There's a great piece in the new New Yorker about guitar design and Ken Parker, who founded Parker Guitars, making carbon fibre guitars in the late '80s with funding from Korg. He sold the company to Washburn in 2003, and is now making Ken Parker Archtops, which are made from wood, carbon, composites and gold leaf. And cost $30,000. Along the way, we meet:
The Tonequest Report, super high-end guitar mag
Tom Murphy, who's paid by Gibson to 'age' their new custom shop guitars ("To imitate years of belt wear, he held an old buckle aainst the back and whacked it a few times with a hammer")
Juha Ruokangas, a Finnish guitar maker who makes expensive and ugly guitars using the shinbone of a wild moose as the nut
This guy who makes guitar parts from fossilised walrus ivory
And finally, the history of the lute.