Charles Fox and The Ergo Acoustic Guitar

Luthier Charles Fox builds gorgeous acoustic guitars with top notch materials and craftsmanship. That much anyone can gather from perusing his main site – Charles Fox Guitars. But did you know he has a separate site dedicated to his ergonomic acoustic guitar line?

ergo guitar

Over at Ergo Fine Guitars, you can indulge not only in the beauty of his guitars but appreciate the ergonomic refinements he has included in his Ergo line. Among these are the following:

  • Wedge Design – Seen before in Linda Manzer’s Wedge Acoustic Guitar, the wedge design brings the elbow closer to the body reducing stress and strain on the shoulder joint. This is a great benefit to those who suffer from bursitis, for example.
  • Elevated Fretboard – The elevated fretboard improves access to the higher frets.
  • Compound Fingerboard Radius – Beginning at 10″ at the nut and ending at 24″ high on the neck, it lends itself to easy chording low on the neck and easier single note runs high up.

I recently asked Charles Fox what prompted him to become involved in ergonomic guitar design and this is what he had to say:

Many reasons for addressing the ergonomics of the instrument, but for me the most compelling is to further optimize playability. The same features that allow players to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome and other such physical issues also extend the limitations of the instrument, allowing musicians to play better than they had imagined themselves to be capable of.

While not the radical guitar design seen in the acoustic-electric Bardophone guitar, the Ergo line is a fine addition to the gallery of designs that take ergonomics seriously.

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8 Responses to “Charles Fox and The Ergo Acoustic Guitar”

  1. Those designs are gorgeous. Great list of lutherie links as well. Thanks.

  2. This is an attractive guitar. I’d rather see slight alterations to the traditional design to improve playability, rather than re-inventing the guitar as a whole shebang.

    1. It truly is a beautiful guitar but this is probably about as traditional an instrument as you’ll see around here. However, I think it’s important to show these as well. Change has to start somewhere and this is certainly a step in the right direction. It acknowledges that the guitar’s form should change to consider the human playing it without sacrificing its very nature. And, as you can tell by the guitars on the site, I consider the traditional shape as inherent to the nature of guitars as cars needing to look like horseless carriages. :)

    2. To my way of thinking, this IS just a few slight alterations rather than a re-invent. :-)

      Sure is purdy.

  3. True North Guitars/Dennis Scannell is building very fine wedge design guitars as well.

    1. I’m with you Phil. And, I’d enjoy featuring them on the site. Whenever possible, I try to reach the subject of an article to touch base on details as well as give them an opportunity to share further insights. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get True North to reply to my inquiries about their instruments.

      1. Hi Robert–

        I just stumbled upon this page with your comment that you haven’t been able to get me to reply to your inquiries about my instruments. I’m sorry to hear this, although I can’t imagine why that would be unless perhaps you sent an email that was incorrectly trapped by a spam filter(?) I do try to reply to all inquiries. Please try again — I’d be happy to speak with you.

        Regards,
        Dennis Scannell
        TRUE NORTH GUITARS

      2. Hi Dennis! Good to hear from you! I sent you an email follow up this morning.