ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

4aMU5. Adapting intuitive ideas and applied mechanics to the improvement of guitar acoustics: The luthier's view.

Thomas Humphrey

Richard Schneider

Michael Kasha

Ctr. for Music Res. and Inst. of Molecular Biophys., Florida State Univ., Tallahassee, FL 32306-3015

The mechanical structure of the guitar underwent a sudden transformation about 150 years ago in the hands of Antonio de Torres Jurado, under the demand on the part of Julian Arcas, a virtuoso guitar performer of the day, for greater acoustical power and brilliance in the guitar. The Torres design features three revolutionary changes, (a) the transverse structural bars of the existing Mediterranean instrument were replaced by longitudinal functional bars, coupling the bridge action to the soundboard, (b) the body dimensions were greatly increased, lowering the body and cavity resonance frequencies, (c) the string length was greatly increased, leading to higher string tension requirements, thereby further increasing acoustical power. Each luthier will present his approach to understanding the mechanical action of the torres design, and its modifications for the acoustical requirements of modern musical performances. The presentation will be followed by live demonstrations of various guitars by musicians.