Top 5 Acoustic Guitar Making Books

brian forbes westfarthing woodworks author biography about me experience

brian forbesI have been making guitars for almost 20 years, and have been self taught since the very beginning.  

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There are many good acoustic guitar making books available, and each one will teach you new and creative methods for making instruments.

I own all five of these, and I recommend these to anyone that wants to make a handmade instrument that they will be proud of.

They are fountains of information, and you can absolutely learn to make a great guitar from a book.

#1  GUITARMAKING Tradition and Technology

 is a fantastic book, and considered the premier manual on how to make an acoustic guitar.  It covers the steel string and classical guitar, from wood selection to putting on the strings.  Very comprehensive, and very detailed, this book belongs on the shelf of every guitar maker.

Inside the book, you will learn about wood choice selection and preparation, bracing and tonal qualities, preparation of woods, and every detail that a master luthier would give under their expert guidance.

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#2  Build Your Own Acoustic Guitar: Complete Instructions and Full-Size Plans

 is another great book, and it includes a set of full size plans to go along with the detailed instruction.  This book is printed in color, which gives a more modern feel to the instruction, and the author provides a very straight forward way of making a guitar.

You can make the standard design shown, or build your own fine instrument using the book as a guide. It fully covers every step of construction, and with some skill and patience making a guitar is not as difficult as you might imagine.

#3  Classical Guitar Making: A Modern Approach to Traditional Design

 teaches how to make a classical guitar, and also covers making parts of the guitar (like the purfling) that some other books encourage you to buy.  This is a large book, full color, and the instructions are easy to follow.  The author is very detailed, and the photography is excellent.

#4  Step By Step Guitar Making: Full-Size Plans Enclosed

 covers the steel string acoustic guitar, and includes a set of plans.  The woods used on the guitar are beautiful, and the instructions are complete and easy to follow.  The construction method is a little different than some guitar making books, but can be followed just the same to make an excellent guitar.

#5  A Guitar Maker’s Manual

 includes full size plans, and is not as robust in the images as other books but still covers the material in a way that can be followed by most people with some woodworking experience.  There are also instructions for making some commonly needed jigs, which is a helpful way to save money on tool costs.

You can make a fine guitar from this book, and make a great guitar from the standard design shown in the text. 


acoustic guitar making bookThese books were all very important in my development as a guitar maker and a woodworker, and I would not have the ability to make instruments without them.

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Having made many guitars, and having struggled in the beginning with very little woodworking experience, I wrote a book in 2013 where I took all that I learned and explained it in a very easy to follow manual where concepts and ideas were broken down and simplified.  

Sometimes in the beginning, there are hurtles and roadblocks that can get in the way of making a nice guitar.  If a book has instruction on how to finish an instrument, but you have never finished anything before, it can be tough.  Also, if you lack the tools needed to make a guitar, they can cost thousands of dollars.

My book Acoustic Guitar Making: How to make Tools, Templates, and Jigs

 covers making your own tools to save you money, simplified finishing instruction that will make a professional finisher out of anyone, easy inlays for guitars, and several jigs.  

My book doesn’t show you how to make a guitar in a step by step format, it simplifies the processes and makes getting through the first few guitars much easier.

A seasoned woodworker or guitar maker will know the vast majority of these concepts…but that’s the point.  

Getting people off on the right track and eliminating a lot of the frustration along the way for the beginner is the central focus, and with 508 pages and over 1600 pictures, it does just that.

The Book Store is Now Open!   Happy Building!

Post Author-

brian forbes westfarthing woodworks llc owner

  • 20 Years Experience in Woodworking
  • 7 Published Books Available on Amazon
  • 750+ Helpful Posts Written
  • 1 Million+ Words Published

You Can Find My Books on Amazon!

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