Dowling Sound Labs

Technophonic Guitars

I have been playing and repairing guitars and other stringed instruments for more than 40 years. One day I was playing my wooden acoustic guitar while sitting on a metal porch swing that had large sheet metal arm rests. When my wooden acoustic touched the metal arm rests the sound got louder. It showed me that metal might make a usable material for a guitar. I eventually made my first all metal bodied guitar and after spending some time setting it up and tuning it in – it turned out to be a great sounding guitar. I added a Fishman under saddle pickup and it became my working guitar for the next 14 years or so. I call it ET because of the look the 2 sound holes give it.

I repair guitars and I see how wood reacts to string pull, moisture, heat and age. Wooden instruments tend to move, distort and age to a point that they will no longer work correctly. I really enjoy working with wood – its easy to cut and glue, it smells nice and all like that. But wood is adversely affected by heat, moisture and continuous pressure. I engineering terms wood is a “gel”. Guitar sides are formed by bending flat wood in a heated fixture with moisture – it bends rather easily. Wood also “ages” and gains strength and stiffness over time. A resulting problem is that if a bowed neck ages long enough it may be impossible to straighten it by using the truss rod.

I am a mechanical engineer and cad designer so I designed ET on a state of the art 3D solids modeling cad system. The tops are cut by a laser to +/-.003″. The laser cutter is driven by the cad files I send to the laser shop via the internet. If I was hired to engineer an acoustic guitar I would look at the properties of available materials and make some choices. Wood would not be on the list ! I would make the necks from a composite material and the bodies from materials like glass/epoxy sheet, carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium, etc… So..I did. The Technophonic guitars that I now make and offer for sale Use Phenolic composite necks and aluminum bodies. I now also Moses Carbon / Graphite necks.

My guitar – ET – and the new OM Jumbos prove to me and the others who hear them that it is possible to make a very good sounding guitar from these materials that does not react to heat, humidity or string pull. These guitars can be hosed down or thrown into a lake – and still remain stable. When we think of guitars and other stringed instruments they are almost always wood. Even electric guitars are made of – wood. It should be noted that the main variant from this theme is the National metal bodied resonator guitars. These guitars show how effective technology can be when used to make stringed instruments. I have spent my spare time over the past decade trying to perfect the sound of my guitars. My latest model – the OM Jumbo with a proprietary Composite material bracing system has achieved a sound comparable to the best wooden acoustic guitars.

Here are some advantages to “technophonic” stringed instruments.

  1. These guitars never change. They are not affected by heat, humidity or string pull.
  2. The materials are ecologically sane – aluminum is the well known recycled metal.
  3. The flash factor is of value to the performer – especially the professional.
  4. No VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are generated for finishing – no sprayed finishes – the neck and body are simply polished. Leaving the atmosphere in better shape.

PLUS – you can use the polished metal body as a mirror for shaving or signaling aircraft if you are lost in the wild………

In addition to the standard OM Jumbo model I can make guitars to order with any shape or body thickness. The current price is $2000 plus shipping. I can also install any pickup system for a very reasonable price. I require half the money to start and the balance prior to shipping. The guitar is guaranteed for life. If you are not happy with it I will change it to your liking, give you your money back or make you another one with the same guarantees. If you are looking for something special that has better performance and stability than wood – consider a Technophonic guitar. Check out the pictures and click on the links to the youtube videos that showcase the OM Jumbo guitars and some of the previous models.