Lutherie Resources

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.

  • PDF version: the 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.

Arched Workboards

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.

Calculating Arc Parameters

A short article on computing rises and radii of arcs. From American Lutherie 58 (1999), 42-45.

What Happens if I Make It Bigger? Estimation in the Workshop

An article on rules-of-thumb for how changes in dimensions of structural members affect stiffness and strength. From American Lutherie 73 (2003), 36-39.

Neck and Bridge Geometry for Domed Guitar Tops

An article on computing bridge heights when using domed guitar tops. From American Lutherie 81 (2005), p. 36-39.

 

Software

Software for guitar design for use on a PC or tablet.

Rosette Designer Android App

An Android app for designing mosaic rosettes for acoustic guitar design, available from the Google Play Store. Mosaic designs can be saved and printed, along with parameters needed for constructing the rosette.

Rosette Designer Java Application

A Java application version of the Rosette Designer app, provided as a Java Archive (.jar) file, for use on a PC.

Guitar Designer Android App

An Android app for designing guitar body shapes, available from the Google Play Store. 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.

Guitar Designer Java Application

A Java application version of the Guitar Designer app, provided as a Java Archive (.jar) file, for use on a PC.

Fretmarker Design Java Application

A Java application to aid in the design of unique guitar fret markers. Fret marker designs are specified with control points which indicate the general shape of the design; as the points are dragged to new positions, the fretmarker shape changes in the same direction. By moving (and adding and deleting) control points, a fretmarker design can be refined until it has the desired shape. A dialog allows the specification of the parameters of the guitar fretboard, including the scale length, the fretboard width at the the nut, and the fretboard width at the 12th fret. These parameters are used when the design is printed: 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), as illustrated below. The Fretmarker Design User Guide is available online.

 

Utilities

Spreadsheets and web-browser applets for luthiers.

Color Rosette Applet

For acoustic guitar soundhole mosaic rosette design; due to Java applet security restrictions, doesn’t permit saving of designs. Color Rosette Application (available through Luthierie Software link) is identical, but permits saving and printing of designs

Arc parameter calculation Java applet

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.

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.

 

Gallery