Advanced Principles and Design in guitar making.

Instrument Acoustics, Electric Guitar Building

Instrument Acoustics: Advanced Principles and Design

There’s no single correct method for building. If there were, we would all build violins like Antonio Stradivari, mandolins like Lloyd Loar and guitars like Antonio de Torres. Give identical materials to any two great luthiers, and the instruments they deliver will have two very different “tonal fingerprints.”

New books, new videos and the online forums are buzzing about “voicing” and “tap tuning,” with explanations ranging from the scientific to the bizarre. It’s important to examine, test and understand the theories being promoted before you commit your time and money in instrument building.

Discovering the techniques behind great tone and responsiveness has been a prime focus of my career, and in recent years I’ve made significant advancements in understanding and controlling tone. This advanced class in Instrument Acoustics is a strategically planned series of lessons and exercises that allow you to find your own voice in musical instrument building.

At first, the information may seem scientific and intimidating, but these are topics you already intuitively understand. You just need to see the principles demonstrated so you can easily understand their role in the building process.

In these Instrument Acoustics classes, we assess building materials and musical instruments using both computer-generated and physical testing methods. The material is presented in three sections; the first is part of both the Master and Journeyman programs. Master students continue into the second and third sections of Instrument Acoustics. These lessons sync with your class project so you better understand what the instrument you’ve built and how you can make adjustments to create better sounding instruments.

Instrument Acoustics class starts at the beginning of your build, during the wood selection process. You’re introduced to ideas of information gathering and record keeping that are the foundation of better acoustics. You’ll learn how to choose the correct building materials, and how to work those materials down to the correct thickness for your project instead of using a predetermined number. You’ll see how it all comes together during the voicing and tuning process to make a great musical instrument lively and responsive.


Set-neck Electric Guitar and Bass Building

Added to the Spring 2009 classes is Set-neck Electric Guitar and Bass Building. We build outstanding electric guitars at the Galloup School. We focus a great deal of attention on acoustics because they’re so much more demanding to build, but Bryan has been working on a method of building set-neck, carved-top electric guitars and basses that fit well into his curriculum. The system he’s developed is well suited to small shop production, and is very profitable for the micro-builder.

These electric guitars are built from scratch using quality materials, with a design that echoes the classic lines of the finest electrics ever made. In addition, Bryan has added pickup winding to the course, putting the student one step closer to a creating completely scratch-built guitar.

Set-neck Electric Building has been added to the Master Program, giving students the opportunity to tailor-make their training to match their business plan.

Lesson outlines for Instrument Acoustics and Set-neck Electric Building will available soon on line, please check dates for scheduling and availability.