Contents by Juan F. Fernandez-M. (about me)
Please write me if you have any comments to improve these pages.
These pages explore the rich features of the Spanish guitar design by
analyzing the essential principles implemented on the soundboards of famous guitar builders using finite Element analysis (FEA).
I base my
discussion mostly on the plans available from the Guild of American Luthiers, Roy Courtnall and Allied Lutherie, but I also use designs deduced from published photographs in guitar books and magazines, and from my own observations.
I am currently adding some designs based on the sketches found in the book "A collection of Fine Spanish guitars: from Torres to the present" 2nd, edition, by Sheldon Urlik (Sunny Knoll Publishing), that is worth every penny.
The models presented here have been "standardized" to allow for comparisons, so I am not claiming that I am reproducing exactly the available plans. In addition, for most of the models, only sketches are available, so I had to make several assumptions that are explained in each case. The standardization involves using 5x5 mm struts (unless the model really needs different strut heights) and I make all them fit onto the same geometry.
My goal here is not to simulate specifically the soundboard of a particular guitar, but to rather understand the effects of different strutting design geometries on soundboard with the same stiffness, something that is impossible to do in the real world. I focus particularly on the frequency response of the fundamental mode, as this is a measure of the relative stiffness of the different models.
The list of guitars is not exhaustive. I believe I have included the essential instruments from the recent history of the guitar, from Torres to Fleta, with various entries for Santos Hernandez as I consider him a great innovator of the classical and the flamenco guitar.
I am posting some photos of my current project of building a Santos Hernandez-style guitar here.
A note on tropical hardwoods can be found here. Please build responsibly!
I. The Basics
II. Vibration modes of main designs
Last updated: November 3, 2016