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Recommended Reading

Guitar Building Books, Tutorials and How-to Guides


In a day and age where apprenticeships are few and far between, most of us have to turn to books and the internet for our instruction in the art of Guitar Building, and there is a vast resource of materials to help everyone, from the fledgling guitar maker to a seasoned pro.

I was fortunate enough to spend two years studying the building of early stringed musical instruments at West Dean College, Chichester.  A prestigious and exclusive place to be sure, but when I left to pursue a career as a guitar maker, I found that I had only the basic foundations on which to begin.  I had little knowledge of power tools, such as routers or planer thicknessers, even less on how to run a business and only an informed players knowledge of what actually makes a guitar.

What I had learnt, for which I am eternally grateful, is how to maintain and use hand tools properly.  Chisels, planes, and saws are the mainstays of any luthiery workshop (or should be) and knowing how to keep each one properly razor sharp and set up takes time and practice, but is the main foundation stone you need.

Armed with my knowledge of tools and the a=naivety of youth, I set up shop and swiftly learnt that I knew nothing at all.

Out came the wallet and I started buying books and magazines.  What most people don’t realise is that you can learn an awful lot about guitar construction just from looking at photos of and reading reviews about other guitar makers work.  An idea that one guitar maker has is published, reviewed and taken up by others.  10 years down the line it is standard fare and Joe Public know all about the new process or bit of kit.

You want to be on the ground floor with this sort of thing and the guitar magazines, online or physical, are the place to start.

A few of my favourites are the online magazines iGuitar, Guitar Connoisseur, Guitar planet and finally Premier Guitar.

The web is vast and you can find video tutorials of all kinds and, unfortunately, quality focusing on every aspect of guitar building.  To start with you really do need to subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we upload guitar building tutorial videos on a weekly basis and daily podcasts on a myriad of guitar making topics and questions posed by you, the viewer.  If you haven’t already, have a look at our workshop blog, there are years and years of photographs following every stage of the guitar building process and, if you go back far enough, you can even watch me learn!

Now, to the books.  Once you know what you want to do, you need to learn how to do it.

Here are the books I own and use almost every day, even after a decade as a guitar maker I’m still learning.  After all, “Perfection is like chasing the horizon.  Keep moving!” – Neil Gaiman.

Jim Roberts – American Basses

This stunning little book actually covers both worlds.

It is fundamentally a showcase for US made bass guitars and has many pretty pictures, often of several different models from a builder (which is saying something as often the photos are an after-thought in these kinds of books).  Where we really get our monies worth is in the articles by some of the custom bass guitar builders examining their own approaches to a single facet of luthiery, tone, wood, design is all covered and each section is a very interesting look in the mind of these guitar makers.



Tony Bacon – Electric Guitars

The Illustrated Encyclopedia. This is an a-z guide that is surprisingly comprehensive, it is essentially a coffee table book being big and full of stunning photos. 

This is the sister book to the Acoustic Guitars book by Dave Hunter.  Although written by a different set of people, and it is also full of photographs and detailed text about a myriad of guitar builders.  Not content to feature just a single example of a makers wares, they often show different models or even the differences between years of manufacture of a model.  This is a must have!



Dave Hunter – Acoustic Guitars

This is an a-z guide that is surprisingly comprehensive, it is essentially a coffee table book being big and full of stunning photos.

As a guitar builder, I browse this mighty tome regularly looking for inspiration and often have to pick it up while trying to identify some old beater that a neighbour has found in their loft.  It was the jazz guitar section in this book that first brought D’Aquisto’s stunning experimental guitars to my attention.  He is a builder that will forever be an inspiration. There is obviously text here as well and they discuss the builders, their guitars, and history in quite some detail given the hugeness of the subject matter.



Dick Boak – Martin Guitar Masterpieces

C. F. Martin & Company produces the best and most desirable guitars in the world

Excerpt – “Through lavish colour photographs, informative text, and revelatory anecdotes, the book examines more than one-hundred custom-made guitars, including instruments belonging to Willie Nelson and Sting, as well as Elvis Presley s famous ELVI guitar. Dick Boak guides readers through the history and manufacture of each guitar, while providing quirky and amusing stories from behind the making of each signature model.”




David Burrluck – The PRS Guitar Book

A Complete History of Paul Reed Smith Guitars. As the title says, a complete history.

