EP 5: Trevor Gore
Updated: Apr 9, 2018
There is something slightly contradictory about guitars, they are often aligned with progressive social movements and music, however their design has not changed significantly for 80 years and the physics behind their function is not well understood, including to many who design them. There is a similar contradiction with Trevor Gore. He builds guitars by hand, mostly without power tools, in a tiny timber shack on the edge of a river, looking out on nothing but untouched trees and water. It is the setting for an arcane craftsman, but Trevor uses a background in engineering to delve into the physics of the instrument and push the design of the acoustic guitar into the 21st century. His guitars don't look very different but under the skin they are built differently, and most importantly they sound different.
Trevor is not holding onto his secrets though, he travels around the world delivering workshops on guitar building and modal tuning and published a two volume book on guitar design and construction. The 800 page 'Contemporary Acoustic Guitar Design and Build' is the most in depth look at the physics behind the instrument and its application to designers and builders and was co-written with the veteran of Australian guitar building Gerard Gilet.
I have built a few guitars myself and am fascinated by the interplay of physics, engineering, craftsmanship and art that goes into musical instruments so I was excited to catch up with Trevor.