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In researching how to build an acoustic guitar, I have bought the following books (over several years !):

  • Benedetto R., Making an Archtop Guitar, Centerstream Publications, 1996.
  • Cumpiano W. R., Natelson J. D. Guitarmaking Tradition and Tecnology, Chronicle Books, 1993.
  • Denyer R. The Guitar Handbook Pan Books Limited, 1982.
  • Erlewine D., Guitar Player Repair Guide: How to Set Up, Maintain, and Repair Electrics and Acoustics, Backbeat Books, 1993.
  • Hiscock M., Make Your Own Electric Guitar, NBS, 1998.
  • Kinkead J. Build Your Own Acoustic Guitar, B.T. Batsford Ltd, 2004.
  • Patterson J. E. Pearl Inlay, Stewart-MacDonald, 1991.
  • Robinson L., Lloyd R., The Art of Inlay: Design and Technique for Fine Woodworking, Backbeat Books, 2005.
  • Siminoff R. H. The Luthier's Handbook, Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, 2002.
  • Sloane I., Steel String Guitar Construction, The Bold Strummer, 1975.
  • Williams J., A Guitar Maker's Manual, Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, 1988.

    Of these, I highly recommend (in order): Kinkead, Cumpiano and Sloane. Kinkead describes a modern approach to building an acoustic, with a lot of high quality colour photographs. Cumpiano is still, however, considered to be the bible and was pretty indispensible (even if some of the techniques weren't relevant to the kit construction). Sloane is a good read and has lots of good ideas. Williams was only really useful for the idea for the router binding attachment that I made.

    Although not strictly a book, the Stewart-Macdonald instructions for building a Stew-Mac kit were also incredibly useful (and free to download !)

    I have included Denyer as it explains setup very simply (and I have had a copy for years) and Hiscock as I am also building an electric guitar.