Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
Dated but excelent
on October 31, 2003
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.