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Constructing Thor

Last month, I posted some mid-section pictures of the Carbon Fiber-Wood prototype. Now this guitar has a name, “Thor”, thanks to Bill Banks who first suggested something like “Thor’s axe”. Thor, made from various hardwoods and Carbon Fiber, is intended as a testing ground for some more innovations, esp. the Infinity project. If I get successful with this, we will produce some of these in limited quantities.

Construction Features:

  1. Bolt-on neck construction.
  2. Midsection made from Ash wrapped in 6-layers of Carbon Fiber.
  3. Main frame made from Ash, bound by Carbon Fiber, with 4-layers Carbon Fiber top. The Main frame is built around the midsection, providing additional resonance. It also serves as chassis for the electronics.
  4. 8-layers ribbed Carbon Fiber neck-body reinforcement.
  5. Carbon Fiber bottom cover, secured using neodymium magnets.
  6. No visible screws. All adjustments, including bridge and pickup height adjustments are hidden and accessible by removing the bottom Carbon Fiber.
  7. Adjustable Carbon Fiber truss-bar.
  8. Multi-layer (9 layers) laminated neck (Carbon Fiber plus hardwood).
  9. Balanced weight distribution with center of mass at the 22-24th fret.

Here are some more pictures of this concept guitar. Next stop will be staining the wood and top-coat finishing, so this is a good time to see what’s inside in its raw form. 

Balanced weight distribution

It’s not just about the weight. It’s the balance. But needless to say, Thor is very light, thanks to CF. Yet not too light so it does not feel like cheap plastic. The wood is still crucial for tuning the overall resonance, but CF is also known to have excellent resonant qualities (I wrote about that in one of my oldest posts: Black Steel).

Tuning the wood? You bet! You just don’t build it and pray that it sounds good. You tune it! I explained that in one of my posts:

Joseph Nagyvary, a biochemistry professor at the Texas A&M University, claims to have made violins that sound as magnificent as the great Stradivarius. Such a tall claim, indeed, but what I find particularly interesting is that Nagyvary says he can tell a great violin from a mediocre one simply by looking at its spectrum and all great violins have similar spectrums. He continues: And the pattern almost exactly reproduces that of the human voice. It’s no coincidence that listening to a great violin, played by a great violinist, can be such a powerful emotional experience.” I think that is a very good and crucial observation. Nagyvary experimented on various wood treatments until he replicated the spectrum he sought for.

Main Frame Without the Top

Seen here with the Neck bolted on (Click to zoom).

Neck-Body Bottom View

Smooth, continuous neck to body flow (Click to zoom).

Main Frame with the Bottom CF

Again with the Neck bolted on (Click to zoom).

The Full Body

The complete body with the top CF now glued to the main frame and the bottom CF secured by strong magnets. (Click to zoom)

The Full Body Bottom View

Without the bottom CF. The 8-layers ribbed Carbon Fiber neck-body reinforcement is visible in this view (Click to zoom).

The Bottom CF

Inside and out (Click to zoom).