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Publication numberUS3426638 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date11 Feb 1969
Filing date2 May 1966
Priority date2 May 1966
Publication numberUS 3426638 A, US 3426638A, US-A-3426638, US3426638 A, US3426638A
InventorsWalter E Smith
Original AssigneeWalter E Smith
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inclined guitar body
US 3426638 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 11, 1969 w. E. SMITH 3,426,638

INCLINED GUITAR BODY Filed May 2, 1966 I N VE N TOR.

Feb. 11, 1969 w. E. SMITH 3,426,638

INCLINED GUITAR BODY Filed May 2. 1966 Sheet 2 of 5 M I NOR SEVENTH MAJOQ Z3 E a INVENTOR. $4476! 6? 6711/77? BY im Feb. 11, 1969 w. E. SMITH INCLINED GUITAR BODY IIIIIIIII'. .4:

Filed May 2, 1.966

INVENTOR. M44766 6 544/729 United States Patent 3,426,638 INCLINED GUITAR BODY Walter E. Smith, Caldwell, Idaho 83605 Filed May 2, 1966, Ser. No. 546,949 US. Cl. 84-291 Int. Cl. GlOd 1/08, 3/00, 3/06 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to musical instruments of the lute type in which strings are tensioned over a bridge and a nut. The invention will be described in connection with guitars of the Spanish type and Hawaiian type, but it is to be understood that this is by way of illustration and not of limitation.

Conventional Spanish type guitars are commonly played by a musician while in standing position. The musician plucks or strums the strings with his right hand while forming chords by pressing the fingers of his left hand against the strings. This type of instrument has great appeal for entertainers because the motions of the hands of the musician are plainly visible to the audience, and because the musician may walk about the stage while playing the instrument.

The conventional Hawaiian type guitar, on the other hand, must be played while the musician is sitting down, because the musicians left hand is used to slide a metal bar along the length of the strings while the strings are plucked or strummed by fingers of the right hand. The conventional Hawaiian type guitar cannot be played while the musician is standing, because the strings then lie in a substantially vertical plane and it is not possible to operate the slide bar properly when the plane of the strings is vertical.

Accordingly, it is an important object of this invention to provide a Hawaiian type guitar which is played with a bar sliding on the strings and which may be played by a musician in standing position. Another object is to provide a guitar of either Spanish type or Hawaiian type having a body portion of novel shape which facilitates holding of the instrument by the standing musician.

These and other objects of the invention are achieved by slanting the plane of the strings with respect to a face of the body of the guitar, so that when the body of the guitar is held in an upright position by a standing musician, the plane of the strings is placed at an angle to the vertical.

In the drawings,

FIGURE 1 shows a guitar being played by a musician while in standing position.

FIGURE 2 is a front elevation of the guitar shown in FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 3 is a transverse sectional view taken substantially on the lines 33 as shown in FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 4 is a sectional view taken substantially on the lines 4-4 as shown in FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 5 is a diagram showing the pattern of the lateral spacing of the strings and showing the manner in which the strings are tuned in relation to a piano keyboard.

FIGURE 6 is a plan view of the fretboard.

FIGURE 7 is a front elevation showing a modification.

3,426,638 Patented Feb. 11, 1969 FIGURE 8 is a sectional view taken substantially on lines 8-8 as shown on FIGURE 7.

FIGURE 9 is a sectional view taken substantially on lines 9-9 as shown on FIGURE 7.

Referring to the drawings, the guitar generally designated 10 is supported by a strap 11 passing over the shoulder of themusician, the musician being shown in standing position in FIGURE 1. The guitar 10 has a body 12 provided with a flat rear face 13 and a substantially parallel front face 14. A longitudinal groove 15 ending in a shoulder 16 is provided in the front face 14. An integral stem 17 has a rib 18 on its lower face which extends into the groove 15 and has marginal faces 19 which rest on the upper face 14 of the body 12. The stem 17 is secured to the body 12 by means of one or more fastenings 20. The stem 17 includes a neck 21 having an inclined surface 22 to which a fretboard 23 is attached. An inclined nut 24 is mounted at one end of the fretboard adjacent the tuning head 25 having the string tightening units 26. An inclined bridge 27 is mounted on the stem 17 near the other end of the inclined surface 22, and a string anchor device 28 is also fixed on the stem 17. The strings 1-9 are tensioned over the inclined nut 24 and bridge 27 and each string extends to one of the string tightening units 26 on the tuning head 25. It will be observed that the tension of the strings is resisted solely by the stem 17 and is not imparted to the body 12. The common plane of the stringcontacting parts of the nut 24 and bridge 27 is inclined with respect to the parallel planes of the body faces 13 and 14. The inclination of the nut 24 and bridge 27 is such that the plane of the strings is at an angle to the vertical when the body surface 13 is held in a vertical position in contact with the body of the musician.

An electrical pick-up microphone unit 29 of conventional design is mounted on the inclined surface 23 of the stem 17 and is provided with the usual volume control and tone control knobs 31 and 32. A conventional jack 33 is provided for reception of the usual plug and electrical cables (not shown), for connecting the pick-up unit 29 to a conventional amplifier and speaker (not shown).

