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Is there a "Don't build a kit without it" book?
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Chris Ragaisis

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 15
I was wondering if there were a single book (at the most two) which would fall into the "Don't build a kit without it" category? Or do you have to specify guitar types - dreadnoughts, 000s, classical, etc."

I understand that you don't _have_ to have any single source, but I have a feeling that there is a book or two that nobody should be without. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Chris

Jul 28, 07 | 9:26 am
davidmor

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 567
You might want to go with Bill Corys new book about kit building. You can find it here .

A lot of people highly recommend Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology by Jonathan Natelson and William Cumpiano. I have it and it is full of great building information, but really I just don't use it all that much. Really the only time I used it was the first time I carved a neck volute on a slot head. I looked at the pictures of how they did it and copied the method. I haven't cracked the cover since.

My Blog

Jul 28, 07 | 11:17 am
Chris Ragaisis

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 15
I ordered Bill's book last week and am eagerly awaiting it. However, I'm wondering about other sources... I'm sure that the "invaluable resource" exists...

Jul 28, 07 | 11:46 am
jhowell

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 676
Chris--

I haven't received Bill's book yet, but of the books that are on my bookshelf, I'd have to say that Kinkead's is the most useful. It is thoroughly photographed and well layed out. One may not build exactly like him, but his book not only lets you see the parts, but also lets you see the relatonship of the parts.

Its important to understand that there is no one right way to build a guitar. Your style of building will be influenced by a lot of things -- mostly by the tools you own and the jigs you build or aquire. It doesn't take a ton of stuff to get started. I'm up to three power tools now: a Dremel for inlays and rosettes, a Bosch Colt router and a Bosch RO palm sander. Most of my hand tools are second hand from E-Bay. I don't do the fastest builds around :).

Jul 28, 07 | 7:39 pm
Chris Ragaisis

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 15
I know that there is no "right" way to build a guitar. But I also know that there are several "wrong" ways.

Maybe we should have started this thread as "What books don't you ever use?" ;-)

Chris

Jul 29, 07 | 3:50 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I have mentioned this before -- while I respect Bill Compiano and I am sure his final product is very nice -- from an engineer's point of view I think his building techniques are possibly the most difficult and error prone I have seen in print. His book "Guitar making Tradition and Technology" Is full of nice design tidbits, however, in my view, the construction methodolgy leaves much to be desired. And frankly, even though I have a full compliment of tools and equipment I doubt that I could build a symetrical, aligned guitar using his procedure.

Ken

Jul 29, 07 | 6:18 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Chris -- I don't know if there is a perfect book for everyone in existence. Probably not, since we're all so different. I wrote mine to fill a niche: There was not (until a couple weeks ago) any book available for the KIT guitar builder, that dealt with the specific concerns and problems of building kits vs scratch guitars.

Ya gotta admit, most of those of us who start with kits might have never built a guitar at all if we had had to start with raw wood; we might not have had the knowledge, tools, initiative, etc.

Well, the funny thing is, many potential builders (I think) feel that way about kits, as well. They just aren't sure enough of their skills, or what is required, etc. So, they never get started. Some who get started don't finish because they don't have much support provided at their building level -- which is different from the kind of support you would get from Al Carruth or Rick Turner over on the Luthiers Corner, or similar folks on the OLF or MIMF.

That was why I wrote the book,and that was why I started this website -- to cater to the level of us kit builders. I have learned a lot in this forum AND from all the books. I have studied and read all of them: Sloane, Siminoff, Kinkead, Cumpiano/Natelson, Williams, and a bunch more (downstairs right now) ... and I found that they all absolutely ignore the specific needs of first-kit builders and potential kit builders. Also, Cumpiano, for example, uses a complete different building process from any kit on the market; I imagine it could be adapted to a kit, but would it yield a better guitar? Doubtful.

I'm not posting this to say *mine* is that perfect book, because I don't think there is one. Mine's just a book and will be helpful along with other books, this forum, other forums, etc. As someone said above, everybody builds differently -- and everybody's need for information (and for how the info is offered) is different, too. So, no perfect book exists ... and I don't think any "totally useless" book exists, either.

Having said all that, I also have to say this: My expressed goal in writing my book was to cover kits from every angle (though it purposefully does not contain a complete detailed construction manual for any kit), and to provide the very book you originally asked about. I wanted to write it early in my kit guitar building years, too, because the methods one uses after gaining experience tend to become "the right methods," yet maybe they are not the best methods to use for a specific kit. Simply because of the materials and parts supplied, each kit requires (or at least tends toward) different procedures in building. When you ask an experienced luthier how to do something with a kit, very often, you will get an answer like, "Why did you start it that way in the first place? That's the wrong way to do it, but here's how you can go back and get on the right track." Often, his answer is not helpful because he isn't talking about what you need addressed; he's naturally talking about what he normally does. What else would he offer, since he isn't you and hasn't built your kit? I've built your kit and others; if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been able to write the book from the same viewpoint as yours: That of a kit builder rather than an experienced luthier.

Whether or not I have succeeded with the book is of course up to the reader/user to decide. But my goal was to provide an overall book that would guide the reader to buy the right kit, help give him or her the confidence needed, get the tools required (and build a few that are helpful), and generally assist in the building process in various ways. Hopefully, I succeeded. You guys who have graciously ordered the book (and those others using this forum who still will order a copy) can tell me where I was successful and where I was not. I look forward to reading a few detailed reviews.

Sorry this got so long!

Bill
www.KitGuitarManuals.com (to purchase the book)
www.KitGuitarForum.com (free forum)
www.KitGuitarBuilder.com (free instructions on Stewmac/Martin kits)
www.KitGuitarTools.com (coming soon .... miscellaneous but not major stuff)

Jul 29, 07 | 6:41 am
Chris Ragaisis

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 15
I'm eagerly awaiting your book, Bill. You wrote that it was very temporarily out of stock. But I'm also not in the position to start building right away - there is a potential to move from the extremely hot south to the more temperate north and I'm in temporary limbo (I don't want to start this project until I'm in a physical location where I have a fair chance of finishing it. So right now I'm gathering intelligence. And from what I've read of the forum archives, that's a _good_ thing. ;-)

I _want_ to get started, though. Even started reading something...

I thank _everyone_ for their help. I appreciate the effort and sense of community that I've found here.

Chris

Jul 29, 07 | 7:23 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Chris -- have you downloaded and read Stewmac's manual? It's a bit of an education in itself.

Jul 29, 07 | 10:35 am
Chris Ragaisis

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 15
I certainly did. I wish I had it when I was building my ill-fated kit over 25 years ago. It would have helped a _lot_. ;-)

Jul 29, 07 | 11:11 am



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