Workshop: Transverse Ladder Bracing

I "borrowed" this picture from an eBay auction because it explains a manner of bracing that's common in Regal-made "parlor" guitars from c.1900-1930s and also in some Lyon & Healy products from the late 1800s. It's called "transverse" bracing because the bracing is essentially "ladder" style except that the main center brace is at an angle that leaves a bit more of the top "open" on the bass side above the bridge area and a bit less "open" on the treble side.

This means that the tone is a little sweeter with a bit better bass vs. standard ladder bracing and the diagonal brace also gives more support over a larger area of the top -- essentially working like half of a main x-bracing center section.

Of course, there are pros and cons to this bracing... the most obvious "con" is that if this bracing is used with a pin bridge and heavier-than-suggested strings are used the top will tend to deform on the bass side more quickly than the treble. However, when this style of bracing was developed for pin-bridge guitars they were really supposed to be used with gut (or nylon, nowadays) strings like on this Lakeside of mine but later instruments show slightly heavier bracing and work just fine with steel, like on this Regal.


Anonymous said...


I followed your Lakeside link and I can see (and hear) why that one's a keeper.


Antebellum Instruments said...

It's a killer guitar. It sounds like a 14"+ classical but with a much sweeter bottom end. Hard to describe. It's one that I'm never going to part with. :)