An interesting look at someone who has ‘made it’, whether you like PRS or not this is a great read.  Obviously, it is slanted in PRS favour and is basically a glossy brochure, but I like glossy brochures with pretty guitars in them.  The factory tour section could be bigger, but throughout they discuss the guitars design and how it was all achieved.




David Sutton – Obsession with Cigar Box Guitars

120 Great Hand-built Examples

Exceprt – “Professional photographer and woodworking enthusiast David Sutton first chronicled the modern revival of the cigar box guitar in his best-selling book, Cigar Box Guitars. Now he’s back to share his obsession with these handmade treasures in an amazing photo gallery that profiles 100 inspiring examples of homemade musical greatness. In a testament to human creativity, these guitars range from simple, cardboard diddley bow-type instruments, to wooden box, electric, six-string models that are more impressive than anything you can buy in a store.”



David Sutton – The Ultimate DIY Guide for the Makers and Players of the Handmade Music Revolution

Part DIY guide, part scrapbook – this book takes you behind the music to get a glimpse into the faces, places and workshops of the cigar box revolution.

Excerpt – “Cigar box guitars have never been more popular and now you can learn to make your own. You don’t need to spend a lot of money and you don’t need to have a shop full of tools. All you need to do is follow the author’s step-by-step instructions for making three different styles of guitar. They’re fun (some would say addictive) to build and even more fun to play!”



Mike Orr – Handmade Music Factory

The Ultimate Guide to Making Foot-stomping Good Instruments.

Excerpt – “The most creative musical instrument book youll ever find! You dont have to be an expert or spend a lot of money to make your own musical instruments. Just follow-along with handyman Mike Orr as he guides you through making 8 of the most creative instruments youll find anywhere. From a one-string guitar made from a soup can, to a hubcap banjo and even a stand-up guitar made from a vintage ironing board, youll make instruments that look great, sound great and deliver some foot-stompin fun!”



Hideo Kamimoto – Complete Guitar Repair

Explains the construction of classical and electric guitars, and describes the technical details of making simple adjustments and touch-ups and repairing the peghead, neck, bridge, and fingerboard.





Hideo Kamimoto – Electric Guitar Setups

Excerpt – “The ins and outs of today’s elaborate guitar hardware are examined in this book, with complete instructions on adjusting and tweaking your electric guitar setup. It serves as a guide to getting the best sound and feel from the electric or acoustic-electric guitar. Over 120 charts and illustrations will help you in achieving that perfect sound.”





Leonardo Lospennato – Electric Guitar and Bass Design

The guitar or bass of your dreams, from the first draft to the complete plan.

I have developed my own design style over the years and it is constantly evolving as I grow up, this book puts a lot of my suspicions and gut feelings down on paper and gives pros and cons along the way.  This fantastic book is a collaborative effort between Lospennato and other world renowned luthiers and, while it isn’t a ‘how do you build a guitar’ book, it is essential for anyone who doesn’t want to blindly reproduce the work that has gone before.  There are enough Strats and Les Pauls out there, let’s get on and create the next cultural classic!



Dan Erlewine – Guitar Player Repair Guide

How to Set Up, Maintain and Repair Electrics and Acoustics

The perfect starter book for any guitarist who is thinking of going into luthiery and also full of tips and tricks that seasoned, pros will find useful.  Well-written, meticulously researched and full of interesting examples and practical guides to guitar repair and maintenance.  It is, perhaps, a bit of an advert for Stew Mac in places but that is fine by me.  Put this one on your Christmas list!




Donald Brosnac – Guitar Electronics for Musicians

Excerpt – “From this book, you can learn more than you could ever have hoped to know about the design concepts and the practical details of the hardware used/made by guitar manufacturers all over the world.”





Cumpiano and Natelson – Guitar Making, Tradition and Technology”

If you want to learn how to build acoustic guitars, this is the book for you.

I found this book a few years into my career and it is quite simply definitive.  They focus on two complete builds, one steel string and one classical, and you are walked through each progress in incredible detail.  I do not build very many acoustic guitars but have read and re-read this book so many times that I have broken its spine!




Larry Robinson – The Art of Inlay

Design and Technique for Fine Woodworking. Larry is a genius where inlay is concerned.

