Saturday, 29 November 2014

body 8 update

so we have seen a rudimentary timeline of the extended heel concept. I have posted a photo by this builder earlier, now it's time to show a few recent examples of his work.

Forshage Guitars

here's the guitar I displayed earlier


here's a video of the owner talking about it

interesting how the owner describes reducing the height of the upper bout to accommodate the overall balance. sounds nice!

as a precursor of things to come, here's some of his latest work

for some crazy reason, i can only do this as a link

here's a picture

why a precursor? there are so many designs incorporated in this guitar beyond the body. I am not going to rush ahead. it's hard enough examining bodies right now.

here's another picture of that style of body shape

go say hello on Facebook.  A fine and upstanding human being.

body 8

Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities is not only a lot of fun

It is a timeline of new design ideas

i forgot to mention they are on Facebook

the subject in question is the extended upper heel or horn of a guitar or bass

touching the neck all the way as far as the 12th fret

here's the first hint of this from 1999

a Warrior bass

a Warrior 9 string bass! 

nothing much to kook at so far; the manufacturer is the one I am interested in. I am sure i remember them being the first to design the extended heel.

2004 and the arrival of the Teuffel Tesla

i got an email from Ulrich Teuffel some time ago. He explained;

"The "short" neck, or better, the supported neck of the Tesla gives a guitar a much better attack"

his version of this design goes all the way to the 7th fret.

go to the Teuffel Tesla site for A LOT of information on this instrument. 

now here's not only an instrument, but a builder that blew me away when I first went to their site

Another example from 2004. Extended body, looks chambered, lots of strings and controls. All the food groups.
I will drop them a line soon because of the amount of amazing designs represented 

take some time to look around. Really great

forward to 2006

this manufacturer seems to prefer the extended join at the 12th fret

the question i ask is, are 11 strings enough?

but have a look at their site

lots of good examples.

silly me, a 12 string


nonetheless, another example of an extended heel, headless and fanned fret.

plus if you go to their site, there is some serious building going on.

body 7 update

Greg at Sinuous Guitars sent me two pictures of the back of one of his guitars.

lovely curves

they are also making amplifiers, dammit!

unfortunately that is the subject of another blog - not mine

thanks to Greg for the speedy upload.

Friday, 28 November 2014

body 7

now here's something to drool over

Sinuous Guitars carve the body in an interesting way.

the upper heel curves away from the neck and i am thinking that makes for one damn comfortable guitar. the guitar wraps around the torso of the player. it looks like there is a subtle curve going downward from the back right along the top.

you're probably going to hear me say these a bit in the future

1. simple and elegant
2. good for accommodating my stomach (including the fat surrounding it).

look at it from this angle

i am thinking the lower heel curves outward for better sitting comfort

looks fine from here.

i really love going to web pages that aren't too populated. get to the point and show pictures of sexy guitars.

this is one of them

have some good information on Facebook, too.

here's a site that inspired me

when i first  developed a case of GSAS (Guitar Site Acquisition Syndrome) here's the first and probably the most extensive. Spend a few hours looking around, you won't be disappointed.

lots of links, displays of design without fear or favour and, of course, lots of photos of guitars to look at.

body 6

here's a concept that really jumped out the second i saw it

a gender specific guitar body design!

the design is called the hip hole. it takes account of the difference in female pelvic structure.
hence, more comfort for women!

for further reading go to these pages

read some posts on the pages. they are great.
here's a video from Rick

I really can't say it better than him. 

what i love about this design is how it dispenses with areas of the body not really required. plus the curve of the back of the guitar would happily accommodate my belly. 

body 5


here's a great article from the AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY online

there are many articles about  building guitars with graphite online. this one seemed to say it all.

i own two guitars with graphite in their construction. a Klein copy with and original Steinberger neck and an original Steinberger GL hard tail. it's weird but i feel odd playing other guitars, not only for the feel but also playing guitars with headstocks.

i guess i have grown accustomed to not knowing anything else

probably not the greatest outlook to adopt when looking into new guitar design.

i think i should play as many different guitars as i possibly can over the next few months as a form of rehabilitation.


i have been looking around for views online into aspects of guitar design. a lot of opinions seem to be prefaced with this vs that. bolt on neck vs neck thru. chambered vs solid body.  i am trying to looking into the best aspects of design, but i am not trying to convey that one design is better than another. maybe the best way to go ahead is to say that this design is good but this other design has its attributes. one is not better than another - they are just different. 

here no versus

versus not here

Thursday, 27 November 2014

body 4

one of my best friends, way back in the 1800's lent me his Guyatone lap steel guitar.

here is a picture of one with a cat

some say cheap and nasty. To be frank, i was thinking cheap and nasty.

plugged it in and after half an hour, I thought - THIS IS AWESOME!

later on, i discovered a few things

1. the pickups aren't even routed into the body! i have no idea what type of wood it is

2. i got a luthier to put the pickup on a multimeter and they are wound HOT! the height of the pickup is only 3mm but the windings go all the way to the inside of the cover. there could be some merit in that that i might look into later.


3. Ry Cooder puts them in some of his guitars in the neck and he swears by them. can't get enough of them.

have a look

it kind of affirms Matthew Angrove's theory. having said that, every one i have owned is light as a feather.

i have owned 4 yellow ones, including one with more of a Burns style pickup in it and a red one. 

I gave one away to a buddy who helped me a lot.

what i would give for a green one...

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

body 3

 time to start thinking about materials in relation to guitar bodies

now i am not the type to court controversy, i usually let other people do it for me.

