Ding ding ding ding ding! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Larry is the winner of… our congratulations. If you want me to send you a set of string or something, let me know.
You hit on two items that allow for more bass response (the biggest difference I hear in the hat video). The back brace changes allow the back to move more better. The PMTE allows more energy transmission to the X braces. Bryan says it takes several weeks of playing for it to really allow the back to move. If it develops more, great, but I like it fine the way it is. The feel of the bass vibrating through the instrument is fantastic.
If anyone is considering sending their guitar to Bryan, I can say I am glad I sent mine to him. He self admits that he is not a restoration project guy, but he does what he does very well. If you want to maximize what your guitar can be as far as playability and tone, he is the guy (I am sure there are others who are great, but I can only vouch for his work). Bryan’s rates are quite good. Of course you want to get more than a minor tweak done if you send a guitar because of the hit that one takes with shipping. Mine was about $100 going (50 shipping and 50 insurance) and $50 coming back. All told, I think I spent just under $600 (including shipping). No doubt, that’s a wad of money. However, I have a guitar that is comparable in tone to an Authentic spec guitar (not saying it’s the same or equal, just saying they are in the same class to my ear) for significantly less than what a used D18A would cost me. And, I prefer the GE neck to boot. In addition, I suspect if Bryan told me how much time he spent on it, I bet his hourly rate would come out so low that I would be embarrassed. For example, he replaced my glued in saddle with a hand shaped bone saddle (with ideal compensation and wonderful action height) for $45. In addition, he salvaged my FWI saddle so I can make a uke saddle with it! Take out the cost for the bone blank, and I bet there are kids at McDonalds making more per hour what he made on that saddle. He tells you what things are gonna cost before he does them, and it’s obvious in his actions that he only wants to do what he thinks is best for you. In a nutshell, if I rewound time to before I sent it, and I had my money sitting there and I could keep the money or send it again, I would eagerly spend the money again. To the best of my memory, he is the first guy I have paid to work on an instrument in over 30 years, and I am glad that I did.
After such praise, I feel compelled to make clear that I am not affiliated with Bryan in any way other than being a satisfied customer.