What makes a Woolson Soundcraft guitar different than any other guitar you can own? The sound. Each guitar has a signature sound that is very evenly balanced with large bass, heavy mid-tones and crisp, clean highs. Woolson Soundcraft guitars are full of a signature tone that players crave.
These guitars maintain this consistent tone from model to model, and player to player. However, during the construction process certain elements can be adjusted to allow the guitar's tone to be shaded to the owner's preference. Sustain can be added (or removed), bass can be accentuated (or diminished), clarity and intimacy can be added, or you might want a guitar that is pure power. While each guitar is different, you will find a common similarity in tone with each Woolson Soundcraft guitar. Much of this can be attributed to an intense focus on every detail of the construction process, and a few modern techniques and innovations I incorporate into the building process.
Look deep inside a Woolson Soundcraft guitar and you'll notice a unique bracing pattern. I call this "spider bracing" and, although it looks quite interesting, it serves a specific purpose. In many standard ladder-braced guitars, the back is more inclined to "bounce" with the sound waves. This movement can result in lost energy, volume and tone. The spider-braced back is much more rigid and allows the true voice of the guitar to shine through.
Woolson Soundcraft guitar have integrated variations to the scalloped X-bracing that is prevalent on most of today's high-end guitars. These include a reinforced center seam to reduce the glue joint that joins the soundboard, and an octagonal sound hole patch that supports this area and makes it less likely for cracks to develop.
A modified "X" brace on all current Woolson Soundcraft tops. It is a superior bracing pattern and it is primarily responsible for delivering the Woolson Soundcraft sound.
However, the most significant feature used in Woolson Soundcraft top bracing is that the braces are not tucked into the linings. Tucked braces severely restrict the motion of the top and drastically reduce its ability to vibrate. Therefore, Woolson Soundcraft guitars have feathered braces at the edge of the linings which gives a much more vibrant "alive" quality to the tone.
Woolson Soundcraft guitars have incorporated an element from the Spanish heel of classical guitars to support the tenon of the neck and counteract the forces on the top from the neck.
An upper and lower foot is added to the neck block which transfers the forces of the neck into the back of the guitar, rather than just riding on the tenon. This helps to relieve pressure from neck/fretboard. Fifteen years down the road, you won't have a sagging area above the sound hole on these guitars.
Most people don't spend a lot of time thinking about linings and their importance to the structural integrity of a guitar. However, the linings are a critical support element in the sound box, and an exceptional amount of attention goes into this detail.
The linings on Woolson Soundcraft guitars are capped – a technique developed by Charles Fox – that provides rock-solid support to the rim assembly. They are light and strong and will provide a great foundation for the soundboards with very little energy consumption.
Compound Fingerboard & Saddle
The strings on these guitars maintain an even conical shape for player comfort, consistent action, and improved intonation. This involves using a compound radius of 12" at the nut, 16" at the 12th fret, and 20" at the saddle. This improves the overall comfort and playability considerably.
While a customer's preference of neck profile is an option on all of my guitars, the "standard" is to incorporate a low-profile, "C" shaped neck. This neck profile is very pleasing and comfortable to most players and contributes to the overall playability of the instruments. While this is a very fast, comfortable neck for most players, it's not for everyone. For those players that don't fit into the "C" shaped mold, a custom shaped neck is made at no additional charge.
Most saddles sit vertically in their slot. The constant pull of the strings creates a horizontal force on the saddle that often leads to problems. Re-gluing bridges is a common repair on most guitars due to this constant "shear" force.
Woolson Soundcraft guitars have a saddle that is angled backward slightly (8° to be precise) to absorb some of this force and use it to provide a constant downward pressure on the saddle in the slot. This removes some of the tendency for the saddle to lean forward and create undue stress on the bridge soundboard joint.
Additionally, where most bridges are designed with uniform pin placement, these guitars place the pins equidistant to the saddle. This provides a uniform break angle between the strings and the saddle and provides a more even, consistent tone and sustain across each string. Placing the pins in this manner greatly reduces the risk of bridge cracks that often occur when all of the pins are drilled through the same grain line.
These are just a few of the items I incorporate into each Woolson Soundcraft guitar to give it my signature sound and to provide a guitar you will be proud to own for generations.
If you would like to discuss any element of my guitar-building process if you are interested in learning more. Simply contact me. I am sure I can help you create the guitar of your dreams.
- 2010 Paul Woolson. Member of the Guild of American Lutherie and the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans