This section contains a list of frequenctly asked questions and answers (FAQs), a list of recommended books, links to other high content lutherie information sites, and information for first time builders of stringed instruments, including some tips and a list of essential resources for those that want to build their first stringed musical instrument.
Last updated: September 11, 2018
Most of the questions people ask about lutherie fall neatly into the how-do-I-get-started category, and these are addressed in the Information for First Time Builders section. Questions that are asked more than once and don't fit neatly anywhere else and that I find interesting are found here with short but hopefully useful answers. Mine is not the last word on any of these subjects and I would encourage anyone with a question to ask around and get as many takes on it from as many knowledgeable people as possible.
There are a lot of different ways you can approach building your first guitar, bass, mandolin, or other stringed instrument. This is a fortunate thing. There was a time not too long ago when your only options would have been to get a job in a guitar factory or to just figure it out for yourself. Now, there are schools which offer classes in musical instrument making, instructional books, and even videos. And there are a wide variety of projects ranging from simple things like putting together a solid body electric guitar from a kit to building a cello of your own design from trees you cut down yourself. Your own approach to building will depend a lot on your general personality and what resources are available to you. Here are some tips to get you started.
There are a surprising number of books on the subject of building stringed musical instruments and some of them are very good. Some of the best and most useful are listed here. I can’t recommend books enough – they are probably the best investment you can make. Some of the books listed here are out of print but are readily available from the used book sellers associated with the big online book stores. I highly recommend all books in this list. Books are in no particular order. The summaries of some of the construction books include links to a page of tips for using the book in a self directed effort at building a first instrument. These tips were compiled from the questions I’ve answered from first time builders attempting to build instruments using these books as guides. This information will also be of use to teachers intending to use these books as texts in instrument building classes. The fact that I've provided these tips pages should in no way be misconstrued to mean any of these books are lacking. These are all great books.
In the true spirit of HTML, context dependent links to resources for builders of stringed musical instruments are scattered throughout this website. This page contains some general links or links that don’t fit well anywhere else on the site. They are grouped roughly by type and are in no particular order. There aren’t a lot of links here and there probably never will be, as I don’t have either the time or the inclination to build and maintain a comprehensive site of lutherie links. Besides, it’s already been done on the Guild of American Luthiers website. What I’m trying to focus on here are links to high content sites – sites that provide a lot of free lutherie information in one spot, and that contain no popups or other advertising, or require “membership” that will be used to try to sell you something. There aren’t a lot. Please let me know if I’ve missed anything and if any of these links are dead.