A “Just Right” Guitar
Kazutaka Itako is an electrical engineer at the Kanagawa Institute of Technology in Japan, but he has played the guitar since he was six years old. Satoshi Itako has a master’s degree in electrical engineering but works as a guitar fabricator. Together, the brothers have been investigating the optimal shape for guitars.
They [built and] tested four guitars [of varying depths, from 58 to 98 mm] using both objective and subjective measures of tone quality while a performer played open strings with two different strumming styles. They used an oscilloscope to measure the inclusion of harmonics, an index of the depth and richness of a tone. In addition, nine musically trained listeners rated the guitars.
The 68 mm thick guitar had the highest inclusion of harmonics, and six of the nine listeners rated it as having the best tone quality. The performer also reported that the 68 mm guitar was the easiest to play. The larger guitars were cumbersome, and the smaller one seemed unstable.
The Itako brothers have now moved on to the question of how the size of the sound hole influences the guitar’s tone. After that, they would like to study the effect of material. Kazutaka Itako says it is time-consuming and expensive to produce wooden guitars. He would like to determine whether a synthetic material, like fiberglass, could make instruments that are just as sonorous as wooden instruments.
via A “Just Right” Guitar | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network.
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