This page is being worked on. Tune back in for further updates, and suggest additions by writing to email@example.com.
This is partly a footnotes page and partly a bibliography. When I mention a book or resource in the pages I don't link directly to it, but rather to this page, where I explain what it is. If it's available on the web, then I link to it from here. There are
Web-based information resources
The Musical Instrument Makers Forum (MIMF)
This comprehensive resource for professional, amateur and wannabee musical instrument makers contains much reference material in its libraries as well as a bulletin-board forum full of knowledgeable active members. There is a community of active volunteers and members behind this site, which makes it all the more useful and enjoyable. The forum runs frequent online classes in instrument building or techniques like pearl inlay, and they have a stock of musical instrument plans for sale. There are auctions of member-donated musical-instrument materials from time to time that usually go at bargain prices. There are articles on specific topics (how about a compensated nut?) and old forum discussions are stored by topic in the library for reference. Just a roam through these old topics is a pleasant and informative way to spend a few hours. Membership in the forum is free. Donations are (non-insistently) solicited, but no privileges are withheld from those who do not donate. One reason I don't have a big links page is that I can refer you to MIMF's extensive links page. In fact, I don't put a lot of lutherie links in my bookmarks, but simply pop over to MIMF links page to get where I want to go.
A gigantic site provided by Frank Ford of Gryphon Music in Palo Alto, CA. Along with MIMF, this is something I refer to before each stage of the project, in case there's something there to help me with the next step. There sometimes is, though the site is somewhat more oriented toward repair than toward building. Like MIMF, this site is non-profit, though donations are gently solicited, in the form of purchasing a CD-ROM version of the contents of the site. Though Frank Ford lists contributors, the only place I have seen material from them on the site is in the Q&A section, which hasn't had anything new since July of 2000, so I would call this a rather awe-inspiring one-man job.
Le Rendez Vous des Luthiers Amateurs
Site francophone ouvert aux luthiers amateurs, présentation de réalisations personnelles. (As you might guess, this is a French-language site, based in France, that features amateur luthiers. The French description was given to me by their webmaster.)
Kathy Matsushita's Lutherie Pages
Kathy's pages were an inspiration to me in creating these pages. She's further along in the learning process than I am and has built several guitars and even some on commission. She has built from kits and from scratch, and has photographed her progress on several projects. She's currently building a violin!
The Thirteenth Fret
This is a forum devoted to acoustic guitar, or rather I should say that what started as a forum turned into a wide-ranging information center. The Fret's guiding spirit and founder, Dave Skowron, is an amateur builder and the whole site's leaning is toward lutherie and discussions of custom luthiers. There's a hard core of enthusiasts with strong personalities, but it is definitely not hard to break into the forum with a question or comment. Very welcoming, and there are lots of discussion threads on aspects of guitar design and construction. I had to stop actively participating in the forum, or I would have spent just all my time there. I do peek in from time to time.
Other guitar builders' documentation pages
Hoffman Guitars - A professional guitar maker/repair person documents his building process. Many pics!
Jim Kumorek - a first-timer builds a Martin kit.
Guild of American Luthiers
Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
Guitar and Instrument supplies
LMI is the source for the materials box that I used to create this project. The only things I have added are glue, water, shellac, strings, and six tiny screws to mount the tuning machines -- for some reason these screws don't come in the box with the machines. LMI carries a wide range of instrument woods in sizes for guitars, mandolins, and the violin family. They have a small amount of things for electric guitars and nothing for banjoes, dulcimers, and other instruments. For those instruments, see Stewart MacDonald below.
Stewart MacDonald Guitar Shop Supply
Stewmac, as this company is fondly known, somewhat specializes in electric guitar, but they have a few lutherie tools that LMI doesn't. Two items I can think of are a bending iron that accepts an extension for bending small-radius curves like the inner curves on a violin, and the fretting saw with the depth stop that I use. They also carry dulcimer top sets (longer and narrower than the tops for guitars) and kits for fiddles, dulcimers, banjoes, mandolins, as well as guitars. Oh, yes, and their banjo hardware selection is extensive.
Woodcraft and Woodworkers' Clubs
Most of my tools have come from Woodcraft one way or another. Either through the mail or through visits to their Woodcraft stores, or to their Woodworkers' club affiliate in Norwalk, CT.
Where would this site be without my digital camera? It's a Nikon Coolpix 950 (hate the name, love the camera) and I got it at D-Store, a five-year-old online vendor that happens to have a newish bricks-and-mortar store right in my hometown.