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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed and concise
This is an excellent addition to any luthier's library. It is very well laid out, and really does an outstanding job of taking the reader from raw materials, to a finished and playable guitar... how well it plays depends on the reader's patience, attention to detail, and perserverance. With the direction given in this book, it is very possible to construct what I would...
Published on Aug. 12 2006 by W. Osborne

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated but excelent
This book was a huge inspiration when it first came out about 15 years ago. Sadly they haven't updated it, and nobody has published a better book built on this one's foundation. This has probably been fifteen years of the most rapid change in lutherie.
When I finally got around to building guitars, I hardly cracked open this book, there wasn't anything in it of...
Published on Oct. 31 2003


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated but excelent, Oct. 31 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
This book was a huge inspiration when it first came out about 15 years ago. Sadly they haven't updated it, and nobody has published a better book built on this one's foundation. This has probably been fifteen years of the most rapid change in lutherie.
When I finally got around to building guitars, I hardly cracked open this book, there wasn't anything in it of importance to what I would do. The more modern resources were hugely abundant and mostly free.
The book also hops back and forth between classical and steel string guitars. I would not buy this book to build a classical guitar. There just isn't any of the pertinent modern or old school information between these pages. You have to root around to get the modern stuff, and either a measured drawing, or Masterpiece Guitars would be the best way to get started on the classicals.
The kind of thing you really do to build a good guitar is: There is a lot of interest in Tores classicals, and Hauser. For Hauser you get Jeff Elliot's detailed plan and articles from back issues of American Lutherie. If one was interested in Torres, one could get the great book on the man and his guitars by Jose Romanillos. Romanillos and Elliot have also given the key specifics on the exact features of a tores guitar that make them work, particularly with modern strings. It's actually easier to get going as a beginner or an advanced student, from the magazines and the web. Not true of all craft, but it's true here.
The modern steel string is also not represented in this book, there is a ton of interest in Concert planforms, acoustic electric guitars, jigging manufacture (both amateur and pro), different types of guitar for rhythm vs. say fingerstyle, performance bracing, and so forth. Most informed consumers would make these kinds of choices when buying a guitar, but non of them are covered here as points of departure for a builder. It takes some skill (it seems like everyone is doing it) to make a guitar, but it doesn't require any more skill to start making the right guitar. But you won't get that from this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed and concise, Aug. 12 2006
By 
W. Osborne - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
This is an excellent addition to any luthier's library. It is very well laid out, and really does an outstanding job of taking the reader from raw materials, to a finished and playable guitar... how well it plays depends on the reader's patience, attention to detail, and perserverance. With the direction given in this book, it is very possible to construct what I would call a "life guitar". On Cumpiano's website, there is a much simpler method of attaching the steel string neck to the body than the method described in the book. Other than that, happy "luthie-ing"! (Is that a word?)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid information, April 20 2009
By 
Michael Carlson (Calgary Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
I have a number of books on guitar making. Each one of them has some unique perspectives. This book has many unique perspectives and will provide valuable information, even if you have other books on the topic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Direct and Informative, Sept. 29 2003
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
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 guitarmakers 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 luthiers 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. Little attention is paid to the more exotic equipment that appears in professional workshops. This is a book for the hand-craftsman, not someone intent on starting a business.
I confess that I did not by the book with the intent of making a guitar. Instead, I was on the verge of having one made for me, and I wanted to understand the process enough to talk intelligently with the makers (in my case, the luthier, the tuning machine maker, and the inlayer). As such, this book bridged an important gap.
What is missing from the book is any detailed discussion about material choice and the effect of certain design decisions (materials, bracing, etc.). Since these are the things that can make the difference between an OK instrument and a work of the luthier's art, I would have liked to see much more information. For that, unfortunately, one must seek elsewhere. But for everything else, this volume will do.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Zen of Guitar Construction, May 24 2001
By 
R. Sookochoff (Eagle River, WI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
There is a certain organic satisfaction to building a musical instrument that is lacking in many other woodworking experiences. Cumpiano and Natelson, in this book, prove themselves experts in the craft, history and teaching of the construction of acoustic guitars. Beyond that they also manage to convey the joy and sastisfaction that arises from the intangibles that accompany the process. This book takes you by the hand and accompanies you on a delightful new adventure. The emphasis is on the use of handtools and traditional, inexpensive and simple methods, which is refreshing in itself. They don't ignore the more sophisticated tool owner and discuss the use of power tools when appropriate. Beyond the mechanics of cutting everything away that doesn't look like a guitar, they discuss the sensuality of the experience. Their description of the feel of the wood as you steam bend the sides of the guitar is compelling and as irresistable as the process itself, and could only be written by craftsmen that are passionate about their art. The book manages to be much more than just a detailed instruction manual. My copy of this fantastic book is now adorned with streaks of aliphatic resin glue and rosewood shavings I'm certain the authors would approve of the adornment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An amazing work, April 3 2001
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
Cumpiano et al. has done something quite amazing, a gift to guitar lovers everywhere. They have compiled together virtually every detail of guitar making, interspersing it with concepts from history. The reader not only learns how, but where some ideas came from and how they developed over time.
Guitar making is a daunting task. I'll admit it, I have yet to actually build one, but the idea fascinates me. I, who have no mechanical ability whatsoever feel that this book in fact makes the job seem less frightening, and, yes, even possible! Clearly, the proof is in the doing, but to move me from a position of extreme doubt to possibility is a sign of the authors excellent work in this book.
Assuming I ever get to the point of making a guitar (and right now, the cost is what is prohibitive to me!) the one things I would like to know more about is where and how I can change some of the parameters. For example, there is a great deal of tracing required for this book, which is then transferred onto the wood. While this is good, I would like to know what is necessary, as opposed to merely design. The measurements that they give are for THIS guitar that they lead you to build in the book; how do these numbers relate to others so that I can know how to bring creativity to the guitar.
However, I know that I perhaps ask for too much. For a book that is already over 300 pages long, what I suggest may make it too massive a tome.
Someone want to loan me a table saw? I want to build!
-ways to change around
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5.0 out of 5 stars You needn't be a guitar maker to value this book., Aug. 18 2000
By 
Joseph H Pierre "Joe Pierre" (Salem, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
Yes, they call them "Luthiers," and this is one of the books that will get you started in learning the trade. But, you need not have building guitars for a living as your goal to enjoy and value this book.