This little book is an absolute essential if you plan on inlaying anything into anything.  A lot of the books written about guitar building are general guides running you through the broad strokes and, as a guitar maker, you have to have a myriad of skills as disparate as being a chemist (finishing, gluing etc), a businessman and a sweaty grunting bandsaw jockey.  However, every now and then an expert in one small part of our world will arise and write the definitive tome on his field.  Larry explains his thinking and processes in an easy straight-forward manner and the book itself is full of examples and diagrams, this is another one I read for fun every so often.



Melvyn Hiscock – Make your own Electric Guitar

This was the second book I bought and I still use it as a quick reference for wiring and fret slot positions all the time.

Melvyn has a very easy writing style.  This book has large text and lots of illustrations to help explain his processes.  There are also templates in the back for several common pickup and tremolo routs.   Many of you will know that for years guitar wiring was my bane and it is still not my strongest area, if you look at the front illustration of this book you’ll see a basic wiring diagram that I used for years… you don’t even have to open it to get years of good use! 🙂




Martin Koch – Building Electric Guitars

How to Make Solid-body, Hollow-body and Semi-acoustic Electric Guitars and Bass Guitars.

This was the first book I bought and I was very lucky it was.  It goes into every process of building a guitar into a bit more depth than the Hiscox book, with fewer drawings but lots of photos.  Particularly useful to me at the beginning was all the in-depth writing about guitar design, scale lengths, and tone.  I still dip into this one every now and then and it still occasionally gives me ideas on how to change my own processes.  You can visit Martins website here, the interesting thing about him is that he is not a professional guitar builder.  He makes them in order to write about the processes, this means that his ideas are more suited to a hobbyist builder or someone with fewer tools, but also brings an ingenious point of view to the proceedings



Robert Benedetto – Making Archtop Guitars

An inspiration! There is little else to be said, this book goes through the processes of building arch top jazz guitars in loving detail and is written by one of the top arch top builders in the world.

The book is chock full of photos and diagrams of each process and while some of the processes are more suited to a large company.  I learn something every single time I open this book.  It is another one covered in glue stains and with a broken spine but I love it, frankly, even if you never want to actually build a guitar at all this is still worth owning just for the joy of reading such a well written and put together book.



Jeff Jewitt – Great Wood Finishes

Another great example of a specialist book trumping the hell out of a general book.

Mr Jewitt knows his stuff and writes well.  This book will give you an excellent point from which to begin your guitar finishing adventures, and adventures they will be – the final finish is the first thing any potential clients will see and any slight imperfections will be taken as evidence of larger problems within and you will lose the sale! It was this book that taught me just what a wonderful and useful substance shellac is.  Read, Learn, and Build the best guitar ever made!




Andy Charron – Spray Finishing

Excerpt – “This guide explains the process of spray finishing which gives a professional looking finish to woodwork. It explains how to choose and set up a spray finishing system, discusses materials for spraying and how to handle them, and includes coverage of water-based finishes and HVLP systems.”




















Andy Rae – Choosing & Using Hand Tools

Not a guitar building book per se but most of those assume some prior skill with a plane or chisel.

I learnt more in the first hour of reading about stuff that I thought I already knew than I thought was possible!!  Quite frankly, forget every other book on this list and get this, it is well written, easy to understand and full of photos of tools to die for.  He works through categories based on what they do and gives all the best options as well as advice on how to look after and keep each tool sharp and working at its peak.  General carpentry/joinery books can also be very interesting but don’t tend to actually talk about the tools and can be annoyingly off-topic if you’re thinking about guitars.  They can also get you side-tracked and think about making such pedestrian things as chests of drawers or beds.  Leave such mundanities to the everyman, you are going to be a luthier!!












































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Custom Guitar Build – The Archangel part 2 of 3

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The Archangel part 2

we are back with the Archangel Guitar being custom built for a client by Crimson Guitars luthier Tom.

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The distinctive body outline has been shaped and now we are carving.  The Triton jaws hold on to the body very well.

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 Tom is using Ben’s angle grinder carving technique this removes a lot of material very quickly.

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Here you can seen the hard lines from the initial carving, you would be surprised how accurate you can get with an angle grinder.

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The final stage of carving is done with a random orbital sander which rounds of the hard lines and create a pleasing shape.

