The Double top guitar
Generally the Double top guitar is constructed for maximum volume. In my opinion projection, separation of notes is even more important. I aim for the traditional warm sound with a wooden feeling. It should respond to the lightest touch and on the other hand, bring extremely broad spectrum of colors when you need the dynamics.
My development of the Double top guitar
Explaining what properties a double top guitar actually has, is a rather subjective description on my part, since I have not started from a specific starting point or compared myself with other builders. Early in my career, I experimented a lot, maybe too much, but that opened my eyes to technical solutions that suited me on many levels. I also strived for a sound that I personally liked.
What I appreciate about this construction is the supreme result in separation and a fantastic singing treble over the 12th fret which the traditional guitar cannot achieve. With the double top technology, generally you get more volume, so it´s very important that the balance is under control, otherwise you risk to get uneven notes or wolf notes. The dynamics are undoubtedly better compared to the traditional guitar. One way to test this is to play excessively strong to test the ”ceiling” for dynamics. With a double top, it is quite difficult to reach that ceiling.
How the Double top is constructed
There are many ways how the double top can be constructed, but it is the core which is the main issue. You can use Nomex – a honeycomb material, or balsa or other materials which can decrease the weight of the top.
You might think there are two layers, but there are actually three layers. The core between the upper and lower layers, in my case is Nomex, that is very strong in all directions. The outer top that dominates and gives the tone character is either in spruce or cedar.
I build almost exclusively in cedar, but I will probably consider building in spruce as well. The case of the inner top is almost the same. Very often I use spruce. Both of these tops are extremely thin, like a credit card or thinner. These layers are vacuum glued in different steps. After that, I use fan bracing which characterizes my type of construction and also gives the sound I strive for.
I use a core of 1,5 mm Nomex (honeycomb) between two thin layers of cedar. Somtimes I use spruce on the inside. The top is lighter than a normal top but has almost the same stiffness in all directions. This is one of the key factors to control the dynamics.