On the road - Daniel Annetta

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UTS 2020 Honours - On the road - Daniel Annetta

On the Road:

Travelling With


Dissertation by

Daniel Annetta

University of Technology, Sydney



The process and construction of this project was

conducted at a difficult time all around the world due

to the corona virus pandemic meaning a lot of work

was done remotely at home via video calls and emails.

I would like to thanks the efforts of Cathy Lockhart

and Gianfranco Lassandro who helped to guide

me through this design and shape the process to

deliver the best possible outcome. Especially at such

a difficult time to always make themselves available

online to answer questions and provide insight when


I would also like to acknowledge the staff of the UTS

workshop who with their many years of experience

and knowledge provided much advice in the

construction of this project.


Found within the context of this dissertation are a

series of chapters outlining the work put into this

project throughout the year. Starting with the area

of travel guitars and their current problems they may

cause and issues people having using them. I explore

the possibilities to adapt and improve this design

through a series of research methods. The main

focus is the idea of being able to travel with a full size

electric guitar which can condense in size to fit as

carry on luggage.


Abstract 1

Chapter 1: Introduction 3

Chapter 2: Literature Review 15

Chapter 3: Research Questions and Hypotheses 31

Chapter 4: Research Methodology 37

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings 57

Chapter 6 Conclusion 81

Reference List 96


To identify a design opportunity this dissertation

explores the history and trends in the development

of the electric guitar. The design intervention derives

from the hassle and risks of flying on planes with

guitars as they can be easily damaged in transit, but

if stored with you on the plane damage is minimised.

This project aims to find a solution for the average

musician on an average income that flies in the

economy class.

It explores the introduction of the travel guitar, a

smaller substitute of the electric guitar, to make

this travel easier. Through the evaluation of this

instruments function and feel the possible design

interventions were identified. To retain the feel of

a full-sized guitar was essential, as was the ability

to store it in an overhead locker when travelling

on an aircraft. The ease of how the instrument was

manipulated between modes was another key element

to consider.

The final design utilises a number of analog

mechanisms to manage and manipulate the guitars

elements, so that when in playing mode has the look

and feel of a standard instrument but when traveling

takes up no greater space than standard cabin



Chapter 1:




Ever since guitars and guitar like instruments have

existed, musicians have been performing music to

entertain those around them. Thanks to modern

travel and the internet it has become much easier for

musicians to get work interstate and overseas and

travel to these places. But musicians struggle with one

thing when travelling like this and that is transporting

a lot of expensive gear long distances on a flight

where you have limitations to what and how much

luggage you can bring with you. So how are their

problems being dealt with and what are the design


Background and context

Being a musician who has to travel great distances in

order to maintain work and earn enough money has

its challenges. One of the biggest issues is to travel

the world and transport your guitar with you.

To overcome the issues identified a number of travel

guitars have been developed. They use the full scale

neck just like a regular electric guitar however there

are a number of shortfalls in the current design. So

have these travel guitars truly solved the problem for a

travelling musician or have they missed the mark

Chapter 1: Introduction | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


creating merely the illusion that the problem

is solved? This project aims to supply a third

option to the musician who can’t afford to pay

extra baggage fees but needs a full size guitar

to perform for their shows and do not wish to

use a current travel guitar. They do not want to

risk their instrument getting damaged in transit

because they can’t fit it on the plane. This project

looks at offering a guitar which allows for the play,

experience and feel of a full size guitar with the

comfort and compactability of a travel guitar to

create the most seamless travel experience with a

guitar possible.

Problem Statement

To currently get a full size guitar on a plane means

you must pay for extra and oversized baggage. Once

you are on the plane most musicians then spend

the entire flight anxious and nervous hoping your

guitar is in one piece at the other end after going

through all the baggage handling. Current travel

guitars lack the build for performance and lack the

ability for a strong connection with the user. The

problem here is it is hard to travel without peace of

mind not knowing how your guitar might end up at

the end of your journey and knowing a travel guitar

is not up to the standards to perform with in a live

show experience.

Chapter 1: Introduction | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Statement of Purpose and Research


The aim of this project is to deliver a well crafted

instrument that has all the same capabilities as a full

size electric guitar and performs just as well. Further

it is also easy to travel with and removes the hassle

of oversized luggage and anxiety over damaged

instruments. The redesigned travel guitar will utilise

similar design cues as a full size guitar to connect with

the user on an emotional, excitable and passionate

level. Is it possible to design a full size guitar in a

way that it can adapt and compact for travel? With

Particular focus on the electronics, the tuning and the

string tension.

Research Approach

There are many limitations that need to be considered

during the design and development of this project

with one key factor being the size allowed for carryon

baggage on planes. To understand musicians

experiences and issues with air travel is key.

Chapter 1: Introduction | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


As well as the travel aspect the function of the guitar

is very important to the success of this product. A

guitar is made up of many components and relies on

accurate placement of elements to ensure strings stay

tuned and sit at the right level. In order to make sure

all these features still work for this travel guitar they

need to be tested and put to the test through a series

of prototypes and models which can help provide the

best possible solutions to each working part of the

guitar. As there are many components to a guitar this

means a lot of testing and retesting of parts to ensure

an instrument will be produced that cannot fail mid


This research utilises both qualitative and quantitative

research to fully understand the circumstances of the

musician and the requirements of their instrument.


When travelling by air there are particular problems

which may affect travellers in different ways. Whether

it be delays in a flight, extra baggage fees, the long

lines at security or a baby crying the whole time on a

15 hour flight, there are many factors that can cause a

bad flying experience. One of the main issues that a

musician knows about the inconvenience of air

Chapter 1: Introduction | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


travel is the difficulty of travelling with an oversized

and odd shaped instrument, which means extra

baggage fees and the possibility of a broken item at

the other end of your flight.

For a guitarist, they want a few things out of the guitar

that they use. First it must look good. Nobody wants

to go out on stage looking like they are shedding on

a broomstick. Second it has to feel right, the right

shape and the feel of the material has to make it

comfortable and easy to play. And thirdly it has to

sound great. You pay for quality and you expect the

work put into the electronic components and the pick

ups to be the best you can afford.

Chapter 1: Introduction | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


The Researcher

I am a creative and innovative young designer with

a passion for prototyping, 3D Cad modelling and

showcasing extensive knowledge in 3D Printing. As

a graduate from the University of Technology with a

Bachelor of Integrated Product Design, I have been

studying design for over six years but designing things

for as long as I can remember. For over ten years I

have also been studying music and playing multiple

instruments, in particular the guitar. Just like design

where I get to design, sketch and create my own

ideas, music allows me to write, create and perform

music through live shows and music recordings.

These two passions in my life have led me to go down

this path and develop a new style of travel guitar as I

know about the current struggle of travelling with an

instrument. Being able to have extensive knowledge

about the workings and importance of guitar

mechanics and the design background to completely

redesign it allows for an exciting and challenging path

to open new possibilities into the way we travel with

guitars and perform.

