The Woodshed

What feedsback better, a wider guitar or a thicker guitar?

1

I'm wanting to incorporate more feedback in my live playing

Maybe thinking about picking up a new guitar

Can't decide between a 17" wide body

Or a 3 1/2 thick body

2

Mass/density of the body material would seem to me more important than design, but all things being equal, I suspect a broad thin surface would vibrate more readily than a thicker one.

3

Open F-holes with a less rigid top have been said to help creating feedback.

4

There’s feedback and there’s feedback - from uncontrollable squeal and howl and roar at strong resonant nodes created by your guitar’s construction, unrelated to whatever notes you’re playing (though a note might kick it off) to controllable feedback at the pitches you’re playing, or at least harmonically related to them.

There’s also stuck-pig squeal which comes from microphonic pickups.

I’ll assume you want mostly Door Number Two, and not much of either of the other two (but bear in mind that the types can overlap). But do you want roars and swooping demons from hell for noisy freakout interludes, or do you want sweet soulful guitar-face perpetual sustained notes during leads (or at the ends of chords) which make you look like a guitar god and slay the guitar nerds in your audience right in their seats (while only offending the ears of all the women)?

In (very) general, the hollower the guitar, the more airspace, and the less internal bracing and top-to-back coupling, the more of the first type of feedback you’ll get - ie, frequencies feeding back which have nothing to do with what you’re playing, and in fact which keep the guitar body vibrating in ways that impede the sustain of notes you DO want.

Coupling top and back with a small(ish) soundpost, generally under the bridge, is thought to be the first step in taming a bucking banshee - by at least encouraging the whole body to resonate together at a single frequency (or range) at any given time. At volume, and with a slew of physical techniques, it’s sometimes possible to both coax and control such a guitar’s feedback tendencies, and bend them to your will. Such a guitar can’t usually be encouraged to feed back at just any or every note you might want, but it will generally tend to feed back at particular notes (which may change with signal chain, your position, the room, and other environmental variables).

Thinning the body of the guitar and/or decreasing the surface area of soundholes (some guys plug them completely) further reduces tendency to wild uncontrollable feedback, and may increase the likelihood of finding and contolling “musical” feedback.

Another in the inventory of stiffening agents is heavier and/or more extensive bracing, both under the top and between top and back - so, in the Gretsch world, the so-called ML half-trestle bracing and the more rigidizing full trestles, which connect even more of the top and back together. It’s typically maintained that these braces reduce feedback - but such guitars, while more predictably tractable at higher volumes than their more lightly built or braced counterparts, can still produce coherent, harmonic feedback.

Then there’s semi-hollows, with a plank either completely or mostly down the center of the body, a la ES-335 and Gretsch’s centerblock series - which were specifically designed to quell unwanted feedback - but from which plenty of rockers have been able to milk juicy feedback at intentional pitches.

Which build might provide the kind and amount of feedback you’re looking for I can’t say. It’s very dependent on amplification, playing position, strings, gain, EQ, even the room and how much sweating human biomass is in it.

With the application of enough gain/dirt - and compression - even a physically inert guitar can feed back, often controllably and sometimes at will. With enough gain and compression - in a signal chain with a master volume knob at the end - even at humane volumes.

My solution for controlled on-demand feedback with any guitar, at any note (or harmonic thereof) is the Digitech FreqOut pedal. It delivers dial-able results, at any volume, which can be absolutely indistinguishable from actual painful maximum-lifetime-dosage feedback.

I guess that’s cheating. I don’t care. It’s magnitudes cheaper and easier than experimenting with combinations of guitars, amps, gear, rooms, and damping/coaxing techniques. It may also preserve relationships with sig others, housemates, neighbors, bandmates, club owners, audiences, and others within earshot who are not as enamoured as we are.

I know it’s not as aggressive and gloriously antisocial, but I’ve found other, quieter ways to make myself obnoxious.

5

My experience is the opposite of what you'd expect : more trouble with hard to control feedback with thinline guitars than with big fat hollowbodies at stage voloume. (talking about fully hollow laminated electric archtops)

6

There’s feedback and there’s feedback - from uncontrollable squeal and howl and roar at strong resonant nodes created by your guitar’s construction, unrelated to whatever notes you’re playing (though a note might kick it off) to controllable feedback at the pitches you’re playing, or at least harmonically related to them.

There’s also stuck-pig squeal which comes from microphonic pickups.

I’ll assume you want mostly Door Number Two, and not much of either of the other two (but bear in mind that the types can overlap). But do you want roars and swooping demons from hell for noisy freakout interludes, or do you want sweet soulful guitar-face perpetual sustained notes during leads (or at the ends of chords) which make you look like a guitar god and slay the guitar nerds in your audience right in their seats (while only offending the ears of all the women)?

