THE WEDGE: INVENTED IN 1984 – NOW STANDARD ON MANZER GUITARS
The Wedge is an original Manzer design innovation: a slight tapering of the guitar body that makes the strings easier for a player to see, and makes the instrument more comfortable to play, while causing no change in the tone.
Linda implemented the Wedge for the first time in 1984 for the (now famous) Pikasso Guitar designed and built for Pat Metheny.
In 1989, Linda gave a speech describing the Wedge to fellow luthiers at the the ASIA Symposium (Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans).
For the April 1989 edition of EMI (Experimental Musical Instruments Volume 4 #6) Linda did an interview about the Pikasso guitar where she described the Wedge and its origin in detail.
Since then, the Wedge has become a standard feature on almost all Manzer Guitars.
LINDA ON THE ORIGIN OF THE WEDGE
The Wedge was invented to solve one problem and ended up solving two.
In 1984, I received a commission from Pat Metheny to build a guitar with "as many strings as possible." I settled on 42. As the design took shape I realized that because of the multiple necks required, the body of the instrument would need to be much wider than my normal six string. With a guitar of the usual geometry, a player would have a hard time seeing all the strings.
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 set about to bring the concept to life and Voila! The Pikasso and Wedge, were born.
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 found 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.