Porticos: Designing Everything From Handheld Electronics to Guitar Parts


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Patterson: Not as much anymore, but I enjoyed it. As founders, we’re responsible for business development, but we are still involved in projects, helping manage and provide oversight. Sometimes, we’ll do some design work, but not as much as we used to do.

Shaughnessy: That’s one of the pitfalls of being the founder.

Patterson: It is. But we do fun stuff too. I know you play guitar so you'll find it interesting that we did a bridge for an acoustic guitar for Martin Guitars.

Patterson guitar bridge.JPG

Close-up of Portico’s bridge designed for Martin Guitars.

Shaughnessy: No kidding. How did that happen?

Patterson Martin guitar.JPGPatterson: I’d met them before for something completely independent. There’s a challenge of intonation, bridge height, and string height in acoustic guitars. We had an idea to address those challenges and developed some prototypes. We worked with Fishman, who did the electronics for us, and we built some units. It wasn’t a profitable project for us, but it was fun and kept us challenged.

Shaughnessy: Did you get involved with the woodworking?

Patterson: On this project, yes, but generally speaking, we work with plastics, sheet metal, or cast parts.

Shaughnessy: Guitars are hard because you don’t want to make the top too thick, or it won’t resonate and be loud enough, but you don’t want it to be so thin that it bows under pressure.

Patterson: It has to be able to support the load. That was the challenge with designing the bridge. There are a lot of different rules of thumb, but you don’t want to add a lot of mass to the bridge, so you couldn’t take an electric guitar bridge, for example, and stick it on an acoustic guitar. At least you wouldn’t want to if you don’t want to impact the acoustics of the instrument. We have a lot of experience with carbon fiber plastics that can be very light. We incorporated that experience into the design of the bridge.

Shaughnessy: It sounds like a fun company to work for. How many employees do you have?

Patterson: Right now, we have 23 full-time employees and some contractors.

Shaughnessy: Does that include Asia?

Patterson: No, Asia is separate. We have five employees in Asia right now, and we hope to add a few more this year. We should have around 10 employees in Asia by the end of 2020.

Shaughnessy: Very good. Thanks, Greg.

Patterson: Thank you, Andy.

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