Luthier.... Lutherie??

Lu·thi·er (lo͞o′tē-ər) n. One that makes or repairs stringed instruments, such as violins.

Lu·th·er·ie (lo͞o′t-ər-ē) v. The craft of making string instruments, or lutherie (sometimes spelled luthiery), is commonly divided into two main categories: makers of stringed instruments that are plucked or strummed and makers of stringed instruments that are bowed.

Ok,… so, note to self, apparently there is a thin line between Woodturning and Lutherie, and yes, I think it may have been useful for me to have learned how to play the guitar before I ventured into building acoustic guitars! I have been bitten by the guitar building (or Lutherie) bug and there is no turning back!

I was hooked from the moment Lutherie was introduced in my Introduction to Woodworking class almost 2 years ago. I have no aspirations or delusions of becoming the next great builder the likes of Stradivarius, Torres or Hauser, but if for nothing else than for my own enjoyment. I love the skill involved and the extreme attention to detail it takes to build a great sounding guitar, and I get lost in its cathartic process.

Just as turning re-ignited my passion for woodworking, my first Lutherie class re-ignited my fascination with wood instrument building. I think the fascination began even further back, when, as a boy, I was fascinated by the story of Stradivarius’ violins; I always had it in the back of my mind that I would someday build an instrument out of wood. It’s one of those thoughts that go dormant over the years, and then suddenly, here we are - full circle.

I am in the finishing process of building my second guitar, a steel string Orchestra Model with a Florentine cutaway, and have design plans swimming in my head all day for future guitar builds. I build them completely from scratch. No pre-bent, pre-formed, pre-shaped pieces!

Back and sides are made of Black Hearted Sassafras. Neck is Port Orford Cedar. Fretboard is Macassar Ebony with Narra inlay for the fret markers.

Tree of life inlay is of Walnut, Bacote and Honey Locust. Binding is Bloodwood with Abalone shell inlay.

Soundboard is Koa. Rosette is Cottonwood with Abalone shell inlay.

Hopefully, family members don’t keep claiming my guitars as their own and I’ll build one I can actually sell! My first build was a classical guitar that I was persuaded to gift to my middle son with the condition that he would take lessons and learn how to play it. So far he is making good on his promise... evident by the constant attempts at the “Ol’ Susanna” tune. =)

Soundboard is Adirondack Cedar. Fretboard is African Ebony. Bridge and Headplate are Indian Rosewood.

Back and sides are Bacote with Spanish Cedar Neck.

Now, my youngest son has also expressed a desire to play, so my third guitar will be parlor sized.......which I will be completely designing on my own (not from plans) with a different body size, scale length, etc... It will incorporate a lot of the tried and true design elements that make up a great sounding guitar, but also changing as many aspects as I can to tailor it to a smaller/younger player. Hopefully this design will lead to me being able to offer guitars geared towards younger players as well. But for now my vision for this Lutherie venture is to have pre-built guitars available for sale, but also offer custom builds on commission.

I will be including a slide show of my two builds in the Gallery section. Look for that, plus the upcoming new section on the website dedicated to Lutherie.

I am still very faithful to my first love of woodturning, but it will now share space both on my website as well as my garage work space! =)

STILL… Upon A Lathe,