The Wedge©™ by Linda Manzer is licensed for public use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. (Details and Credit Information)
Notes from Linda about the Wedge©™ – an original Manzer Guitar design innovation:
The Manzer "Wedge" was first designed and implemented in 1984 on my 42 stringed Pikasso Guitar for Pat Metheny, a much wider instrument than my normal six string and one requiring a longer reach for the right hand to play all the strings. It was also important to figure out a way for Pat Metheny to see the strings from above so he wouldn't get lost when he was playing.
At this time I was bantering ideas around with a friend, Tony Duggan-Smith another former Larrivee apprentice and member of the popular Canadian band Pukka Orchestra. While trying to figure out how to achieve my goals without compromising the sound, it became clear to us that by tapering the body, the box volume could remain the same (maintaining low end) while the depth of the body could be decreased under the right arm providing better comfort and visual access to the top. (Tony played a big part in this. Thank you Tony.)
I then set about to bring the concept to life and Voila! the Pikasso and Wedge, were born.
From the mid-eighties, I started including the Wedge as a design feature in my other (smaller) models. Since then, it has been a common option on my steel string and classical models, and more recently on my archtops.
For those who may be wondering if a "wedged" Manzer Guitar sounds different than the non-wedged version, I have noticed no effect on tone or volume. I believe this is because the overall internal air volume is the same as my regular guitars.
In 1989, I gave a speech describing the Wedge at a major luthiers convention: the ASIA Symposium (Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans).
Also in 1989, I did an interview about the Pikasso guitar in which I described the Wedge and its origin in detail. This interview was published in the April 1989 edition of EMI (Experimental Musical Instruments Volume 4 #6).
As time went on, it became evident that the wedge shape had some extra benefits. As well as making the strings easier to see, players find that the Wedge increases their overall playing comfort level.
When songwriter (and good friend) Bruce Cockburn developed a pinched nerve in his right arm, he traded in his deep bodied Manzer steel string for a Wedged Manzer model. Almost immediately, the pain went away. He was very happy and very relieved. Me too.
Since then several regular Manzer Guitar customers have traded in their pre-Wedged models for the Wedged version. If you experience playing arm discomfort, I highly recommend switching to a Wedged guitar.
I still like to invite people who have never experienced a Wedged guitar to play one, and then wait for them to comment on how comfortable it is to play. Then I point out the Wedge shape.
I currently incorporate the Wedge into almost every guitar I build. I vary the angle but generally it is about 3 1/2 inches on the bass side (specifically, right under the playing arm) and from there fans out to about 4 1/2 inches on the treble side (lower bout, where the guitar rests on your knee).
I am often asked by other builders/luthiers if they can use the Wedge design innovation on their own guitars, and my answer is "yes." But as a courtesy, I would appreciate receiving credit for my design innovation, especially now that it's catching on with many builders, and larger companies are incorporating it into their guitars.
The speech I gave about the Wedge at the ASIA convention in 1989 was attended by several hundred luthiers, some of whom are using the design innovation today. As I say... I am happy to share, but as a courtesy I would appreciate credit. Thanks.