Resources for builders of guitars and other stringed instruments.
Articles and Guides
Building a steel-string acoustic guitar
A pictorial voyage through the construction of a guitar (well, several, actually). Describes and illustrates the approach I use to build acoustic instruments.
Updated version, formatted for viewing on any platform and updated with additional information and techniques
Original html pages, best viewed on a PC
The original webpages above collected into a single document (many thanks to Joe Papa for putting this together) Note: the document is big (~30 MB) because of all the pictures, so may take a while to download.
Guitar Care Guide
A guide for the care and feeding of an acoustic guitar, focused on my instruments but with information applicable in general.
CNC Inlays in Lutherie
A tutorial on the use of inexpensive CNC routers to create inlays for lutherie.
A short piece on constructing and using arched workboards for flat-top guitar construction.
The Long Compass
A short piece on making and using this tool for drawing arcs of circles of large radii.
Bandsaw Blade Tension Calibration
How to calibrate your bandsaw to ensure correct tension on any blade.
Calculating Arc Parameters
What Happens if I Make It Bigger? Estimation in the Workshop
Neck and Bridge Geometry for Domed Guitar Tops
Software for guitar design for use on a PC or tablet.
JSCut Inlay Assistant
Software that runs right in your browser to generate g-code for controlling CNC routers to generate inlays and their pockets. This is a light customization of the wonderful and more general JSCut CAM program that is specialized for generating g-code sequences for inlays.
Rosette Designer is an app for designing mosaic rosettes for acoustic guitar design. Mosaic designs can be saved and printed, along with parameters needed for constructing the rosette.
Several versions are available that run on different platforms. The rosette design files produced are compatible across versions.
A browser-based version of the Rosette Designer app which runs right in your web browser. Just click on the “Launch” link to run the application.
An Android version of the Rosette Designer app, available from the Google Play Store.
A Java application version of the Rosette Designer app, provided as a Java Archive (.jar) file, for use on a PC running Windows/Linux/Mac OSX. Note that an appropriate Java runtime environment (JRE) will be required on the system to run Rosette Designer; if needed, this can be downloaded for free from Oracle’s website.
An app for designing guitar body shapes. Body designs are specified with control points which indicate the general shape of the design; as the points are dragged to new positions, the body shape changes in the same direction. By moving (and adding and deleting) control points, a body design can be refined until it has the desired shape. Designs can be saved and printed, and exported for use in CAD applications.
An Android version of the Guitar Designer app, available from the Google Play Store.
A Java application version of the Guitar Designer app, provided as a Java Archive (.jar) file, for use on a PC. Note that an appropriate Java runtime environment (JRE) will be required on the system to run Rosette Designer; if needed, this can be downloaded for free from Oracle’s website.
Fretmarker Design Java Application
Fretmarker Design is a Java application to aid in the design of unique guitar fret markers. The design is automatically scaled to produce templates for each of the frets which traditionally receive a marker (the F, G, A, B, C#, E, G, A, B, C# and E frets).
Spreadsheets for luthiers.
Fret positions Excel spreadsheet
Given a fretboard scale length, automatically computes the fret locations, giving distances from the nut.
Time study Excel spreadsheet
Gives a detailed list of construction steps and their completion times for construction of steel-stringed acoustic guitars.
Arc parameter calculation Excel spreadsheet
Relates the span, center deflection (rise) and radius of a circular arc, and automatically calculates any one of the three if the other two are given.