American Lutherie #130
Summer 2017


This issue’s cover shows a guitar being built by Jason Harshbarger on an inside form. The guitar’s shape shows influences of Klein and Selmer.


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Letters to the Editor
James Condino remembers his friend and mentor Eugene Clark.

Meet the Maker: Jason Lollar by Tim Olsen
Jason Lollar attended the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery way back when founders John Roberts and Bob Venn were still instructors. Jason went on to do a lot of guitar repair and some guitar making, but his early interest in winding pickups eventually grew into a twenty-person shop specializing in reproducing vintage models.

Offset Soundholes and Sound Wedges by David Freeman
Freeman has made a number of guitars with varying combinations of off-center soundholes, graduated body depth, rolled-over edges, and adjustable side ports. He gives us his thoughts on how these design factors interact and how they advance his quest for a more erognomic steel string guitar.

Techniques for Guitar Repair Efficiency from their 2014 GAL Convention workshop by Erick Coleman, Evan Gluck, and Eron Harding
Erick, Evan, and Eron called this workshop “Making Bread with Bread-and-Butter Repairs.” Their emphasis was on tools and techniques to help you get a lot of the usual repair jobs done in a short time and at a high level of quality.

Meet the Maker: Jason Harshbarger by Paul Schmidt
A lot of the makers that we meet in the pages of American Lutherie are grizzled veterans of the early days. Not this one. Harshbarger is a young single father who went to lutherie school in the late 1990s, then survived on cabinet work until he could build a lutherie shop in his basement. His steel-string design work uses Steve Klein’s work as a point of departure, and moves forward boldly from there.

Was the Rule of 18 Good Enough? by R.M. Mottola
Did ancient folk know what they were doing? Or did they just have the bad luck to be born too soon? This article can’t settle that question definitively, but it does give some new and helpful information for luthiers. Graphs compare the pitch accuracy of fret scales calculated by the 12th-root-of-2 method vs the Rule-of-18 method. Appropriate string length compensation is considered.

In Memoriam: Robert S. Cooper by R.E. Bruné and Robert Cooper Jr.
Cooper was an early member of the GAL as well as a maker of large and detailed airplane models. He wrote what was at the time the only book in English about making a lute, based on the work of the Hauser family. He’s fondly remembered by R.E. Bruné, who built lutes from that book in the 1970s. Read his memoriam.

In Memoriam: Ray Tunquist by Tom Bednark
Tunquist ran the huge circular saw on which most of the wood for Martin guitars was cut in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. He is remembered by Tom Bednark, an early GAL member. Read his memoriam.

In Memoriam: Jim Mouradian by R.M. Mottola
Jim Mouradian, shown here with his son Jon, ran a guitar repair shop and made electric basses. He was a generous and happy mentor to many. Read his memoriam.

In Memoriam: Peter Kyvelos by R.M. Mottola
Kyvelos was a world-respected maker of middle Eastern ouds. See his detailed step-by-step article on oud construction in American Lutherie #94 and American Lutherie #95.
Read his memoriam.

It Worked for Me by Juan Oscar Azaret, Graham McDonald, and Paul Neri
Clever automatic control of a home’s central heating and air conditioning can yield effective humidity control without the use of dehumidifying equipment. Modern thoughts on the good old zero fret. A simple gizmo helps tighten a banjo head evenly and quickly.

Product Review: Royal-Lac by Max Girouard and Andrew Mowry
Two mandolin makers test this post-catylized shellac product. They like it.

Questions by Dave Fifield, Sebastián Núñez, Jan van Cappelle,
Mark Brenner, Robert Ruck, Arianna Colombo, Gary Clayton Fisher,
and Thomas Bazzolo

Is it a good idea to cover a guitar soundboard with marquetry? How did the old boys make those multi-stave sides on Baroque guitars? Is there a good sandpaper for sharpening edge tools? Is ipe a good guitar wood? What’s the Italian method of “French” polishing? Does that miracle photo-setting glue they advertize on TV have any merit? How did Thomas Humphrey brace his Millenium guitars?

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