To improve the replication of acoustic guitars, measurements of three Martin OOO style steel-string guitars were made at various stages of their construction. The guitars were constructed in parallel, as similar to each other as possible, with the exception of the soundboard material—which were made of Sitka spruce, Engelmann spruce and Western Red cedar. To improve the similarity of the instruments, methods were developed to measure and control the material properties of key components before their incorporation into the instruments, including a device to measure the thickness of a guitar soundboard attached to the back and sides of the instrument.
Some of these measurements were compared to numerical models of the instrument and, after the establishment of a lexicon to describe guitar sounds, some physical factors contributing towards the timbre of guitar sounds were determined. The results of these investigations may be developed to improve the consistency in the manufacture of stringed musical instruments