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Structural tuning of classical guitar

by Tom Chalko MSc, PhD


Tuning strings is not enough.
We need to tune guitar acoustic body-resonator too...

There are essentially 2 ways of achieving this.

1. Generations of trial-and-error constructions over many decades (or centuries) so that some luthiers can build distinctively better instruments than others and demand high prices

2. Individual structural tuning of ready-to-play guitar, essentially taking any guitar at hand and maximising its acoustic and performing potential

The method of individual structural tuning can improve acoustic performance of classical/flamenco guitars of various designs and age, from traditional and vintage guitars to modern double-tops with exotically braced soundboards.

The key advantage of the “structural tuning” method is that it is performed on a complete ready-to-play instrument so that acoustic performance improvements can be directly observed at all stages of the “structural tuning” process. This is distinctly different from tuning (tap-testing) individual instrument components before their assembly, introduced by Antonio Stradivari (for violin) and Antonio de Torres (for guitar).

Design of a violin allows some structural-tuning when violin is ready-to-play. So-called sound-post in a violin can be moved and its position/design optimised to achieve the best acoustic response. An equivalent option is not available for guitar.

The “structural tuning” method brings a possibility of acoustic performance optimisation to the world of ready-to-play classical guitars.

More details in full PDF article