Backbone™ Semi-hollow Construction
All DC guitars are built using a unique new Backbone™ body design. This patented variation on semi-hollow body structure is designed to provide both rich tone and long sustain.
The Backbone™ forms a rigid structure suspended between the neck and the bridge. This design concept has several benefits. First, it allows all three of these elements to vibrate and resonate freely. The top and bottom plates are not restricted except around the perimeter and directly at the bridge. And the Backbone™ itself resonates too, but with different characteristics than the top and bottom plates. All three elements together combine to create a wonderfully complex yet clear tone unique to DC guitars.
Second, the Backbone™ helps to create a very rigid connection between the neck and the bridge -- essential to being able to produce that long, soulful sustain.
Third benefit; weight reduction! I don't know about you, but all things being equal, I find lighter weight guitars to be much more comfortable to carry and play for extended periods. Compared to conventional semi-hollow guitars, DC guitars are definately on the hefty side, but compared to solidbodies, these are featherweights! These guitars weigh in somewhere in between those two extremes. And I'm really pleased with their balance, too. Not too heavy at the neck or the heel. Comfortable and light, yet still with enough heft that you know you have something substantial in your hands.
Another benefit of this design concept is that it allows for tremendous variation in tonal character simply through selection of the combination of tonewoods used. Cherry Backbone™ with Maple sides and tops... Walnut Backbone™ with Cherry tops... Cherry all over... Hard rock maple all over... Each combination has its own character and tone, and because each piece in the construction is allowed to resonate, the combined characters of these beautiful tonewoods can be used to full effect.
From a development standpoint, there is also significant benefit in being able to incorporate various Backbone™ shapes without affecting the build process or the external appearance.
You can see three example Backbone™ variations on this page, all covered under the samepatent.
The first (upper right) graphic shows the "short" Backbone™ just connecting between the neck and bridge. The second graphic (left side) shows the Backbone™ connecting all the way through to the heel. This adds signficant stiffness to the overall structure and generally shifts the overall resonance points higher. The third graphic (just to the right here) shows the backbone extending past the bridge. This variation adds mass to the center without increasing the stiffness, lowered resonant frequencies. And aside from these major geometry variations, it is also quite easy to build the Backbone™ with a different thickness and cross section in order to make fine adjustments to the sound and character of the guitar. These kind of Backbone™ variations combined with different tonewoods offer worlds of new possibilities.
But tech talk aside, there's no substitute for getting one in your hands, feeling the balance, and hearing the tone for yourself. Try one out. I think you'll be pleased.
- Dave Coke