Mr Yi-Luen Tan
Product Description and Principal Function(s)
My project concerns the electric guitar not simply as a design, but as an evolution of manís quest to create a figure and form that resonates sonically, visually, and philosophically of the times in which he resides. While technology has been progressing steadily in this field, the designs have changed very little over the past half-century. My design tackles a difficult and protected product market with the appropriate level of 'intervention' by design.
Why does the product represent design excellence and why do you believe it deserves an Australian
My product design is a contemporary interpretation of an instrument which has evolved over the course of the last five millennia. The design takes essential cues from traditional history, such as the use of wood, and applies them to modern design philosophies. For example, the location of the tuners at the base of the body not only provides completely unique aesthetics, but is in fact more ergonomic and intuitive for the player. It also lightens the weight of the headstock considerably, allowing for more liberal movement of the neck and a more comfortable feel. The bridge makes use of roller bearings, and the nut is made of a material called Boron Polytrinate, and is in fact
slipperier than Teflon. This results in virtually no friction save for the two anchor points of the string, creating excellent tuning stability.
The wood itself is sourced from Queensland, which not only helps the Australian industry, but is environmentally friendly, unlike various other tonewoods such as South American Mahogany. To showcase the wood, I used a natural Danish Oil finish rather than a thick polyurethane or nitrocellulose which would have inhibited the natural resonance and feel of wood.
The electric guitar pickups are the innovative Lace Alumitone pickups, which are not introduced as standard on any existing production guitar. This was because their streamlined and radical design looked 'out of place' on existing guitars, so I sought to create my design with them firmly in mind. Their weight is 70% lighter than conventional pickups which affords considerable weight savings. Perhaps most importantly, they produce an extraordinarily clear tone.
Primarily, while electric guitar design still largely dwells on the designs of the Gibson Les
Paul (designed in 1952) and the Fender Stratocaster (designed in 1954), my design introduces a new design into the marketplace which is the result of a great deal of research and development, and is highly resolved and manufacture-ready. Feedback
from seasoned musicians has been highly positive, for it is unique without being offensive to tradition.
More than any of this, the guitar is simply a great guitar to play. The maple body gives it a smooth, rounded tone, while the walnut cap adds sustain. Combined with the Alumitone pickups, the overall tone is bright, full and clear. The body contours make it very comfortable to play and its ergonomics are second to none. To the untrained eye,
it is a very different to existing designs; to the avid guitar player, it is completely different to anything out there, both in appearance and feel.