Photos by John Southern
These DIY-ray shots were taken by placing light bulbs inside acoustic guitars, covering their soundholes and taking 30-second exposures in the
dark with actual film. The process involves carefully insulating the guitars from bulb heat to prevent damage—we do not recommend that you
try this with your own guitars. Use someone else’s.
John Southern figured out this DIY-ray technique in an attempt to see the internal bracing pattern of a 1967 Gibson B- 45 12-string that he
wanted to modify with a new bridge (To read about that mod project, see John’s feature story in the July 2008 issue.) We asked John to DIY-ray
other guitars and share his findings with us. The following photos are a sampling of what our Peeping John captured.
The ladder bracing you see on the ’ 56 Gibson LG- 1 and the ’ 74 Mossman Great Plains Custom makes those guitars less-desirable for many
collectors due to their increased risk of structural problems over time. However, many players prefer them. Some well-preserved ladder-braced
guitars are sought after for their warmer, woodier sound.
Notice the triple diagonal braces in the lower bouts of the Guild 12-string jumbos. Now consider the similarities/differences between the
bracing patterns of those tighter-strung Guild 12-strings and the Gibson dreadnoughts to their left.
Martin’s D12X1 features an HPL (high pressure laminate) back and sides, which allow for minimal A-Frame “X” bracing. The guitar’s solid Sitka
spruce top is thus freer to vibrate.
The Cordoba Iberia Series classical guitar shows the company’s 7-fan bracing pattern.
1956 Gibson LG- 1
1974 Mossman Great Plains Custom
18 PREMIER GUITAR SEPTEMBER 2009
1967 Gibson B- 45 12 String
1977 Mossman Golden Era