I have been thinking for some years that I would like to try building
a guitar, and the availability of kits at reasonable prices is making
me think about it more and more.
I want to read a book on the subject but am not sure what would be a
good overview. The only book I can find at the local library is
"Classic Guitar Making" by Arthur Overholtzer, but it seems to be
permanently checked out. Does anyone have a recommendation of a book
that would give a good overview of the procedures and skills needed?
Preferably something with lots of pictures ;-)
*The* guitar making reference is titled, appropriately enough,
_Guitarmaking: tradition and technology_, by Cumpiano and Natelson,
published in 1993 in paperback at $29.95. It is very complete, probably
all you would need if you have reasonable woodworking skills. It is a
well-illustrated step-by-step guide to building a classical or
In the knife-making world they refer to "knife-like-objects", things
that look like knives but won't hold an edge. I figure if I can build
a "guitar-like-object" or two and sell them in a pawn shop I might
learn enough to be able to actually build an instrument.
On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 17:55:25 -0800, Tim Douglass wrote:
You might want to check out the books page at
Also, I'm told that it is easier to go with a kit, and the Grizley kits
have a good track record on the music news group that I'm on.
As some others have suggested the Cumpiano book is a good one.
You might ask your question at rec.music.makers.builders. I'm sure
some other suggestions would be forthcoming.
Also, mimf.com is a useful resource for instrument makers. They do
want you to register but there is no cost.
I have built guitars from the Overholtzer book. I highly recommend his methods
and procedures, however, the book itself is hard to follow, not very well
written. He was much more the builder than the writer.
C.F. Martin, makers of _excellent_ guitars, has kits with great instructions
available. Maybe you can buy just their manuals?
Techniques and materials are _very_ different depending on if you're building
a classical, a steel-stringed, or an electric guitar. No point learning how
to support a top for the wrong type, so if you narrow down your goals you'll
be able to find more directly applicable information. Me, I'm planning
to go with one of Martin's kits when I build one.
Guitar World (iirc) had an April Fools issue 20-ish years ago when brass
parts were all the rage.
They machined a Stratocaster copy from solid brass. Their comments
"The heaviest strap wasn't much use, and besides, at over 70lbs, it
proved impossible to hold it in playing positiong. So we used a Hurst
engine hoist instead."
"Yeah, it was heavy, but you shoulda heard the SUSTAIN!!"
At this point my interest is in an acoustic steelstring. I don't have
much practical interest in electric guitars (as instruments to play)
and classical is not really my musical interest, so...
Have you seen the site:
Luthiers Mercantile International?
They seem to have great Kits for reasonable prices.
Try building a guitar from a kit just for "practice" and then
when you read up on the "how to" you can relate.
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