Guitar-Making Information Resources

Where to get started learning about building guitars. December 28, 2006

After years and years of building cabinets, entertainment centers, and other sorts of odds and ends, I decided recently that I need a new challenge. Anyone out there making guitars - acoustic or electric - that could lead me to a book or two to get started?

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor M:
I'm a full-time woodrat and am also a working musician. You bet that I've done some significant things to my (16!) guitars. First thing you might want to do is to check out Robert Benedetto's excellent book "Making an Archtop Guitar", by Centerstream Publishing, 1994 (ISBN1-57424-000-5). I got mine at Barnes and Noble. This is soup-to-nuts on the topic of making a carved-top jazz guitar, as seen in the old D'Angelico's and D'Aquisto's. In fact, if memory serves, Benedetto apprenticed under D'Aquisto, who apprenticed under D'Angelico. So the pedigree is there.

Two other places come to mind for where to get wood, materials, parts and everything. Luthier's Mercantile is available at They've got all of the high-end boutique stuff, as well as some good reading.

The other site is Stewart MacDonald, and they've got some cool books, tools, materials and supplies as well. Dan Earlwine, who was a regular contributor to Guitar Player magazine for 20-odd years, is a primary mover and shaker at StewMac.

Stewart MacDonald also has a good series of books on the subjects of acoustic and solid body guitars and basses, plus readable and followable books on the subjects of electronics and wiring, finishing, etc. I've got the book on finishing and it's served me well.

From contributor T:
You might get a kick out the guitars made by the Pres of Grizzly. If you have or get their catalog, you'll see that he's really into it. I'll bet he'd be glad to share some of his resources with you.

From contributor E:
Take a look at the Musical Instrument Makers Forum. Lots of good info from builders of all levels:

From contributor G:
A gold standard of guitar building books is GUITARMAKING: Tradition and Technology by William R. Cumpiano and Jonathan D. Natelson. As a hobby, I have been building my first guitar. It is a humbling experience.