The Body

Ideally I would like to build a guitar body that is fashioned exactly like dragonfly wings. The first prototype body of the Fusion Guitar has a more regular cage pattern, and I am planning to stretch silk across it. But in the future, I would love to imitate the structure of the dragonfly wings more closely, and understand exactly how and why nature came up with this unique design.

Imitation of nature has been an inspiration for humans since our existence, and strikingly we still look to nature for guidance. Interestingly, in our times the connotation of the term “imitation” is rather pejorative, and the imitator is quickly seen as lacking creativity. I believe that imitation yields much more insight than just recreating something pretty and superficial. If I take these dragonfly wings for example, I see perfect balance of weight and strength. If only I was able to recreate this on a guitar body one day – hollow struts, perfect weight distribution, ideal angles between the struts, and the lightest and strongest fabric possible – then I could truly count myself lucky. Given that all these features are beneficial to the guitar sound of course.

So now I must continue to work on my first protoype of the “dragonfly body”. If the outcome is sonically anywhere near what I desire, I am off to refine this concept until I can go no further…

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The Skeleton of the Body

Fusion Guitar Body (in progress)

The structure for the body is built with Fiber, which is a mixture of paper and glue at this point. This material is easy to work with and flexible enough to let me realize all the complex curves in this structure. The individual ribs not only bend laterally, but also vertically. And they torsion as well. (For example, a traditional guitar side only bends laterally.)

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Spine component

The spine of the skeleton is a great example of the bending and torsion that is necessary to build this unique guitar body. The picture on the right shows the outer layer of the spine, with notches that embrace the longitudinal ribs.

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Skin/Membrane application

The choice of fabric was just changed from silk to silkspan – the silk was difficult to tauten and stained during its application. After several experiments, I settled on silkspan. It is more like paper, and not much weaker than the silk in regards to puncture resistance.

Wet silkspan

The wet silkspan is stretched into position. When stretch and position are optimal, a thinned down mixture of dope is applied to the entire area. This mixture penetrates the tissue and glues it down to the skeleton frame. It also loosens the tissue quite a bit, so it can get tightened again before the dope dries.

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Trimming silkspan

Trimming the silkspan is best done two ways: with a scalpel in open-frame areas, and torn where other silkspan layers will overlap. The torn overlap blends in much nicer than a cut edge.

Trimming and overlap

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On the corner in the center of the picture it is easy to see how the torn tissue isn’t quite glued down yet. Fine adjustments can easily be made when the silkspan is in place and dried. Just reapply some thinned dope, wait and stretch (or press onto the frame).

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Finished Paper Body

The finished body is seen on the left. Cleanup of the seams and finishing still has to be done.

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