Later I spent over a year researching the construction of musical instruments for a book project. While in libraries all over the country I also researched the Kithara. There is very little known about them and NO extant examples of them or complete examples in sculpture. The one above was designed after studying every available vase painting and the few things written. It was built for a "show and tell" item at an American Musical Instrument Society meeting where I presented it and the book project. It was my luck that this group consisted of museum curators and other authors all looking for project financing too.
Musical Instruments - The Guitar
I found my son Patrick, age 16 making a miniature guitar out of balsa wood and I asked,
"Why don't you build the real thing?"
The reply was an obvious, "I don't know how. . "
And I said, "I'll teach you." And I got one of those "Oh SURE" looks. . .
We started on some research into laying out the frets which turned out to be one of those not very well known things and then designing the guitar. It was Patrick's original design idea to use two overlapping triangles laid out with a compass for the body. His had a triangular sound hole and a trapeze bridge and mine (above) had a round sound hole and fixed bridge.
The guitars were made from local walnut, old ebony supplied by a friend, spruce bought new along with some other materials. The necks were aluminium reinforced and dovetailed into the body with a tapered dovetail. The fixtures for bending and gluing up the bodies were almost as big a project as building the instruments. They were built over a period of two summers between the two kithara above.