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Renaissance Workshop Company
The foremost manufacturer of early musical instruments worldwide

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I'm building my first instrument, a guitar, and I don't want it to look and sound like everyone else's. What can I do with shape or materials or bracing patterns to make it unique?

For your very first instrument, you will be best off sticking with "tried and true" materials and shapes and bracing patterns that have proven track records. The reason a lot of guitars are similar is that they follow the lead of the "classics," and have evolved to give a balance of playability, ease of manufacture and that very subjective aesthetic quality. After you've acquired some experience, in general it's not a bad idea to start with one of the classics and make minor changes and adjustments to suit your own ideas.

Can I make a change in the design?

We also know a number of newbies who want to reinvent the wheel and make major changes in proven designs before they've built even one instrument, who spend an enormous amount of time asking about alternative or non-traditional materials, shapes or whatever. There are two main problems we see with this. First: a new builder won't be able to tell if the sound they end up with is the result of whatever they did that was non-traditional because they have no instruments of their own construction to compare it to. Second: materials that are not known to work well may have an adverse effect on the sound or structural integrity of the instrument.

For your first instrument stick with proven materials and designs, and save the large experiments for after you have a bit of experience. We're not talking about things like the body shape of a solid-body instrument (within reason) or headstock shape or other decorative feature. We're talking about major structural features. We're also not making a blanket "don't experiment" statement. We're just trying really hard to warn newbies away from the whole "reinvent the wheel" thing for a first instrument. The time to reinvent the wheel is *after* you know how to build one that works. 


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Last modification: 17 de septiembre de 2010
Phone & Fax:(+34) 91 450 30 50