Thoughts About the Design of the Classical Guitar
Contents by Juan F. Fernandez-M. (about me)
Please write me if you have any comments to improve these pages.
Note: through the end of 2011 and 2012 I am adding new pages, re-doing many simulations and simplifying most of the text so some pages may be gone or incomplete temporarily.
These pages explore some of the rich features on classical guitar design by (modestly)
analyzing the work of famous guitar builders. I will base my
discussion on the detailed plans available from the Guild of American Luthiers, Roy Courtnal and Allied Lutherie.
It is strongly advised, in addition to the recommended references below, to read the chapters on guitar and violin acoustics by Erik Jansson. Also, see the striking results from Dr. Bernard Richardson from Cardiff University showing holographic modal analyses of guitar tops. Finally, take a look at the rich site by Bert Eendebak's about designing and constructing a classical guitar from A to Z.
I hope I can aid the amateur luthier to understand better the interaction between the design and the functioning of the classical guitar to improve the control over the real world instruments.
II. Evaluating Classical Guitar Design with Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
III. General issues
IV. Thoughts about asymmetrical designs
V. Thoughts about Harmonic Bars & Struts
VI. Thoughts about Guitar Designs
So what can we conclude from all these simulations?
*** *** ***
Acoustics and Physics
- School of Physics
at the University of New South Wales, with Chladini vibration modes of an asymmetric folk guitar top.
Luthiers & Lutherie, forums
a Luthier's luthier, needs no presentation, author of the guitar
- Check out the advice from Maestro Brian Burns for measuring wood properties and top resonances.
- David Schramm
excellent site of guitarist/luthier shows step by step construction. Don't miss his Hauser I
1937 CD tutorial. and his analysis of the Hauser guitar design.
- Ukuleles by Kawika contains lots of useful information regarding string instruments, construction tips including a side bending machine. A must. Author of book "Left-Brain lutherie"
- Neil Ostberg's step by step construction of a Torres "La Suprema" 1864 guitar with
full size plans.
- Milburn guitars excellent French polishing tutorial.
- Fritz Mueller explains his observations of Chladni patterns
in the guitar. Nice solution to elevated fingerboards
- Shel Sax 's guitar making site contains detailed photographs of the building process and a very interesting and simple side bending machine.
- For Spanish (Castillan) readers, don't miss this building tutorial from Kuntur-Huasi
- Also in Spanish, this chronicle of guitar assembly by Rafael Lopez Porras, from Guitarra.Artepulsado, a great guitar forum.
- delcamp.net forum in French by Jean-François Delcamp with discussions and high quality public domain music scores.
- Liutaio Mottola
with very detailed information about the physics and construction of
the violin, guitar and bass instruments. Provides plans also.
- Roy Courtnall Summerfield
provides a comprehensive set of classical, flamenco, jazz and manouche
guitar - Macafferri plans. Dont miss his book "Making master guitars", the other bible of guitar making this side of the Ocean.
He teaches at the Newark School of Guitar Making.
- Guild of American Luthiers, probably the best repository of information for string instruments and the largest collection of plans that I know of.
- Luthiers Mercantile International the one stop shop for guitar building. Besides woods and tools, you find a comprehensive set of books and plans.
- Allied Lutherie
for that unique piece of wood for your back and sides. They carry a
small set of plans including some difficult models to find such as
Kohno and the old Friederich design.
- Stewart-MacDonald needs no presentation.
- Madinter everything to build a classical or flamenco guitar serving from Spain.... y hablan castellano!
- Gaignard-Millon has the largest collection of fine working tools for instrument making and sculpture in Paris, at the historical neighborhood of Faubourg Saint Antoine.
- Best router bases around for Dremel and larger formats from Bishop Cochran.
Guitar dealers with lots of pictures!
Last updated: August 2013