Design

Some Designing Layouts

The Design of each Osthoff guitar is a based on a combination of tradition and technology. John believes in the philosophy of "let's not re-invent the wheel" and tries to learn from what has worked in the past, yet keep an open mind toward new ideas. Guitar shapes are primarily based on traditional designs although John is usually willing to try to do something slightly out of the ordinary when it makes sense from a structural, tonal and aesthetic standpoint.

Although a dovetail joint will be used in most of John's Custom Series instuments, he was looking for a more modern approach to a neck joint that would make maintenance and adjustments easier. After a couple converstions and encouragement from Dana Bourgeois, John created a design of a removeable neck based loosely on Dana's idea. In the photo you can see a 12-fret neck where the fretboard extension block is shown. The trussrod slot is installed and now accessable from the headstock

New Neck Design
Diamond Volute

Some players wanted trussrod access from the headstock. This made sense to John too as it makes it easier to do an adjustment with the strings on. Now with the trussrod access at the headstock, a consideration for the removal of material out of the headstock should be made, so John added a diamond volute to the back. While contemplating the new design, John thought it made sense to use a rear headstock veneer too. It occured to him that he had seen this treatment done, before and with a little searching ended up at James Olson's site. Jim told John that he certainly was not the first one to use this type of treatment although he thought that adding purfling lines around the diamond was very rare and he thought that might be unique to him. Still Jim encouraged John to use the diamond volute and even the purfling lines. (Very classy)

When talking about the design of a guitar, a lot of thought goes into the structural elements, the tonewood, body shape etc. Another important factor is the aesthetic design. Shown in the next couple of pictures, is the way an idea can become a finished product. Here on the right, is a concept and sketch supplied by a customer for a rosette that he wanted.

A Customer Supplied Sketch
A more refined CAD drawing of Rosette

Some refinement was done, and the sketch was made a little more formal and sent to the customer for approval. Next, we talked about what materials to use for the rosette.

With the help of our Graphics Guy, we tried ebony on koa, but settled on using Brazilian Rosewood on a a maple background, with the rosewood for the outer purflings.

Rosette Concept Graphic
The Finished Rosette

Here is a look at the completed Rosette. From idea, to sketch, to a more refined sketch, choosing materials, to the final product.

John hopes to add more information about design over the course of time. Also, see the Research Page for more information on about some of the acoustical design properties that go into his guitars