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An acoustic guitar, for example, generally has a top made of Spruce with Spruce bracing to help it withstand the tension of the strings. There is usually a Maple bridge plate under the bridge and that keeps the ball ends of the strings from pulling through the softer Spruce top.
But it sounds like you're going to have a different configuration with pins at each end. What are you building? We do like photos!
Hi David. Will do!
I can't provide exact pictures because it's a new design. Basically, I want to make an electric version of an acoustic pedal clavichord, visible here
(the thing on the ground). Being acoustic, that instrument has a soundboard, but I'm thinking more along the lines of an electric guitar, i.e. a solid block of wood with no soundboard, using magnetic pickups to amplify.
I plan on having a total of 54 strings in 27 courses. I'd like the lowest note to be quite low, so that means I'll need sufficient length. I don't know the tension on the strings, in fact I was hoping to work backwards, that is, once I understand how much tension a given piece of wood can withstand, I can then figure out what sort of string tensions I can safely use.
Make a one string test board using the materials that you would ultimately be using. Attach the string to the tuning pegs, using rosin to prevent them from untwisting. Attach a fish weighing scale in the center and see what happens if you "max out" the tension .... maybe nothing.
Then depending on the number of strings, calculate the total tension on the neck. You can do another test using a similar neck piece or one using downward pressure with support at the ends. Test to failure.
If you are satisfied it won't fail under actual use, go for it!
Hello. This is kind of what I was thinking. But then I get a bit fuzzy on how things would scale from one string. Like, if I deduce that a 1" wide piece of a given wood at a given thickness breaks at 10 lbs of tension, does that mean a 10" wide piece breaks at 100 lbs? And what about the location of the pins? Is this scaling only accurate if the 10 tuning pins are spaced evenly apart, an inch apart?