How to design a new shape

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How to design a new shape

How to design a new guitar body shape.


In the Luthier Blog ebook there is a whole series about designing your work, the “Luthier school” series, with lots of questions and prompts to help you make a design that reflects your preferences. This post would fit in very well with that series indeed.

One of the things I like to see in a makers work is a family resemblance between models. One simple and effective way to achieve this is to base one model on another. Let me show you an example:




Above is my Model S shape. It’s my version of an OM or OOO but with a tighter waist and without the lumps in the sides. The Model S is actually a slim version of my Model C. Here is a Model C




You wouldn’t think it at first but the only difference between the two shapes (apart from the cutaway) is one is wider than the other. The curves, the waist, the proportions are all the same. So the bridge position relative to the soundhole remains constant.

I don’t exhibit at guitar shows very often but I’m planning to go to one next year. So what should I make a guitar for a show? I really like dreadnoughts but my D mold  must have got chucked during the workshop move last year. So this was the ideal time to come up with a new shape. How do I turn the Model S into a dreadnought?


With this:




Simple eh? All you need are a pair of these for your bending form.





These days I laminate my sides so they are so stiff, I don’t actually need an outside mold. So making the new shape was very quick, and because all the curves are based on my Model S and Model C, the family resemblance is good and strong.

So let’s have a look at my Model S shape again.



And now the new Model D.



Pretty neat, if I say so myself! I changed the cutaway to be a little more “extreme’ but basically this is a fat Model S! And very smart she is too.

So there you go – no need to reinvent the wheel every time you want to add a new model to the range. Start with what you have, that you already like, and work from there.


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