PDA

View Full Version : Kasha vs ladder bracing



Ukulelerick9255
09-05-2014, 09:35 AM
Anyone played or heard a uke with Kasha bracing? I would love to know if it makes a big difference. I currently have a tenor being made with kasha bracing, african blackwood back and sides and sinker redwood top.

Rick Turner
09-05-2014, 09:55 AM
I never heard Kasha bracing in a guitar or uke that I thought made the kind of difference promised. I think it's a wonderful case of over-intellectualizing how the instruments actually work and then not paying attention to the Chladni patterns revealed by glitter or laser holography that reveal the vibrational modes at different frequencies. How Kasha thought guitar soundboards should work isn't how they actually work.

Most of the luthier-built Kasha style instruments I've heard and played were very well made and sounded decent enough, but the builders probably could have done "X" bracing or fan bracing and achieved equally good results.

Kasha's claims for what would have been vastly louder instruments with great balance just have not proven to be real. The evidence is in the steel string and nylon string guitar worlds where players have been rather underwhelmed by the results. In the classical world, features like double tops and lattice bracing have gained the acceptance that Kasha bracing, for all it's intellectual attractiveness, has just not achieved. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as it is said.

ThomD
02-01-2015, 09:43 PM
I never heard Kasha bracing in a guitar or uke that I thought made the kind of difference promised. I think it's a wonderful case of over-intellectualizing how the instruments actually work and then not paying attention to the Chladni patterns revealed by glitter or laser holography that reveal the vibrational modes at different frequencies. How Kasha thought guitar soundboards should work isn't how they actually work.

Most of the luthier-built Kasha style instruments I've heard and played were very well made and sounded decent enough, but the builders probably could have done "X" bracing or fan bracing and achieved equally good results.

Kasha's claims for what would have been vastly louder instruments with great balance just have not proven to be real. The evidence is in the steel string and nylon string guitar worlds where players have been rather underwhelmed by the results. In the classical world, features like double tops and lattice bracing have gained the acceptance that Kasha bracing, for all it's intellectual attractiveness, has just not achieved. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as it is said.

Rick, of course, has it right. Just a few minor points:

1) Kasha's patent dates back to 1966. I wouldn't want late arrivals to get the sense that back then every luthier had a generator, glitter, and a full understanding of acoustics. In fact we may not have that understanding today, and as recently as a few years ago I read a 200 dollar book that didn't really get to the nub of the mater either. In the reality of not having the science, generating theories about what might be worth investigating is a normal part of the scientific method, that Kasha was certainly familiar with.

2) While fan and X bracing can achieve similar results, probably better results, it is mostly because of tradition, not because of superior science. The X brace is an obvious kluge, but it turned out to be a good answer, yet there have been many bad versions of it, even in the hands of masters like Martin. To the extent that there was a whole industry around modifying them, and a whole raft of variants spun off. But these all pass without comment. Kasha set itself forth, apparently insistently (read tactlessly), as being scientific, and therefore it is held to a standard that no other system is.

3) Few guitarists have really tried Kasha guitars some who have, do have good things to say about them, but certainly tremendous increases in volume do not see to be part of it. Substantial increases in volume are required before humans even notice, and it should have been obvious that the energy was not in the string to allow those results.

4) Just my opinion, but it is hard enough to hold Kasha guitars together under classical strings the whole thing is mystifying in the steel realm, where guitars like Rcks can sound acoustic at any volume the human ear can tolerate. Exactly what one needs a slightly louder guitar for is anyone's guess. Of course Steve Klein's family knew Kasha, and the rest is history. Dead end wise.

5) Some of the breakthroughs mentioned do not exclude Kasha guitars. I see no reason why Kasha wouldn't work with double tops. Schneider was a great experimenter with a wide range of wood technologies and was well ahead of his time. I don't know who first used vacuum tech with guitars, but he was an early adopter at least: frets, bridges, and soundboards all got the vac from him. And he used core composites in bridges, and carbon fiber. He had a canny eye for epoxy bogs. Had he lived, I can't imagine he would not have adapted double tops if he had wanted to. Double tops are for the most case just a material change, not much to see.

6) The Kasha enterprise, maybe mostly Schneider, was innovative in restyling the guitar. Changes in soundholes, bridges, W's trap door, ornamentation, the face of the instrument, and so on. There is a whole chapter there. There were many others also, but they helped push forward against the headwinds, and some of that has become commonplace.

7) There are a lot of Kasha ukulees out there, in plans and production. People seem to like them, and in the tradition of makers throughout time, they are finding a way to make them work. But few of them are really kasha in their form. So to some extent none of this sticks. If they sound and look good, the whole back story is irrelevant.

Jon Moody
02-02-2015, 02:14 AM
My friend makes his ukuleles based on Kasha bracing. I've played them a number of times, and in terms of volume, I wouldn't say they're louder, but have a different timbre to them than standard. Then again, he's an amazing luthier so I'm not sure how much is attributed to the bracing and how much is just his skill and attention to detail. I will say, however, it's the first ukulele I've played in low G tuning where the G isn't overpowering the instrument; it sounds perfectly even.

spookelele
02-02-2015, 04:20 AM
So.. kasha is radial bracing?

So.. I can kinda see how it might distribute vibration, but I don't see how it strengthens the soundboard against the string tension. It seems that it puts the focus of the tension from the bridge, at the moment of the lever arms in the bracing, which seems to me would put crazy stress under the bridge contact.

If you use kasha bracing does the top need to be thicknessed... thicker?