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Postby Greg Steil » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:46 am

What would our hive mind suggest as a good book(s) for building guitars? What I am looking for I guess is a sensible "work order" for lack of a better term. I have built several Weissenborn copies, and Ukes, but every so often I find myself wondering if I should have waited to do process/step x until I did step ?. Thanks
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Re: Book

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:04 pm

This is still the best I have found, and cheap at $30. Explicit steps, pretty well illustrated, and alternative methods for both steel string flat top and classical. It got me through my first instruments, and they weren't even guitars.

Some of the methods may be a little dated, but he has additions and updates on his website.
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Re: Book

Postby Randolph Rhett » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:31 pm

+1 on Cumpiano. Still the best I've seen.
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Re: Book

Postby Barry Daniels » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:37 pm

Cumpiano is great but the order of construction is somewhat muddy since two different guitar builds (classical and steel-string) are interwoven throughout the book. I find Benedetto's Archtop book to be a very clear presentation of the building process.
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Re: Book

Postby Keith Howell » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:22 am

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Re: Book

Postby Doug Shaker » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:58 pm

I'll second Keith's recommendation. The Gore construction books are comprehensive, well-justified and smart. Expensive books, but cheaper than a nice soundboard, back and side set. Well worth the money.
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Re: Book

Postby Bryan Bear » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:28 pm

I think everyone should at least read Cumpiano. That said, I don't do anything close to the order he does. There are as many ways to make a guitar as there are guitar makers. Each task can be completed in different ways depending on your available tools, skills, preference. . . the way you chose to accomplish each task can have an impact on when you do that step or even a different step.

I found it helpful to make a spreadsheet that listed every task that goes into making a guitar from drawing plans to final set-up. I then spent time moving things around to try to group them into phases (planning, stock prep, box assembly. . .) each step had a number/code and I tried to have adjacent cells for each step that listed steps that must be completed prior and what can't be done until that step is complete. I never truly finished but it was a good exercise for several reasons. It showed my how related each task and method is to other task and that my order of operations changed as I adopted new preferred methods. It also helped me get a more organized general plan. I still use an incomplete version of it for each project where I check off what I have completed. It helps me identify tasks that I am free to start on when I get shop time and helps me avoid wanting to do a task and realizing that I am not yet ready to. Also, "MAKE A BRIDGE GLUING CAUL" is bolded so I don't close the box without making one to fit that bracing.

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Re: Book

Postby Steven Smith » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:42 pm


Yep, that's a good one Bryan :o
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Re: Book

Postby Bob Howell » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:42 pm

I bought Cumpiano's book 5yrs ago and Alex Willis book with plans, making an OM. I got around to starting a Weissenborn and OM this summer and plodding along.

The two books show how to build the OM different ways but wind up with similer guitars. I got neck joint plans from Cumpiano's web site. But, I got a tremendous amount of information from you tube and blogs.

I have been making things from wood all my life and learn by getting several books on a skill and read till I see what they all in common. Start building and correct mistakes. I have a second OM sides, top and back bent and glued up and about to install the sound hole design.

Cumpiano's book is the starting point to understand the process. Everything else is embellishment.
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Re: Book

Postby Mike Spector » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:24 am

With all the info on the web, the main thing is to get out there in your shop and start making something. Make the main jigs you will need first. I would suggest you use cheap or even recycle wood for your first. I'm working on my eighth steel string and still haven't bought a book but I've gathered enough info and printed it out and it fills 2 big notebook binders. Also it's easier to build from _good_ set of plans.
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Re: Book

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:50 pm

The web is good. I love Youtube for instructional information. But the OP is looking for a "sensible work order". The best place to get that would be a book. It is also easier to put a book mark in a book to save your place.
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