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Building a First Guitar

Building a First Guitar

by Harry Coleman

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Quarterly Volume 6 #1, 1978 and Lutherie Woods and Steel String Guitars, 1997

I’ve played guitar since 1961. I built knives around 1968, so I had an interest in working with my hands. This led naturally into an interest in guitar building.

Early in 1975, I started buying all the books that were available on building and repair of guitars and any other stringed instruments. Guitar Player magazine had very little to offer, but it was something to read. I studied and memorized the books and articles for about six months before ever cutting the first piece of wood. I didn’t agree with one big thing that stood out in almost every book. They all said that a person should build his or her first guitar out of cheap materials so that when he screwed it up he would not have lost a lot of money on expensive wood.

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