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?
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]