Chapter 1: Introduction | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Rationale and significance

If musicians are unable to travel for work because

it becomes too hard or risky to travel with their

guitar, then this means less work for them and less

income. By travelling with their instruments they are

constantly faced with the issue of extra travel fees,

hassles in check in and risk of damaged goods. Peace

of mind is key to a relaxing journey and knowing

they have the best of both worlds in a guitar that not

only performs well, but looks and feels good and is

compact means you never have to worry about the

hassle ever again. It means you can have access to a

world full of potential job opportunities and not have

to worry about being stuck in one place to perform. It

keeps all the control in the hands of the user and the

guitar never has to leave your side creating a seamless

travel experience.

Chapter 1: Introduction | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Definitions of key terminology

Full scale length: The distance from the nut of the

guitar all the way to the saddle. Typically around 25.4

inches in length

Electric guitar: A guitar which houses pickups used

to convert string vibrations into sound signals to be


Travel guitar: Guitars much smaller than a full size

guitar but still uses a full size scale length.

For the full list of hardware that makes up a guitar and

what they are refer to pages 20 - 22.

Chapter 1: Introduction | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Chapter 2:

Literature Review


History of the Guitar

The first concept of a guitar is said to have been

created during the early 16th century somewhere

in Spain boasting a more narrow and deep body

design compared to modern guitar similar to the

lute. Unlike most guitars today with six strings, this

guitar had 4 with a tuning of C-F-A-D matching

the tuning style of the lute. Over the years slowly

more strings were added with 5 string guitars

being played by 1600 and six by the 18th century.

By 1800 the guitar had 6 strings with the tuning

E-A-D-G-B-E, which is still the standard tuning

for all guitars today (The Editors of Encyclopaedia


By the 19th century the body of the guitar had

changed drastically with it becoming broader and

shallower, with the neck also now being glued

inside a small cavity in the body of the guitar

which gave better stability from the tension of the

strings. During this time Antonio Torres made

major innovations towards the guitar such as its

iconic shape and classic build, later creating what is

known today as the classical guitar (Guitar History

Facts, 2020).

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


For classical guitars, the electric trend started with

the first electric guitar being produced in 1931 by

Rickenbacker Electro known as the frying pan

guitar seen in Figure 2.1 (Wendkos, 2010) . The

build and style of this guitar resembles some of the

features of a travel guitar today with a small body

shape and single pick up design. In 1941 Les Paul

created the Les Paul Log guitar. Using a block of

wood as the body he mounted two pick-ups onto

it and attached a neck. To give it appeal he took a

current guitar design and sawed the body in half

attaching each half to either side of the block of

wood (Thanki, 2017).

Figure 2.1: Rickenbacker Electro, Frying pan Guitar

Between 1948 and 1954 three styles of guitar were

created which are arguably the three most popular

designs for a guitar to date. With the Fender

company creating their Telecaster and Stratocaster

guitars and Gibson creating their Les Paul guitar.

Fenders designs were seen as a large step forward

in the guitar industry creating a public craze when

they released their guitars (Duffy & Siegle, 2019).

Gibson, determined to match Fender’s success,

hired guitarist Les Paul to consult on their design.

Les Paul designed between 50 and 60 prototypes

before he found his final design (Guitar Master

Class, 2009). Over the years more guitar companies

began to sprout and design new and innovative

guitars. Such as Ibanez developing the 7-string

guitar in the early 90’s and PRS experimenting with

expensive materials to create high end guitars.

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Although today Fender and Gibson still hold the

top spots for most popular guitars.

The electric travel guitar was developed in the early

90s by Traveller with companies such as Taylor and

Yamaha designing and selling their own versions

over the years. The travel guitar is a small guitar

that uses a full or nearly full scale neck. Its small

sizes and light weight allows guitarists to bring

them on the go as mainly a means of practicing

while away from home. Traveller Guitar seen in

figure 2.2 is one of the leading manufacturers

in travel guitars boasting a large range of travel

guitars. While their range is quite large they all

display similar features which allow them to be

travel size. Such as no head stock, removed pickup

and cutaway bodies (Traveller Guitars, 2020).

These features are what make it not resemble a full

size guitar. While a company by the name of Ciari

Guitars has tried to address this issue by creating

a full size guitar which folds at the neck to make it

half the size for travel. Released in 2019 the guitar

is a first of its kind using large mechanics in the

body to de-tension the strings and be able to fold

the neck in half (Ciari Guitars, 2019)

Figure 2.2: Traveller Guitar

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Break down of a


According to Guitarist Source (2008) the average electric guitar is made up of many

components, this includes:

Tuning pegs/Machine heads: Each has one string wrapped around them and are

twisted to adjust the tension of the string to tune the guitar.

Headstock: They vary in shape and size depending on the manufacturer but it is where

the tuning pegs sit.

Truss Rod: The rod sits within the neck of the guitar and is used to slightly bend the

neck by tightening and loosening it.

Nut: The nut has a notch cut into it, one for each string and holds the strings up at the

top end of the neck. Is glued at the top of the fretboard just before the headstock.

Fretboard: This is where your fingers are pressed against to play notes. Usually

fretboards have inlay markings to help identify the fret number.

Fret: A common mistake is that the fret is the space between the metal strips on the

neck but it is actually the strip itself which is the fret. They allow strings to resonate

when played.

Strings: Strings are made from a variety of materials with the lower note strings being

the thickest and higher note strings being thinner.

Pickguard: Pick guards are used to protect the guitar body from being scratched by a

pick or finger nail when striking a string. Usually made from plastic or sometimes metal.

Body: Most electric guitars have a solid body with some also being semi hollow. Bodies

range from different types of wood such as mahogany, maple or ash.

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Pick-ups: They sit on the body below the strings and pick-up the signals from string

vibrations turning these vibrations into sound through an amplifier.

Pick-up Switch: Most guitars use a neck pick-up which sits closer to the neck and

a bridge pick up which sits closer to the bridge. The switch allows you to activate one

over the other or both to create different tones.

Volume and Tone Knobs: The volume knob controls the signal output of the

guitars volume and the tone adjust the amount of treble and bass sent out by the pickups.

Cable Jack: Where the cable is plugged into the guitar to connect it to the amplifier.

Saddle: The saddle, like the nut raises the strings so they sit above the body and the

pick ups so as not to cause feedback.

Bridge: The bridge sits just in front of the tailpiece and acts as a platform to sit the

saddles on.

Tailpiece: The bridge is the other endpoint of the strings. The strings are fed through

single holes in the bridge and pulled up over the guitar to the tuning pegs.

Strap Pegs: These allow the guitarist to clip on a guitar strap so the guitar can be hung

around the body when playing standing up.

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Figure 2.3: Guitar Diagram

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


In the winter NAMM convention (Annual

convention showcasing newest music gear) of 2016

Fender decided to add something to their display

to showcase the complexity and work put into the

guitars they built (Mason, 2016). Shown in figure

2.4 is a fender guitar which has been taken apart. It

has then been hung up in a real life exploded view

down to the smallest pieces including all the screws

hung up by hundreds of pieces of strings to get

the look just right. This display helps a viewer to

understand all the components needed to consider

when designing the instrument.

Figure 2.4: Fender Guitar exploded display, NAMM 2016

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



“A mechanism is a mechanical device

used to transform or transfer, force, or

energy”(Howell, L 2001 p.1)

This part of the chapter looks into the inner

workings of current mechanisms and how they

could be beneficial to the product. For a design

which requires moving parts and stable connections

it is going to have to rely on well designed

mechanisms that are precise and accurate but also

easy to understand and use.

