Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baffling Baffles

I believe I've built over 200 of my Aussie model over the years, and as a box resonator instrument covering three and a half octaves, it took alot of experimenting with the box dimensions to get a fairly consistent presence of sound across the entire range. Finally I stumbled upon the sizings that seem to produce a good strong sound for every note. But there are many variables at play in musical instruments and I introduced a new one with a recent batch of 3 Aussies, incorporating 1/4" plywood for the sides instead of the customary 3/8". Makes for a lighter instrument to tote around a classroom, and with that thinner ply vibrating as it does, these new Aussies might just be a tad louder than the thicker-walled variety. The middle range is especially strong.

Building all three boxes with the same dimensions and materials and bar wood, you might expect them to all sound the same. Hah! Aussie #3, it turns out, has a decidedly weaker sounding Low C, something I dont like to have in an instrument where the key of C is king. So I switched out the low c bar from one model to the next. Same result, Aussie #3 is definitely weaker on that important root tone.

So I did what any dissatisfied Aussie builder can do, which is to measure out the inside dimensions at around the low G note and fashion a baffle that can be inserted to produce an entirely different vibrational profile. Low and behold, the Aussie #3 Low C comes through loud and clear now, and sounds on par with her sister instruments. Hmmm.... baffling.......

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