When I started developing the Canna Guitar as part of my bachelor thesis in Industrial Design, I always focused on the functionality over the pure asthetic
In other words “form follows function”. To be able to design something in the true meaning of the word, you have to first understand how it works. Thus the major improvements in my design were always sparked by constructional and functional improvements.
However it’s not a one way thing. For me form is an visual indicator if something is well balanced and functional. If something looks to weak, misplaced or just not right, it shows me that I have to tweak it a little bit more to make it look right. Most times, if something looks right, it might as well be working right.
It’s the point where it’s just enought, quiet similar to the bracing of the top, is where it’s working the most optimal way.
The major difference in my guitars and where it all started is body material hempstone.
It was the most challenging part to figure out and to build around. The unique property of hempstone, compared to wood, is its ability to create hollow three dimensional shapes. I wanted to use this advantage to create a acoustic guitar, that isn’t as boxy and square as traditional Instruments. I achieved that by creating a slight concave shape where the guitar touches the body of the player.
I also got rid of the curve in the upper bout and offset the soundhole to enlarge the active part of the top and therefore making the overall guitar smaller and more “space efficiant”.
The intresting part about Hempstone ist its versatility. You can give it any colour by adding pigments of paint and you can have a smooth or textured surface. I am currently working on a technique to make it look similar to wood.
The most crucial change, beside the hempstone body, compared to traditional constructions is the implimentation of the solid frame. It has four main purposes.
First, because of the high shrinking of the hempstone body it tends to warp a little. The frame ensures that everything stays in place, especially the top.
Second, it acts as a “bevel” by softening the edges of the guitar to make it more compftable to play without getting numbness in your right arm. It also protects the top from any hits to the side.
Third, it stiffens up and adds more mass to the surroundings of the top, keeping the energy created by the strings from escaping to other parts of the guitar and therefore creating a more efficiant intrument.
Last, it bears the load of the neck. I achieved that by adding braces underneath. This way I got rid of the heel, wich was quiet hard to fit to the body anyway.
When designing somethink like a guitar bridge, I ask myself what it actually does and how to improve it.
First the bridge is where the strings are attached. I changed my design from a classic 6 hole design to 12 holes. This way the strings are tied to the bridge much more secure. With the traditionally design i often had strings pull off and hitting the top. This never happend with the 12 hole design; even if they loosen, they dont hit the top anymore
The second job of the Bridge is to transfer the vibrations created by the strings to the top. To be able to do this, the bridge needs to be as stiff as possible. I acieve this by removing as much material as possible where it isn’t needed and bulkung up the areas where the most tension is created. The result is a smooth organic looking design which is super stiff and relatively light.
I also believe, that the bridge needs to be rather light. The Bridge is is just another bracing and contributes to the overall mass of the top. To be able to be excited by the vibrations of the strings the top needs to be as light as possibkle. Therefore I use very light but stiff materials such as rosewood or plum. The lighter the overall top, the louder and more responsive it will be.
The design of the guitar head is what I and most people like most about my guitars. The hollow design makes it look very light and unique. With every refinement of the design I tried to remove as much material as possible without losing any of its stability.
I also use a scarve jointed headstock. The reason for this is simply the grain direction running parallel to the head, making it much more stable. Also it saves material and by adding a piece of veneer between the head and neck part I get an nice little accent which, by the way, inspired my logo design
By applying a dark headplate and rounding the surfaces, the Head looks much slimmer than it actually is. The flowing lines and surfaces reduce break points and load peaks and fit the overall organic and dynamic design i try to acieve.
I use the Schertler Tun Acoustic machine heads with a gear ratio 1:18 for both steel and nylon stringed guitars. It makes it really easy to fine tune the nylon strings. They are also swiss made and designed by Pagelli, the great swiss guitar maker. Plus they fit perfectly to my design.
The decision to remove the single sound hole underneath the strings is one of the most radical changes in the design of my guitars compared to traditionall instruments because it’s what makes a guitar look like one. Yet it is the most benificial change construction wise.
Having a giant hole in the part of the guitar which has to take the most stress from the pull of the strings is quiet counterproductive in my oppinion . By offsetting the soundhole I am also increasing the size of the top significantly. Furthermore I can loosen up the braces underneath making the top lighter and more responsive.
In addition, it acts like a cutaway, enabeling the player to reach the hight registers much more compftable. Another benefit is that a luthier can reach with his arm into the guitar making repair work or installing an pickup much easier.
I also added a sideport so the player can hear him/herself better.