Mechanisms can be found in almost anything

functional from complex machines such as

aeroplanes and cars, or household items like a

vacuum cleaner and fridge, or even something

as simple as a screwdriver or scissors. Even the

human body itself is made up of many mechanisms

like your hands, feet, neck or jaw with the same

applying to all animals including their tails, wings

or flippers (Sclater, 2011).

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Compliant mechanism

Compliant mechanisms (Figure 2.5) transfer force,

although the movement of a compliant mechanism

is gained due to flexible components rather than

movable joints. The advantages of a compliant

mechanism is its reduced cost during manufacture

and its increased performance rate. By having less

joints there is less room for unstable movements

meaning more precision and accuracy. Compliant

mechanisms can be complex to analyze and they

can be difficult to design for and create (Howell,


Figure 2.5: Compliant Mechanism

Latching mechanisms

An example of a latching mechanism is a simple

grapple mechanism (Figure 2.6) that was designed

at Argonne National Lab. This automatic device

allows itself to engage with a load and lift it to its

destination then releases itself. It does this by

pressing down over a lift knob to lock itself into

place with spring loaded latches. It then picks up

the load and places it in its location. Once there the

grapple pushes further down to lock onto a release

collar. The grapple then pulls this collar up hiding

it in the grapple housing allowing the latches

to slide above the housing and free the grapple

(Sclater, 2011).

Figure 2.6: Grapple Mechanism

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Dead Bolt mechanisms

Figure 2.7: Dead Bolt Mechanism

Dead bolt mechanisms are most commonly seen

on doors and are a second means of security to help

keep the door lock and shut (Figure 2.7). Usually

unlock and lock by turning a key, they can also be

shifted by twisting a knob like a door handle. When

unlocking the bolt, usually a cylindrical tube, it is

receded into the door so the door can swing open

freely. But when the door is shut and the door is

locked the bolt pushes out the side of the door and

extends into a hole in the door frame. This then

stops the door from moving, keeping it stable.

(Wikipedia, 2019).

Bayonet Lock

Figure 2.8: Bayonet Locking Mechanism

A bayonet lock or connection is made up using two

cylindrical parts (Figure 2.8). A male connector

which has one or more radial pins and a female

connector which has L-shaped slots to match

the pins. The radial pins insert into the slots

and the connectoors are twited to create a lock

or connection. This mechanism is common in

lightbulb connections and camera lenses. It is usful

for creating tight and accurate fits (Wikipedia,


Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



This section explores the restrictions and

possibilities around air travel to understand how a

guitar could be designed to be able to fit on a plane

as carry on. It looks at size and weight restrictions

regarding normals bags as well as the limitations on

musical instruments

Most airlines today whether it be domestic or

international will limit you at 7kg for your carry

on luggage if you are flying in their economy

class while in business class most airlines allow

passengers to carry on up to 14kg. While the overall

size of the baggage depends on who you fly with

the average dimensions of the bag must be about

55cm x 35cm x 23cm with business class being

the same (Figure 2.9). The main reason business

class are allowed a heavier bag but not a bigger

bag is because it still must fit in the overhead

compartment (Gebicki, 2017).

According to the guidelines of major Australian

airlines: for domestic travel instruments may be

brought on as carry on as long as they are under

7kg and do not exceed 85 cm length, 34 cm height

and 23 cm depth. This also means the instrument

replaces the person’s carry on luggage. If the

instrument exceeds this limit it must be checked in

as luggage or an extra set may be purchased for the

instrument. Most airlines consider most guitars to

be above the limitations for a carry-on instrument

and therefore consider checked luggage, however

if lucky some may allow every so often (AUSTA,


Figure 2.9: Qantas carry on luggage size restrictions

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



This area of the chapter explores emotions and

connections and what provokes and creates these

feelings. In order to design a good product it

needs to connect with the users. For a guitar to be

appealing to its user they need to want to play it

and have a connection that draws them to it. As a

guitarist you not only play the music but you feel

it and you feel it through the expression of your

instrument. By having a connection with the guitar

you are able to make a stronger connection to the

music you play

Some designs are created to become meaningful

through activities and routines. These products

help the user realise the person that they strive to

be, to be their true self and help to discover and

reinvent oneself in a new way (Zimmerman, 2009).

The way a person connects with a product will be

different to the next person but all products can

create emotion and a strong connection with the

product allows the user to want to use the product

more and enjoy it more.

Visceral: Has to do with nature. It is about

receiving emotional signals from the evolving

environment around us.

Behavioral: It is all about how we use the product.

Looks and appeal doesn’t really matter but the most

important thing is its function.

Reflective: Has a large range, created by the

meaning, culture and message of the product.

Products contain multiple reasons, both personal

and social as to why they possess several meanings.

The features of a product can evoke multiple

emotions and depending on the user the emotions

are different due to their past present or future

endeavors (Orth, 2019).

When it comes to emotional design there are 3

levels (Norman, 2004):

Chapter 2: Literature Review | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



Chapter 3:


Questions and



Research Question 1

Will the redesign of a travel guitar that still establishes similar design cues as a

traditional guitar connect with the user on an emotional, excitable and passionate




Before picking up and playing a guitar the only

thing we know about it is what it looks like. This

means our first choice when picking a guitar is

based on its looks including shape, colour and

material. In order to build a guitar people want

to play they must be able to connect with the

guitar and feel like they are playing an instrument

as though it is their greatest power. A guitar is a

guitarist’s weapon cause when he walks out on stage

he wants to be holding something not necessarily

big but something mighty. Another example is

when buying shoes. The first thing we do before

even wondering if they are comfortable or not

is judge them on how they look. If it is a sports

shoe though, comfort is important as the more

comfortable they are the better you will perform.

Same with the guitar, the nicer it feels and interacts

with the musician the better they will feel when

playing it.

By designing a travel guitar that cues all features

of a traditional guitar the user will feel more

comfortable and inclined to pick it up and want

to play it. It will give them the weight and feel of

a proper guitar making it more comfortable to

play, allowing their body to interact with it in the

best way possible. By creating something visually

stunning people will assume the quality is much

better than something that is not a full size guitar.

Chapter 3: Research Questions and Hypotheses | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Research Question 2

Is it possible to create a full size guitar which can be adapted to travel size




One of the biggest issues guitarist struggle with

when travelling with their guitar is that it is too big

for them to be allowed to bring it on the plane with

them as it falls outside of the size restriction for

carry on luggage. And in the rare chance they are

allowed there is always the struggle finding space

for it in the overhead compartment with other

passengers bags. This means oversize baggage fees

have to be paid and you hope it is handled with

care which is rarely the case. Then you have to get

through the whole flight feeling anxious hoping

the guitar turns out in one piece on the other end.