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Holes for the bridge, through body stringing and neck cavity have been drilled/routed out (apologies for the lack of pictures)

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With the bridge in place we double check the neck break angle and the fit of the neck pocket.

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With that checked we start to glue the neck in.

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Clamps are always fitted with care to ensure the body is not being damaged in the process.

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The whole instrument has been fine sanded and we have started to apply our own Crimson Guitars finishing oil.

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This is applied to the entire guitar over the course of several days.

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Each coat is applied in thin layers and rubbed down before the next one is started.

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After the final coat the body and the back of neck is polished using tissue paper that has a micro-abrasive clay content which helps polish the finish.

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After taping off the fretboard Tom levelled and crowned the frets and is now polishing them.

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The tuners being fitted… this was a custom headstock designed for this particular client.

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A bone nut has been made and shaped.  Slots have been evenly spaced and cut to the correct diameter.

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The Seymour Duncun humbucker is fitted along with bridge mounts and through-body ferrules.

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A single volume control direct to the jack to interfere as litttle as possible with the tone..

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With all of the electronics completely fitted the Jack and backing plates go on..

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Tom starts to string up ready for initial testing.

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Fully strung and with most of the hardware fitted the Archangel just waits tuning, testing and a knob fitting.. she is coming together nicely.

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Custom Guitar Build – The Archangel part 1 of 3

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The Archangel

This build began in early 2015 .  It is certainly one of our more unique designs for a custom client.

This build was designed from the start to be BITCHIN’, but on a budget. While trying to keep the quality and customisation known of Crimson Guitars, we designed it around using local woods and relatively basic construction.

In the next few blog posts we will follow the development of this build.

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We work closely with the client throughout the whole design process, often adjusting the plans many times until everyone is happy.

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The client wanted to use local yew because of it’s unique look, as seen in our conspiracy guitar  however yew is notorious for how difficult it is to work as it has many problems with drying and this can cause unexpected cracks while working the wood… a three piece body is the way forward.

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Always do a dry run to check your joints are right.

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Here our Luthier Tom jointed the three piece body using titebond original wood glue.

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Tom got too carried away with the fun of building this, he forgot to take some photos. Tom cut out the body on the bandsaw and then he used a custom template with a router and bearing cutter create the final shape.

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In order to accommodate the tunematic we had to have a neck break angle, this cool trick  and the giant Triton plane make this an easy job.

The back of the plane rests on a shim (as you can see above)  so as you plane down the front of the plane cuts at the correct angle, this takes some practice but it can also be done with a number 7 or 8 jointer plane.

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In the mean time, Tom has also been working on the neck…. You can never have too many clamps.  We were working to a budget but we also wanted to have as much stability as possible. This is a different neck, but shows the very first process with gluing the neck laminates together… So you get the point.

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Here the fretboard is being jointed to the neck, again using a shed load of clamps, Tom used a piece of MDF to protect the fretboard from the hard metal clamp bases so there were no dents.

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A different neck again, but this is Tom’s method for keeping track of all the fret wires pieces… We wouldn’t suggest putting them in holes pointing up as everyone here has put their hands down on them and these little buggers bite.

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We are experimenting with different ways of installing frets, while Ben prefers good old-fashioned hammers we do have a press so Tom thought he’d try it out on this. It is not as flexible, especially when using compound radius fretboards, but you can’t argue with how quiet it is.

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Once the frets are installed, the sides are filed down using one of our fret levelling files.

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Carving begins, we usually rough carve using an angle grinder… A very dusty and loud process, then we move on to using Japanese saw  files, rasps and even spokeshaves.

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In order to avoid having to make scarf joints for the headstock break angle we make the neck blank out of a very thick piece of timber but keep it as narrow as possible to save wood. Here Tom is gluing on headstock wings with veneer pinstripes so we have a large enough headstock.

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This is the final carve once it has been thicknessed and its beginning to look like a real guitar neck!

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The neck pocket has been routed in to the body at the same angle that we put in earlier with the large Triton plane.

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Neck joints always need a little bit of fineness but even without glue the body should still be able to hold the neck in place.

Over the next few weeks we will be tracking the progress of this build.

Until next time all the best and happy building.


