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27 November 2007 PR 07/149

Cool Acoustics unveils Secret Valentine polymer guitar collaboration

Cool Acoustics, the Loughborough University venture developing foamed polymer technology for acoustic guitars, today unveiled its Secret Valentine project. This yearlong collaboration with renowned UK guitarist Gordon Giltrap and master guitar-maker Rob Armstrong has resulted in a specially commissioned studio album recorded on a stunning new polymer acoustic guitar.

The Secret Valentine project team (left to right) Eddie Norman, Rob Armstrong, Owain Pedgley,
Gordon Giltrap

Rob’s previous clients have included George Harrison and members of Fairport Convention and The Levellers.

The new Rob Armstrong Secret Valentine guitar is a handmade hybrid acoustic guitar, featuring a wooden body and neck but with a Cool Acoustics soundboard. The soundboard is the flat front panel that shapes the majority of a guitar’s sound and is traditionally made of spruce or cedar. But these materials have two major quality concerns. They are vulnerable to tonal and structural changes caused by fluctuations in temperature and humidity. And as no two pieces of wood are the same there can be a variation in the tonal quality of guitars that are mass-produced to a standard construction. Cool Acoustics soundboards are manufactured from foamed polycarbonate, a manmade material that avoids the shortcomings of softwood and provides outstanding tonal quality.

Professional guitarist Gordon Giltrap jumped at the chance to be involved in the new project, having been won over from his first audition of Cool Acoustics instruments in 1999. The Secret Valentine guitar has been designed and developed to Gordon’s exacting specifications, and takes its name from one of his favourite personal compositions. Gorden was so impressed by the guitar the he has used only this instrument to record his first solo studio album for 16 years. The resulting album, also entitled Secret Valentine, is a captivating new recording of Gordon’s most romantic and melodic pieces. The album also includes a video interview with Gordon and the creators of the guitar. Copies can be ordered through Voiceprint (http://www.voiceprint.co.uk).

To further celebrate the unveiling of this project, Cool Acoustics plans to manufacture an exclusive limited edition batch of Secret Valentine guitars that will appeal especially to guitar enthusiasts. The negotiations for the manufacture are now underway and the resulting instruments will be made to the exemplary standards of the handcrafted guitar used by Gordon. The preliminary price for the Secret Valentine guitar is £2000.

For more detailed information about the Secret Valentine project, including downloadable high-resolution images for press use, along with more general information on Cool Acoustics, please visit http://www.coolacoustics.com. Further announcements on the exact pricing, specification and locations to audition the limited edition guitars will be made through the website.


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Notes for editors:

  1. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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