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Looking for the HOLY BIBLE on working on acoustic guitars

What would you say is THE book for working on acoustic guitars? ... All encompasing...

Thanks gang,


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Sorry but your question is really vague, what is it that you want to do and frankly why would you even buy a book to learn to fix anything on a acoustic guitar. The internet can provide you with ample information and video, so there is no guessing.ship
I don't believe my question is vague at all Ship... There are people out there that still love to RTFM... but they will be better set if that book is written by a proven expert... and I'm trying to find out a general concensus of who that author/expert is... As far as you asking "what is it that you want to do" , that is vague, otherwise I would have narrowed it down to one specific task. The book I am searching out is for an 82 year old man who is very knowledgeable with tools and woodworking and just took up learning to play guitar this year... I say bravo for him... He not only wants to play guitar but he wants to work on them also...
I apologize if you misunderstood my query... Perhaps my reply will help me in finding the 'Best' and most comprehensive book available...
PS... The 82 year old man is my father...
Hi Billy thats great that you dad wants to do more hands on with guitars, the problem lays in the fact that while you can read how to its not really going to be that much use to anyone in terms of dong repairs or actual building, here is a list of books that show you the whats and why's.,_plans/Building_and_repair:_Guita...
not sure which one you would call the BOOK of all knowledge its one of those things that while you may have some skill in wood working its not the same thing when it comes to repairing or building a guitar, all the luthier folks that I know had to spend years just to learn to do simple repairs right, but at 82 good for him and food luck find the right book hope he finds something that will at least get him started.ship ( ie boat builder )
Thanks for the list Ship... Since I sent him an old nylon string guitar and my prize Goya steel string at the beginning of this year he has since purchased 4 other cheap guitars just to work on them... He has no asperations of being a luthier but he loves to tinker... He has already made new bone nuts for his guitars and cut his own saddles... He knows how truss rods work and has tweaked a couple already with success... He was an engineer by trade and has one of those minds... Too many times you see people his age just dry up... He's going strong... Quick story on him....
When he was 12 his mother made him take lessons on a lap steel... He hated it and never touched an instrument for 70 years... He enjoys the fact I play and record and have a small stable of guitars and keyboards... So when he told me this year he wanted to learn to play I figured ok, learn a few chords and strum a tune or two... Not him... He started teaching himself fingerpicking, notes and how to read... Positions on the fretboard and theory... Now he is taking lessons... and improving... !!!! I'm pretty proud of the old dude... I will do anything in my power to give him any assistance or advice...If he wanted encyclopedia's on guitar building and repair in Swahili, I would do my best to find them... I kinda' love the old fart...
There is no "one" book and if it were it'd be sitting on its own pedestal like an unabridged dictionary complete with very small print and diagrams printed on onion pages.

Part of "working" on acoustic guitars is having a keen knowledge of how they are built and the material used. Everything from bridge, saddle, nut, and tuner work to knowing about radius, kerfing, bracing, binding, how to remove a neck, how to clean joints of old glue without removing material, inlay work, fret leveling, shaping, removing, etc. are all specialized tasks. Finishing and knowing woods and their characteristics are very important as well. A good luthier will also understand enough to observe a player with the instrument and make adjustments to that player's style.

Luthiers build their skills over the years working with many instruments. Experience is the best teacher and there are many books, DVDs, websites and guitar building camps you'll find along the way. Look for cheap instruments at yard sales, pawn shops, thrift stores, eBay, etc. Before buying examine every bit of the instrument to understand how its constructed, obvious problems, missing parts, etc. Some you find might take a lot of work to get them near playable and you'll never recoup the money or time put into it by selling it. But you'll likely gain a lot of experience which is valuable.

You can start with the Guitar Player Repair Guide. Each instrument (guitar, mandolin, banjo, dulcimer, dobro, steel), brand (Taylor, Martin, Fender, Gibson) and type (acoustic, electric, 6- or 12-string, baritone, classical) presents it own challenges. No one book will be able to sum all this information together.

StewMac: Free Info, Books, DVDs, Trade Secrets Archive. Try buying a kit from StewMac and building it. A friend of mine built the Soprano Uke and said it's a great start
The Big Red Books of American Lutherie: From the Guild of American Luthiers. Five volumes at $50 a piece, each a collection of articles. Read more details at website. Also available at StewMac. Knowledge of all the basics is recommended. Check out the Links and Resources section as well.

Along the way you will need tools specific to the trade. Some are necessary (like a basic setup kit) and others are nice to have (Neck Jig) because they make the work much easier to do. The nice to haves can be expensive.
Fret Not Guitar Repair: Book recommendations
Luthrie Information Website: More book recommendations
Good stuff there John...Thanks... And thanks to Ship too... I hope you read my last might explain things a bit more for you guys... Like I said...He has no illusions of being a luthier... He just likes to see how things work and are put together...
PS...and he's actually learning to play... I'm happy for the guy...
PPS... He's also very computor savy (he builds computors and writes code too) so he's been doing alot of research on line already...
A source I recommend all the time is the site:

Which is put up by a pro repairman and has tons of useful information, all nicely laid out with good pics.
I wish him, and you! all the best in the endeavor. It can be fun and challenging and all for the better at that age!

I liked Irving Sloane's guitar repair book, which was made in conjunction with the Martin repair dept. It's been over 30 years since I read it, but I think it's still in print.
Hi Billy, Why dont you try " Build your own acoustic guitar " by Jonathan Kinkead .Its got loads of tips and instructions and is a great read. Its also got a set of with full size guitar plans.



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