This is why a travel guitar is handy, it can fit in

your carry on luggage so you know it is safe. Only

problem is this is not a full size proper guitar so it is

not suitable for performance. But if you could have

a guitar which can compact for travel and become

a full size guitar for performance, it means you can

have the best of both worlds. This would allow you

to get through the flight feeling comfortable cause

your guitar is packed with you, but it also means

you have an instrument that is built to perform

on stage and feels like a real instrument to the


If a guitarist was given the opportunity to travel

with their guitar as carry on they would choose it

everytime. So if a guitar was designed where their

guitar could fit in their carry-on luggage and be

extended to full size with a series of mechanisms

ready to perform with then they would be able to

fly stress free and not have to pay any extra luggage


Chapter 3: Research Questions and Hypotheses | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Research Question 3

Would the mechanics of a guitar such as tuning, string tension and electronics

still work at their full potential in a collapsible guitar with no compromise to the



There are a lot of parts that go into building

a guitar so that it visually looks good and

mechanically works very well. Measurements

for certain parts can come down to 1/10th of a

millimetre to ensure accuracy so this means if you

add moving parts you would need to ensure that

the accuracy is still on point every time. Another

point of stress is on the strings of the guitar

which roughly pull 53kg of tension when tuned to

standard tuning. If a guitar were to be collapsable

then this potentially means the shifting of the

strings which could come to a few issues. They

would need to avoid being tangled when loosed

and avoid being bent or stretched too much not to

cause them to snap. Another big issue with a design

like this is surrounded around the neck. The neck

needs to sit at the right angle so the strings sit just

above it. If the strings are too high they become

hard to play and if they are too low they cause a

buzzing noise on the frets.


To create a travel guitar which collapses to fit for

travel size but expands for performance it will

need new methods of production. But to allow for

the mechanics to work some traditional methods

will be needed to create accuracy in build and

performance. So if you build a travel guitar that

functions just as well as a proper guitar then the

user will be able to play hassle free and feel like

they are playing a true guitar and be able to feel the

accuracy in their playing.

Chapter 3: Research Questions and Hypotheses | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Chapter 4:




Introduction and overview

This chapter discusses and reaffirms the purpose of

this project by exploring the possibilities of a guitar

and its limitations in creating a full size guitar as a

travel guitar. It looks at the different design feature

concepts and how they might be possible through

setting an aim and method and then analysing the

results and discussing how these ideas may work or

not and can be explored further for the design.

Ensuring that the research and prototyping is of the

highest quality is of most importance. Yes having

a quantitative amount helps to understand a lot of

different aspects but if the quality is poor then they

will result in bad design decisions which will reflect

poorly on the outcome of the design. Especially in

a design where precision and sound quality are very

important to aid the performance on the guitar.

Research sample

As a professional musician who can afford to fly first

class and not be concerned about their bags has no

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


issue transporting their guitars and gear via plane

meaning they don’t have to worry about having a

travel guitar that can fit on the plane. But for the

musician who has to travel for shows in order to

make enough money to stay afloat has to worry

about their own gear and luggage. They have to

sit back in economy class and worry about if their

one guitar they brought has made it through the

flight. That’s why a guitar that is performance ready

that can fit as carry on is perfect for the average

musician that must travel for work as they have the

security of having the guitar with them at all times

Overview of information needed

The basis of information needed for this research

and data collection revolves around the structure

and technique behind the build of a guitar. Just a

few of these things include the scale length of the

neck, the electronics that need to be included, the

amount of tension and stress the strings place on

the neck and dimensions of the body. Knowledge

of relevant information prior to the design is key

to know what needs to be explored for the design


Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



Data collection methods

Inorder to obtain the best research possible from

the best resources, I used a series of research

methods which help to factor the design of the

guitar and concept the ideas to create the best

possible solution. This includes reaching out

to certain musician groups on social media to

ask them questions about their preferences and

experiences. As well as creating several sketches

and prototypes to test ideas and understand how

certain components and mechanisms could work.

Ethical consideration

The most important ethical consideration to be

reflected on when designing the guitar is focused

around travel especially on planes. The design must

be safe and legal to be allowed to be brought on a

plane with no hassle and cause no harm to any one

or be seen as a threat.

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Methods and Data

Collection 1

Research question and hypothesis


Will the redesign of a travel guitar that still

establishes similar design cues as a traditional

guitar connect with the user on an emotional,

excitable and passionate level?

If the guitar feels and looks like a full size guitar

then it will allow the user to feel more comfortable

playing it and connect with the guitar on a more

passionate level allowing them to play better.

To be able to find a large group of guitarists to

ask them questions I took to social media where I

could easily collate information and feedback they

gave me. I ask them one simple question to help

understand how to better develop my design:

What is the biggest thing that draws you to a

guitar? The thing that makes you wanna play it

more than the others at first glance. For example it

could be the body shape, colour, the pick ups used,

the feel of the wood or something else.


The main purpose of this research area is to

understand what makes a user have a connection

with their guitar. To understand what features are

most important to the user and what they look for

when buying a guitar.

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



To my question I had thirteen responses from guitarists all around the world. A few answers similar to

each other but a lot of different answers revolving around different areas. One of the answers which would

relate to my design area was “I like guitars that are unique. They have something special about them even

if it’s just one small thing.” Although he was alone in his answer it was one of the comments that stood out

the most to me.

The graph shows the main aspect stated of importance in each answer and how it compares to other parts

of the guitar.

Figure 4.1: Pie chart of guitar appealing features

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



As mentioned previously, the response that stood

out the most was the guy who said the uniqueness

of the guitar was something he liked which I was

not expecting. Just because a guitar is unique

doesn’t mean it is actually good or nice to play. But

the answer that clearly stood out as the thing that

attracts most people to a guitar is the shape. The

shape is a very visual thing and it is what people

will see who watch you play so you obviously want

something that looks good on stage and makes

you feel great playing. The responses which were

second and third most important were revolved

around the sound quality of the guitar and the way

it feels when playing which is another key factor

in allowing the user to feel comfortable and play

well when using the guitar. But overall all things

mentioned here are important to the design of the

guitar to allow the user to have a proper connection

to it when playing.

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Methods and Data

Collection 2.1

Research question and hypothesis


Is it possible to create a full scale and full size guitar

which can be adapted to travel size requirements?

If a guitar can be designed where it can be

compressed to travel size and be fitted as carry-on

luggage but extended to full size for performing,

the musician would feel more comfortable and

relieved when travelling with the guitar.

Once again I took to social media to be able to ask

my questions to a large group of people around the

world. This time though instead of focusing on just

guitarists I extended it to musicians in general. The

exact question I asked them was:

What is the biggest frustration when travelling on

aeroplanes with your instrument? And if you could

mention what instrument you travel with.


The aim was to understand the frustrations and

issues musicians have when travelling with their

musical gear on flights.

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



I had a few responses to this question I asked with 3 main topic areas observed. They included the issue

with paying for extra oversized luggage, instruments getting damaged in transit and trouble fitting

instruments on the plane.

Below shows the comparison of responses in those 3 categories.

Figure 4.2: Pie chart of biggest frustration travelling with

instrument on planes

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



My biggest surprise was from a person who plays

violin stated “the check in people are fine, then

the cabin crew say ‘no you can’t put that in the

overhead’ even though it fits fine. This made me

think why wouldn’t they allow this when a violin

is well within the size limits of carry on. Perhaps

it was because it didn’t look like regular luggage

and they didn’t like the idea of putting something

irregular in comparison in the overhead. Another

big issue is damage items with many people saying

they flew feeling anxious that they will get to the

other end with damaged items from handling.

