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Making Early Stringed Instruments Paperback – December 31, 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 111 pages
  • Publisher: Stobart Davies Limited (December 31, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0854420517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0854420513
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,271,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Brendon Foley on March 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a useful book for those interested in musical instrument construction. If you are interested in making musical instruments this is a good book but it's not for those with no experience.
Ths book contains plans and instructions for making eight different stringed instruments: a bowed psaltery, a lyre, a simple lute, an appalachian dulcimer, a flat-backed mandolin, a mediaeval fiddle, a gothic harp and a guitar. All are adaptations of original instruments or are inspired by traditional designs. All of Taylor's designs are aestheitically graceful and elegant. The plans provided are detailed and clear. There are, however, some aspects of the book that I didn't like. I found Taylor's writing style to be rather flowery, verbose and pretentious. Conversely, his sets of instructions for building each instrument are too brief, one reason why this is not a book for beginners. It would have been nice if less space had been given to wordy anecdotes and more to fleshing out the instructions.
There is also a glaring error in the instructions for making the mandolin and guitar. It describes attaching the neck to a flat board when gluing the sides to the neck and bottom block. Doing this will cause problems with gluing on the fingerboard...there will be a step down from the soundboard to the neck surface. I hit this problem when I made a guitar from the book and it caused lots of frustration for me.
Otherwise, this is a fairly good book that would be a useful addition to the library of anyone interested in making traditional musical instruments. I'll give it three stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T.W. on June 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Making Early Stringed Instruments is a product of its times. Put together just before the whole desktop publishing phenomenon, it doesn't measure up to modern expectations.
I actually *like* the writing style, which is somewhat haughty. As a practicing luthier, I also found several interesting tidbits on construction technique. To suggest that this is in any way a tutor for creating the pictured instruments, is laughable.

-The drawings provided should be seen as a starting-point. I find them to be pretty displeasing, aesthetically. In fact, looking at medieval manuscript sources I have a hard time understanding how Taylor came to produce such "clunky" designs.

-The Panormo-style guitar is nicely drawn, but braced extremely heavily. Throw out the construction sequence. Tayler distills the entire process into 19 steps (19!) with very few illustrations. It's simply impossible for an amatuer to build a playable guitar with this level of instruction.

Taylor's previous book on lute construction is a far superior effort, if you can find a copy. It contains many anachronistic ideas and the instrument portrayed would be deemed unsatisfactory by most modern lutenists, but at least the building process is outlined in full detail.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karl F. Newman on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been eagerly waiting to read this book since nearly a year ago. And now I wish I was still waiting.
I am not nearly an inexperienced woodworker(ok 32 years a cabinetmaker) nor a complete novice at making musical instruments, (3 banjos, many many appalachian dulcymers, a lute several mandolins, 6 hammer dulcymers, 8 harps, making music is fun) but I do know good directions from bad.
In an effort to simplify for the beginner Mr Taylor has skipped steps and made the plans/instruments bulky and over built. Which will cause mistakes for the beginner leading to frustrations and quitting. If the beginner is savvy enough to find an experienced woodworker who will help them and if they use the drawings as guidelines and not carved in granite facts then they have a hope of making a nice instrument.
Further that cute little harp on the cover of the book is not inside. Instead the things hidden in the background are. He would have had room for more detailed instructions if he had left out the dulcymer and the guitar (niether fit the books title anyhow) and maybe had a talharpa or a rebec (or two) instead (and that cute little harp).
Having said that; I will use the plans as rough outlines and make some instruments from these patterns.
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