Flattop Guitars


Flattop Guitars: An American Lutherie Anthology


Flattop Guitars is the first in our new series of American Lutherie Anthology books. It’s a soft cover, 100-page book with articles selected from the 2006-2010 issues of American Lutherie. Unlike the original issues of AL, this book is printed in full color.

SKU: N/A Category:

Additional information

Choose Membership Status


Understanding Neck Rake

by John Calkin

The exact angle of the neck relative to the top of a flattop guitar is crucially important to its playability, feel, and sound. Calkin shows how they get it right at Huss & Dalton.

A Rare Glimpse Inside an Early Martin Guitar

by Rob Hoffman

Here’s a close look inside a Martin guitar that appears to be 160 years old.

Low-Tech Prototyping Jigs and Methods

from his 2006 GAL Convention lecture by Tim Shaw

Tim Shaw used to make prototypes, custom instruments, and artist models for Gibson. Nowadays, he does basically the same thing in his role as Principal Engineer at Fender. He spoke at the 2006 GAL Convention about quickly setting up low-tech tooling for flattop guitar prototypes.

Meet The Maker: Mike Doolin

by Jonathon Peterson

Mike Doolin’s innovative and distinctive double-cutaway steel string guitars have made a real impression in the lutherie universe. Mike does all kinds of interesting stuff, like using a house as a super-duty go-bar deck to form an arched maple-laminate guitar top, or anodizing aluminum parts with a battery charger. Read all about his life and work here.

Modern Approaches to Adjustable Neck Joints

from their 2004 GAL Convention presentation by Mike Doolin and Harry Fleishmann

Mike Doolin and Harry Fleishman give us the rundown on their two different solutions to the problem of making a removable and adjustable neck joint for an acoustic steel string guitar. In typical GAL style, the ingenious workings are laid out in step-by-step detail.

Dana Hears, Voices: Optimizing Steel String Soundboard Response

from his 2008 GAL Convention lecture by Dana Bourgeois

Dana’s job is making the final adjustments to thousands of fine guitars to bring out the best sound that he can. Here he goes into considerable depth about how he thinks through the complex process.

The Chanlynn Deflection Machine

by John Calkin

At Huss & Dalton, they don’t measure the tap tones of the soundboards they make. But they do measure the deflection of each and every one. For this purpose they use a professionally machined jig to support the top and apply a constant weight to given point, then measure the deflection at that point.

Gibson Used Three Different 24 3/4" Scale Lengths

by Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie with Tim Shaw

See how those little tick marks don't line up with the frets? That’s because Gibson has used three different 24.75" scales over the last several decades. It can be a problem. Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie researched the matter in detail.

Gibson L-00 Flattop Guitar, Circa 1937

by Kerry Char

Vintage steel string expert Kerry Char presents a detailed plan of a 1937 Gibson L-00, GAL Instrument Plan #55.

Recreating the Vintage Martin Peghead Joint

by John Greven and Charles Freeborn

That little diamond-shaped thing on the back of a Martin peghead is a vestige of what was once a piece of functional joinery. Most of us knew that. But you may still be surprised to see how that joint really works, and the woodworking required to make it.

Meet the Maker: Kathy Wingert

by Cyndy Burton

Although Kathy Wingert was a guitarist, she didn't approach guitar making until her kids were grown. Her systematic and committed approach has spelled artistic and business success.

Rapid Prototypes of the Flattop Guitar

by R.M. Mottola

Would you believe that you could slap together a quadrangular guitar with a screwed-on back and a Formica top, and actually learn something about what a spruce-topped, curvaceous guitar of that size would sound like? R.M. Mottola says that you can, and that it is an efficient and effective R+D technique.

Taylor Today

by Mark French

Bob Taylor has a way of revolutionizing the guitar manufacturing business, and then be the first one to move another step beyond his own boundaries. We take a look at a few of his tricks.

Build Variation in a Group of Acoustic Guitars

by Mark French and Kendall Brubaker

It’s “hammer time” at Taylor Guitars! Physicist Mark French takes his computerized setup to El Cajon to analyze the variation between guitars made of various woods. So they get it all mounted in the special way-scientific gizmo, and then... whack it with a hammer. No kidding.

Meet The Maker: Ben Patron

by Roger Alan Skipper

Ben Patron has lots of great lutherie ideas, and he’s not afraid to try them. He makes very useful guitars out of gold pans, chicken ranch roofs, and sheets of stainless steel. He also makes reproductions of guitars by D’Angelico, Torres, and Panormo. It’s a wonderful lutherie world out there in Cool, California.

A Mid-19th-Century Martin Guitar

by Jeff Liverman

When Jeff Liverman saw photos of a rare old Martin guitar in American Lutherie #91 (see article above by Rob Hoffman), he reached into his files and pulled out a full-scale drawing he had made of a very similar instrument ten years earlier. We are pleased to offer it as GAL Instrument Plan #57.

Brace Voicing Through the Access Panel

from his 2006 GAL Convention workshop by Harry Fleishman

Mark Swanson brought his brand-new guitar to the 2006 GAL Convention, and offered to let Harry Fleishman get inside it and cut up the braces as a demonstration of voicing. Everybody ended up happy.