The lateral spacing and tuning of the nine strings are shown in the diagram of FIGURE 5. In this diagram the first string is tuned to the D above middle C, the second string to the D one octave therelbelow, the third string to the B below middle C, the fourth string to the second G below middle C, the fifth string to the G below middle C, the sixth string to the Bb below middle C, the seventh string to the same D as the second string, the eighth string to the F below middle C, and the ninth string to the Ab below .rniddle C. This tuning schedule for the strings applies before the slide bar 34 is touched to any of the strings. Accordingly, when strings I, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are sounded by plucking or strumming, a major chord in the key of G is produced. A G minor chord may be sounded by sounding strings 4, 5, 6 and 7. A major chord in Bb plus the sixth of the scale is produced by sounding the strings 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. This same chord is an inversion of a minor seventh chord. This unique stringing enables the musician to play chords and sequences of chords previously not possible with the conventional Hawaiian guitar, without skipping any strings. However, the sounding of groups of adjacent strings, without skipping any strings, produces these various chords in any key.

Strings 1 and 2 are tuned one octave apart, and strings 4 and 5 are tuned one octave apart. These two pairs of strings are cosely positioned so that either pair may be sounded almost simultaneously. The close spacing of strings 4 and 5 and the wide spacing between strings 5 and 6 provide a reference for the musician, as well as a teaching aid for a student, so that the proper strings may be plucked or strummed to produce the desired chord.

The fretboard 23 has an upper surface upon which there is provided a series of transverse lines 35 spaced at intervals along the length of the fretboard. The position of these lines 35 is such that when the strings are tuned in the manner set forth above and when the slide bar 34 is placed in contact with all ofthe strings directly above one of these lines, a chord in a desired key is produced by sounding certain of the strings. Moreover, these individual lines 35 carry indicia relating them to their respective chord root tones on the piano keyboard. Thus, two rectangular blocks 36 on opposite sides of one end of a line denote that the chord root tone corresponds to one of the black notes on a piano keyboard. For example, the first line at the beginning end of the series has a pair of rectangular blocks 36 adjacent the end of the line which underlies strings 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. This indicates to the musician that when the slide bar 34 is placed in contact with the strings directly over this line, a sharp or fiat is the root tone of the chord when strings 1, 2, 3, 4, are sounded. The legend 37 on this line indicates that this particular black note of the piano is Ab. However, the other end of this first line in the series which underlies string numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9, does not have any blocks similar to the blocks 35. This indicates that the root note of the chord corresponds to a white note on the piano and the symbol 38 shows that the particular white note is B. Large block letter type symbols A, B, C, D, etc., are placed on lines corresponding to root tones of the chords formed by sounding the strings with the slide bar 34 contacting the strings and in position over the particular line.

While FIGURE 6 shows a light background with dark symbols, legends, blocks, etc., it is to be understood that this is for ease of illustration, and any contrasting tones or colors may be used including a black background with white lines, symbols, legends, blocks, etc.

In the modified form of the invention shown in FIG- URES 7-9, the plane of the strings is inclined, as previously described, but this is accomplished by slanting the front surface 40 of the guitar body 41 with respect to the rear surface 42. In transverse cross-section, the body 41 is approximately wedge-shaped, as shown in FIGURE 8, so that when the rear surface 42 is held against the body of the musician the front surface 40 and the plane of the strings 43 are both inclined.

In this form of the invention the neck 44 is fixed by fastenings 45 to the central strut 46 extending through the interior of the body 41. The body shell forms an acoustical sound box and the usual opening 47 may be 5 provided in the upper surface 40. An electrical pick-up microphone unit 48 may be mounted on the upper guitar body surface near the inner end of the neck 44.

The thin side 49 of the body 41 may conveniently fit under the arm and against the body of the musician, the thick side of the guitar body facing downward.

I claim:

1. In a guitar, the combination of: a body having a front surface and a rear surface, a neck extending from one end of said body, said body being approximately wedge-shaped in cross-section transverse to the length of said neck, to form a thin side and a thick side, strings tensioned over the body and the neck inclined in a common plane, so that the thin side of said body may fit under the arm of a standing musician, with the plane of the strings inclined downward and away from the musician.

2. The structure of claim 1 in which the body comprises a hollow acoustic shell.

3. The structure of claim 1 in which the plane of the strings lies at an angle to said rear surface.

4. The structure of claim 1 in which the plane of the strings is parallel to said front surface.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 7/1929 Pedersen 84-267 11/1949 Frost 84314 FOREIGN PATENTS 4/ 1912 Austria. 4/1906 Great Britain.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1721710 *26 Dec 192523 Jul 1929 Musical instrument
US2489408 *23 Feb 194629 Nov 1949Frost Allan BFinger board for stringed musical instruments
AT53005B * Title not available
GB190608166A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4126073 *6 Jul 197621 Nov 1978Nippon Gakki Seizo Kabushiki KaishaElectric guitar
US5696337 *13 Feb 19969 Dec 1997Hall; Charles R.Concave finger board for stringed instruments
US5852249 *3 Jul 199722 Dec 1998Actodyne General, Inc.Elongated string support for a stringed musical instrument
US696506615 Jan 200315 Nov 2005Actodyne General, Inc.Elongated string support for a stringed musical instrument
US71834732 Aug 200427 Feb 2007Kaman Music CorporationErgonomic stringed instrument and ergonomic roundback guitar
US8957292 *3 Jun 201317 Feb 2015Steven J. ZerenStringed instrument with body including fingertip locating feature and methods of manufacture
US20050022650 *2 Aug 20043 Feb 2005Untermyer Frank I.Ergonomic stringed instrument and ergonomic roundback guitar
US20140352517 *3 Jun 20134 Dec 2014Steven J. ZerenStringed instrument with body including fingertip locating feature and methods of manufacture
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/291, D17/14, 84/293, 984/107, 84/314.00R, 84/267
International ClassificationG10D1/08
Cooperative ClassificationG10D1/08, G10D1/085
European ClassificationG10D1/08, G10D1/08B