Untitled Document

The Sonic Sitka Project

I built this guitar for Denis Merril's Sonic Sitka Project. Below is the purpose of the project in Denis's own words:

"The Sonic Sitka Project is designed to answer a fundamental question in guitar making:  Does sound change in an instrument as it ages and is this sound influenced more by use than design and construction?  To answer this question, I proposed that a series of instruments be built at the same time using wood that was nearly identical, sourced from a small section of an old growth Sitka Spruce tree.  The wood selected was well quartered with an unusual reddish color, highly bear clawed, with a high count of grain lines per inch.

I proposed that these guitars be tested as close to the finish of construction as possible, and that they be displayed to the public frequently.  The testing would include collecting photographs and making recordings, and the recordings would be repeated as many times as possible for at least ten years.  The project has no end date – as long as guitars exist, they can be tested with audio capture technology, always using the latest generation of software, until the guitars are unplayable.  This could be 150 years or more."

My contribution is a modification of my Arbour shape, with a sweeping deep cutaway giving 18 frets clear of the body on the treble side and a wedge body that is shallower on the bass side that the treble.

Click on the photos to enlarge
Specification
Soundboard Sitka Spruce
Back & Sides English Yew
Neck Mahogany,
Fingerboard Macassar Ebony
Scale length 650mm
Width at nut 45mm
Width of lower bout 380mm
Max. side depth 110mm treble side
Finished in French polish
Gotoh 510 machineheads
Supplied with Hiscox case