Building the Ergonomic Guitar is now several months into its second year and I’m still as excited about it as I was on day one. Together, we’ve covered some ground discussing ergonomic guitar design and guitar making and I thank everyone for your contributions. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about our future direction so this weekend I sat down to review how it all got started, what I see as the blog’s purpose and where I see its content going.
How I Got Started
Building the Ergonomic Guitar got its start as a result of two particular issues. To begin with, I suffered from chronic back pain for many years. I was just getting back into practicing the guitar when I developed Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) from years in Information Technology. Together, these injuries propelled me toward researching guitar designs that might help alleviate or mitigate some of the discomfort. Certainly, I didn’t want to add to my woes. After some months of research and being something of a tinkerer, I decided I would explore the subject further by making my own electric guitar. In March 2006, I decided to document these two pursuits and my guitar blog Building The Ergonomic Guitar was born.
As I continued my research, a few things became apparent. First, I wasn’t the only guitar player (ok – would-be guitarist in my case) suffering from these conditions. There were plenty of musicians suffering from a variety of injuries related to their craft. Second, while alternatives existed, they weren’t well known among guitarists. Instead, many injured musicians continued to toil in pain while reducing the time they spent playing or giving up altogether. Third, these ergonomic instruments were just as capable of producing beautiful music as their less comfortable, conventional cousins. Just take a look at guitarists such as Adrian Legg, Jody Fisher, Joe Giglio and Xavier Padilla for proof.
Out of all of this grew a desire to get the word out that guitarists had alternatives and that these alternatives need not compromise musical vision. It was possible for a guitarist to suffer less for his or her art while still producing great music in the process. With back pain and RSI a growing societal issue, it stood to reason that ergonomics should enter the world of guitar design in the same way that we’ve seen it enter our homes and offices. And so, this guitar blog has grown beyond just documenting my first guitar project or bits and pieces of research into musician’s health and guitar building.
What you will find here is content both directly and indirectly related to ergonomic guitars. As you would expect, I feature designs by a number of professional luthiers such as Chris Forshage, Jerome Little, Leo Burrell, Linda Manzer and Jerome Barde. I also feature the work of several talented amateur guitar makers. In addition, you’ll find videos showcasing guitarists not only for their ergonomic instruments but to illustrate that great music does not rely on playing traditional instruments. And, of course, you’ll find documentation of my first guitar project as well as future projects. After all, this is how it all got started.
Final Comments and A Request
Whether through your comments or by contacting me directly, you’re participation helps this blog to grow and prosper. I thank you for it and hope to continue exploring these subjects with you.
Finally, I have but one small request and that is to get the word out about Building the Ergonomic Guitar. How? Tell your friends. Email someone an interesting article. Mention it on a guitar forum. Favorite the site or tag its articles on social bookmarking services. And, if you know of interesting resources or luthiers (professional or amateur), let me know!