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The Art and Craft of Making Classical Guitars Paperback – March 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0634063138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634063138
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 7.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,124,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Manuel Rodriguez learned the art of constructing a guitar firsthand. He started as an apprentice at the age of 13 in Madrid, where he first began to learn what makes a beautiful and resonant guitar. After apprenticing and operating in his own shop in Spain, Manuel immigrated to Los Angeles in 1959 and opened a business there. Residing in the City of Angels for nearly 15 years, Manuel made guitars for professionals, Hollywood actors, teachers, students, and those just wishing to express themselves creatively through music, before moving back to Madrid in 1973. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a proud owner of a Manuel Rodriguez e Hijos guitar I was eagerly looking forward to reading this book. However, I am very disappointed to report that this book did not meet my expectations. The title says "The Art and Craft of Making Classical Guitars" but there is very little information on either art or craft in this book.
I had briefly met the author in his shop in Madrid and purchased a guitar from one of his sons, Norman. As thrilled as I am with the quality of the guitar I now play daily, this book is not a match for his guitars.
The book is not logically arranged, poorly edited and wanders from subject to subject and back again. Chapter headings promise to tell the history of the guitar, woods used in fine guitar construction and techniques. In my humble opinion, this book incompletely delivers on these topics.
The history of the guitar starts with observations from Sr. Rodriguez on historical examples and some small line drawings of ancient stringed instruments. Added into the middle of this light discussion is a table of "transmission times" for various types of woods. Interesting in and of itself, but it illustrates just how illogically this book is laid out. The science is mixed into historical discussion in a haphazard manner. What did luthiers accomplish with one design and how did it contribute to the next design? That's not present in this book.
Next, the reader is treated to a paragraph or two on many of the individual luthiers from the "Madrid school" of guitarmaking. Doubtless, Sr. Rodriguez or his father have known all of these famous luthiers and could tell a fascinating story. But he doesn't. What did these luthiers do to contribute to the history or sound of guitars?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Goh on September 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading this book. This is not a book about how to actually make a classical guitar. It more like a historical narrative from Sr Rodriguez where he shares many of his experience and knowledge.

This book did provide me with insights of the history of the classical guitar in Spain and the genealogy of the famous makers. At least I understand how a guitar is made and what are some of the differences that goes into constructing the guitar which we all love and appreciate. I also get to know the thoughts behind the lengths and sizes of the guitar, the fan bracings that are used, the kinds of wood that they use for the construction and who are the better master luthiers in Spain.

This is the book to get if you are looking for some general knowledge about the classical guitar.

Thank you Sr Rodriquez for sharing your thoughts and life long experiences with us.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I share many of the same criticisms of the reviewer who gave this book only two stars, I'm giving this book my highest rating. Like that reviewer, I love to play my Manuel Rodriguez guitar and was really looking forward to the English language version of "The Art & Craft."
Where we differ is that I see this book as a supplement to the other Spanish guitar literature that's out there. Rather than a more definitive work such as "A Collection of Fine Spanish Guitars from Torres to the Present" and "The Classical Guitar: A Complete History," this is more along the lines of a senior master guitar builder/artist sharing his wealth of knowledge of his craft and culture.
However, this book could have benefitted greatly from a more involved editor. There are organizational problems that a better editor would have sorted out. And perhaps a better title would be "Things About The Guitar"--oops, that one's already taken. Maybe "Thoughts About The Guitar" would be more appropriate.
If Spanish guitar's your thing, then "The Art & Craft" deserves a spot on your bookshelf.
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By sigor on July 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
so-so
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By settie2 on June 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be on your shelf if you are interested in guitars as a player or a builder the reason's I only gave it 4 stars is that he is a little bit to heavy with self praise and most of all he virtually snubbed one of the great master builder's of our time and my hero
JOSE ROMANILLOS or maybe I am just a cranky old sod so there you have it cheers
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Format: Paperback
and that's what the author clearly says. So a nice book about a traditional spanish guitar maker and his family ans some thoughts about ols tools.....

Missleading title.
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This is a great piece of writing aimed at those who want to get behind the mind of a luthier. Well worth reading and re-reading. It is not a how-to guide, but more of a behind the scenes look at the early 20th century Spanish guitar making culture.
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