Stating they would feel more comfortable being

able to take their instruments on the plane with

them but size is always the issue.

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Methods and Data

Collection 2.2

Research question and hypothesis


Is it possible to create a full scale and full size guitar

which can be adapted to travel size requirements?

If a guitar can be designed where it can be

compressed to travel size to be fitted as carry-on

luggage but extended to full size for performing the

musician would feel more comfortable and relieved

when travelling with the guitar.

To start this process I began by taking apart a full

size guitar seen in figure 4.3, gutting the electronics

and keeping the body and neck. These 2 parts are

the main components that make up the size of the

guitar and are what will affect its sizes for travel.

I then tried to establish how the neck when taken

off the body could be packed with the body to fit

within the boundaries of a carry on bag.


To test how small a full size guitar can be

condensed to see if it can fit as travel on luggage.

And to see if it can be easily put back together for

use as a full size guitar.

Figure 4.3: Gutted guitar bodies and necks

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



The neck and body sit well together when the neck is placed behind the body (Figure 4.4) minimising

the amount of space the whole guitar takes up From the image below you can see how when the neck sits

behind the body it still allows the string to stay suspended and with some tension to not become loose and


Figure 4.4: Testing minimal space needed for transport

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



From this test I came to the conclusion that

the longest part of a guitar is the neck with the

headstock which is actually too long to fit as carry

on. The problem here is the neck must remain

the size it is to stay full scale, although the size of

the head stock can change as long as it fits all six

tuning pegs comfortably. This means my test using

a regular full size guitar did not fit due to it being

slightly longer, but with some slight modification

to the headstock the whole guitar would be able to

fit within a bag suited for carry on. (Figures 4.5)

Figure 4.5: Render showcasing how guitar sits for travel

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Methods and Data

Collection 3

Research question and hypothesis


Would the mechanics of a guitar such as tuning,

string tension and electronics still work at their full

potential in a collapsible guitar with no damage to

the hardware?

By building a travel guitar that will function just

as well as a full size guitar then it will rely on an

accurate and well polished build to allow the

guitarist to play hassle free with a guitar that feels

right and stays in tune.

This involved a series of prototypes and tests to

understand how certain mechanics might perform

and affect the guitar and quality of the guitar. The

first problem space to hurdle was establishing how

the strings might stay untangled and strung while

the guitar collapses. The second problem space is

how the neck of the guitar might connect swiftly

and easily to the body. This was done once again

with various prototypes (Figure 4.6) to test the

strength of the connections to enable the neck to

not warp and the strings stay taught and in tune.


To test the lengths at which a guitar can come apart

for travel and still be easily put back together and

function just as well as a full size guitar. Meaning

it stays in tune, the strings are tight and the nek

doesn’t warp.

Figure 4.6: 3D printed locking mechnisms

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



By developing a tailpiece which sits behind the body it allows the strings to move as the neck moves. This

means the strings still stay taught and in line as the neck slides under the body and means they move back

into place as the neck bolts back into position. So far for this basic prototype the movement is a bit stiff

and trouble some but can be improved upon. The neck then securing into place is still in the works as

some 3D printed prototypes were developed. These locking mechanisms worked very well, being quite

strong and needed to be investigated further. (Figure 4.7)

Figure 4.7: 3D printed prototypes developed for neck lock and

sliding tail piece

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



As stated above the tests were quite successful

but still have quite some work needed to be done.

Smooth transitions between collapsed and full size

need to be looked at further and multiple ideas

need to be investigated into how the neck will lock

into place. The tested locking mechanism will

work but may need a secondary lock such as a key

bolt lock to maintain strength and security in the

neck joint. With figure 4.8 and 4.9 displaying some

renders of the mechanisms that were successful in

their tests.

Figure 4.8: Renders of concept mechanisms

Figure 4.9: Renders of mechnisms within guitar

Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Chapter Summary

To sum up this chapter there is still a lot of work

to be done in terms of prototyping and testing

mechanisms. The overall understanding of how

the guitar will come apart and go back together is

there and how the mechanism should work, they

just need to be fine tuned to specifically work in the

right scenario.

The design is heading in the right direction with a

plausible end result. The sliding tail piece is very

possible and I don’t see any issues surrounding that.

The only struggle at the moment is finding the best

solution to firmly secure the neck in place while

still also being able to easily take it apart. Once

this barrier is overcome then it is only a matter of

putting it all together to be able to develop the final


Chapter 4: Research Methodology | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Chapter 5:

Analysis and

Interpretation of



Introduction and Overview

This chapter refines the requirements of

this project through the design brief and the

development of key features. It explores four of

these key features which are vital to the production

and success of this project including: Mechanisms,

Aesthetics and Emotional connections, Existing

Components and Ergonomics. The design brief

links together the literature, research questions,

research methods and prototypes to support the

reasoning for current choices and decisions and

provide direction for the prototypes to be explored

further to enhance the product.

The rationale allows a claim to be made and a

defined statement which sets the outlines for the

project guidelines. These are a set of directions one

must follow to propose the end project is within the

specifications that make it a good product and that

it does what it was designed to do. These guidelines

are there to ensure the success of the end product.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Design Brief


The mechanism utilised in the instrument needs to

allow the volume to be reconfigured or condensed

to make it work. The reconfiguring should not

compromise the playability of the instrument.

Various configurations and mechanisms have been

explored through a series of prototype testing seen

on pp 49 - 51. This exploration is in alignment with

Research Question 2 which asks “Is it possible to

create a full scale and full size guitar which can be

adapted to travel size requirements?”. Claiming

the benefits of 3D printing and its use towards the

innovation of the electric guitar, Marano (2019)

produces claims that allow for more complex guitar

building. This means more advanced designs,

opportunities and forms are not possible to be

made by hand with more intricate parts to improve

the overall quality of the instrument.

To ensure the instrument stays rigid and in tune

the precision of these parts needs to be considered

and with the help of 3D printing this allows for the

production of high quality parts with a high level of

accuracy. Through testing 3D printed mechanisms,

a redesigned bayonet type lock has shown

possibility for adaptation as a locking mechanism

for the neck, replacing the existing 4 screws.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Design Guidelines

• The Guitar must reconfigure or condense to a

size that fits within airline carry-on limits for

most economy class seats: 55cm x 35cm x 23cm,


• The mechanism which joins the neck to the

body needs to be made from strong material

such as steel to ensure strength and precision.

• The mechanisms have limited space to work as

the guitar must appear normal on the outside

but the workings of the mechanisms still

function behind the scenes.

• Prototypes are needed to evaluate the precise

tolerance required to create a secure and tight

fit between the body and neck to ensure the

guitar stays in tune while playing and the

neck does not shift. Playability must not be


Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Aesthetics and Emotional


The appearance and appeal of this instrument is

key to engaging the musician and allowing them

to have a connection with the guitar and making

them feel comfortable and emotionally connected.

Research Question 1 asks “Will the redesign of

a travel guitar that still maintains similar design

cues as a traditional guitar connect with the user

on an emotional, excitable and passionate level?”.

