Sinuous: The Guitar Designed Like an Eames Chair

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Musical styles come and go but electric guitar designs—not so much. Any design that doesn't fit within a few long-accepted cookie-cutters is met with contempt. Cars and toasters have been updated to reflect more sophisticated thinking, so why haven't guitars?

Image for article titled Sinuous: The Guitar Designed Like an Eames Chair

Sinuous Guitars are different from the mainstream, and no surprise, it's because they're inspired by actual design principles rather than mantra. In an interview spotted by Core77 on the Herman Miller site, designer Greg Opatik says that unlike guitars, his are shaped to fit the body of the player.

I was not interested in designing and building another knock-off guitar; the world doesn't need any more of them. I approached this with a process that Charles Eames help develop and, in the end, I have a guitar that has a very sculptural form with a comforting feel and performs like something defined as an "instrument" should perform. The true difference is in how the guitar body conforms to your body. It gets rid of that feeling of playing a plank of wood and feels very natural. Some guitar manufacturers try solving this by cutting out the backs of guitars for comfort, but can only go cut so deep because it is a flat board. The process I use allows me to bend the solid-wood body into a shape to hug your body and also roll away where you do not want it to hit you, all while keeping the guitar thin and without unwanted weight. And the process is repeatable-at an affordable price.

Electric guitars are beautiful, but its always bothered me that the core technology and the aesthetic design hasn't evolved much since the 1960s. Electric guitars, for the most part, are flat, solid, resonant pieces of wood stuffed with electronics. (After all, Les Paul famously named his electric guitar prototype "The Log.") In fairness, some designs are carved to take modest account of the people who actually need to play the instrument. Certain technologies have been introduced—Floyd Rose tremolo, Gibson Firebird X, and the Moog Guitar come to mind. But in the mainstream, everything is basically the same. That's not to say that my Les Paul sounds bad or that my Stratocaster looks ugly. I'm only saying that if a designer were to start from the ground up right now, he'd probably come up with something different from the status quo. [Herman Miller via Core77]



Am I the only one that thinks it still looks mostly like a normal cookie-cutter guitar?

I don't have a problem with the aesthetics of guitars at all, with the exception of sitting down to play some larger acoustics can be difficult because they're so thick...

You're right though. A lot of guitarists seem to be pretty close-minded about guitar design, or even features. I play an '83 Takamine GZ-300 that weighs about 20 pounds. Others who play it say I'm crazy for wanting to stand around with it on my shoulder, and that starburst maple looks cheap, or it's got scratches, a bit of rust on the humbuckers, apparently. Sometimes they even complain about the fact that it's just plain old. How could something from the early 80s sound as good as modern guitar? HMMM

I just pluck a string and leave the room to take a leak. When I come back, I mute the string.

Sometimes I pick it up, pluck a string, and startle everyone who didn't realize my amp was on with a guitar plugged in to it. :)

I feel like aesthetics are entirely secondary in the guitar (or any instrument) world. Making a finely engineered device that sounds good to the ear is all that matters for me.