Fan-braced Design

Torres style 7 and 5 fan systems in models 10 and 08

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Asymmetric 6 fan system employing bridge-pad.

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Asymmetric 6 fan with under bridge strut and no end bars.

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6 fan asymmetric system. Struts laid out prior to construction

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Guitar fan-bracing originated in Spain and came to fruition in the work of Antonio de Torres in the latter half of the 19th century - his way of bracing and doming the front, his plantillas or body shapes and bridge design became a standard for generations of luthiers to follow. His style of making was made famous by great players like Franscisco Tarrega and Miguel Llobet. If you want to build a traditional fan-braced spanish guitar, Torres is the reference point.

The majority of my guitars have been built with fan-bracing of one kind or another supporting the top. I currently employ 6 fan struts (no centre strut), an under-bridge strut on the bass side with an end-bar on the treble side for classical guitars. I decided to try the bass half bridge strut after experimenting with a full width bridge strut instead of end bars and noting that it had a beneficial effect on bass control. I've found that using some asymmetry in the fan bracing system, of whatever type, improves evenness of response and balance. Keeping the under-bridge strut on the bass side helps bass control and definition, while I prefer the sound of the treble using the traditional end "V" strut on that side, the two together happily bringing about the desired asymmetrical layout. One can also build very nice guitars with a symmetrical pattern too - the asymmetry can be created by varying the thickness, weight/strength of the fan struts instead. With sufficient experience and sensitivity to the materials in your hands, all kinds of variations in the pattern can be made to work well.

The photos show some of the fan-braced designs that I've used successfully over the years.