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Pagelli’s interchangeable-top guitar is shown outfitted with the acoustic tone plate,
while the resonator plate is on the table at right and the electric plate is on the left.
Pagelli Interchangeable-Top Guitar
This innovative design from Swiss luthier Claudio Pagelli was one of the show’s highlights. With multi-instrumentalists in mind, Pagelli created an alluring gem with four interchangeable tone plates that you can transfer in and out of the 6-string to go from acoustic to electric to resonator to banjo tones in a minute or two—with the strings essentially staying in tune throughout the process. (Pagelli says the plates will soon have quick-change wireless connections to make swapping them out even easier.) The electric tone plate features Lace Alumitones (Volume and Tone controls are hidden in the upper-bout soundholes), and the floating bridge can also be changed out with a sitar bridge for even more tones.
1. Claudio Pagelli unscrews the lock-pin on the back of the neck. 2. Pagelli carefully removes the neck and slide-out tailpiece. 3. The tone plate pops out. This prototype had wires connecting the electronics, but the final version will have quick-change connections. 4. The electric tone plate is dropped into place. 5. The floating bridge is positioned before the neck is secured. 6. Pagelli strums the guitar for a few onlookers. (Note the banjo tone plate at right).
Tone-plate changes are made possible by a lock-pin mechanism in the neck-heel area that allows you to unscrew and tilt the neck forward for access to the removable disc, and the same mechanism also facilitates removing the neck for easy transport. Deconstructed, the whole package fits in a case you can easily stow in an airplane’s overhead compartment. “I was sure it was a cool idea, but I wasn’t sure if it would work,” Pagelli told PG. “I’m very happy it turned out like this.”