Project Title

Composite Guitar

Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2020


Mechanical Engineering Technology

Committee Chair

Dr. Craig Johnson

Second Committee Member

Dr. John Choi

Third Committee Member

Professor Charles Pringle


Traditional wood-bodied products such as boats, hockey sticks, and guitars can be easily chipped or cracked if not properly taken care of. The wood can absorb moisture and deteriorate over time. If that wood is replaced with composite materials, those products can become stronger, more lightweight, and resistant to temperature and corrosion. Two of the most popular composite materials are carbon fiber and fiberglass. Because these composite materials have such a high strength, the core of a guitar body can also be replaced with a lighter material such as Styrofoam which makes for a lighter and more durable guitar. The carbon fiber can be molded to the guitar using either a wet layup or a vacuum bagging technique. Both of these have their own advantages and disadvantages. The vacuum bagging process allows the carbon fiber to mold more closely to the foam core but was found to have problems around the corners and edges of the guitar. The wet layup was able to form more closely around the corners but had small bubbles or imperfections around certain areas. Both processes had roughly the same cure time of about 6 hours. The initial testing was done on a separate piece of foam that was cut out and carbon fiber applied. The calculated load of the string was around 11 psi and the test piece was able to withstand well above that amount.