In (very) general, the hollower the guitar, the more airspace, and the less internal bracing and top-to-back coupling, the more of the first type of feedback you’ll get - ie, frequencies feeding back which have nothing to do with what you’re playing, and in fact which keep the guitar body vibrating in ways that impede the sustain of notes you DO want.

Coupling top and back with a small(ish) soundpost, generally under the bridge, is thought to be the first step in taming a bucking banshee - by at least encouraging the whole body to resonate together at a single frequency (or range) at any given time. At volume, and with a slew of physical techniques, it’s sometimes possible to both coax and control such a guitar’s feedback tendencies, and bend them to your will. Such a guitar can’t usually be encouraged to feed back at just any or every note you might want, but it will generally tend to feed back at particular notes (which may change with signal chain, your position, the room, and other environmental variables).

Thinning the body of the guitar and/or decreasing the surface area of soundholes (some guys plug them completely) further reduces tendency to wild uncontrollable feedback, and may increase the likelihood of finding and contolling “musical” feedback.

Another in the inventory of stiffening agents is heavier and/or more extensive bracing, both under the top and between top and back - so, in the Gretsch world, the so-called ML half-trestle bracing and the more rigidizing full trestles, which connect even more of the top and back together. It’s typically maintained that these braces reduce feedback - but such guitars, while more predictably tractable at higher volumes than their more lightly built or braced counterparts, can still produce coherent, harmonic feedback.

Then there’s semi-hollows, with a plank either completely or mostly down the center of the body, a la ES-335 and Gretsch’s centerblock series - which were specifically designed to quell unwanted feedback - but from which plenty of rockers have been able to milk juicy feedback at intentional pitches.

Which build might provide the kind and amount of feedback you’re looking for I can’t say. It’s very dependent on amplification, playing position, strings, gain, EQ, even the room and how much sweating human biomass is in it.

With the application of enough gain/dirt - and compression - even a physically inert guitar can feed back, often controllably and sometimes at will. With enough gain and compression - in a signal chain with a master volume knob at the end - even at humane volumes.

My solution for controlled on-demand feedback with any guitar, at any note (or harmonic thereof) is the Digitech FreqOut pedal. It delivers dial-able results, at any volume, which can be absolutely indistinguishable from actual painful maximum-lifetime-dosage feedback.

I guess that’s cheating. I don’t care. It’s magnitudes cheaper and easier than experimenting with combinations of guitars, amps, gear, rooms, and damping/coaxing techniques. It may also preserve relationships with sig others, housemates, neighbors, bandmates, club owners, audiences, and others within earshot who are not as enamoured as we are.

I know it’s not as aggressive and gloriously antisocial, but I’ve found other, quieter ways to make myself obnoxious.

– Proteus

I'm definitely wanting to enter door number 2 lol

Those DigiTech FreqOut pedals do seem pretty cool!

Especially in terms of Psychobilly playing, I've been wanting to create more "holes" for the Upright Bass and Drums to come through Instead of constantly strumming all the time

7

@ WB < So you've seen more feedback from say a Casino style than a 6120?

8

+1 for the Digitech FreqOut pedal and any guitar.

9

@ WB < So you've seen more feedback from say a Casino style than a 6120?

– Doc Helliday

yes, but the annoying kind of feedback that's a lot harder ro predict and control!

10

The best guitar I own for generating usable controlled feedback is my 6118T-LTV125... Hands down.

It's neither ultra wide nor ultra deep. But something about the build, most likely related to the ML bracing, makes this guitar an absolute joy to play LOUD. I can pretty much induce body swells at will, and easily keep it under control when required. Whenever my band covers a WHO tune at a gig (and we do cover a handful), it's always my first choice for thundering power chords that ring and ring and gently swell to a rumbling howl.

11

the annoying kind of feedback that's a lot harder ro predict and control!

Metal-cover P90s are a horror in this connection, on any body type.

12

The best guitar I own for generating usable controlled feedback is my 6118T-LTV125... Hands down.

It's neither ultra wide nor ultra deep. But something about the build, most likely related to the ML bracing, makes this guitar an absolute joy to play LOUD. I can pretty much induce body swells at will, and easily keep it under control when required. Whenever my band covers a WHO tune at a gig (and we do cover a handful), it's always my first choice for thundering power chords that ring and ring and gently swell to a rumbling howl.

– Tartan Phantom

Oh no, I've been absent like a few years and there's a new top bracing now?

It's between a tone post and trestle right?

