David Antony Reid: The Luthier’s Approach Guitar Making

When: Wednesday 15th March, 2017 @ 5:10 PM

Where: Room 4.31/4.33, Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh

Seminar Title

The Luthier’s Approach Guitar Making

Seminar Speaker

David Antony Reid (David Antony Reid Guitars, Perth, Scotland)

Seminar Abstract

At a seminar for the students and researchers of The University of Edinburgh, through demonstrations, examples of nature and the people who inspired him, David hopes to appeal to the scientific community to consider in detail some of the handmade musical instruments he shall display. He will explain why a scientific approach has been so difficult to pursue in lutherie, and why the guitar as an instrument has barely changed since its conception, in what is an extremely conservative market. David will discuss some of his own innovations, and will encourage audience participation and debate as to their scientific validity. His perspective draws on the famous words of Richard Feynman: “The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific ‘truth’ “. A demonstration of his diffraction slits shall be given, as will a demonstration of tuning wood itself, and the different sounds different materials produce. He will outline why he feels that a blend of wood needs to be used in current guitars, and also why we may need to change the materials guitar makers use in the future. The talk shall be coupled with a slide show and full explanation of the mechanical function of, and inspiration behind, the integral components of his instruments. A Q&A shall follow with the opportunity for any guitarists to try-out one of David’s multi award winning instruments.

Speaker Bio

David Antony Reid is a true “hand-maker” of bespoke, contemporary and innovative stringed, fretted instruments. He uses a mixture of traditional, self developed, and scientifically-based construction methods. As a multi award winning luthier, David takes up to 400 hours to craft and sculpt each of his guitars – an approach employed due to strong feelings regarding a constant touch-and-feel understanding of his materials and overall construction method. David has, in past times, developed what he feels to be a more energy efficient, multi reflection guitar back and sides design, increasing reverberation times; a multi modal guitar top, separating most frequencies delivered from the fretboard/strings in a more balanced manner; and diffraction slits around the peripheral of his vaulted backed guitars, further allowing for complete and utter control over bass, mids, and treble – within the realms of the given size of the instrument – when opening or closing different configurations of said slits. As well as these progressions, David has also developed a few other ergonomic and energy efficient innovations for the steel strung acoustic guitar, a musical instrument that has barely changed in a commercial sense for over 180 years. Forced in to retirement after 19 years of lutherie, as he is now suffering severe work-related repertory issues, instead of selling and exhibiting his wares world wide, David now wishes to venture in to the real scientific acoustic research of what is the world’s second most popular musical instrument (after the human voice!).