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5 May 2005 PR 05/32

Groundbreaking polymer guitars close in on market

British inventors are showcasing a range of innovative, high quality acoustic and electric guitars made almost entirely from polymers. The three models, a hybrid wood / polymer acoustic, an all polymer acoustic and a semi-hollow electric, feature patented foamed polymer technology that gives outstanding sound quality.

The first prototypes to use the novel ‘bubbled’ plastic were revealed at the Frankfurt Music Show in 2002. Inspired by the deluge of public enthusiasm and commercial interest, design researchers Owain Pedgley and Eddie Norman have been perfecting their invention. They have also continued to draw upon the input of master craftsman Rob Armstrong, guitar maker to The Levellers, Fairport Convention, Gordon Giltrap and the late George Harrison.

Hybrid wood/polymer acoustic
All polymer acoustic

Gearing up for a limited edition sale marks a key milestone for an invention that began in 1996 in the depths of Loughborough University’s Design and Technology workshops as a project to develop a high quality, low cost polymer guitar.

So why use plastics? Polymers are easily moulded, so fewer parts are needed resulting in greatly simplified assembly. The use of non-wood components also opens up radical approaches to instrument design, construction and finishing, and eases pressure on wood supplies. And most importantly, the sound quality achieved due to the millions of bubbles in the polymer is extraordinarily good.

The commercial potential of the invention soon became apparent, attracting a series of innovation and investment funding. Nine years since the very first prototype, and now under the Loughborough University branded venture ‘Cool Acoustics’, Eddie and Owain continue to pursue their vision of polymer guitars for the masses. “Groundbreaking technology takes time to filter into the market but the commercial response is very promising,” says Eddie. “It’s a long process but we’re committed. We’ve proved that the sound rivals that of high quality wooden guitars and we can make them right now. The next step is to develop the technology for low-cost mass manufacture and achieving this is only a matter of money and time.”

“In the meantime the custom-made route satisfies a response that’s been growing ever since Frankfurt,” Owain adds. “Our limited edition instruments will represent a chance to buy an exclusive piece of guitar-making history. We’re inviting musicians to contact us and register their interest in making a purchase.”

To mark the unveiling of the new range of polymer acoustic and electric guitars, Gordon Giltrap will headline a free showcase concert on Sunday 12 June at Loughborough University. In addition to witnessing how well the guitars perform in a variety of musical styles, from unplugged to accompanied blues and rock, guests will also have the chance to try the guitars for themselves.

Visit the Cool Acoustics website http://www.coolacoustics.com


For further information contact:

Notes to editors
1. High resolution images of the polymer guitars are available immediately on request.
2. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place Loughborough in the top flight of UK universities, and industry highlights Loughborough in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 45% of the University’s income is for research. The University has been awarded four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; and for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development.

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