GUITARS by ROSS TEIGEN
Ross Teigen has built more than 200 instruments, exploring the design of several different models in pursuit of his ideas of adequate sound and playability. His long repair experience informs his approach to building, providing examples of successful and not so successful approaches to instrument construction.
“In making an instrument, one seeks to serve the music. And there is much lovely, worthy music to consider when doing so.”
Teigen instruments feature Ross’s signature body silhouette and innovative construction. He developed the distinctive design in 1979 and by 1989 was building that shape almost exclusively. Models under continuing development include acoustic guitar, semi-hollow electric guitar, and acoustic bass. Inquire as to availablity.
Notes from Ross’s journal describing his approach to instrument design…
1. I don’t understand the practice of building instruments that have frets that are not accessible to the player unless he contorts his body. A cutaway is not difficult to incorporate, and it must be evident by now to even the meanest intelligence that the current musical literature features the entire range of notes that the instrument is capable of. Solid body guitars have a recent enough genesis that the chokehold of tradition has not dictated the ascendancy of style over function, at least where fret access is concerned. I do not know of any currently produced electrics that do not have cutaways. And the idea of lost interior volume affecting tone on an acoustic doesn’t wash. A tiny increase in either depth or soundboard area could address that, if, in fact, there were any significant difference caused by the deletion of a sound box region that is comparatively inactive.
2. I don’t understand the practice of placing the sound hole in a flattop guitar or mandolin at the end of the fingerboard, interrupting structural support where it is most needed: in the string path. An uninterrupted structural bridge in the string path means that lighter, less complex bracing can be employed. Moreover, moving the sound hole to a location more remote from the bridge, such as either the bass or treble side of the upper bout , results in more active precious sound propagating real estate near the bridge.
3. I don’t understand the location of f-holes on carved top instruments which are meant to be plucked rather than bowed. Looking out board of each f-hole, I see large areas of top which are effectively uncoupled from sound wave propagation. As with the traditional flattop’s sound hole, relocation to a point further from the bridge will result in increased sound radiating area, and an increase in the lower frequencies which are so ardently sought after by the players of these instruments.