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Kerry Kruger


  1. lowb5str
    June 11, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    Are you aware of Rick Toone (www.ricktoone.com) and his ergonomic luthiery? His Orchid bass is an interesting solution.

    • Kerry Kruger
      June 11, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

      Yes, Rick and I have been conversing for several years now. I agree, he’s pushing the envelope in every direction it will go.
      Have no doubt his name will come up in subsequent articles, this one is by its nature very basic.

  2. lowb5str
    June 11, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    I find your blog intriguing to say the least, and frequently thought-provoking. Please do not take this next question as anything other than intellectual query. Why have you jumped into the middle of the design story here? Other luthiery / guitar engineering I have read the past few years would say the designed shape of a solid-body arises from the sound generation (strings supported from nut to bridge, anchored, and tuned), then forming propagation and sustain (added body mass/stiffness). Placement of the pickups under the strings is usually a compromise. Overall size is determined first by purpose (standard, baritone, bass, and so on) which drives scale length choice, and then by the design decision of how much resonant body to attach (e.g., Steinberger SS-2F , Gibson Les Paul Standard Bass Oversized, or Flying V ). Next I think is the step in the design sequence that your body shaping considerations come into play, followed by a possible adjustment of the design to locate one of the strap buttons to achieve body/neck neutral balance (c.f. any design with an extended upper bass bout “horn” tipped therewith).

    Thanks for your interesting blogs. Keep writing!

  3. Kerry Kruger
    June 11, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

    All those things are exactly right. However the folks who first turned acoustics into electrics hadn’t a clue about the internal physics and simply began designing bodies that got closer and closer to what they were after through trial and error. [ I doubt the equipment needed to measure the vibrational frequencies you refer to were even invented yet, and if so probably not available to anyone but isolated scientists.] And we have a legacy of what they did to get along with, and past. We’re in the middle, so that’s where I began.
    I make no claim to being an engineer, and while I am very much interested in that aspect, I will largely be discussing the visual aspect of designing guitars that are appealing. Some will argue that appearance is not a factor in making good guitars, and I would answer that while this is true, one still has to sell them. To quote Dr Lecter, “We covet what we see”. And this relies to a large degree on what buyers are comfortable and familiar with, only better. They will certainly move more slowly than those at the forefront of Theory.
    So while they catch up I still believe we should make the most attractive objects we can. The nuances I’ll be looking at will in fact be applicable to advanced designs as well…in fact Rick Toone (see above) has suggested to me that I offer my services to some of his colleagues and followers who are great engineers but poor ‘draw-ers’.
    I’ve simply been asked by some who have seen my work to describe how I see it and do it, so I’m offering that up.
    I look forward to your input, you just wrote a third of an article for me, and I appreciate that !

  4. Fundamentals of Electric Guitar Design, Part 2. Bout time! | Guitar Design Reviews
    June 21, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    […] In my first article I set up the very basics of electric guitar design. This time, I’ll go over … 4 […]

  5. Bob
    November 20, 2011 @ 11:52 am

    Kerry – I really like the “Radius” guitar. So much in fact I think I’m going to build one. I’m a 51 year old cabinet maker who took up the guitar 6 months ago and I’m having a blast. Of course the first thing I want to do, before I can even play the thing, is build one. I found the stuff I was sketching looked alot like the “Radius”. Do you have anything more detailed you might be willing to let me see. It would help considerably, I’ve never built a guitar.

  6. kerry kruger
    November 20, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

    Well Bob, I’m flattered you like my design. And yes, I could furnish full-size vector patterns, etc.
    should they become necessary.
    Of course if you look closely, there’s a disclaimer in the artwork that clearly states that it is for consideration only, and that all rights to the design are reserved. Being published here and seen by many pretty well establishes that fact. So basically, you’ll need my consent to build one legally.
    And since my name is on the design, and I’ll want it to come out to a certain standard, I’ll need to have some questions answered before granting license.
    I’ve been in contact lately with another pure designer who has sucessfully leased his designs to a company who will build them, and that seems the best way to keep everyone on the up-and-up. Whether that lease is monetary or a barter agreement, I don’t mean to rain on your parade, I have an interest in seeing them made as well. I just need to maintain some control. So let’s talk, I’m listed in the Miami phone book, or see the Contact page here.

  7. Bill Compeau
    April 3, 2012 @ 2:38 am

    It is very refreshing to find a site like this one. It is full of helpful insights and written in an intelligent and entertaining manner.
    Your skills as a designer far outweigh what you may think you lack in engineering; there ain’t that much engineering in solid bodies that make all that much difference compared to acoustic instruments. Experiment and listen I say;>)

    More than once I hve been completely surprised at the sound of some guitars I thought for sure would sound terrible and found them to be screaming for my wallet!!!

    Keep up the good work here, I for one appreciate it!


  8. Jake Moore
    February 18, 2014 @ 2:51 am

    This is a great article to have stumbled upon. I have built a knock off stratocaster for my first go at guitar building. Now that I have some experience in guitar making I am just dying to build a guitar of my own design. I am a trained sound engineer and have read articles that seem to confirm that the shape of an electric guitar body have very little to do with the sound. I am useless at visual design, but hopefully your tips will help me come up with an original design so that I can really build MY OWN guitar next time 🙂

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