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Making an Archtop Guitar Paperback – January 1, 1996


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Making an Archtop Guitar + GUITARMAKING (Guitar Reference) + The Luthier's Handbook: A Guide to Building Great Tone in Acoustic Stringed Instruments
Price for all three: $79.31

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Centerstream Publications (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574240005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574240009
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

It is laid out very well and easy to follow mr. benedetto's writing style/instructions.
T. Veatch
In this book, he gives us enough specific, detailed info to build a very fine instrument on the first try, provided that we have some basic woodworking skills.
Kenneth R. Zuercher
As an amateur luthier, I bought this book, planning to build an archtop jazz guitar someday.
Parra Pierre-jean

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
While I would recommend this book, even to a motivated novice, I would caution those who are hoping that everything will be completely spelled out, and you'll be warned of all the things that could go wrong. This isn't an "Idiot's Guide to Building an Archtop." Benedetto is a bit vague in some rather crucial areas. That said, it is the best book on the subject. Admittedly, if he were to try to anticipate every wrong turn a reader might make, the book would not read as well. Part of me appreciates his lack of condescension. The other part of me, though, felt unprepared to move forward in a few spots.
I make my living as a woodworker, so I didn't really have any problems with the carving, joinery or finishing parts, but I imagine that a novice woodworker might run into some trouble. Since this was my first guitar, the more lutherie oriented parts gave me a bit more pause. I don't think I would have gotten the quality of result that I did without the outside sources to which I referred. The sections on fretwork and set up are, for example, barely adequate. The basic information is there, but there is a dearth of any hints, and I discovered that fretwork and set up are areas in which one needs hints.
Again, I recommend the book, but with the caveat that you'll want to read more elsewhere.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
I almost didn't get the book because of the last review by the man who felt the book should have taught him how to tap tune a top. I am affraid in this generation we expect to get it all from books where once we could only learn by sitting at the masters feet. So far I have found alot of help in this book and I recommend it to anyone interested in learning to make a guitar
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
I agree that this book is not for someone who is interested in seriously studying archtop design and construction. But It's a GREAT book for someone with a little experience under their belt, who wants to try something different. If you want to become the next "Greatest American Luthier", find a good mentor and apprentice yourself to him/her. If you want to build an archtop, this book is a comprehensive guide that will get you there.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By howardpaul@aol.com on July 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
As an archtop owner and player for nearly thirty years, I would call this book a must read for anyone who is interested in purchasing a vintage archtop or buying a new one. Benedetto leads the reader into a deep appreciation of the painstaking detail that goes into The Making of an Archtop. He describes the level of attention that should be evident on each component of the guitar, and how it effects the player (and the price) in the end. The significance of learning the process of material selection, construction sequencing and design considerations might well lead the reader towards a custom made instrument. This book is a credit to all the independent luthiers out there whose trade is no longer a secret.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert Gaffney on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a skilled cabinetmaker, with no experience at all in guitar or instrument making. After a lot of thought, I've decided to make a pair of archtop guitars - one for my son as a college gift, one for myself (he gets the one which turns out best). I've make a lot of woodworking projects, and every one of them has started with a materials list. I was sort of amazed to find that missing here. No measurements for the top, back or sides, no list of anything. Strange. And hen I started reading the construction method, and got as far page 15, where it says "The guitar is now positioned in the holding cradle..." WHAT holding cradle? There's a picture of one, but no description . How much of a "lip" should the holding cradle have? How deep should it be? Nothing. Anyhow, I'm impressed at a lot of what I read, and I'm sure I'll be able to build a guitar based on the book, but there are really missing parts. Third peeve: The last 63 pages of the book are of no value to the reader at all - just promo BS for the author. Why does he feel he needs this?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I don't know who charliem thinks he is, but on the subject of making archtop guitars (amongst others), Benedetto's book is the most informative of it's kind. As far as not giving enough info. goes, there is everything one needs to know from go to whoa. If he doesn't spell it out then it can either be worked out with a little basic math. or it doesn't effect the overall outcome. It is the best book on archtop guitars and should be in every collection.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eugene R. Cole on January 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
I was and continue to be enthralled by this book. I have found no other book on this topic that is superior to or even equal to this book.
Being written by a master luthier there are any number of things that the writer does not explore in much depth; presumably because those things are so second nature to the author that he does not realize that readers might want to read about them. So the book is not enough to be only-source that a would-be builder would need. Many of these omisions are in the books favor; the book remains a managable size and does not need to broken out in to several volumes. However I would have liked a bit more commentary about why one should do things in the sequence that he outlines. Some of the questions I was left with are listed here.
*. Why are the recurves carved after the body is assembled?
*. When and how does one determine the angle of the neck set?
*. How much plate tuning will typically be done before and after assembling the body?
*. How does one build curve into a truss rod so that neck relief can be influenced by truss rod tension?
Much of this information is available from other sources but is not detailed in this book. The balance between brevity and detailing is subjective; for myself he got the balance pretty close.
I particularly like the books formatting and font selection. The font types and sizes are easy on the eyes and lend them selves to being reviewed without having to get too close. I greatly appreciate that I can look over sections of the book while the book is resting on the work bench. Too many of the books on instrument making are published in a format that is simply too small. With this book I can see details in the photographs and understand what is being illustrated.
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