Wilborn Guitar Body Styles

 

Although I still enjoy building traditional-style guitars like the OM, Dreadnought and L-00, my desire to improve upon these classics both sonically and ergonomically has led me to design completely new and exciting guitars. My four scaled instruments (they are all aesthetically similar, but in increasing sizes) are The Bantam, The Lion, The EllieBelle and The Patros. These all have my "waist-forward" design that results in the guitar sitting more naturally on the right knee, and bringing the left hand closer to the body, resulting in more comfort and less fatigue. The Gloria, though more traditional in appearance, has a large body air volume and an extra long scale length, making it a great choice for drop tunings and finger style playing. All of my guitars have lightweight x-bracing, and carefully graduated top thickness for unparalleled tone and responsiveness. The WarHorse is my version of the iconic Dreadnought, but with special attention paid to making a warm, fat treble response while still maintaining a huge powerful bass.

And now I offer the midsized ground-breaking Nautilus, which has been rethought from the ground up to create an unprecedented playing experience.

 

The Bantam

S M A L L

T he Bantam is a small but fearsome parlor guitar. At only 12-1/4” across the lower bout, and the smallest of my "waist-forward" guitars, this small and elegant guitar defies expectations with a very healthy bottom end, a penetrating mid, and a rich, singing high end, coupled with volume that always surprises the first time listener.

The Bantam can be built with a 12 or 14 fret neck. Its small size makes it a perfect choice for smaller players, and a lovely intimate musical companion for anyone. The unique lines of the body give it a look that is both exciting and contemporary, yet somehow reminiscent of the baroque era.

Bantam Gallery

The Bantam Specifications

Scale Length
24.9"
Frets to Body
12 or 14
Nut Width
1-3/4"
String Spacing at Saddle
2-3/16"
Fingerboard Radius
Compound14 - 20"
Lower Bout Width
12-1/4"
Maximum Body Depth
3-11/16"

The Lion

C O M P A C T

A t 14” across the lower bout, The Lion falls into the Parlor Guitar category, but is truly the King of that tiny jungle. The second smallest of the "waist-forward" guitars, my original inspiration for this model was the 1935 Gibson L-00. But ultimately, The Lion shares very little in common with its godfather besides its size. A thoroughly modern approach to bracing, a carefully graduated top, and careful control of body resonance creates a guitar that is entirely surprising in its rich and voluminous tone. A great choice for lead players, the smaller body size contributes to a very even and articulate sound all the way up the neck, with great note separation and attack, and an incredibly sweet and powerful midrange. Works well as a 12 or 14 fret instrument.

Lion Gallery

The Lion Specifications

Scale Length
24.9"
Frets to Body
12 or 14
Nut Width
1-3/4"
String Spacing at Saddle
2-3/16"
Fingerboard Radius
Compound 14 - 20"
Lower Bout Width
14-1/4"
Maximum Body Depth
4-1/4"

The EllieBelle

M E D I U M

T his guitar is the most versatile instrument I make, capable of holding its own in an acoustic ensemble, creating sonorous and cello-like basses with finger style drop tunings, and leaping out front for leadwork with a ton of volume and headroom.

The EllieBelle is 15" across the lower bout, a comfortable size for almost everyone. This was the first instrument I designed with my "waist-forward" philosophy, and lends its modern lines to the rest of the team. The idea, beyond the purely aesthetic, was to push the waist forward, thereby bringing the left hand closer to the player’s body for a very comfortable and healthy playing position, even with its standard 14 fret neck join. With a very sensitive and quick feel, it's a true jack-of-all-trades. (That happens to be a master of them, too!)

EllieBelle Gallery

The EllieBelle Specifications

Scale Length
25.4"
Frets to Body
14
Nut Width
1-3/4"
String Spacing at Saddle
2-3/16"
Fingerboard Radius
Compound 14 - 20"
Lower Bout Width
15"
Maximum Body Depth
4-1/4"

The Patros

L A R G E

T he Patros, as the name suggests, is the Papa of this family. This is a big guitar, at 16-7/8” across the lower bout. A tremendously voiced 6 string, this platform also works well for 12 strings or Baritone configurations. With a body this large, boasting this much wood to amplify string energy, the Patros looks down from its throne and laughs at the feeble efforts of Dreadnoughts and Jumbos. A great flat picker’s guitar, it also does well as a near-symphonic accompaniment for a singer/songwriter solo act.

Patros Gallery

The Patros Specifications

Scale Length
25.4"
Frets to Body
14
Nut Width
1-3/4"
String Spacing at Saddle
2-3/16"
Fingerboard Radius
Compound 14 - 20"
Lower Bout Width
16-7/8"
Maximum Body Depth
4-5/8"

The Gloria

L A R G E

T he Gloria is my solution to a problem I’ve noticed in so many guitars: a small body produces a sweet, immediate tone, but lacks the gusto of a large body’s bass response. A large body (think Dread) often produces a very satisfying bottom end, but with a constricted treble response.

