Dynamic Voicing Seminar – 32 hrs

Acoustic guitar voicing is a very challenging, but essential skill for any instrument builder. Traditionally, it takes luthiers most of their careers to develop an understanding of instrument tone and how to shape it. Something this vital should not be left to chance, and it’s not necessary for you to spend your own years of trial and error in the hopes that you’ll rediscover this knowledge.

Our voicing classes, introduced in 2010, are the result of five years of intense research and development into exploring and explaining voicing. We’ve deeply studied the structure of too many guitars to count, measuring, record-keeping, examining each element with computer-assisted audio gear, recording and comparing our findings. In these five years, we’ve built, tested and destroyed more experimental guitars than we care to think about!

But the result is more than worth it. We now have a unique and systematic approach that blends traditional intuitive building methods with modern technology and measurement techniques. Our course is built on information that is measurable, understandable, and teachable. It will help luthiers of every skill level build better and more consistent instruments. It has helped us build finer and finer instruments, and it will help you.

This voicing training is now built into the Galloup School’s Journeyman Program, and it’s expanded in our Master Program. We’re also offering this training as an independent seminar, open to everyone

This four-day seminar presents the theory and practical techniques of acoustic instrument voicing. The lessons are delivered in both lecture and lab format: you’ll receive the theory, clearly explained, then you’ll apply the concepts by making and voicing your own top during the class. With this lecture/lab combination, you’ll genuinely understand voicing and see for yourself how this knowledge will affect your building.

“This knowledge has a huge impact. It has such a payoff in the students’ future and career… This is the ability to control and improve tone with every instrument they build from here on.”
- Bryan Galloup

Four days (32 hours) of class time, covering all three levels of Dynamic Voicing as taught in our Master Program. Materials are included. $3,000
DYNAMIC VOICING, LEVEL 1 – Advanced Principles of Instrument Design and Construction
The physics of sound as applied to acoustic guitars. How does a guitar work? Which parts actually produce sound and can be adjusted by the builder?

Topics covered:

  • What is sound, and how does it function?
  • Compressions and rarefactions (the slinky model)
  • Human hearing range
  • How the guitar body works to create sound
  • The physics of a vibrating string
  • Fundamentals and harmonics
  • What is resonance
  • The Helmholtz Resonator, complex oscillator
  • Understanding and using tap tones
  • Selecting materials: density and strength-to-weight
  • Bracing: its function and various approaches
  • Voicing the braces
  • The effects of body geometry
  • How volume and porting alter air resonance
  • How changes in plate size affect plate resonance

DYNAMIC VOICING, LEVEL 2 – Materials Measurement and Data Collection
New concepts in measurement and data collection, helping the student understand and quantify the material properties of wood.

Topics covered:

  • Using measurements to select materials
  • The value of quality materials
  • Importance of record keeping
  • New data collection methods
  • Material properties of wood: density, modulus of elasticity,
  • Determining Modulus of Elasticity
  • Dynamic and static determination of Modulus of Elasticity
  • How to obtain and measure a tap tone
  • Using an FFT analyzer
  • Speed of sound and quality
  • Thickness sanding to a deflection
  • Utilizing MOE, speed of sound, quality measurements
  • Setting standards for top plates

DYNAMIC VOICING, LEVEL 3 – Applying Voicing Knowledge in Building
Building on the foundation established in Voicing 1 and 2 through practical application. Setting aside any bias about what is the best tone, the builder’s challenge is creating the conditions that deliver the particular tone needed from a particular guitar.

Topics covered:

  • Review: overview of material testing
  • Applying your measurements
  • The purpose of voicing
  • Brace carving: scalloping, tapering and other carving methods
  • Practical application and demonstration of top voicing
  • Back tuning
  • Measuring the final resonances
  • Tuning body resonances
  • Summary, conclusions