Reply To: Upper bout geometry

Richard Hoover
Senior Moderator

Oh Matt! I love you, and your flattering question too.

Yes it is straightforward geometry…and I will be beholding to you if you would reverse engineer one and tell me what that actually is.

Here’s an insightful analogy that will expose our methodology: The professional engineer will carefully calculate all factors so that when building a bridge it will reach an accurate terminus on the other side, bear more than the maximum weight of its patrons and adequately insure their well being while in transit. The guitar maker, on the other hand, will make his first pass and….oops! a little to short. People are falling in the water. The next try and…oops! too long. People are exiting the bridge in the middle of a Walmart. Some subsequent attempt will be just right and others will wonder how they nailed it so!

Same with the guitar top. It is a complex bit of geometry, though it is still a defined shape that was arrived at through successive attempts to bring bridge height, neck angle and fret board trajectory into agreement. To achieve this shape; we use braces cut in a true radius with some that are only shaped to fit our intent. Finally the top is folded back away from the general plane of the top from about the center of the sound hole to create an extension of the plane of the fret board as it crosses the body. This happens as the top follows the shape that we created in the side assembly. Look up one of our guitars from 1978 and you will see where we started from; or come on over to the shop and I’ll show you! Until then…

All the best,                                                                                                                                                                                           Richard