I'd also been thinking of playing with the amp really close to me to I get feedback But idk if that really did anything

Plus it's hard to get sound guys to move things from where they're acustomed

13

Yes, the ML bracing, which was introduced in 2008, has only been used on a handful of models. I do believe that most of the current Players Edition has this bracing. It's often described as "half trestle", since it incorporates a trestle against the top, but only uses two feet instead of the four found on full trestle bracing. This design makes the top response stiffer than a simple tone post, but still more responsive than a full trestle setup.

14

Yes, the ML bracing, which was introduced in 2008, has only been used on a handful of models. I do believe that most of the current Players Edition has this bracing. It's often described as "half trestle", since it incorporates a trestle against the top, but only uses two feet instead of the four found on full trestle bracing. This design makes the top response stiffer than a simple tone post, but still more responsive than a full trestle setup.

– Tartan Phantom

Interesting

Stiffer top But more responsive

My thinking was simple tone post would be most feedback prone

Both my Electros have just this simple bracing I think

15

the annoying kind of feedback that's a lot harder ro predict and control!

Metal-cover P90s are a horror in this connection, on any body type.

– Proteus

And yet, the Epiphone Casino with metal P-90 covers is one of the guitars most cherished by feedbackophiles.

16

And yet, the Epiphone Casino with metal P-90 covers is one of the guitars most cherished by feedbackophiles.

I totally get that from a construction standpoint, but they must do something to quell the harmonic vibration of the pickup covers.

17

And yet, the Epiphone Casino with metal P-90 covers is one of the guitars most cherished by feedbackophiles.

I totally get that from a construction standpoint, but they must do something to quell the harmonic vibration of the pickup covers.

– Proteus

I'm kidding, of course.

18

the annoying kind of feedback that's a lot harder ro predict and control!

Metal-cover P90s are a horror in this connection, on any body type.

– Proteus

Yes, absolutely, but that wasn't even what I was getting at. I have two friends who own Gibson 330's with plastic p90 covers, and both ended up putting soundposts in their guitars to stop them from howling.

and my Guild experience is the same - my big old deep X175 are very manageable, they'll feed back when I want them to but won't when I don't , but my (thinline) Starfire III can be a real PITA with body feedback.

19

TP, you think you're kidding.

But oncet upon a time I had an Aria FA-80, a credible "tribute" to a 6120, whose innards had been partially filled with just this stuff. The feller from whom I obtained it - a fine Chetpicker and operator of a local guitar emporium - had done the deed, and swore both up and down that the guitar had exactly the right amount of damping and resonance to provide exactly the voice he wanted it to have. I think he was looking for the mysterious Chet ideal, that midway point between open and compressed captured by the 6122-1959. (Centerblocks go a little too far.)

The Aria sounded OK, actually, with a nice rounded "note" and a semi-compressed sort of voice that bloomed just enough for fangerpackin' clarity.

I played it that way for a couple of years, then dug the stuff out and liberated the guitar's resonance.

20

I'm not surprised soundposts would tame the runaway 330s. Do the 175 and Starfire both have soundposts?

21

My '63 conversion that came with mid 70's Blacktop Filters produced really great and smooth feedback which I used as an atmospheric background on this tune, Glory.

I put it through a Tophat with a fairly dirty signal, but no pedals, and the volume up to where I could control the feedback with proximity.

22

My '63 conversion that came with mid 70's Blacktop Filters produced really great and smooth feedback which I used as an atmospheric background on this tune, Glory.

I put it through a Tophat with a fairly dirty signal, but no pedals, and the volume up to where I could control the feedback with proximity.

– crowbone

Sounds perfect!

Were you in the same room while tracking?

Always trips me out on behind the scenes recording videos

Where the cab is nowhere in sight And as soon as the dude rolls up the volume BOOM feedbacks immediate

23

Best feedback: '59 6122T
Secnd best: Mid-50's Jet.

Having the right amp is crucial though, and you must have a Bigsby or some kind of wanger to control the feedback.

24

I'm not surprised soundposts would tame the runaway 330s. Do the 175 and Starfire both have soundposts?

– Proteus

nope, no posts

25

Sounds perfect!

Were you in the same room while tracking?

Always trips me out on behind the scenes recording videos

Where the cab is nowhere in sight And as soon as the dude rolls up the volume BOOM feedbacks immediate

– Doc Helliday

I didn't have the amp wide open, and it took some playing with volume to get the timbre we wanted, but once we found the sound we were looking for, three tracks of me leaning down toward the speakers all the way through the track, then we could pull up the root and the sympathetic harmonics whenever we wanted.


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