This means how can a travel guitar be made to

feel like a full-size guitar to allow the user to not

only play comfortably but feel connected with

the instrument. This is evidenced through the

surveying on pp 43 - 45, which asks the question,

what are the things that draw you to a guitar


Zimmerman (2009) also states that designs

become meaningful through activities, so the

guitar itself might not have a feature which

evokes emotion but the feel of playing it is

what allows it to create meaning.

The visual aesthetic elements are key to the success

of the design. However not everyone is drawn

to the same thing, as suggested by Orth (2019)

products can evoke several emotions depending

on the user’s past experiences. It is hard to please

everyone aesthetically especially with one design

but by developing a guitar which feels right and

perfect in the user’s hands will allow them create a

connection which makes it nice to play.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Design Guidelines

• The shape of the guitar needs to reflect design

cues and features of current electric guitars to

give users that sense of familiarity and assurance

with the instrument.

• The guitar needs to feel nice while playing

with a smooth wood finish neck and body to

help evoke that positive emotion through the

playing of the guitar.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Existing Components

There are a number of core components from

existing electric guitars that will be utilised in this

design. This includes the electronics, the tuning,

the string tension and stringing. Explored through

Research Question 3 “Would the mechanics of a

guitar such as tuning, string tension and electronics

still work at their full potential in a collapsible

guitar with no damage to the hardware?”. A travel

guitar needs to feel like a standard electric guitar

and it needs to function in the same way in terms of

standard guitar mechanics.

For the latest innovation behind guitar technology

Powers (2019) claims there are new ways in

designing guitars which does not affect the overall

integrity of the instrument. Meaning the user can

still feel comfortable playing this innovative guitar

knowing all the key features remain easy to use

and operate just as well. Testing these capabilities

which can be seen on pp 52 - 54 show how the

use of a few mechanisms mentioned by Sclater

(2011) can be used to allow this innovative travel

guitar to condense and expand to full size without

compromising the key elements of an electric

guitar. By seeing how small the head of the guitar

can be without affecting the function of the six

tuners allows the guitar to become smaller in size

and fit into the restrictions of travel.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Design Guidelines

• The guitar has a full scale neck to ensure it is as

similar to a standard electric guitar as possible.

• The tuners must sit on the head of the guitar

atop the neck just like any standard electric

guitar to give that familiarity to the users and

the ease of tuning and stringing.

• It must include the electrics that make an

electric guitar ‘electric’ such as pick ups, volume

and tone knob, pick up switch and input jack.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



The ergonomics of this guitar revolve around three

main points. How they interact when setting up for

example tuning and stringing, how they interact

when activating the mechanisms that allow the

guitar to condense and expand, and how the user

interacts when playing. This pulls together all three

research questions and most of the prototyping

and research conducted. The shape of the body and

neck and a feature which can draw in a user to want

to play it and create that emotional connection, but

it also is strategically shaped to allow for cut outs in

certain spots to allow the guitar to feel comfortable

when played.

The hands being one of these mechanisms

needs to perform simple tasks such as turn,

pull, push or press to interact with another

simple mechanism within the guitar to allow

the inner workings to easily flow and create a

seamless transition between scenarios.

The requirements of the mechanism depend

on the interaction meaning the testing of

handles helps to determine the right amount

of force needed to operate such mechanisms.

The smooth round surface of the neck allows the

palm of the hand to slide up and down to create

a flow when playing. Again questions 2 and 3 talk

about the innovative mechanisms required in

the development of this guitar and the current

mechanics used and how they would be affected by

this new design. All these features must be easy to

access and easy to operate. Sclater (2011) talks about

how the human body itself is its own mechanisms

made up of many smaller mechanisms.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Design Guidelines

• The shape of the body of the guitar needs to

support good player posture and comfort.

• The body shape should not compromise normal

play including notes higher on the fretboard.

• The mechanisms also need to be safe to interact

with and easy to operate with an understanding

of the force required to secure the locking

mechanism for the neck.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Development of key



There are two key mechanisms which have been

evolved throughout the design and development

of this product to ensure the best functionality

and performance. The first mechanism focuses

around the neck and how it attaches to the body.

Traditionally the neck is held in place with 4

long screws enabling the neck to remain stiff in

place and not cause the guitar to go out of tune

easily. To be able to replicate this secure fit with

a locking mechanism which can easily be locked

and unlocked to detach the neck required much

research into materials and locks.

Figure 5.1: Bayonet Lock machined from aluminium

Understanding which lock could reciprocate

the same effects as the four screws but not be so

permanent. After first developing and researching

bolt locks that could potentially pierce through

the neck and body to hold it in place, I came to the

conclusion this type of mechanism was good but

not suitable for that airtight fit.

Stepping away from the idea of a bolt lock I focused

back on the idea of screwing the neck to the body

like in a standard guitar design. This idea led to the

research of bayonet locks particularly in camera

lenses. The locking mechanism used here known as

a bayonet lock is precisely machined to ensure that

the fit is air tight, a perfect solution to locking the

neck to the body (Figure 5.1).

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Seen in figure 5.2 is how the neck appears to the

relative to the body when tightened and loosened.

Since the neck is able to detach to allow the guitar

to shrink in size this means the strings become

loose and will flail around. Now to allow for a

seamless design it is beneficial and time saving to

be able to keep the strings attached when the guitar

is collapsed for travel so it can be readily assembled

when it comes time for use. If the strings are able

to move with the neck this would allow them to

stay somewhat taught and aligned and easily put

back into position when the neck is locked onto the


On any standard guitar the strings are secured in

two places. At one end they are wound around

the machine head so they can be tightened and

loosened for tuning and on the other end they

are fixed in place sitting through the tail piece. A

similar mechanism already exists which allows the

tail piece to move allowing the strings of the guitar

to move. After researching this design I have tried

to reengineer the design so the tail piece in my

design pulls in the opposite way and uses a much

simpler design to keep the guitar in tune when the

strings become taught.

Figure 5.2: Tightening and loosening bayonet lock

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Seen in figure 5.3 is the tailpiece under tension

when the guitar is being played and on the right

when it is released when the neck detaches. To help

the tailpiece retract and keep the strings slightly

taught a spiral spring (Figure 5.4) is hidden within

the body of the guitar and is kept under pressure

attaching to the tailpiece via a piece of string which

winds up like a tape measure.

Figure 5.3: Tailpiece under tension (left) and released from

tension (right)

Figure 5.4: Spiral spring housing

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Aesthetics and Emotional


The aesthetics and emotional connection towards

the instrument comes down to the feel and look of

the guitar as well as the experience it creates with

the user. Firstly, while the look of the guitar can

evoke an emotion in the guitarist it is hard to create

positive emotions with everyone with a single style

of guitar. So these features focus more on creating

that aesthetic appeal. The idea that it looks good

and feels good so it must function well. To design a

guitar that could suit most styles and be appealing

to most musicians can be seen as a difficult task as

guitarists can be picky about their instrument. But

by researching many designs and brands and the

benefits of the body shapes, I was able to see what

people find most appealing about the guitar taking

these components and incorporating them into my


In figure 5.5 we see different views of the guitar

body and the physical features it has to draw the

user to it. This includes the cut aways around where

the neck meets the body, the routed edges to give

the body a slimmer and lighter look, and the slight

indented curves on the back of the body to give a

similar effect.

