Steve Mason Luthiers
The Alferd Packer Memorial String Band

The Kansas Pi Guitar

Made by Steve Mason.

Finished in September 2010.

Mahogany neck. The heel pin bolt serves as the bottom neck anchor bolt. Note the "top port" ( Pi hole) in the shoulder of the guitar. The problem with guitars is that they are designed to project forward. Everyone can hear your guitar better than you can. The top port aims some of that sound at your ears. It's not as good as a monitor system, but it helps.

This is a dusty close up of an asymmetrical detail. I had already cut the pearl to do the same thing on the other side of the fingerboard, then, in the spirit of Pi, I went with irrational.

East Indian Back and sides. Curly Sycamore binding.

The State of Kansas is perfectly rectangular, except for the Missouri river in the Northeast corner. In regular playing position, the peghead is a map of Kansas. The peghead template was drawn for me by Mark Franzke.

The fingerboard pearl is: Pi at the 3rd fret, Roman numeral 3 at the 5th fret, a hand pointing at the 7th, Roman numeral 1 at the 9th, an IV made of ivory at the 12th, Roman numerals 1 and 5 at the 15th and 17th frets, and the "ad infinitum" symbol at the 19th. Pi = 3.1415... Notice the Pi fret; a square fret, flush with the top of the fingerboard, 1/7 of the distance from the third to the fourth frets. Pi is the ratio of what's going on to what's coming around.

I have always thought of herringbone binding as a snake. On this guitar I let the head of the snake rise out of the binding groove. There are two Pi symbols on the snake's head, making it a python. The grain of the butt pin matches the sides.

The top is Sitka Spruce. The bridge is Brazilian Rosewood. There is a worm hole on the bottom right of the bridge, which I use for time travel.

This is a view looking out the "Pi" hole from inside the guitar. A hole drilled through a bent side must be reinforced. I reinforced it with a Pi symbol. You can see that the rosewood grain runs the same direction as the grain of the side. Between the two layers of rosewood is a cross grain piece of maple veneer. That gives the strength required and also makes for a nice white line around the inside edge of the hole.

My initials and the year, carved from ebony, serve to reinforce the centerline joint of the back, while allowing the center strip to show on the inside of the guitar.











3809 W 24th St
Lawrence, KS  66047

(785) 841-0277 or
(785) 331-6000



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© Copyright 2010, Steve Mason