Looking for clarification on bracing options.

Welcome to SCGC Players Forum Forums A General Discussion Looking for clarification on bracing options.

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • Author
    • #4971

      Looking at the custom options for an OM, I see Sitka Spruce bracing, Advanced-X Sitka Spruce bracing, Adirondack bracing with hot hide glue, or Advanced-X Adirondack bracing with hot hide glue.  I think that I have a handle on the glue, and I believe that the Adirondack is stiffer, and so can be thinner… I think.  Is there a resource where I can learn and understand the ramifications of the Advanced-X, as well as the other options that maybe I only think that I understand?  Thanks.

    • #4972
      Acoustic Soul

      Hi, I did a video on this and posted on the forum…. you can also go to youtube and search Carmelo Santini as the channel, I compared two guitars but it wasn’t the only difference.  One was adirondack/african blackwood with normal bracing with hide glue & adi…. the other guitar which was mine which was 5 years old was italian/cocobolo adirondack and hide glue but advanced x braced.

      My takeaway for my preferences is that the advanced X seems to pull the low lows to the low mids and the high highs to the upper mids or lower trebles… it kind of loses some of the mid punch and piano balance in favor of a warm throaty nature and different upper mid characteristic.  I would have to say that I needed more punch and mids because of it as well as more dry air and fundamental on the low end… so I would do advanced X with mahogany if I did it again or take it into consideration.  The african blackwood without advanced X was much more level all the way through but didn’t have that character of the other one in some cases…. Good luck

    • #4973

      I think most of the old SCs were built with basic Sitka bracing and aliphatic glue, and they tend to have a warm and balanced tone. But many players are looking for more separation, or a different EQ, and modifications to the bracing, either the placement, the materials, the glue, or the actual shaping of the braces, all have an effect on the response and EQ.
      Now, I can’t specifically say what effect each of those individual pieces has because I don’t think its a series of binary choices, but  in my opinion, the advanced X bracing gives a bit more mid scoop, or more prominent bass / highs. The hide glue dries a bit harder, giving a bit more edge to the voice, and adirondack as brace stock offers much of the same as you might expect when chosen for a top –

      But for me, a little understanding is perhaps more dangerous than none, and if you are reviewing all this with the idea of ordering a custom Santa Cruz, I’d highly suggest letting Carolyn or Richards expertise help guide your choices, as there are so many other aspects to the build that affect the final voice, and they really know how to put it all together. And it’s the funnest part of the whole process – at least, until you actually get your guitar –

      But – if you want us to “critique” the whole package – give us the details!

      Lots o’ SCGC guitars! But never ask which is my fav

    • #4975
      Acoustic Soul

      I concur with the mid scoop… on my guitar, somehow the lowest of the lows and highest of the highs (and I don’t mean the air and extremes just the fundamental and chime) seemed to give way to low mids and upper/mids low treble.  I wouldn’t think this was because cocobolo but maybe it doesn’t have as much depth and definition or chime as other woods and that’s why my guitar did not have that and ended up having two nodes in the EQ.  I don’t know what to call them because usually with EQ a node is a bad thing.

      Of everyone I’ve asked, nearly everyone said either that the adirondack braces and hide glue was the most important upgrade or they had just never had any experience comparing.  I’ve never really had a side by side, but I had an H13 that was sitka/ EIR , and I always felt like it was a little blended (but enchanting), indirect, and just kind of dulled or missing something.  Perhaps that is the edge or directness that those bracing options help with.

    • #4977
      John Frink

      I have a recent OM (Adi/Mah/Adi braces/HG/standard) and an OM/PW (Adi/EIR/Adi braces/HG/advanced), and the tonal differences (always remembering the potential voicing differences between any two guitars) seem to match what folks here have been saying – quick/edgy/bright vs. warm/smooth/mellow. Some of that difference is probably from the Mahogany vs. EIR of course, plus the fact that each guitar was voiced by a different luthier at SCGC. I love them both.


      There’s an interesting comparison that was recorded in 2018 by Guitar Gallery (Johannesburg, SA) between an SCGC OM and OM/PW, both with EIR back and sides –



      Hope this helps.


      SCGC OM
      SCGC OM/PW
      Collings OM1T
      Goodall TROM
      RainSong CH-OM-N2

    • #4979

      Welcome John,

      Great video, thanks for being a part

    • #4980
      Acoustic Soul

      Wow, that’s a great share!

      I know with my OM Grand Advanced X braced… it was a delight finger style but I preferred the other one MOST of the time for strumming.

      I think that video demonstrates you have to try to play one for yourself and if you can utilize both if necessary for your musical needs.  Amazing the difference they make.


      I think it’s interesting to note that I would disagree with Santa Cruz saying it makes it more bassy in a sense if they said that.  Overall the EQ is more bass-y yes and the top end is wetter to me, but I find that the most fundamental low end disappears into the low mids with the advanced X also, so if you’re looking for the depth and not just bassy feels it would be the opposite.  It’s good to ask a wide variety of people that have a lot of experience with them so you can gather their expenses.  I’ve played about 15-20 santa cruz guitars and owned two.  I like both bracings and it takes a long time to figure out how every piece effects the sound, but for me I like non advanced more of the time and tapered even more than that.  They’ve done some interesting hybrid bracing also.  Thank you for sharing that video, it is excellent and validated to my ears my thoughts.  There’s something warm and happy about the advanced x and it would sound great if you were playing with someone on bass with you… especially if the tone wood were to be a bit punchier, drier, more air, and brighter like mahogany I think.  I don’t see too many people using advanced x with mahogany though, so maybe there is a downside when you do that that I’m not aware of

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.