Similar to what was mentioned before but it is hard

to create a single guitar which connects with most

of the market, which is why companies tend to

produce some guitars of the same model but just in

different colours to please the consumer. However

with this product the aim is to first draw the user to

the guitar with its aesthetic features and then get

them to create their own emotional connection to

the guitar through an experience. By having a travel

guitar that is so well designed the guitarist should

be able to have almost no negative experiences

when playing or travelling with it helping to create

that strong connection to the guitar.

This experience all comes down to the functionality

of the instrument which links back to the

mechanisms and how they work. If they function

effortlessly and allow the guitarist to have smooth

transitions between travel mode and playing

mode it will create a positive experience. And if

the guitar stays in tune while playing meaning the

mechanisms are holding everything in place it will

once again create an overall positive experience

allowing the user to have a deeper emotional

connection with the guitar remembering how well

it functioned at the shows they played.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Figure 5.5: Aesthetic features of the body

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Existing components

The development of existing components isn’t so

much a development but an assurance. This section

refers to other existing components such as the

machine heads, pick ups and other electronics and

the bridge. These components are not redesigned

or they are slightly modified to create the assurance

needed so that these parts will still function

properly in this new style of travel guitar. For the

electronics, the focus came down to whether a hole

would be routed out in the front of the guitar or the

rear. Both ways are common in electric guitars.

For this design, the only option was to route the

hole on the front, as the back has already been

routed out to make room for the rails which the tail

piece moves along. Figure 5.6 shows an example

of what this wiring might look like however to add

to the aesthetic side of the guitar and cover all the

wiring a pick guard is placed on top.

Figure 5.6: Electronics and components of curent electric


Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Figure 5.7: Guitar bridge with V shape saddles

As for the saddle there is not much change for

its location on the body. All it can do is sit in line

with the neck and tail piece to ensure it holds up

the strings and they run straight up the neck. The

only issue that surrounded this was that the strings

would constantly be moving and sliding back and

forth across the bridge. Now most bridges have 6

saddles on them with little grooves for them to sit

in seen in figure 5.7. However constant movement

along these grooves could cause the strings to

wear away quickly and possibly snap. Once again

no redesign of this part was needed but an extra

attachment was added to stop string becoming

loose when guitar retracts (figure 5.8) The bridge

chosen for this guitar uses saddles with round

grooves which rotate cause less fiction on the


Figure 5.8: Guitar Bridge with roller saddles and extra


Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



The development of the ergonomics of the

guitar were crucial as the guitarist interacts with

the instrument in many different ways and since

the musician is interacting with the guitar, that

means the guitar is interacting with the user. The

instrument needs to feel right and fit against the

body and movements of the guitarist. But this

doesn’t just include how the guitar interacts with

the user when playing, but also when they are

setting up the guitar for example tuning and when

they have to access the mechanisms to allow the

guitar to condense and expand in size.

Firstly how the shape of the guitar body fits to

the body of the user was key to the designing the

overall shape. Most electric guitar designs have

cutaways on the back of the body so it sits well

under the chest and isn’t digging into the rib cage.

These cutaways can be seen in my design in figure

5.9. However I have noticed in some current

designs these cutaways are too short meaning they

are not as effective, which is why as part of my

development I extended the size. Other cutaway

designs which can be seen on guitar bodies are

around the neck. These allow the user to fit their

hand more comfortably when playing higher up the


Figure 5.9: Cutaways in guitar body

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Depending on the style of music you play these

features may not be so important to you compared

to others. But to allow this design to be used by

a larger audience I have included cutaways both

above and below the neck seen in figure 5.10.

Figure 5.10: Cutaways near neck for playing comfort

Figure 5.11: Magnets within body to hold on back plate

When stringing the guitar I had to make sure that

it would be easy access to the tailpiece where the

strings are fed through. This section is covered by a

plate to stop any interference with the mechanism.

Most plates on the back of the guitar are there to

cover electronics and are held in place with screws.

Since changing strings is a regular occurance and

a task which might be needed in a last minute

situation I decided to hold the back plate on using

magnets instead of screws (Figure 5.11). This way

the plate is still secure but allows the user easy

access to the tail piece when they need to change

strings. On the other end of the strings they are

attached to the machine heads.

To ensure the guitar is small enough when compact,

the head of the guitar in this design is actually

smaller than a normal guitar head. This means the

space to fit the machine heads has shrunk causing

them to have to be placed closer together. The only

issue here is when winding the machine heads to

tune the guitar the others can get in the way making

it uncomfortable to use especially for someone who

might have bigger hands.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Focusing on this the development of the shape of

the head became very important. Creating such a

shape would allow the machine heads to be placed

closer together but staggered to give extra room

where needed.

The final interaction and ergonomic features

revolve around the user and how they operate the

mechanisms, in particular the bayonet lock which

holds the neck in place. This locking system is

quite small in its area but needs a bit of force to

create that tight joint lock and unlock. So far the

development to do this task is based around using

a separate tool which when placed within one of

the parts of the bayonet lock is then twisted. This

tool uses a long handle which is easy to grip and

maneuver. The long handle means less force is

required by the user to twist the lock making the

task as a whole a lot easier especially if it were to be

operated by a child or someone with less strength in

their hands. This tool seen in figure 5.12 is simple to

understand and use however further development

of this tool could be done to possibly make the

tool part of the lock. Potentially have some sort of

handle that pops out of the lock allowing you to

turn in then returns flush when the lock is set in


Figure 5.12: Current tool used to tighten and lock bayonet


Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Chapter summary

In conclusion most developments have been tested

and trialed to showcase the four main design

elements of this project: mechanisms, aesthetics

and emotion, current components and ergonomics.

Most have been developed to their full potential

finding the best possible solution for the situation

while some are just a few steps away from success

to allow everything to fall into place and create a

seamless design that not only functions well but

looks the part.

Chapter 5: Analysis and Interpretation of Findings | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Chapter 6:




From exploring the history of guitars to the trends

that follow its development through time this

musical instrument has been redesigned in more

ways than one and developed through the ages

to suit the era and style of music being played.

The development of the travel guitar which has

been researched exploring its impact on the music

industry since its creation. The problem though

it creates is that it is not a full size electric guitar,

due to it being made as travel size. And if you try

to bring a full size guitar with you, you only create

more problems for yourself having to pay extra

baggage fees for airlines, the stress of whether it

will make it to the other end in one piece and the

uncomfortability of having to carry extra oversized


Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


1: Will the redesign of a travel guitar that still

establishes similar design cues as a traditional

guitar connect with the user on an emotional,

excitable and passionate level?

By using current and new designs is it possible to

have a full sized guitar as a travel guitar. Could you

possibly use new methods of building the guitar

which allow it to be compact or to fold or to come

apart for travel but then be easily assembled to be

played as a full size electric guitar. This then posed

3 questions:

2: Is it possible to create a full size guitar which can

be adapted to travel size requirements?

