American Lutherie #100 cover shows Gary Southwell's A-Model guitars
American Lutherie #100
Winter 2009

This issue’s cover features British Luthier Gary Southwell's A-Model guitars.
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Notice the V-joing on Gary Southwell's guitar Historical Influences in a Modern Guitar Design by Gary Southwell from his 2006 GAL Conventin lecture
English luthier Gary Southwell first became well known for his copies of 19th-century guitars. Turns out they were better instruments than conventional post-Torres wisdom would indicate. After deeply absorbing these lessons, Gary has designed a very modern nylon-string instrument which draws inspiration from Panormo, Staffer, and Lacote.

Brian Michael and Alex Glasser show how to install a acoustic pickup in a flattop guitar Installing an Acoustic Pickup System in a Flattop Guitar by Brian Michael, with help from Alex Glasser, from his 2008 GAL Convention workshop
Brian and Alex both work in the repair department at Gryphon Stringed Instruments, where they install a whole lot of pickups. They show us how it’s done, step by step.


John Gilbert Meet the Maker: John Gilbert by John Mello
Here’s a genuine living lutherie legend. John Gilbert had a great job as an engineer, but then in 1965 he made a guitar for fun and got hooked. He made 120 innovative and well-regarded classical guitars for some of the field’s top players before handing over the business to his son Bill in the ‘90s. Gilbert has been a mentor to many aspiring makers over the years, including interviewer John Mello.

Plot of brace height vs. bending modulus The Guitar as a Structure and Some Practical Information on Bracing by Jim Blilie
What’s a structure? Basically anything that holds itself up, like a guitar. Some structures work better than others. This can often be explained in mathematical terms, and author Blilie shows us some helpful realities and the numbers behind them.

Removing the bridge from a deeply flamed redwood top Total Flame Out: Retopping a Harp Guitar by Harry Fleishman
Why use deeply flamed redwood for a harp-guitar top? Because it is insanely gorgeous. But why not use it? Because the bridge will tear off the short grain. Then what do you do with a fancy, one-of-a-kind harp guitar with a busted top? Just put on a new top without disturbing the binding or the finish. Harry shows us how.

The neck is attached to the body using a modern neck bolt and insert Crafting Marie's Guitar by Christian Steinert
It’s not a classical guitar. It’s not a lute. That vaulted, multiribbed back on a Baroque guitar poses special problems in the building process. Steinert shows us how he built an instrument from GAL Instrument Plan #27.

Kent LaRue in costume with baroque guitar

Owning and Playing the “Marie Antoinette” Guitar by Kent LaRue
LaRue owns the Baroque guitar we were just talking about in the last article, and loves it. He uses it in his work as a musical educator and performer at Historic Williamsburg. (Just so you don’t think he really dresses like that.)


Guitar string test setup Inharmonicity of Guitar Strings by Mark French
Real stuff is quirky. Like how guitar strings need to be the “wrong” length in order to sound “right.” The gloriously simple math of Pythagoras doesn’t quite get the job done. But toss in a few dozen more numbers and Greek letters and you can get closer. French uses lasers and spreadsheets and stuff to show us how.

Fred and Kate Casey at Open Mike Night Roped In by Fred Casey
That cool “rope” edgebinding is a distinctive feature of old Weissenborn lap steel guitars. Casey figured out a way to make it and bend it.

Disassembled "Peghead" gears Product Review by Randy DeBey
“Pegheds” geared violin pegs. These pegs are the same size and wooden friction pegs. How do they get the gears in there? Do they really work? Violin maker DeBey gives a detailed review.

Custom breakaway clamp by Jeffrey Elliott It Worked for Me by Jeffrey Elliott, John Calkin, Harry Fleishman, and Peter True
Make a breakaway clamp for use through a soundhole. Make a dust collector for a bandsaw. Make a small, precise miter box using magnets. Keep pickup springs from sproinging while you install them.

Questions edited by R.M. Mottola
Includes information about the earliest metal strings; double-neck acoustic guitars; and compensating a parlor guitar bridge.

David Minnieweather memoriam In Memoriam: David Minnieweather by Veronica Merryfield, and
David King

We only just met David a few years ago, and now he’s already gone. Read his memoriam.

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