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Building a guitar makers workbench part 1


I am in desperate need of a new workbench.  The old one, which was supposed to be an upgrade, turned out to be something of a disappointment.. too short for my mix of hand and power tool use, too flimsy for anything more gentle than a light caress and less stable on its feet than a drunk at closing time.. before the move to our new workshops I had the bench on stilts and bolted to both the floor and the walls to give it some strength but enough is enough.  A very good friend bought me a copy of Chris Shwartz’s book on building workbenches and the seed was sown, I am going to build a luthiers version of the roubo workbench and will be filming the process for our guild members.

1 behold a rickety old workbench

The aforementioned old workbench.. this will, I suspect, end up being the domain of one of the apprentices, or worse.. an intern 🙂

2 and a nice solid new one in potentia

I had these 105mm spalted alder leg blanks cut for me at the local yard and picked up some sycamour for the rails as well.  Very rough cut on his woodmizer but there is a bench there somewhere.

3 yandles timberyard cut down the ash top blanks

For the top I had toyed with the idea of using lots of narrow bits of, well.. something, but Mr Schwarz said in a podcast that tops made of 1 or 2 pieces can be just as sturdy and I prefer the idea of a two piece bench.. it feels more like a guitar.  Yandles have a great range of timber (and tools) and I pulled out 2 10 foot long by 10″ by 3.5″ planks of kiln dried ash.. too long of course so they chopped them down to 6 foot for me on this beautiful old Wadkin saw.

5 the legs before dimensioning

The spalting looks lovely but they sure are rough off the saw.

6 these will be a great base

a little planing helps..

7 the basic idea

Here is the basic idea..

8 the ash is 10 inches wide and 3 and a bit deep

I have never tried to plane such a large bit of wood.. most guitar blanks are a tad smaller 🙂 .. note the level of the dust collection bag.

9 we end up with a bit of waste


10 on we go to the rails

The rails.. well, that rough old sycamour turned out to be lovely.. so lovely in fact that I very nearly set it aside for guitars!

11 and the jointing begins with hand planes

My number 7 stanley with the Hock blade and chipbreaker help the jointing process.

12 2 pieces are easier to joint than twenty

some glue, some pressure and some serious weight!  An over-engineered bench is a good thing and the heavier the better!

13 we use the triton saw to start cutting the tenons

I’m no furniture maker but I think I can get my head around mortices and tenons.. the triton saw helps make these tenons the same across the board.

14 bandsaw out the waste

Excess wood is band-sawn away

15 then rout the mortice to the final dimension

and the router finalizes the width of the tenon.

16 pretty

and here we have the basic components of my new workbench.

17 apprentice Howard working on his bench too

Apprentice Howard in the meantime is also working on his bench.. we all need a stable base from which to work.

18 marking the mortices

The mortices are marked out.

19 routing the mortices

and then routed using stops and a fence to make sure of accurate placement.

20 lie nielson low angle plane at work

The lie-nielson low angle plane is used for the first time on more than a scrap and it is lovely, a perfect finish and I haven’t even had to hone the edge yet!

21 big electric plane makes flattening a bench top easier

The 7″ wide power planer from Triton is very good at quickly removing waste and flattening the top prior to the more gentle pursuit of perfection with hand planes.

22 bevelling the legs edges

the corners are beveled with my block plane.. pretty pretty shavings!

23 the bottom of the top is roughly flattened

I start planing the underside of the top to give me a flat surface to joint to.

24 making a mortice template for the top joints

and then make a template for the top mortices.. these are much chunkier and will take a lot of punishment.

25 pre drill with a forstner bit

My beautiful old Wolf drill is slow enough to work well with Forstner bits that tend to overheat and lose their temper when used too fast.

26 drilling for the draw bores

We’ll be using draw bores and glue to hold the whole thing together.. the holes are drilled through the mortice and then offset through the tenon thus when a dowel is hammered through the leg it pulls the tenon tighter into the mortice..

26a sharpening the chisel

Much sharpening commences!

27 a perfect fit

And a test.. we have progress!

28 the frame comes together

You can see the aluminum draw bores.. they are usually wooden dowels but I like this look better.  The frame comes together nicely.

29 and the basic bench is finished and ready for clamps etc

and, with a little help lifting it in place, the top is glued in place and I have a new workbench.. over the next few weeks I will be making vices and other accessories and then there will be another diary post..

Don’t forget to subscribe to the diary notifications in the right column of this page and leave your thoughts below.

