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Mottola's Cyclopedic Dictionary of Lutherie Terms

R.M. Mottola

Hard Bound, 181 pages, 8"x8"x0.75",
247 color images
ISBN 978-1-7341256-0-3
Printed in the USA

$19.99 (50% off, best price from this site only, USA orders only, includes shipping).
See below for other retailers.

Lutherie is the term used to describe construction of stringed musical instruments such as the guitar, violin, mandolin and ukulele. A luthier is a person that builds stringed musical instruments. The dictionary provides conventional spelling and short descriptions of the most common terms used in modern lutherie as well as historical terminology that a modern luthier may come across in plans and other media. Luthiers, musicians, and others that read or write about stringed musical instrument construction will find it invaluable. Lutherie beginners who are attempting to navigate a mass of unfamiliar terminology will find the dictionary particularly useful. This is the first lutherie book you should buy. Planning on taking a course on building a guitar, ukulele or mandolin? Planning to build a guitar, ukulele or mandolin from instructions in a book or videos? Use of the dictionary will increase the rate of understanding for the new luthier. It is the perfect companion to instructional lutherie books, video and online lutherie courses, and lutherie school instruction. Conservatory and college music departments will want to add this reference to their libraries. Musical instrument retailers and manufacturers will find it to be invaluable.

Descriptions are short and to the point. Enough information is provided to enable the reader to further research a topic if so desired. I've found in my own work that having access to the basic terminology is key to conducting efficient information searches on the Internet.

Many terms in the following categories are included:

  • English translations of foreign language lutherie terms
  • Glues and adhesives
  • Component parts of instruments
  • Electronic parts and circuits
  • Finishing materials and techniques
  • Flattop guitar and ukulele sizes
  • Guitar top bracing styles
  • Hand tools typically used in lutherie
  • Foreign and domestic stringed instruments
  • Lumber and wood sawing terminology
  • Famous luthiers
  • Hand planes
  • Science and engineering terminology
  • Solvents
  • Wood species
  • American English translations of British terms
  • Lutherie jargon
  • and many more...


"...Mottola's Cyclopedic Dictionary of Lutherie Terms is just what the title describes, being quite comprehensive, succinct, and authoritative. That it is also an engaging read is a perk not often associated with the word 'dictionary.'"

- James Buckland (American Lutherie #140)

Read James Buckland's full review here.

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• Latest American Lutherie article: "Book Review: The Caldersmith Papers", American Lutherie #148 Table of Contents

• Latest research article: "Quantifying Player-Induced Intonation Errors of the Steel String Acoustic Guitar"


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