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Arch-tops: Curing Feedback

5/18/2000 11:47 PM
Arch-tops: Curing Feedback
I've been listening to a lot of west coast, jump-blues latley. I'm hearing arch-top players like Rick Holmstrom, Junior Watson, and Charlie Baty getting a lot of break-up out of their amps with no feedback. What's the trick? My ES-175 howls through my tweed Deluxe.
5/19/2000 4:38 AM
Mark Hammer
How far back from the amp do they stand, compared to you? How are their amps positioned, compared to yours? Do they have clever soundmen who know how to dial in a 1/3 octave EQ or parametric? Do they stuff their axes (like many do) with sound deadening stuff (socks in some cases). Have they had posts installed to prevent the top and back from resonating too much? Or maybe they have a keenly developed knack for using the butt of their hands and damping strings when not in use that's too damn fluid to see or hear.  
Though I wouldn't expect it, any remote chance your pickups are microphonic?
5/19/2000 12:06 PM

The pickups aren't microphonic. I've thought about stuffing the body cavity, but I'm afraid it'll kill the acoustic qualities. I guess I should just try it. Actually, installing posts sounds like the best idea so far. One thing that has really helped so far is simply getting the amp up off the floor. In the meantime, I've emailed some of the aforementioned players with my question. If I get any response, I'll post their replies.
5/20/2000 12:31 AM
Joe Movich

Years ago when I was in college I played in the Jazz band with an arch-top guitar. Sometimes pretty loud too. I always sat (or stood) with my amp on a chair to my left so the sound wasn't aimed at the body of the guitar. Being directly in front of the amp would cause almost uncontrollable feedback. I used to see other guitar players put tape over the 'F' holes to seal them but I think the guitar sounds a little stuffy that way. My teacher at that time had posts installed on his Gibson arch-top and it was amazing how loud he could play it without any feedback.  
5/22/2000 2:55 PM

I've found that installing a cap inline with the hot lead as a high pass filter helps. The feedback usually occurs at the lower frequencies and around a .oo3 to .01 mf cap will do the trick. I can also say that filling your guitar with gap-filling polyurethane foam works like a charm! You may not want to do this to a gibson, but a poorly refinished harmony jazz box is another story. **ALSO** Remember that not all hollow guitars are constructed like Gibsons. Some of the Kays, Harmony's and most Gretsch's are built more solid and will take more volume before feedback.
5/22/2000 10:52 PM
Hey all.  
Back in High school (79) I had a old Guild and really liked the neck and sound , but kept feeding back so I stuffed it with that fiber stuffing from a pillow. That did the trick but muffled the acustic sound when not plugged in to an amp.I was going for that George Thurogood (sp ??)thing. Just my 2bits...  
5/25/2000 8:56 PM
I have a Harmony Rocket and when I turn my amp up it starts to feedback like crazy, unless I stand with the body of the guitar at a 90 degree angle to the amp. I still can't really crank the amp, but standing that way sure helps to keep the feedback down to a manageable level. I might also mention that I like to play blues type licks, so a little feedback isn't always a bad thing.  

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