All my best,


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guitar builders basics podcast 5 – acid, zero fret and tone

This week I talk about the order in which I put my necks together, guitars built from a single piece of wood and the tone benefits.. or otherwise.. and more on a guitars tone.  How about zero frets and hairline cracks, Oxalic acid and binding plus we have a few links and tips from you fantastic people… and…. well, that’s enough isn’t it?

Top Tips from you guys and gals

Givemeajackson says, in reference to my thinking that Sycamour in the UK is called ‘Sycamour Maple’ but is really a maple and not a sycamour..

– ‘the latin name of sycamore maple is acer pseudoplatanus, so basically pseudo-sycamore maple.’

Duncan Taylor, after we talked about stripping a guitars finish in the last podcast, says..

– ‘Nitro-Mors eats binding. I learned the hard way.’

pczoide sent me a link to a cool and interesting video.

Michi Matsuda really burns his guitars.. using gunpowder!?  We talked about what finish to use on top of a burnt guitar the other day.. Matsuda, who I greatly admire, used shellac (French polish) with pumice to fill gaps topped by nitro lacquer.. matt will do.  Some other people have suggested using spray on Tru Oil or even hairspray or artists fixative to seal in the burnt finish..

here is the video

and here is his website if you want to see some awesome ideas..

A scary scary scary video next if you use a table saw or similar

This is a guy who decided to show us what a kickback on a table saw is like.. and it scares the hell out of me!  He could very well have lost a few digits here even though he did it on purpose!?!

Thank you for your support, I hope you enjoy our other videos and the weekly workshop diary following our guitar building bit by bit.

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guitar builders basics podcast 4

Episode 4 for the 28th of October 2013

This week we cover burning our guitars,a little, on purpose.  The hard maple soft maple hoohah!  Neck angle.. again.. this time I’m going to do some drawing!  To radius beam or not to radius beam? How about a fanned fret mitre box to make cutting multi-scale fretboards more straight forward.

Your top tips!!

Alexander sent us a link here to instructions on how to make a  home made multi-scale mitre box for cutting fanned frets accurately!!

Another simpler neck contouring jig, this one from Bill Sheltema plus there’s access to plans etc


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new workshop, new tools much fun


A proper workshop diary for a change with a return to regular posts and a LOT of guitar making coming imminently!  For now though..

1 exhibiting at the European woodworking show

In between setting up the new Ltd company and workshops, with all the red tape that that entails we were booked to exhibit at two of the UKs biggest woodworking shows.. Yandles and the European woodworking show..

2 quite fun to get out of the workshop

I took my whole tool rack and workbench to both shows.

3 new tools and a guitar building school

and at the European show I announced our plan to have 1 weekend a month dedicated to in person guitar building lessons in our upstairs workshop.

4 I could not resist a new plane

I could not resist getting my first low-angle plane, a beautiful beautiful tool!

5 the show is set in a lovely area

The European woodworking show is set in the beautiful Cressing Temple Barns..

6 A highlight as Patrick Eggle has a go on a few of our guitars

One of the highlights was having Patrick Eggle play a few of my guitars.. he also tried to sell me a CNC router for making jigs and templates.. still considering that one!

7 welcome to the new post-monkey

 New workshop means new staff.. meet MJ, our post-monkey and general helper.

8 and welcome to Apprentice Howard

And Howard.. my personal apprentice.  He has a few years experience building guitars and will be honing his skills here..

9 back to work installing MIDIpads

His first jobs are fitting a few of the xy MIDIpads we sell.

10 this tele looks a bit more high tech now

it ended up looking nicely high tech for an ancient guitar design!

11 a seven string is next on the chopping block

It’s always fun drilling huge holes in otherwise brand new and pristine guitars!

12 pretty

worth it though 🙂

13 a Gibson next

We even get to do this to the odd Gibson guitar!

13 the workshop is still a work in progress

Now, tool storage, one side done one bare.. and I have a LOT of tools.

14 but my tools are all out again

We’re getting there!  Lots of books too, there is no such thing as a luthier who doesn’t need to learn more.

15 a new explosion proof fan for the spray booth

A long awaited delivery, our new explosion proof fan arrives.  You wouldn’t believe the red tape I’m having to navigate now as an employer with commercial premises!