Although The Gloria is only 15-1/4” across, the body is deep, giving it an air volume approaching that of a dreadnought. With the smaller, carefully braced and graduated top, and the larger bodied air volume, I am able to capture the best of both worlds. The Gloria has a more traditional look than my other instruments, and is offered with either a classic slotted or standard headstock. With its longer scale length, it's a favorite of fingerstyle players.

Gloria Gallery

The Gloria Specifications

Scale Length
25.6"
Frets to Body
12 or 14
Nut Width
1-3/4"
String Spacing at Saddle
2-3/16"
Fingerboard Radius
Compound 14 - 20"
Lower Bout Width
15-1/4"
Maximum Body Depth
4-3/8"

The WarHorse

L A R G E

T he WarHorse is my modified version of the iconic Dreadnought. Gone are the flat surfaces at the top and bottom of the body. (These were employed to make construction easier.) The shoulders are tightened up, and the lower bout is more shapely. At first glance, it is clearly a Dreadnought, but somehow more elegant and modern.

Inside the body, the bracing is tall and narrow, to maximize lightness, and redistributed slightly to create a very powerful but exceptionally even tonal response all up and down the neck. Primarily intended as a flat picker’s guitar, it also works wonderfully for finger style and drop tunings.

WarHorse Gallery

The WarHorse Specifications

Scale Length
25.4"
Frets to Body
12 or 14
Nut Width
1-3/4"
String Spacing at Saddle
2-3/16"
Fingerboard Radius
Compound 14 - 20"
Lower Bout Width
15-13/16"
Maximum Body Depth
4-15/16"

The Nautilus

M E D I U M

T he Nautilus in a mid-sized guitar that changes all the rules. The impetus for this design was the idea that in a traditional X-braced guitar with a centrally located sound-hole, approximately one-third of the top is rendered inert due to the demands of the structure required to keep the top from collapsing. The Nautilus, by relocating the sound hole to the upper treble bout, frees up a great deal more real estate for vibration, which after all, is how a guitar amplifies sound. Off-set sound holes are nothing new, but all the previous attempts I have seen fail to fully take advantage of this radical realignment. The Nautilus is not an X-braced guitar, but is instead radially braced, with all the braces arranged like spokes on a wheel, from the bridge outward. Whereas the traditional X locks the the bridge area into a relatively inflexible unit, the radial arrangement allows the bridge much more freedom of movement. The result is a tremendous increase in bass response, a warm and sophisticated top end, and overall greater output of volume. Playing this instrument is a revelation of what potential a guitar possesses.

The Nautilus features a number of modern innovations, all of them critically contributing to a thoroughly and thoughtfully designed whole. Not just a mish-mash of contemporary features, but a through-composed suite of interrelated sonic and ergonomic details, The Nautilus model includes:

  • The 3-D soundport is located on the upper treble bout of the instrument, and replaces both the traditional soundhole, but, by sculpturally dipping down into the side, also replaces the player’s port. This aperture focuses the energy of the guitar directly at the player, creating a very immersive experience for the player, as well as allowing the sound to drive forward towards the audience. In addition, the 3-D soundport provides the inspiration for the Nautilus’ name, bearing as it does a resemblance to the beautiful shape of a seashell.
  • The elevated fingerboard slightly changes the angle at which the strings meet the bridge, creating more complex overtones and a more “harp-like” timbre. It also slightly elevates the strings above the top, providing plenty of clearance for fingernails or plectrum.
  • The high-performance cutaway departs from the neck at the 18th fret, which, coupled with the elevated fingerboard, provides unfettered access all the way to the 21st fret.
  • The triple laminated sides, and internal carbon-fiber strut provide rock solid structure to the area where the 3-D port has removed material from the upper treble bout.
  • The arm bevel on the lower treble bout presents a gentle, comfortable surface for the player’s right forearm to prevent the discomfort that can be associated with a sharper edge. It also creates, along with the 3-D soundport, a beautiful serpentine shape that is reminiscent of the stroke of a calligrapher's pen.
  • The multiscale fingerboard captures the deep brassy growl of a long-scale bottom end, and couples it with the sweet fatness of a short-scale treble. Because the total difference of the two scales is only 1/2”, the player requires no time to acclimate (in fact it is virtually unnoticeable even the first time you pick the instrument up), but it delights the player with a satisfying sonic solution to the age old conundrum: long-scale, or short-scale?

All together these features create a truly unique, beautiful and powerful instrument that is unlike any other guitar you have played: deep, sonorous, rich in sustain and harmonic complexity, and ergonomically so comfortable that it seems to blend into your body and become a musical extension of yourself.

Nautilus Gallery

The Nautilus Specifications

Scale Length
Multiscale, 25.4" to 24.9"
Frets to Body
14
Nut Width
1-13/16"
String Spacing at Saddle
2-5/16"
Fingerboard Radius
Compound 14 - 20"
Lower Bout Width
15"
Maximum Body Depth
4-1/2"
Nautilus@350px