Learning how to build a guitar can seem like an impossible feat at first. With a little guidance, however, it’s certainly within reach. Here’s a curated list of resources on guitar building that will get you started down the right path toward becoming a budding luthier.
Building Electric Guitars
If you prefer books as learning tools, then the Building Electric Guitars book is a good option to get your started. Written by Martin Koch, an accomplished guitar builder, this book explores everything from the wood choices to the lacquer finish for building solid-body and hollow-body electric guitars. There’s even a bonus section that shows you how to wind your own electric guitar pickups, if you want to go that far. Buy the book.
O’Brien Guitars: Online Courses
Robert O’Brien is an excellent teacher and has a number of online guitar making courses available to help you build your own guitar. He offers courses for acoustic steel string guitar making, and also building classical guitars. Additional courses are available for Spray Finishing, Rosette Making, French Polish and even Tool Sharpening. The courses are done in video format, feature high quality audio and offer clearly defined instructions. Learn more.
Guild of American Luthiers
This nonprofit organization (founded in the early 1970s) offers an educational community experience to help guitarists learn about lutherie. Once you become a member, you’ll be taken under their wing and begin learning the techniques behind building and repairing stringed instruments. They have a long-standing reputation for supporting guitar makers and guitar restoration/repair aficionados in the industry. Membership is open to everyone and anyone, whether a beginner or someone with a bit more experience in building guitars. Learn more.
Crimson Guitars Tutorial Videos
The guys at Crimson Guitars are creating numerous high-quality videos that offer guidance on how to build a guitar. They cover everything from fretting to creating nuts and slots to designing guitar bodies and even inlay techniques. They also offer over 5 years of guitar making photos in their blog. Check them out by visiting their website.
This is a huge resource of guitar making tutorials from numerous luthiers who attempt to offer complete instruction on different aspects and types of guitar building. There is also a forum where budding guitar makers can share different strategies and viewpoints and building guitars. Learn more.
Hoffman Guitars has an entire section of their website dedicated to how they build guitars. They are continuously updating these pages with more details and insight on guitar making, to help you understand the finer points of guitar making. They also have a “Step by Step” section which breaks down their guitar building process into 250 steps. It’s quite extensive, and a great resource. Learn more.