The Silent guitar – Ethos Paradox
In our 40 odd years of experience as luthiers, we have concentrated on maximizing the sound and tonal qualities of acoustic instruments. So, as life sometimes bowls you over in its unpredictable ways, we were surprised by the challenge presented to us, to make a ‘silent guitar’ – what a paradox! The requirements were that it should have the same general feel, size and action as the customer’s concert classical guitar, but to produce minimal sound – even when played hard. The idea was to be able to practice freely without disturbing the family.
That end demanded a complete rethink of design. Retaining the essential characteristics of the performance instrument, with the omission of the fundamental property – the sound!
We came up with the notion of a very thick top (western red cedar – which is light weight) and too massive for the strings to vibrate much, fitted with edge blocks (mahogany), ergonomically located where the regular guitar contacts the player’s body. Since there is no sound box, there is no amplification. The dimensions and position of the neck match the original, as do the action and string spacing.
A silent success!