Magnets: The Future of Guitar Building 3


Hello friends, we are Giorgio and Angelo from Italy and we’d like to share with you the idea we developed during the last years.

 

Masnetically Suspended Soundboard

Magnetically Suspended Soundboard

Playing the guitar we realised how much sound an instrument yields depends on the freedom of the top to vibrate:

The greater the vibration, the more powerful the sound.

Our solution can be applied on every acoustic string instrument.



Dramatically increasing the flexibility of the soundboard

We replaced the traditional inner sound bars (which make the top stronger, but limit the vibration) with a magnetic field able to counteract the pressure produced by the strings without limiting the flexibility of the top.

 

Although playing an important structural role, the sound bars also limit the flexibility of the soundboard.

 

Externally the guitar can keep the usual aesthetic appearance. For our prototypes we just chose to place the holes on the sides or in the upper section of the soundboard.

Inside the Guitar

This solution isn’t traditional but it allows a wider vibrating surface.


Attaching the Strings

The same in arch-top guitars, bowed string instruments, mandolins, etc. the vibration of the strings comes to the board through a bridge, and the strings are fixed to the instrument by a separated tailpiece.

Tail Piece Design


Inside the Guitar

In the inner side we created a cross-shape structure (but other shapes are possible) on which we placed the magnets: these ones are fixed on the structure through threaded rods which allows the vertical movement of them.

Magnetic Supports

We don’t employ traditional sound bars, so the soundboard has only a few thin laths necessary to grant the robustness of the top without interference with the diffusion of the vibrations.

These little bars are placed under the bridge and in key positions along the sound board. They hold small magnets positioned in the areas where the strings create the highest pressure.

The Soundboard

The same polarity of the magnets fixed on the cross-shape structure and those located under the sound-board generates a magnetic field which supports the top, counteracting the pressure produced by the strings over the bridge.

In this way the soundboard gains a higher ability to vibrate since the structure is not rigid and the magnetic field ensures elasticity to the table, which floats over it.


 

Intensity of the magnetic field and variable tone

The threaded rods can be adjusted through little holes in the back of the instrument to reduce or expand the distance between the magnets couples, (the ones on the rod and the ones under the soundboard.)

This changes the sound of the instrument to the trained ear.

When the magnets approaches each other the top rises, becoming more rigid and producing a drier sound; a greater distance reduces the rigidity of the table and allows to obtain a warmer tone.

 

The effects of variations in the position of the couples of magnets.

This changing in the timber requires a few minutes to be completed, since the wood is a living material.


Here’s a quick test of our design.

We aren’t luthiers, but we have created some prototypes from economical factory instruments. We think that our system is not only an interesting experiment also a new and revolutionary way to build classical and flamenco guitars.


 

What do you think of our design?

Please comment below & visit our Facebook page for more information


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3 thoughts on “Magnets: The Future of Guitar Building

  • ulas

    Hello, first of all, I want to congratulate to you, I am a classical guitar lecture a University in Turkey, I have listened and played many different guitar,their sound was good(especially Lattice Braces System;)yours guitar sound looks like it(terms sustainable).
    I am aware of your guitar system very distinct. would you play to another professional classical guitarist? because right-hand sound is very important that the actual tone of the guitar is better understood. I am ınterested in your style, and ı’d like to know more information about cost, thank you… good idea:-)

    • Giorgio

      Dear friend, thanks for the comment and interest to our idea. Our prototypes, developed on cheap guitars plywood, have as their primary goal to study the vibration of the sound board that floats on a magnetic field. The sound is loud but the tone is not extraordinary because ‘the body is made of plywood. The new prototype (number 9) Lorena is better and the tone is good quality. I send you the pictures of Lorrena and thanks for your interest. Giorgio

  • Steve

    First of all I commend you both for challenging existing thoughts on guitar design. To the novice there are few designs in the guitar world. All classical guitars look the same to them, yet they are blind even to the fact that there are many designs even in the flamenco world which they see as classical.

    I am passionate about the guitar and it’s design and playing it. I’m also in favour of re-locating sound holes/ports. However, I’m sure that you can hear what the magnets are doing – but your viewers will not hear it – because this is an unfair comparison. If I am to be truthful, neither guitar sounded good. For a true test, you need the same guitar – and even then, if they were 2 models of the same, they could sound different without any modification.

    I think what we need to hear is a comparison of how the guitar sounds when you adjust the magnets. So it would be an “A” & “B” test. Also, you would need a quality microphone on a stand placed at a fixed position & fixed angle to the guitar, so that the microphone is in the same relationship to the guitar in the comparison. Proximity of micropohne and its angle really affect the recrding. Your workshop may not be the best place to record the comparison. A bedroom may be better, but you need the microphone about 4 to 12 inches aways from the guitar and no more.

    For me, the guitar with the altered top sounded very thin – and I don’t mean like a flamenco guitar. But I’m sure if you opened up a sound hole on the soundboard, it may yield a better sound (See Simplicio’s designs). The thin sound you have, to my ears tell me that you have lost a lot of bass response that should be there considering there is no soundhole to obstruct frequencies.

    When you are using plywood guitars – in theory it shouldn’t matter. Ply is another way of saying laminated. Lamination just makes it stronger. Back & sides lamination can be a good thing – only the soundboard is cruicial to be of solid timber. But of course, if the lamination is softwood, that may make a little difference in sound projection. (I must also say that laminated tops can work very nicely for steel strung guitars – especially 12 string. But their tone will never improve – but then, that is a subjective topic in itself).

    Having said all that, if we don’t experiement with instrument design, we wil never know the full potential. And I am sure that you are hearing a better sound than we do on this video.