Anyone who has a broken or damaged instrument, should know when it is time to take it to a Luthier for the needed repair, or when it is something he might tackle himself. In the latter case, it would be well to have this book, and one written by Hideo Kamimoto, called Complete Guitar Repair. Of the two books, this one is by far the most complete, as you might expect. Kamimoto's book is more specifically aimed at repairs, as the title suggests.

Any guitar player, after he or she learns the scales and how to place their hands and fingers on the instrument and to tune it, will sooner or later develop a respect and curiosity for their instrument. They will want to know what makes one instrument sound better than another, or why the action is harder on the fingers on one, and relatively soft and quick on another.

What is the difference in strings, what wood gives the best resonance in a sound board, why the differences in sizes and shapes?

Gradually, as your interest widens, you will come to this kind of book. This is one of the best. From it, you will learn all of the above, and more. If you are willing to invest years, and acquire the tools and the skills, perhaps you will eventually build your own guitar. But, whether you do or not, this is a valuable book for any guitar aficionado.

Joseph Pierre
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5.0 out of 5 stars "if you had to have just one book on guitar building.....", March 29 2000
By 
Mark Krebs (Phoenix, Arizona) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
This book is worthy of placing on your coffee table as well as on the workbench! It will carefully guide you through the entire, daunting process of building a guitar. I am half-way through building my first and so far, so good.
I have found that, for myself, some of the cautions and warnings in carrying out some of the operations in the book were a little overstated - but better safe than sorry. However, there is an IMMENSE amount of detail presented in each procedure and it MUST be read and re-read very carefully (especially the section on neck construction). Also, pay attention to size of the material ordered from places like LMI (Luthiers Mercantile Incorporated). The neck blank comes thicker than needed and you need to thin it down. I found myself thinking information was left out of several sections, but discovered that I had overlooked it in my haste.
Several parts used in the process are hard to find, such as the truss-rod nut. You need to be resourceful in locating things (at times, it feels like I'm on a scavenger hunt driving around town for stuff).
Finally, I recommend also purchasing Irving Sloane's book on steel-string construction. It will help you clarify some aspects of building by approaching things from a slightly different angle. It is not as detailed, but it gives a slightly better overview of the process than the subject book. It shows how to make some tools - fun!
Good luck!
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is THE guitar-making guide...., April 28 2000
By 
Robin Hepher (Lethbridge, Alberta) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
I am a guitarmaker based in Canada. I bought this book after my first attempt at making a guitar, and I wish I'd known about before I ever started building! Not only is it encyclopedic in content, but it is very interesting and readable. Even if you never plan to construct an instrument, this book will quickly turn you into a guitar expert. It is a great read, cover-to-cover, with lots of historical information that helped me more fully understand why certain things are done certain ways. I must admit, however, that the neck attachment method described in the book is quite complex, and may prove to be somewhat intimidating for the amateur woodworker. Check Mr. Cumpiano's website for a much easier method of neck attachment, as well as for other updates and clarification of any obscure points in the book. My only complaint about this book is that it refuses to lay open and flat on my workbench!
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book for all beginning and intermediate luthiers, April 3 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology: A Complete Reference for the Design & Construction of the Steel-String Folk Guitar & the Classical Guitar (Paperback)
In the research stage of my luthier career I bought quite a few books. Without a doubt my favorites would be this book and Robert Benedetto's "Building an Archtop Guitar". What makes this book so outstanding is that it actually breaks the process down into unique steps. Most books will tell you to "Plane the top plate to the correct thickness". This book tells you how to do it, not just what to do. This is also the only book on guitar building where the author anticipates the areas where the beginning luthier might have problems. There are several areas where you're told to do such and such a step (which may not be obvious) in order to avoid such -and-such a problem. There's also several times when the author tells you how to escape from common mistakes. I own a lot of guitar building books but this is the one that sits in the top of my tool chest.
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