Posted on January 6, 2010February 12, 2020 by Dale Phillips Review: 1996 & 1997 Luthier’s Art Review: 1996 The Luthier’s Art & 1997 The Luthier’s Art String Letter Publishing 1996: 111 pages 1997: 141 pages, ISBN 1-890490-01-6 $19.95 per volume Available from Acoustic Guitar magazine Originally published in American Lutherie #55, 1998 These two lovely collections of instrument photos represent the participants of the Healdsburg Guitar Festivals of their respective years. Since the books came out well before the events, it’s obvious that the photos were submitted by the luthiers and weren’t taken at the shows. I’m sure the photos are better for it, but these aren’t necessarily the guitars you would have seen at the festivals. As one of the sponsors of the festivals, Acoustic Guitar magazine has tried hard to make the guitar a cultural icon and the festivals a matter of artistic importance. These books are compiled to look like gallery or auction catalogs. The layout is formal and the photographic reproduction very good. If the collection is biased towards Left Coastians, the books are more interesting for it. The progressives and weirdoes lend an air of excitement and airiness to the pages, though they may send some staid readers on a quick search for a Martin copy just to regain their balance. All in all, however, there seems to be a lot more luthiers happily chugging away within the tradition than pushing the envelope. This is a pretty bunch of instruments with enough ideas in either volume to keep any builder thinking for a long time. The photo spread is followed by a short biography of each luthier. Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page. If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.