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* Guitar-making class strikes a chord with students

February 28, 2008

Purdue to offer guitar making class July 16-20

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Music aficionados can learn from the pros how to craft, engineer and customize their own solid-body electric guitar on July 16-20 as part of a weeklong summer workshop being offered at Purdue University.

The class will meet daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Knoy Hall of Technology, Room 106, and Michael Golden Labs, rooms 1208 and B217.

The $1,295 fee includes all materials and supplies. Workshop participants will learn the practical and technical aspects of making guitars. The class is not for credit, and no previous experience with guitar making is necessary.

On the first day, attendees will get a complete kit of materials, including a guitar body and neck with most of the machining already completed. Participants will then be able to tailor the final shape of the body and neck, as well as add other custom touches, such as paint and adding the participants' initials on the neck plate and a truss rod cover with the letter "P," which will be decorated in Purdue's colors of black and gold.

Instructors will include Tim Shaw, a senior designer from Fender Guitars; Don MacRostie, head of product design for Stewart-MacDonald; and Brian Swerdfeger, a product developer from Taylor Guitars. Swerdfeger also runs guitar clinics around the country for Taylor.

Several Purdue faculty will be on hand to share their expertise in advanced manufacturing, guitar making and musical acoustics. One is Mark French, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology who has visited Taylor Guitars' headquarters in El Cajon, Calif., and spent two days doing structural dynamics testing on about 60 acoustic guitars as they came through Taylor's factory. French also teaches a class during the academic year on instrument manufacturing and testing in which students build and test an acoustic guitar.

Brad Harriger, a professor of manufacturing engineering technology, will offer insights on advanced manufacturing processes. Richard Couch, director of engagement at Purdue's Center for Advanced Manufacturing, will draw on his years of experience in large-scale manufacturing and is also a skilled guitarist, having played in bands for 30 years.

Corporate workshop sponsors include Seymour Duncan, which is providing gold-covered 1959-type humbucker pickups for every instrument, and Stewart-MacDonald and Fender, which will be providing some of the other hardware. For more information about the class, to sign up or to view a prototype of the guitar, go to http://cpt255.tech.purdue.edu/metal/

For questions about registration, contact Beth Scharf at (765) 496-3978, bcscharf@purdue.edu. For questions about program content, contact French at (765) 494-7521, rmfrench@purdue.edu. Registration is limited to 24 participants.

Writer: Kim Medaris, (765) 494-6998, kmedaris@purdue.edu

Source: Mark French, (765) 494-7521, rmfrench@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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