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The Best Books on Classical Guitar Making

Skilled use of the knife and ax is seldom described today because there are few persons who master these tools. Those who do are often more articulate with their hands who master these tools.
James Rudstrom, from the introduction to Swedish Carving Techniques, Wille Sundqvist, 1990



If you want to make a classical guitar these are the two books to get!

Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall is like having an old master looking over your shoulder prodding you to listen to him, because he knows the most efficient way to do it. Besides, it is tradition! I love this book!

Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jon Natelson, is "the" book that I used to make my first guitars and I still reference it. I have leafed through it so much that the pages are falling away from the binding!

I can't recommend John Bogdanovich's book Classical Guitar Making, it is for someone who already has a well-equipped professional cabinet shop that is capable of turning out kitchen cabinets at the rate of one kitchen install a day. He loves his power tools so much I was surprised to see photos of chisels and a block plane! This is not a book for a beginner, it's better suited for someone with a strong professional cabinet maker background.

Making Master Guitars and Guitar Making are the best way to get started, if you want to learn more about the nuances found in true Spanish guitars made by the likes of Santos Hernandez, Hernandez y Aguado or Francisco Simplicio please read articles by Eugene Clark, R.E. Brune and Jeff Elliot in American Luthier, published by the Guild of American Luthiers!

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What holds the Holy of the Holies, what did Brahma become? Wood. Why will aspen always tremble? For the nails driven into the cross. What makes the color of wood? The soil it tastes. Cradle, fiddle, coffin, bed: wood is a column of earth made ambitious by light, and made of beauty by the rain.

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