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?

Views: 242

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Engblom, well I don't wish to burst your bubble, but without seeing and hearing the guitar, your question is a bit like asking 'how long is a piece of string", if you get my drift. Too many variables contribute to creating tone. The choice of materials is a major consideration. How well they are put together is another.

In my experience sanding braces only has a minimal effect on changing tone. Carving or shaving is normally the method used, and of course, knowing where to do it, and why.

Cheap guitars, and more so super cheap guitars, are overbuilt for a reason, so they don't fly apart too early in their life.

But no harm in experimenting, let us know the outcome.
Good luck Taff

Don't for get HTML to comment...

Thank you for your comment. By sanding, I mean sanding away a lot at certain places, achieving what a carving or shaving would do, but more controlled as I would need to do it in the blind. I did not mean to just smooth the surface.

My guitar is lacking reverb, especially for lower frequencies. The sound is quite harsh and metallic with a lot of treble and no warmth.

Hi, yes that's what I understood you to mean.

Here is a guide that may give you a better understanding of features that are considered when thinking of tone.

Remove 20% off the height = 50% less strength. Cross braces are structural.
Taller braces more treble
Stiffer braces more treble
Thicker timber more treble
Smaller body more treble
Larger soundhole = more treble.

Hope this helps.
HTML Editor to comment...

I have done a bit of sanding. While I did not remove very much material, the improvement is noticeable.

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

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.

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?

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.

HTML for comments


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.


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building Basics

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Look what I picked up

Started by John B Treutlein in Performances, How to Play, Lessons, Concerts. Last reply by John B Treutlein yesterday. 9 Replies

Guitar string frets?

Started by Jeff Shewmake in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Jeff Shewmake on Friday. 5 Replies

Build this Wooden Kick Drum Pedal

Started by Rose Ericson in Feature Articles. Last reply by Rose Ericson Apr 15. 44 Replies

Guitar Pick-ups

Started by Benny - W5TYZ in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Benny - W5TYZ Apr 7. 7 Replies

Handy adhesive

Started by John B Treutlein in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by John B Treutlein Mar 31. 12 Replies

Latest Activity

Doug Thorsvik commented on Poorness Studios's video

More About My Makeshift Monochord (DIY 12-string Instrument)

"Interesting, very interesting Kale! I’m waiting to see how you incorporate it into a song.…"
26 minutes ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on A.D.EKER's photo


"Lookin’ good A.D.!"
36 minutes ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on A.D.EKER's photo

Home made new Bridge

"Interesting design!"
38 minutes ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Kevin Perlic's photo

The Plumber Strummer

"Wow!!! Way cooler than a plain old shovel Kevin!"
40 minutes ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Ghostbuttons's photo

Better the second time

"I hear you Warren! Fretboard is a great edition to a very cool build. I want to se you play this…"
42 minutes ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Ghostbuttons's photo

This is a Mickey Mouse operation

"That is fun Warren! Oh Boy!"
44 minutes ago
Doug Thorsvik commented on Doug Thorsvik's video

500 Miles: 2-String 3D Printed Saw Blade Guitar

"Thanks for noticing A.D.! The flourocarbon fishing line strings seem to be more musical and have…"
1 hour ago
Fabian Blanco commented on Gary O'slide's video
3 hours ago
Taffy Evans commented on Taffy Evans's video

Old Build Solid Body. Stormy Monday

"Hi everyone, thanks for the kind comments. For those interested in the guitar I've posted…"
3 hours ago
Taffy Evans posted a discussion

Evans solid body guitar.

Hi, The guitar that was played over in the video section is this one. Just to give those interested…See More
3 hours ago
Fabian Blanco commented on Gary O'slide's video
4 hours ago
Fabian Blanco liked Gary O'slide's video
4 hours ago


© 2023   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->