Savart Journal

science and technology of stringed musical instruments

An Improved Body Shape Definition for Acoustic Guitars

Mark French


Modern guitar design and manufacturing processes require a robust mathematical description of body shapes. Conventional curve fits such as those offered in commercial software are not possible because the shape of guitar bodies creates mathematical problems. An attractive solution is to select a reference point on the centerline of the guitar and do the curve fit in polar coordinates. This solves the mathematical problems and can give a closed form expression to become the basis of a family of body shapes.

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Article published Jul 11, 2017.
This article has been accessed 10154 times since publication.


The Savart Journal is published in collaboration with the Guild of American Luthiers.

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Mark French
School of Engineering Technology, Purdue University, 121 Knoy Hall, 401 N. Grant St., West Lafayette IN 47907
United States

Mark French is a professor in the School of Engineering Technology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. He was originally trained as an aerospace engineer and spent the first 10 years of his career as a civilian engineer for the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in OH. He then spent 9 years as a lab manager and senior engineer in the automotive industry in Detroit. In 2004, he moved to Purdue University. There, he created the guitar lab, wrote two books on the technical aspects of guitars and started a class on stringed instrument design and manufacturing. He works on problems in guitar design and has been making guitars since 1990.