitar more comfortable to play and also improves the response. The guitar reacts more directly and agilely to the player’s touch, especially in the change from nail strike to more “meat.” The lightweight of the double top also generates more high harmonics, especially near the bridge. This gives my guitars a very nice “echo effect” that makes the sound very full.

The tone of double top guitars

The disadvantage of many double top guitars is the limited timbre. These guitars react very badly with color differences (dark/bright) to the different touch areas between the soundhole and bridge. To reduce these disadvantages, double tops are specially designed to make certain top zones more flexible. Some of our customers are amazed at the variety of sound colors. They would not have guessed they were playing a double top guitar if they had not known.

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