Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology – A Review

Guitar Making by Cumpiano

Guitarmaking: Tradition And Technology by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson covers the art and science of acoustic guitar building like no other book on the market. A comprehensive text, the book is a step by step guide to both steel string and classical guitar construction.

According to its authors, they were encouraged to write this book by their observations of what was available among guitarmaking publications:

We observed …that when the quality of the information was good, it could only be found either in summary form or in obscure or widely diffused sources.

Our idea was to create something that could be used either as a workshop manual for the student guitar builder or simply as a general reference on good guitarmaking technique – for woodworkers who might simply be interested in seeing how it’s done, or for guitar players and enthusiasts who would benefit from learning how good instruments are made.

And the result is truly extraordinary – close to 400 pages take you through all the critical elements in producing an acoustic guitar. Illustrations and photographs throughout the book compliment the clear and thorough text. Although I typically prefer color, nothing suffers from the use of black and white images.

The only criticism I have has nothing to do with the book’s content but the choice of a glue binding. A book this size, which will see regular use in the workshop, will not hold up well although this is tempered by the reasonable price of such an impressive work.

Cumpiano, btw, builds wedge acoustic guitars like we’ve seen from Charles Fox and Linda Manzer. Too bad there isn’t a section on wedge guitars. Maybe we’ll see this in a future edition?

If you are interested in exploring acoustic guitar design and construction, I highly recommend Cumpiano’s Guitarmaking: Tradition And Technology as your primary reference.

2 Responses to “Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology – A Review”

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  2. I found this publication to be very easy for a novice to understand, beautifully writen by someone obviously used to explaining to the ignorant. Well worth the cost of purchase.As for the binding..I believe there is a hard back edition? However I covered mine with clear durable plastic, which helped, though I don’t keep my books in the workshop. Rather used as a ref with clean hands