Where to start guitar building?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Music Therapy Guitarist

Where to start guitar building?

Post by Music Therapy Guitarist » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:18 pm

Does anyone have any recommendations of books to read, or blueprints to study? I would like to start building guitars as a hobby in a few years and I'm just trying to find the best places to start. I'm not expecting to build anything amazing for a while but I'd just like to see what people recommend.

Thanks!
MTG

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Kent
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Kent » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:51 pm

Nothing better than hands on. See if there is a local builder that can guide you in return for your free labor at their shop.

mqbernardo
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by mqbernardo » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:56 pm

Books wise, and as i suppose you mean a classical guitar, Roy Courtnall´s book "Making Master Guitars" is a good place to start. Apart from some minor inaccuracies it has loads of valuable info on the subject, has a relatively broad spectrum and is not to jig intensive. José Romanillos is soon going to release a book on guitar making, which i believe is set to become a standard. I´m sure there are good alternatives

Good luck!

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Doug Ingram
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Doug Ingram » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:20 pm

mqbernardo wrote:Books wise, and as i suppose you mean a classical guitar, Roy Courtnall´s book "Making Master Guitars" is a good place to start. Apart from some minor inaccuracies it has loads of valuable info on the subject, has a relatively broad spectrum and is not to jig intensive. José Romanillos is soon going to release a book on guitar making, which i believe is set to become a standard. I´m sure there are good alternatives

Good luck!
Exactly. Start with Courtnall. Anything by Romanillos. And this, and other, forums.

Then get building. Don't worry about "perfect", just do the best that you can do knowing that you will learn and get better.

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Waddy Thomson
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Waddy Thomson » Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:23 am

Agreed. Take your time on the first. Keep it as clean as you can, and make it as perfect as you can. It won't be, but you'll learn how by cleaning up your own mistakes. It'll be really fun.
Waddy

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hanredman
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by hanredman » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:30 am

Can't do better than "Building Master Guitars". Work slowly and accurately. Most importantly, take your time and enjoy every minute.
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romanticguitars
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by romanticguitars » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:38 am

When I started bought every book I could get my hands on, sifted through them to see what felt best for me them combined the knowledge. That doesn't work for everyone but worked great for me. Also, the first guitar I built I wanted to build completely by hand, no power tools ets. I learned a lot doing that, like keeping the band-aids close... and that I would never want to do that again.

:bye:
"Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart." Segovia

rico's
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by rico's » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:15 am

Cumpiano and Natelson my advice. :bravo:

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tom0311
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by tom0311 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:59 am

Doug Ingram wrote:
mqbernardo wrote:Books wise, and as i suppose you mean a classical guitar, Roy Courtnall´s book "Making Master Guitars" is a good place to start. Apart from some minor inaccuracies it has loads of valuable info on the subject, has a relatively broad spectrum and is not to jig intensive. José Romanillos is soon going to release a book on guitar making, which i believe is set to become a standard. I´m sure there are good alternatives

Good luck!
Exactly. Start with Courtnall. Anything by Romanillos. And this, and other, forums.

Then get building. Don't worry about "perfect", just do the best that you can do knowing that you will learn and get better.

+1

I'm slowly working through my first build using Courtnall's book and hassling the Luthiers on this forum :D

I keep having to remind myself that it doesn't need to be perfect and that essentially all I'm doing is joining bits of wood together to make a funny shaped box with strings on top of it. Of course it's not as simple as that, but for someone like myself with no woodworking experience it puts the project into perspective :wink:
“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.”

rico's
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by rico's » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:16 pm

Doug Ingram wrote:
mqbernardo wrote:Books wise, and as i suppose you mean a classical guitar, Roy Courtnall´s book "Making Master Guitars" is a good place to start. Apart from some minor inaccuracies it has loads of valuable info on the subject, has a relatively broad spectrum and is not to jig intensive. José Romanillos is soon going to release a book on guitar making, which i believe is set to become a standard. I´m sure there are good alternatives

Good luck!
Exactly. Start with Courtnall. Anything by Romanillos. And this, and other, forums.

Then get building. Don't worry about "perfect", just do the best that you can do knowing that you will learn and get better.
While I agree that you can learn from everybody and from many different forums and web sites, I would advice to be very careful because you risk mixing different procedure and get into trouble. Stick with one method and dont change until you get some experience. Lets say few guitars. Then you can start to think about some improvenents

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Waddy Thomson
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Waddy Thomson » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:22 pm

There are thousands of ways to build a great guitar. Don't get too caught up in methodology. Use what works for you. If you like to read "How To" books, read several, even if they are out of date, as some of Courtnal is. The main thing to keep in mind is to keep the sequence in order for the first few. Look at it as a bunch of small projects that ultimately come together to make a guitar. Perform each small project to the best of your ability, then assemble them as you go along. Try not to get ahead of yourself in the process.
Waddy

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Imbler
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Imbler » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:43 pm

I really recommend Robbie Obrien's video course. It is 25 hours showing every step of building and very clear explanations of how and why each step is done as shown. Really takes the mystery out. The books are good, but I was left trying to puzzle from descriptions or photo's exactly what was meant,
Mike

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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Adam S. Vernon » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:59 pm

Waddy Thomson wrote:There are thousands of ways to build a great guitar. Don't get too caught up in methodology. Use what works for you.
This seems like sound advise. In my own planning for this pursuit, I came to the conclusion that the most important thing to understand and get right is the overall geometry of the guitar. If you get the geometry right, everything else should more or less fall into place.

Ironically, people recommend Courtnall, and if you follow that book, your geometry will be suboptimal due to an error in the text. As in all things, YMMV.

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Steven D'Antonio
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Steven D'Antonio » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:41 pm

I also strongly recommend Courtnall, however the Bogdanovich book isn't bad either, though it is very jig intensive (and he has lots of pretty pictures if that impresses you). I had great luck borrowing them from my local library network when I first looked them over (I’m a great fan of try before you buy)

Steven
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If you cut it to short you can always nail another piece on the end. But if you cut it to long; then what the heck are you going to do?

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Steven D'Antonio
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Re: Where to start guitar building?

Post by Steven D'Antonio » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:45 pm

Adam S. Vernon wrote: Ironically, people recommend Courtnall, and if you follow that book, your geometry will be suboptimal due to an error in the text. As in all things, YMMV.
Can you be more specific please for those of us who seem to have missed this error?

Steven
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If you cut it to short you can always nail another piece on the end. But if you cut it to long; then what the heck are you going to do?

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