16 and a pallet of new tools arrives

Another amazing day.. a pallet load of tools from our new sponsor Triton tools

17 check out this & inch wide electric planer from Triton

Look at the size of this thing!  triple 7″ wide blades on a hand planer!?

18 a few of Tritons awesome routers and other tools

the routers are awesome and I can’t wait to get stuck in with them.

19 a bit of work to put their workstation together

Apprentice Howard has much putting together in store though.

20 but worth it

the end result is a workcenter.. with the circular saw it turns into a contractors saw

22 and the Triton workstation in saw mode

Like this!  Oh yes I can use this!

21 breaking out the Triton planer to see how it does

  I use the magnesium jointer for the first time to rough out a long joint23 and Howards new workbench is under way

and after some hand work Howard clamps his new workbench top together.

24 Still painting but we are nearly there

MJ continues to be most useful.. we have a lot of painting to do!  Magnolia is the colour of bland in my book.

25 our neighbours are interesting and make great shepherds huts

We have some interesting neighbours, they make stunning shepherds huts and it’s fun to see them go home.

26 we are still making luthiery tools

We’re also coming to grips with the hugely successful range of luthiery tools and jigs we’re making.. here a few spot leveling files.

27 experimenting with an onion and tool steel

turns out an onion is a great way to temper and harden tool steel!?

28 soon to come ergonomic purfling chisels

We will soon have these ergonomic purfling chisels ready for sale.

Anyhow, thank you for your patience, Crimson Guitars Ltd is back on its feet and at work!

Don’t forget to check out the guitar builders basics podcasts in the top left menu of this screen.. it is a great way for me to answer loads of the questions I get every week in one place.. and you can ask your own questions too!

Very best,


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guitar builders basics podcast 3

episode 3 21/10/2013 post apocalyptic scorched guitar

episode 3 of the Guitar Builders Basics guitar building podcast from for the 21/10/2013 – the post apocalyptic scorched guitar

This week we talk about adding finish to a purposefully scorched guitar, luthiery during extreme changes in temperature, preparing for your first guitar build and the big one.. my 5 essential tools for a guitar builder…  We also have a few video suggestions and a tip from one of our subscribers.

We believe in the hive mind – a top tips from one of you guys out there..

from J. Adams on YouTube in the comments section of our video on repairing and leveling the frets on a neglected Dobro guitar..

Lemon oil is usually just mineral oil that is thinned down (mineral spirits) and has an added scent along with a minuscule amounts of other things. Then they put it in a fancy bottle and charge twice as much for it! I would think un-thinned boiled linseed oil would be too heavy for a fingerboard. You would want a light non-drying oil that does not smell or form a film. I prefer walnut oil for the bowls and cutting boards I make, but even that is a little heavy for guitar fingerboards.

Search for the “Fret Doctor” or “Bore Doctor” bore oil. I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems to be the best product out there based on the research I did on the subject several months ago. I would trust the experience of a research chemist more than my own intuition when it comes to mixing up a custom fretboard oil!

around the web
Pederson Custom Guitars Neck Shaping Jig
springs and the ability to do compound radiuses or shape the back of the neck..

finally another video – Mick Strider Documentary knife maker, cool video extremely well shot and interesting..

Thanks for watching and please don’t forget to subscribe and make sure to check out the Crimson Guild

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The Guitar Builders Basics video podcast episode 2 – losing our heads

Welcome to episode 2 of the Guitar builders basics video podcast from where your questions about all things luthiery will be answered by me, Ben Crowe, luthier-in-charge at the Uk’s premier boutique guitar building workshops.

Show notes – show 2: losing our heads

This week we talk about headless tremolo systems, guitar templates and plans, a follow on about the neck break angle conversation we had last week. We also cover DIY kit guitars and marking out and cutting a fanned fretboard… all in all this week seems to have turned into a bit more of an advert for Crimson Guitars new range of services than I had wanted to be the case for this podcast, still though, if you really want to give us all your money we won’t complain 🙂

Websites to watch

Of course I have to start off with a link to Triton Tools.. I am excited!

We were talking about Strandberg guitars and their tremolo systems and you can find their website here.

Guitar Aficionado magazine is a great read, even non-subscribers have access to free online content and reviews, check them out!

If you have any link suggestions don’t hesitate to get in touch and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel or the feed for this playlist for more guitar building action.