[SNEC] Harmos' steel guitars use Buckminster Fuller's structure principles

Chris Fearnley cjf@CJFearnley.com
Thu, 15 Apr 2004 15:14:39 -0400

This is an interesting piece about T. Sage Harmos' steel guitars.  The
relevant part referencing Buckminster Fuller follows:

"It started with an argument in the musicians' community about what made
for great tone in an instrument," Harmos says. "Most people at that time
this was 15 years ago  thought that in order for an instrument to have
good tone, it had to be heavy."

A fan of engineer and inventor R. Buckminster Fuller, Harmos instead
proposed that a guitar's tone had more to do with its rigidity. Among
other things, Fuller is credited with inventing the geodesic dome, a
lightweight structure with no internal supports.

"I took Bucky Fuller's geodesic design and applied it to a musical
instrument," says Harmos, who chose to build a steel guitar after
falling in love with the pure sound of the instrument. "Not only was
this a most delightful exercise in both science and art, but it also
allowed me to demonstrate my belief that beauty is as important in this
world as food and shelter."

Harmos' steel guitars, which weigh just three to four pounds, are built
on a framework of intertwined tetrahedra and octahedra. Unlike
solid-bodied guitars, Harmos says, the vibrations of the stiff, open
frames don't alter the instruments' music.


It is not for me to change you.  The question is, how can I be of service
to you without diminishing your degrees of freedom?
  -- Buckminster Fuller

Christopher J. Fearnley          |  Explorer in Universe
Chris@CJFearnley.com             |  Design Science Revolutionary
http://www.CJFearnley.com        |  "Dare to be Na´ve" -- Bucky Fuller