Posted on

Review: Building an Acoustic Guitar by Dan Erlewine and Todd Sams

Review: Building an Acoustic Guitar by Dan Erlewine and Todd Sams

Reviewed by John Calkin

Originally published in American Lutherie #84, 2005 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Seven, 2015

Building an Acoustic Guitar
Dan Erlewine and Todd Sams
Stewart-MacDonald, VHS, 71 minutes, 2002

The title of this video is a bit misleading. It’s about building an acoustic guitar from a Stew-Mac kit, and if you are a first-time scratch builder with no kit experience, it will leave you in the dark in so many ways that you will be helpless. The kit comes complete with bent and contoured sides, joined plates, shaped braces, a 90% (or more) shaped neck, a slotted and radiused fingerboard, and a top routed for rosette rings. No mention is made of how to complete any of the pre-performed tasks, and that’s a lot of stuff to leave out. If they had only added the word kit to the end of the title, I wouldn’t have a complaint in the world about this video. You can’t knock people for not doing what they didn’t set out to do.

The focus of this tape is on building a satisfying kit guitar with the fewest specialized tools and the least confusion. A portable drill and a laminate trimmer are just about the only power tools used. A few cam clamps and a bunch of large spool clamps are the only hand tools used that aren’t likely to be found in any home tool kit. A few shop tips are included — trade secrets, as Dan Erlewine would call them — but other than that, there is no extraneous information included. If you don’t need to know it, it isn’t there. It’s not a matter of holding back information, but a matter of preventing a clutter of information from causing confusion. I enjoy trivia, but this isn’t the place for it.

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.