3: Would the mechanics of a guitar such as tuning,

string tension and electronics still work at their

full potential in a collapsible guitar with no

compromise to the hardware?

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


These questions explore the possibility of

designing and creating a guitar that not only

functions well on stage but acts and feels like a

full size guitar. The intent being able to create

that connection with the user so they feel like they

are playing a proper guitar and are comfortable

and used to the size as it matches most sizes for

standard electric guitars. It also allows them to

easily pack up the guitar to travel size so they can

safely bring it with them as carry on luggage.

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Final Design

The final development of this project creates

the experience of using a proper full size electric

guitar and condenses in volume to make it suitable

for travel. Through a series of well developed

mechanisms itsmoothly transitions between states

with the best quality in function, performance

and comfortability. As shown in figure 6.1 and 6.2

this travel guitar has 2 forms, one where it is easily

condensed for travel and the other where the neck

is simply attached to allow the user to play a full

size electric guitar. This design incorporates all

it features well to create a seamless and friendly

experience for the user.

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Figure 6.1 Final Design in travel mode render

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Figure 6.2 Final Prototype in playing mode

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Design Features

Bayonet lock system

Figure 6.3: Bayonet Locking System

This locking system allows users to easily attach

and detach the neck from the body by simply

twisting the male side located within the neck

cavity of the body. This model uses an external tool

to achieve this as the lock is made from aluminium.

However for a final product the mechanism would

be cnc machined from a stainless steel with a built

in handle to lock and unlock it.

Sliding tail piece

Figure 6.4: Sliding tail piece

The sliding tailpiece functions under the tension

of a spiral spring hidden within the body of the

guitar. When the guitar is at full size the tail piece

pulls against the spring causing tension with the

only thing stopping the tail piece from retracting

is the strings. Once the neck is released the strings

loose tension allowing the spring to pull back

the tailpiece pulling the strings with it retracting

the neck towards the body making the volume of

the entire instrument smaller. The system which

the tailpiece slides on is a drylin n linear bearing


Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Magnetic back plate

The back plate sits on the back of the guitar

covering and protecting the sliding tailpiece

mechanism. Most guitar back plates are held on

using screws as they cover the electronics. Since

this plate covers access to one end of the strings it

is simply held on using magnets. Meaning if a string

were to snap in an emergency the user would have

easy access to be able to change the strings quickly.

Figure 6.5: Magnetic back plate

Locking tuners

Locking tuners are one of the existing components

used on this travel guitar however they are not

regularly used on most guitars. Locking tuners

clamp down on the strings when they are winded

up for tuning. This means when the neck is released

and the strings loose some tension the strings do

not become loose around the tuner. The tuning

heads used on this design are grover locking tuners.

Figure 6.6: Locking Tuners

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Small Headstock

Figure 6.7: Small Headstock

Compared to a standard electric guitar the size

of this headstock is substantially smaller. This all

comes down the fitting within the size requirements

of airline travel. The neck with the headstock is the

longest part of the guitar so it is the one element

most affecting the length of the overall design. A

reduced headstock allows the guitar to fit within

these size requirements when it is condensed for


String roller

A simple feature yet crucial to the success of this

design. The roller is placed within a cavity behind

the bridge, allowing the strings coming from

the underside of the guitar to wrap around the

direction up the neck and towards the headstock. It

also helps to keep the strings from getting tangled

when retracting and extending. For this design this

piece has been 3D printed using a nylon filament

but would be machine cut from aluminium.

Figure 6.8: String Roller

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Frame work

Understanding elements

This can be mainly done through the research

phase of the design process. Once the problem

statement has been addressed and the design intent

stated there are then many aspects to follow and

explore. These elements which are researched

throughout the literature review help to later

design and develop the prototype. This can also

set out limitations one must follow or are forced to

adapt their design to suit.

Understanding User Values

Common techniques to gather valued results from

users is through user observations, interviews

and surveys. By basing questionnaires around

the current topic you can understand what are

the most popular opinions of the users. Through

observations you can then also understand how

users react in certain environments and with certain

objects without giving a bias input.

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


Prototype design

Sketching can be important here to help visualise

the ideas circulating in the mind and get them on

to paper. This allows you to compare concepts and

see what parts you like and don’t like. By having

these ideas sketched out it also allows you to then

share these designs with others so they understand

exactly what you are designing. This can also then

help to have them give their input and possibly add

to the idea.

Prototype testing

When it comes time to build physical objects of

the ideas you have sketched it is important to test

these prototypes as it is easier to develop an idea on

paper than a three dimensional object. Especially

when developing a product that might use many

complex mechanisms or moving parts. It is crucial

to ensure these parts will work how you have

envisioned them and if they need to be changed.

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



The evaluation of your prototypes is key to

developing the best possible final solution. This

could start with user testing and having people

in your specific user group interact with the

prototypes created and see what reaction they

have. What they like, what they don’t and what

they think could be added.Take all these critics

into consideration for the development of the final

design and solution.

Prototype Development

All the research gathered, user observations,

concepting, prototyping and user testing leads to

finding the suitable solution for the design. Every

input gathered from these phases allows you to

focus on each individual part that makes up the

product and make them as perfect as possible to

bring them all together to create the final product.

This final solution is of high quality and represents

what the product might be like if in production.

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



While the innovation of this design can change the

way musicians travel with their guitars it also offers

multiple pathways in the world of music and travel.

Yes it does allow guitarist to travel the world with a

guitar that packs at half the size while performing

as a full size guitar. Giving them comfort in travel

and reducing baggage and fees. It then opens the

possibility for current guitar companies who stay

away from travel guitars to develop their signature

guitars as travel guitars without causing much

change to their branding and look.

Such technology could possibly be adapted to other

string instruments which are oversized such as bass

guitars, banjos, cellos and double basses. Although

the build of these guitars are quite different from

each other the possibilities are there and could be

adapted to fit each individual instrument.

Not only saving space for the user but also the

manufacturer since the guitars can be packaged

at a smaller size. This means saving money on

packaging as well as being able to fit more units in

each individual shipment.

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars



The current issue of travelling with electric guitars

is that they are oversized and do not fit as carry

on luggage. Current solutions such as the travel

guitar lack the autenticity and appeal of a full size

guitar, and not being ideal for stage performance,

feeling small and missing key components. The

idea to be able to travel once again with a full size

electric guitar that can be compacted for travel has

evolved through many phases. Being tested and

trial, observed and evaluated, the best features have

come forward to give the best outcome.

design is, some state the maximum length must not

exceed 55cm. But as mentioned in the liturature

review the guitar fits within the guidelines of

AUSTA by having an instrument that does not

excede 85cm in length for it to be carry on with

Australian airlines

This design incorporates all the features a full size

electric guitar needs. It looks and feels standard to

and electric guitar and presents no real significant

differance when in use. It then offers the guitarist

the ability to easily compact it down to fit as carry

on and travel with ease. Some of the smaller details

that go into this design are the biggest features

which really make it shine and help it become the

best possible solution to the curret issues stated.

The total length of the guitar when in its case is

65cm and weight is 5.8 kg. While some airlines

state the total dimensions of length, width and

heigh for carry on must be under 115cm which this

Chapter 6: Conclusion | On the Road: Travelling With Guitars


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