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Technically speaking, the soundboard of an acoustic guitar provides a place for the bridge to anchor the strings to the body, thus transferring the energy of the strings to the soundboard.
So far, so snoozesome. But part of the modern acoustic guitar player’s genius is to turn this anatomical feature into something a bit more exciting: a mini drum kit you can strap on or cradle in your lap.
Be warned, though: banging away on the soundboard leaves its mark, as the guitar tops of many a modern acoustic guitar player will attest. Don’t think of it as damage, think of it as ‘character’.