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The Physics of a “Just Right” Guitar

A 68-millimeter-thick instrument produces the best-quality sound
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Kazutaka Itako, an electrical engineer at the Kanagawa Institute of Technology in Japan, has played the guitar since he was six years old. Satoshi Itako, who has a master's degree in electrical engineering, works as a guitar fabricator. Together the brothers have been investigating the optimal shape for guitars.

Experts have settled many questions relating to the best shape for violins, but far less research has been done on guitars. The Itakos' preliminary work, presented in May at the Acoustics 2012 conference in Hong Kong, looks at one variable: guitar depth. They crafted four nearly identical instruments, ranging from 58 to 98 millimeters deep.

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