Brian Lemin July 2009. Introduction. By know you guys will know that I like to write my ideas down in “article form”. It helps me work through ideas, but more than that I see it as a starter for others to take anything they think might be of value to them and run with it. I have particular interest in developments that might improve the acoustic sound of the CBG as the very nature that gives birth to it makes it a handicapped instrument from an acoustic viewpoint. As I have said before, it has a small body, thickish sound board, often a neck glued to it and a myriad of other handicaps. The Double Back. In a previous article I talked about transferring some Appalachian Dulcimer design features to the CBG. I mentioned that in the past I had experimented with “arched necks”, as well as low platform necks of the type that are glued to the top of the lid. True these experiments were on dulcimers, but well worth trying on CBGs. Whilst looking for illustrations for that article I happened upon a dulcimer that not only had an arched bridge but also a double back to the sound box. Dulcimers are invariably played on the player’s knee or table, and when you think of it this has a very real cushioning effect of the vibrations of the bottom of the sound box. In fact it pretty well deadens any vibrations it might wish to create, though it still acts as a reflecting surface. Many CBGs are also played on the players’ knee and thus it is reasonable to think that the sound box would behave in a similar manner to the dulcimer. It is possible too, that traditionally held CB Guitars could also have their sound box deadened if it was to be placed against the player’s body. As mentioned in the introduction, one of the CBGs acoustic handicaps is that it is small; but at least the Dulcimer has a very large sound box. Anything that might stunt the production of sound in the CBG body is bound to have a greater effect because of its small size. I would suggest that a double bottom (false bottom, second back, whatever) would protect the original bottom of the body and allow it to vibrate as fully as it possibly can, instead of a stunted vibration due to being pressed upon. Before I come to my obvious conclusion I should mention that there are in existence small historical keyboard instruments that have a double sound box installed in them. It comprises two sound boards that make up a shallow (say 2 inches) chamber. I believe it was a development that tried to increase its sound production.

It looks as if the second back on this dulcimer is fixed by small blocks on the edges except for the top and bottom blocks which go the full width. This also shows the arched neck that was the subject of a previous article. I mentioned in the previous article that my arches had much longer spans.

Conclusion. There is every reason to believe that a double back to a CBG will improve its sound production by enabling the original bottom of the sound box to vibrate unencumbered. If this is the aim then the second or protecting structure should only be attached on two of the possible four sides and then only at the very edges of the box. Should anyone wish to experiment with the idea that a second, albeit shallow, sound box be added, then this construction could be glued to the CB edges all the way around, leaving a small sealed chamber.

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