Guitar Building Instruction: Books and Manuals to Help With Your Guitar Building Project

Guitar Building Instructions

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Classic Guitar Construction takes you step by step through the construction of a fine classic guitar. The book contains complete plans for an instrument, although the information is scattered and the body is shown half scale.

Sloane uses very few power tools, explaining how to make and use the special jigs and tools you will need. The author describes wood selection, choice of adhesives, and finishing methods.

The relatively low price makes this an easy choice for anyone wanting to build classic guitars or study their construction.

Irving Sloane's book on guitar construction was first published in 1975. A reprint was published in 1990. It is out of print, but still for sale new from luthier supply catalogs.

Used copies can also be found through Amazon. The book is nicely illustrated with clear black-and-white photographs on nearly every page, many of which are large, full-page pictures.

Sloane's method of construction involves the assembly of the rim using a rudimentary mold, then attachment of the back and sides, and then the neck. His method of joining the neck to the body is unusual and I doubt that I would ever attempt it. There are also sections on inlay and finishing techniques.

As an aside, there is a brief section on archtop guitar construction which is interesting in that it shows famous arch-top makers John D'Angelico and his successor James D'Aquisto at work in their shop. This may be the most worthwhile thing in Sloane's book, given the abundance of guitar construction information available on the internet and in newer publications.


All woodworkers are perfectionists, but those who make musical instruments live in a special place in hell. For them, each step, no matter how small can have a huge, and unexpected effect on the final result.

Even if they follow the same plans and use the same materials, two guitar makers can have significantly different results.

Developing the techniques that will give the craftsman both consistency and control over the final result can often take a lifetime of experimentation. This excellent book, by Cumpiano and Natelson, helps to bridge the gap between novice and journeyman. It will enable most aspiring luthier's to produce something special.

The writers focus on the practicalities of guitarmaking - the tools and techniques used. The arrangement is functional and step-wise, the explanations clear, with a sufficiency of illustrations and photographs.


Every guitarist dreams of owning a handmade instrument, but for most, the cost is likely to be prohibitive.

The alternative - building your own fine guitar - is not as difficult as you might imagine, given some skill, patience, and the expert guidance of a master luthier.

Every step of construction is fully covered, from choice, selection, and preparation of woods, to consideration of size, bracing, and tonal qualities.

Each step of the building sequence is clearly photographed in color, with variations to the standard design shown to enable you to personalize your instrument as you make it. Briston, England-based Jonathan Kinkead has been building guitars for nearly 30 years. His craft is born out of experience and intuition rather than a strict following of technical detail.

The resulting beauty of form and distinctive tone have earned him his reputation as one of the world's most respected independent luthier's.

Great book that has measured drawings of many master guitars. Unlike steel string guitars, where a few models dominate, and look different, say Gibson vs. dreadnought martin, classical guitars look externally quite similar, while varying a lot internally, and otherwise. Many of the great artists of the steel string guitar play factory models, for a variety of reasons. Top classical guitarists largely play models that originated in small shops with one or a few craftsmen. For these reasons anyone who wants to make a study of building classical guitars will find this eclectic group of guitars very important.

However, one should consider:

The guitar building instructions are 1) European in orientation, few jigs, open assembly and so forth, actually the best place for any guitar maker to start, but not how most here do; 2) Weak in places, because the writer is not an expert guitar builder himself, though overall very helpful, and a useful reference.

The flip side of a great book on classic designs is that it isn't a good book on current designs. Guitar making theory has advanced somewhat (though one doubts the new instruments are better, they are nonetheless preferred by many anyway). Tone vs. durability or volume for instance. There has been a huge amount of new detail added to modern classical's, for instance work on intonation, volume, wolf notes, fingerboard playability, longevity, and so forth. this stuff isn't here, but on the other hand, it's plastered over the internet.

If you have seen the violin book, this one isn't the same. The violin book was partnered with a greatish builder. Deals a lot with modern practice (though being violins, that isn't that different anyway), and the violin book doesn't have lots of useful measured drawings (any in fact), because you can get patterns of the outline parts for strads etc...

With whatever reservations, this is the greatest book on the classical guitar, and very reasonably priced, it used to sell for 100.

An essential item for the instrument builder, The Luthier's Handbook explores the secrets and science behind making good-sounding acoustic stringed instruments. Renowned author Roger H. Siminoff brings to the table more than four decades of luthiery experience and shares the time-tested philosophies, tips and technology of the craft.

As the ideal complement to other books on building instruments, this text describes the structural and acoustical attributes of air chambers; what to listen for when tap-tuning; selecting a good piece of wood; placement of the braces and tone bars and how to tune them; how to select the right strings; what to consider in bridge design concepts; and much more. Includes a free String Gauge Calculator for determining the right set of strings.


What a thrill for any musician: playing a fine-sounding instrument that he or she has lovingly crafted from scratch. With this richly illustrated manual, well-known luthier and guitarist John Bogdanovich shows exactly how to build that first, beautiful guitar, using traditional, time-tested methods.

All that’s required are basic woodworking techniques and a minimally equipped shop. Bogdanovich discusses the anatomy of the guitar, sound, choosing an instrument, selecting woods, templates and molds, and preparation. In more than 300 pages of text, he painstakingly lays out the details of construction, from assembling the neck and sides to installing the fingerboard and bridge.


Here's one of the most beautifully designed manuals we've seen for making a solid body guitar from scratch.

The outstanding color photos and diagrams are numerous and make each step easy to understand.

The text covers materials and design, complete neck and body construction, assembly, wiring options and setup. A detailed full-scale blueprint is included, too. 144 pages, soft cover.


Q.: What on earth would make someone want to build an electric guitar from scratch? Can't you just buy one cheaper? A.: Well sure, but with this definitive book on the subject as your guide, you can create your own axe masterpiece, with the precise finish, the exact pickups, and the custom hardware you've always wanted.

Plus, you'll have the indescribable satisfaction of knowing you created something cool out of nothing. And that sure beats buying off the rack! Organized logically from start to finish, this helpful guide will assist you every step of the way; from the design and planning stage to the final setup, each step in the process is written about in abundant detail, with hundreds of photographs, and special full-color sections on wood selection and finishing. Also includes a glossary of terms, an index of materials suppliers, and much more!


Whether you're a musician or a woodworking enthusiast, you'll thoroughly enjoy Roger Siminoff's book, Constructing A Solid Body Guitar.

This 64-page manual uses over 150 photos, several illustrations and four life-size blueprints to assist the reader in choosing the proper materials and tools, as well as using the correct skills and techniques to produce a beautiful handmade instrument that doesn't look handmade at all! Plastic-comb bound. 9 inch. x 12 inch..


The electric guitar is the musical instrument of the last 30 years. In that time, names like Fender and Gibson have acquired an aura--and a price--that are truly remarkable.

For some, however, it is not enough to buy a guitar--the challenge of designing and hand-making a unique, customized instrument is the dream. Since 1986, these people have turned to one book:

Guitar building instruction on how to Make Your Own Electric Guitar. Written in a clear, relaxed style, it covers every facet of guitar design and construction, as well as electronic theory and practice, and full woodworking and wiring techniques--all supported with plenty of photos and diagrams. Now in a revised and expanded edition, Make Your Own Electric Guitar will enable any musician or enthusiast with basic woodworking skills to create a uniquely valuable instrument.