What is the "Tap Tone Test"?

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Forum topic by Dallas posted 02-05-2014 11:28 PM 922 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2689 days

02-05-2014 11:28 PM

I have a bunch of Walnut and Maple and Cherry and Osage Orange.

How do I figure out the sound of a piece to make an electric guitar from or maybe even a semi-hollow body guitar?

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

3 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3849 days

#1 posted 02-05-2014 11:33 PM

You mount or hold the board at the node points. Then you
can hit it with a rubber ball mounted on the end of a dowel
and get a clear tone.

The node points are around 1/6 in from the end relative to the
overall length. There’s a way to figure it out mathematically,
but for assessing thin soundboards the board is held pinched
between thumb and forefinger at the node area and tapped
with a finger in the center to assess the tap tone. Actually
we tap it all over. Fingerboards can be tapped the same way
and some electric builders believe it makes a difference. For
acoustic guitars I do not believe the fingerboard wood affects
the tone in a discernible way.

View Texcaster's profile


1287 posts in 1875 days

#2 posted 02-05-2014 11:59 PM

What Loren said. I tap with the fleshy end of my middle finger. Adjust your grip on the node up or down and tap, you’ll know when you find it. Some tap like a bell, others like a low gong, how long does it sustain? Both will work. Once I started luthiery, I automatically started tapping everything.

I’m more used to bass players that can hear the difference in a Rosewood, Ebony or Maple fingerboard. At gig volume it becomes academic.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2689 days

#3 posted 02-06-2014 02:12 PM

Thanks gentlemen.

I will attempt to learn this skill as I try to learn the skill and art of Luthiery.

Eventually I would like to build a decent arch top or even steel string accoustic and the more I learn now the easier it will be later.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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