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Designing Gender Inclusive Guitars

Gender inclusive shaping

As a famous song once informed us, this is a man’s world. Although James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome weren’t talking about guitars, their observations about inventions over time being designed and built by men is certainly true. 

It follows, therefore, that many things in the world are designed and built based on the male form, making them comfortable, safe, and effective for men – much in the same way that many things are designed and built for right-handed people.

This, however, means that in some instances, they are not perfect for the female form, and this can certainly be the case when it comes to guitars. We understand that the more comfortable that you feel, generally the better you play. Getting the right guitar not only in terms of its sound but also how it feels to play, therefore, is essential.

Clearly, everybody is different, and one of the advantages of having a bespoke or custom guitar is that you can be involved in the design process and create the perfect guitar for you – whether it is the shape, size, weight, or other aspects of the guitar. This applies to both men and women, of course. Enter the gender inclusive guitars.

Designing Gender Inclusive Guitars

One of the elements in guitar design are the relief cuts for arm and belly. There are a several ways that guitar design can be made more gender inclusive, without compromising on sound and tone and making it more comfortable for most women to play. These include the guitar’s shape, weight and size.

Guitar Shape

All bodies are different, of course, but it is not uncommon that the shape of the guitar can make playing it more difficult for some women. The shape of a guitar – although based on the female form, is not always conducive to being comfortably played by women.

A guitar that has been designed with the female form in mind will often have a more curvaceous shape and contours, perhaps with an additional rear cut-away. This means that the guitar lies comfortably across the female body, enhancing its playability.

Guitar Weight

For many women, it can be more comfortable to play an instrument that is on the lighter side. Lightness in guitar design can be achieved in a number of ways without compromising on the quality of the sound. This means that less effort is required to support the weight, and more can be put into playing effectively. 

Options to reduce guitar weight include:

  • Wood type – Lighter wood can be used for the body and the neck of the guitar which can reduce the instrument’s overall weight. The type of wood that is used for the guitar body especially, can have a substantial impact on the resonance & tone of the guitar. It is important, therefore, that the right kind of wood is used – both in terms of its weight, but also its sound.
  • Guitar body – A technique that can be used to make the body of the electric guitar lighter, is to chamber it. This means removing some wood from the inside of the instrument, making it semi-hollow, thus reducing its weight. The holes are then covered with a wood top or cap.
  • Smaller – It stands to logic that the smaller a guitar is, the less wood is used, and therefore, the lighter it can become. As long as the wood that is being used is not extra heavy, this is another way that the weight of the instrument can be reduced.

Guitar Size

Many women have a smaller body frame than men, and this can make playing the guitar uncomfortable, meaning that you over-stretch and at times and can be ergonomically damaging.

The size of the guitar’s body and also neck can be adjusted. This means that not only is it more comfortable to hold, but, in the case of the neck, for example, it can be easier to play for those who have smaller hands or a shorter reach.

The story of having to continuously adjust straps and feeling uncomfortable when playing for a substantial amount of time is one that many female guitarists will be familiar with. Having the right instrument can affect everything from your style of playing, to how long you can play for, so choosing the best one for you is important.

Gender Inclusive Guitars – Conclusion

Whatever your body type is, whether you are male or female – or indeed whether you are right or left-handed, finding the guitar that is perfect for you in both build and sound is critical.

Contact Munson Guitars for details on designing gender inclusive guitars.

About the author

Carl has managed several multinational technology companies and has founded a handful of successful start-ups during his career. Coming back to his roots, and inspired by three generations of craftsmen, Carl co-founded and put his name to Munson Guitars, a British custom guitar builder that brings together a passion for working with wood, electronics and the innovations that digital technology enables.

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