How does LMI help?
Our knowledgeable staff is always happy to recommend woods, parts, tools, and instructional materials to make your first project a smooth and successful one. You save time and money, not only because our prices are competitive, but because we help hold your mistakes to a minimum.
- We carry dozens of books, plans, and videos for building steel string and classical guitars, electric guitars, and more.
- We offer numerous shop services/customizations to ease your project along when you’re not set up for bending the sides, slotting the fingerboard or joining and sanding the top and back plates. Services can often be done to your specifications and there are many, many options for the type of instrument you want to build.
- We offer an informative website with a searchable shopping cart.
- We have a wide range of specialty tools for guitar making. We carry jigs for side bending and for routing the binding ledge, specialty chisels, planes, and clamps, measuring tools, repair tools, finishing supplies and much more.
- We carry the finest quality woods available all dried to perfection for optimal dimensional stability. Don’t begin your project with wood that might present problems for you down the road. We offer a huge selection to choose from with prices in ranges that fit most budgets.
- Our Kit Wizard offers a great way to be assured of the proper combination of materials and will save money at the same time.
GROUPS & CLUBS
These groups offer a great opportunity to network with others who are interested in luthiery. Some groups (such as GAL and ASIA) are nationwide (even worldwide!) but most here are regional groups who hold monthly or bi-monthly meetings. Are we missing your group here? Please let us know!
Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (ASIA)
Membership includes quarterly magazine ‘Guitarmaker’.
Colorado Luthiers Group
Guild of American Luthiers (GAL)
A nonprofit educational membership organization that promotes learning about the construction and repair of stringed musical instruments. Publisher of American Lutherie magazine.
Luthiers Interactive of North Texas (LINT)
Northern California Association of Luthiers (NCAL)
Seattle Luthiers Group
Stringed Instrument Makers of Southern California (SIMSCal)
Colorado Luthiers Group
Ukulele Guild of Hawaii
A non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, perpetuation and promotion of the ukulele as a significant musical instrument.
LMI carries numerous books and videos on guitar building. There are a variety of ways to go about things, and we think it is a good idea to investigate a number of books. All of the books we carry have strong points, and the staff at LMI is happy to help you choose the book(s) best for you.
Following are some of LMI’s favorite books and videos:
“Woodworking Basics” (BM66) by Peter Korn and Taunton Press (Fine Woodworking Magazine). If you have never lifted a tool before, or have only limited woodworking experience, be sure to pick this one up.
“Guitarmaking; Tradition and Technology” (BSOS) by Cumpiano and Natleson. This is a standard for steel string and classical guitar construction. This book covers basic hand-tool techniques as well as suggestions for the power tool approach. It offers excellent detail in every operation of guitar building!
We are also impressed with “Build Your Own Acoustic Guitar” (BS6) by Jonathan Kinkead
Martin Koch’s “Building Electric Guitars” (BE10) is very well-done and is the only book that covers semi-hollow body guitars such as the ES 335.
If you are interested in Archtop guitars, try Bob Benedetto’s “Making an Archtop Guitar” (BM21). This is the best book on the subject, but perhaps not the best book for those just getting started with guitar building.
For Mandolin Building see Roger Siminoff’s “The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual” (BM56).
We heartily recommend Robert O’Brien’s “Build a Steel String Guitar” (BM62), “Build a Classical Guitar” (BM61), and “Build an Electric Guitar” (BM76). Robert uses LMI kits for the guitars built with these excellent DVDs.
“Guitarmaking with Benito Huipe” (BM22) directed by Ron Fernandez. is the only video that follows the building of nylon string guitars from beginning to end.
John Bogdanvich’s video set “Making a Concert Classical Guitar with John S. Bogdanovich” (BM91) offers extensive, detailed instruction, combining modern and traditional methods.
For Archtop Guitar Construction, See Bob Benedetto’s DVD set, BM64.
LMI is constantly adding to our library of informative articles and blog posts. The main ones we recommend for beginners are:
Alternative Tonewoods – A great introduction to tonewoods that will help you decide what woods to choose.
Choosing & Applying a Guitar Finish – This article covers all of our finish products. You can find additional finishing articles in our Help Center that cover different finish products in-depth.
Essential Lutherie Tools – for beginners struggling with what tools to purchase!
Wood Grading – More information that will help you choose the right woods.
Got a burning question? Need to talk directly with an experienced guitar builder? There are a growing number of online communities that offer advice and camaraderie.
Not a forum, per se, but an incredible source of information. This well-known site is provided by LMI’s colleague and chief luthier, Frank Ford. Literally thousands of pages and pictures on all aspects of guitar repair, upkeep, and lutherie.
Musical Instrument Makers Forum (MIMF)
Official Luthiers Forum
A lively forum for the interchange of information, ideas, and suggestions, moderated by luthier Lance Kragenbrink.
LUTHERIE SCHOOLS & ONLINE COURSES
Here are some schools and online courses that teach guitar building. LMI offers students enrolled in a lutherie school a 10% discount on any items shipped to their school! Keep in mind that there are other schools out there and that many guitar makers provide instruction on an individual basis:
Schools in the USA
American School of Lutherie
ARC Guitar School
Art Series Guitar
Colorado School of Lutherie
Eric Schaefer Guitars
Everett Guitars – Kent Everett
Finocchio Guitars – Frank Finocchio
Fretted Strings Lutherie School
Galloup Guitars – Bryan Galloup
Big Rapids, MI
Geiger School of Lutherie by the Sea
Carmel, CA 93923
J.S. Bogdanovich Guitars
Lessons in Lutherie with Brian Burns
Ft. Bragg, CA
Musician’s Institute / Guitar Craft Academy
(800) 255-7529 / (323) 462-1384
Nazareth Guitar Institute
Nazareth, PA 18064
San Marcos, CA
Red Rocks Community College
Red Wing Technical College
Red Wing, MN
Robert Lee’s Rock N’ Roll Guitar School
Napa, CA 94581
Roberto-Venn School of Lutherie
San Francisco Guitarworks
San Francisco, CA
SIMSCal — Stringed Instrument Makers of Southern California
Post Mills, VT
Whetstone School of Lutherie