You can make a huge variety of guitars and related instruments

IMAGEBLOCK;67;RIGHT;There truly are many types of guitar. Also, there are many instruments related to the guitar which can be made at the School.;ENDIMAGEBLOCK

IMAGEBLOCK;68;RIGHT;The majority of these guitars are modern, which is to say acoustic steel-string, classical or electric. Some of our students make close copies of well-known models. Many use a model as the basis of their own design. This can be achieved with unusual woods, for instance, alteration of the body-shape, or with custom inlay work. Other students are ever-inventive in combining the many possible variables. For example, an old Portuguese guitar was used as the basis of a modern, nylon strung 12 string; and an acoustic bass was built to function both normally and upright.;ENDIMAGEBLOCK

IMAGEBLOCK;64;RIGHT;The guitar has an inventive history. In fact, innovation, experiment and delight in variety should be seen as distinguishing features of its entire family. So that where pure-blooded "guitar" ends and "related to guitar" begins is hazy. Every culture and every time has guitars or guitar-like instruments. Personally, I think it is in the nature of guitar-makers to be inventive. And they have always had, as far as I can tell, a breed of players eager to try out new ideas.

This long collaboration between makers and players has distilled the many possibilities and given us a mainstream. On occasion this happened quickly, as in Leo Fender's Strat, Tele and bass designs or the work of Les Paul. More often it has happened slowly: the essential features of a classical guitar or an acoustic have long since been established, but all guitarmakers will use their own shape, employ subtle variation in structure and continue the search.;ENDIMAGEBLOCK

IMAGEBLOCK;65;RIGHT;This search will almost certainly have many ends, because there are many kinds of music that use a guitar. Looking at instruments related to the guitar makes this clear. In the west, mandolin, mandola, cittern, bouzouki and banjo, to mention only a few, are as strong in their traditions as the guitar is in it's own. Further afield, the sitar, saz, quatro and a whole other host reflect their own cultures, and are equally well established. All this provides an immense source-book of ideas for students on the course. It might result in one person making a copy of, say, a baroque guitar or a lute. Or it might be that some decorative effect or interesting structure lends itself to re-invention, as part of a modern instrument.;ENDIMAGEBLOCK

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January 2017
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Totnes School of Guitarmaking  Collins Road, Totnes, Devon, England, TQ9 5PJ  Phone: +44 (0)1803 865255
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