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Gernot Wagner
( DE )

Lecture: Friday the 14th of may 2010 at 2 P.M.


  • Types of Composite Guitar Tops
  • Thoughts about guitar top acoustics
  • Facts about NOMEX honeycomb
  • Method of making a guitar composite top using NOMEX honeycomb
  • Vacuum glueing and the use of non-traditional glues in guitar top construction
  • Sources for materials used in composite top construction
  • Discussion

Rethinking the Soundboard
Germany's Gernot Wagner, who has firmly established himself on the European scene: "To really determine the potential and limitations inherent in the new design, it would be necessary to do methodical experiments with acousticians. Unfortunately, this exceeds the possibilities of the individual luthier, so the industry as a whole would have to become active."
Wagner's own research led to a lighter top without any loss of strength. His bracing is based on a fan pattern. But Wagner uses a sandwich top consisting of two ultrathin (about 0.6 mm) skins of cedar/spruce with a layer of NOMEX honeycomb in the middle.
This reduces the weight significantly. He says that the honeycomb gives him a structural effect similar to that of lattice-style bracing. "The use of NOMEX gives me control over the stiffness along and across the grain of the top." he says.
He stresses the importance of building a stress-free soundboard, and uses vacuum pressure to assist this process. He uses vacuum to glue braces, and he uses vacuum pressure when he glues the bridge to the guitar. Wagner relies on polyurethane glues that don't contain water or solvents (which can cause the wood to swell or shrink).

Gernot about himself:
I have made stringed instruments for more than 30 years. Started with steel string guitars, lutes, viuhelas, baroque guitars and now building only classical guitars (over 25 years). Since about 13 years building classical guitars with composite tops (double tops). More and more interest in musical and especially guitar acoustics. I am in close contact to acoustic scientists since years. My work is very plain and restricted to function, but meticulous. Building method and design is traditional (except the top construction). I just started to use a CNC machine for constructing guitar tops. I am always very interested in exchange of ideas with makers all over the world.

Links to other lecturers:
Ken ParkerGeorge LowdenUlrich TeuffelAndrea TacchiPaul FischerHans BeeckmanJacky WalraetKarel Dedain

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