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Building the Ergonomic Guitar – The Strandberg Way

So, I have dusted off 15 year old plans (the age of my oldest son, incidentally) to build another guitar. Where to go? What to do? Not sure how, but a few weeks ago, I stumbled on buildingtheergonomicguitar.com and the idea was hatched. We’ll see where it goes from here, but I have at least started.

Some basic design constraints:

Headless design Low weight Twisted “helix” neck
I already have a Steinberger “Strat” style guitar that I built a long time ago and that I like a lot, so the headless design was a given. The other are ergonomic traits that just seem to make sense.

My second ever guitar was built out of Jeluton after reading an interview with Allan Holdsworth in Guitar Player Magazine, so I am no stranger to light-weight designs either. I am not too fond of the Klein look, but I like the concept of the leg cutout, so I will steal that design but I will incorporate a Strat look on it for balance.

Having a twisted neck seems like a great idea and I hope I can pull it off with truss rod placement and avoiding fret-outs, etc. I have built quite a few through-the-body instruments before, and I was going to do this one like that also, but in the end I think I have opted for a bolt-on neck that will be interchangeable for a regular neck. If you, dear reader, have thoughts on the “radial angle” of the truss rod and how to fit a fingerboard onto the twisted neck, please let me know. Right now, I am considering just putting the truss rod in perpendicular to the face of the guitar (i.e. not exactly 90 degrees to the fingerboard) and using a planer to make a regular but very thin fingerboard. This would allow me to twist the fingerboard and glue it into place.

Next, when researching the Helix design, I found the new Lace Alumitones pickups. No idea what they sound like, but they look great and are lightweight, so I will bet on them. I was going to get a Steinberger tremolo. This South Korean company that builds replacement and license parts (www.jcustom.kr) are about to release their own design that sounds promising. But then I found a link the Ergonomic Guitar Blog pointing to Atlansia (www.atlansia.jp). I am sorry to say that I will have to build my own bridge now…

I spent all night yesterday on Google Patents so by now I have a good grasp of what to do both in terms of the neck and the bridge. I hope one can build a non-commercial one-off for personal use without patent infringement?

That’s it for now. Will put up some pictures eventually to show how the work progresses.