I had been in touch with Matthew Angrove some time ago and i gave him a heads up about the blog

a very personable chap

some time ago he looked at the properties of materials that make up a guitar. By this i read body but the neck is also a part of the guitar

Matthew is a Bachelor of Science honours student and has spent months analysing various guitars and their sounds; after crunching the numbers he has come up with some surprising information.
"I've been testing whether different guitar materials and shapes and seeing if they make any difference to the sound," Matthew says.

The verdict? It doesn't make any difference.

have a listen

i can safely say this, Matthew is an advocate for graphite to build guitars. As am I. The more the merrier

His evidence was published some time ago. I haven't heard of any naysayers since then.

But his research leads to me ask a different question. Not so much the quality of the wood but the density.

A number of guitarists I know have played strats for years. They didn't really care for the wood type, short of going to the music store with some bathroom scales, the lighter the guitar, the better.

I wonder if a study could be done into the merits of "the lighter, the better"?

i got a message

 I got a message from Ralph Novak of Novax Guitars

"Don’t forget some of the other earlier “pioneers” like Charles LoBue, Rick Turner, even Dave Bunker"

 first off, i had a look at this site

about an hour later i am still amazed by the number of musicians and designs attributed to this institution.

i always was fascinated with the guitar Lindsey Buckingham used to play

only with the advent of the internet did  i find out who built them

when i first got connected to the internet, this was one of the first sites i found

still doing amazing things today. More research to do!

I will talk in the future about the work of Ralph Novak - his designs will feature heavily here in the future.

But the best thing I can say is I got an email from Ralph Novak!

We're not worthy!

An Elvis of guitar design!

now this may seem odd....

for a number of years i have visited this page

some of the instruments here are just plain kooky

but others are some of the most amazing designs i have ever seen

plus Barry, who runs the site and and has subjected himself to the madness since 1998

is one of the nicest people i have ever corresponded with

i have spent hours pouring over the information he has collated. His comments are a lot of fun.

you will have a lot of "WTF" moments, too.

body 2

i have been thinking about the properties of a guitar body. What does it do? The first area to consider is ergonomics. I looked up a definition.

The applied science of equipment design, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.

The guitar body, in this area, performs these tasks

Provides comfort for the strumming or plucking arm
Positions the neck in the right place for the fretting hand 
The shape of the body makes for improved sitting posture.

The game changer for me is when i played a Klein Guitar. The lower bout makes the neck point upwards.

here is an example of a Forshage guitar

go to his Facebook page for more examples

lots of lovely instruments to look at

Rick Toone has devised an interesting variant on this

by moving the bout towards the "bottom" of the guitar, the neck points upward even more. Plus, notice the circled area below.
the body is shaped to enhance the comfort of the leg. Brilliant!

go to the instruments section of the Rick Toone page

caution! This site contains images of an amazing nature! Viewer discretion should be applied.

Strandberg Guitars provides an interesting approach to neck height.

I like to think of it as a"dual bout". The curve beneath the volume and tone controls must make the neck height verge on vertical! So elegant.

if you get a chance go to Strandberg Guitarworks articles/tutorials pages

these pages inspired me to think about taking on the daunting task of this blog
so the story so far. Take any one topic in relation to the design map and so much to think about!

body 1

here's the thing

i set out a template.

inspired by so many people. 

in my caveat i admitted a Klein guitar bias.

 having said that i want to engage you in one site

Rick Toone

type in body, or guitar body, into the search engine.

and get back to me in a week or two.

describe the results.  

Moreover, do some advanced research.

Based on the map.

good luck with that....

these designs are inspired..and intricate

i had a look at his blog for 6 months.

it inspired me to be none the wiser. Hence the need for this blog.



maybe i should add a caveat (or two) here. I am not a Luthier. I have worked with Luthiers in making some guitars. Actually ten of them . A Klein copy, a harmonics guitar and the other harmonics guitars i built in collaboration

what is a Klein guitar? An amazing celebration of design called ergonomics.  Makes fatigue a thing of the past because the guitar is so comfortable.

Here is a Rick Canton Klein inspired work

You will see A LOT of this in many design forms. Not just the body, but in the neck as well. Plus variants above and beyond this design.

What is a harmonics guitar? Simply put, a guitar that creates harmonics, or overtones.

 designed by Glenn Branca. Certain elements of this design appear in the instruments of Harry Partch.

Branca link

Partch link 
so, i could say, i have dabbled with some success. The design of the harmonics guitar needs improvement, even after following the instructions to the book.

A Luthier gets instructions, i.e. takes the problems of the player on board,

He uses his experience to solve those problems,

but in solving the problems discovering so much more.

Plus uses his experience to make the best instrument he possibly can.

This blog is an attempt to examine all those variables.

and pretty much - celebrate them.

Hopefully, with good advices. 

Maybe i could offer a caveat upon a caveat here.

The Luither, Builder or Designer has a flash of genius and decides that this is an amazing thing to do.

I hope my overall perspective, documented and examined, will create the framework of something of merit.

plus i got to mention Klein, Canton, Branca and Partch in one blog.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

the map

recently i have been thinking about what a guitar could be. there have been a lot of great design ideas in the area of instrument building. So why not look at them all? Moreover, why not try to combine them to imagine what a truly contemporary guitar would look like. I have organized the parts of the guitar into six categories of focus. Each of those categories have their own sub-categories.






looking around the internet, with all the amazing guitar designs out there, i felt that this map reflected all aspects of the guitar. You may notice as i advance there will be extreme bias as i have small fingers and i want a guitar to relieve the comfort of my impediment.

Some comments may become contentious and you can voice your concerns but, be nice. I just want to know what this thing could be.

If i have missed something, please let me know.