Membership


The Guild of American Luthiers is an educational membership organization for luthiers and anyone interested in the art, craft, and science of stringed musical instrument building, repair, and restoration. The main benefit of membership is our acclaimed journal, American Lutherie.

We invite you become a member! It’s the best way to support the Guild and benefit from our information sharing system. Membership is open to everyone. Please read on for details on dues, benefits, gift memberships, and more.

Annual membership dues are $65 in the USA, $78 in Canada, $85 everywhere else.

New publishing schedule for 2024
Membership benefits for 2024 include:

- Three issues of our print journal, American Lutherie: Spring and Summer regular issues, plus an extra-large Fall/Winter issue.
- Digital access to 2024 issues of American Lutherie starting with our Spring issue.*
- Member-only access to our rapidly-growing archive of Articles Online, including periodic releases of large collections of great articles from earlier journals.
- Discounts on GAL publications: Books, plans, and back issues of American Lutherie.
- Supporting and sustaining the Guild’s mission and activities.
(*Overseas members can opt for a digital-only membership. See more info below.)

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Guild Membership

$65.00$170.00

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Additional information

Your Location

United States, Canada, Outside U.S. and Canada

Membership Years

2024, 2024 Digital Only, 2024 + 2025, 2024 + 2025 Digital Only

MORE ON MEMBERSHIP
Membership dues are paid on a calendar-year basis (i.e., 2023, 2024, and so on). When you join for a given year, you’ll receive all the issues printed (published) for that year, and have access to our Articles Online for that year, no matter what time of year you join. All annual memberships end on December 31.
Membership dues are $65/year in the U.S. and $78 in Canada. Overseas members (outside the USA and Canada) can have their 2024 print issues mailed as usual ($85/year) or opt to receive their current issues digital only ($65). More info on overseas membership below.

The 2024 issues of American Lutherie will be published in the Spring (March), Summer (July), and Fall/Winter (November). New additions to our Articles Online will be released at various times during the year. Watch your email inbox for announcements of new releases.

The Guild is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational membership organization that has led the way since 1972 to create a community of craftspeople who want to share their knowledge, experience, and inspiration about lutherie with their fellow members in order to advance the lutherie craft. As you can see from our catalog of GAL books, back issues, plans, and Articles Online, the Guild’s mission to share lutherie knowledge is an idea that has been working to educate and inspire luthiers for over five decades. We encourage you to join the Guild of American Luthiers and participate in our long and successful information-sharing experiment.

GIFT MEMBERSHIPS
Guild Membership makes a great gift!
You can purchase gift membership(s) or other items on our website by selecting the membership year(s) and any other items you want to purchase and proceeding to checkout. IMPORTANT: Put YOUR name and address in the “Billing details” and the RECIPIENT’S name and address in the “Ship to a different address” section. In the “Order notes” mention that it is a gift, and PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR RECIPIENT’S EMAIL ADDRESS . The website will automatically give the purchaser access to our Articles Online, so you can forward that info to your recipient, or we can create an new online login account in their name (or update their existing one) if we have their email address. If you’ve given a gift in the past, the site may ask you to login first.

PRINT A GIFT GREETING CARD: You can print this gift card to announce your gift to your recipient. (Print on an 8.5" × 11" sheet and fold in quarters.)

GAL MEMBERSHIP GRANTS
We will announce later in the year if we will be continuing the Membership Grant program for 2024 membership. Watch this page or contact us if you’d like to apply for a grant for reduced-price membership. Grants are limited to those who can’t otherwise afford to join or renew their membership.

DONATE TO OUR GAL MEMBERSHIP GRANT PROGRAM
If you’d like to help us give more GAL memberships to more luthiers, donate to our GAL Membership Grant Program.

OVERSEAS MEMBERSHIP
Due to the high cost of postage and the unreliability of mail delivery, we are offering a digital-only membership to members outside the USA and Canada for 2024. Overseas members can still receive the print version of American Lutherie (with increased postage fees) or they can opt for a digital-only version at the regular (USA) membership rate. Contact us if you have questions about this new membership offering.

American Lutherie

Our respected quarterly journal American Lutherie focuses on all aspects of the art, craft, and science of stringed instrument making and repair, and it reflects the varied interests of our diverse membership. Rich in quality content, friendly in tone, and abundantly illustrated with full-color photos, each 76-page issue contains interviews, adventures, research, opinion, reviews, and how-to information, all of specific interest to the maker and repairer of stringed musical instruments.

Sharing lutherie information is what the Guild is all about, and American Lutherie is our primary vehicle for accomplishing that goal. Articles come from two sources: those produced by the GAL staff in collaboration with our members (such as presentations from our conventions, and interviews with instrument makers), and voluntary submissions by Guild members themselves. Our volunteer authors are motivated by a desire to benefit others with what they have learned, and to support the give-and-take system employed by the Guild.

In American Lutherie, we strive to publish methods, opinions, and explanations that are backed by experience. GAL members find the techniques, practices, and materials of other builders to be of value in their own workshops, whether in their own specific fields or not. This wide outlook and open attitude is basic to the success of the Guild. It seems to be working. Never has the worldwide lutherie scene been stronger, deeper, more productive, or more highly regarded. The Guild and its members are proud to continue to be a part of the ongoing advancement of the luthier’s craft.

What started as a small newsletter in 1972, grew and developed into our full-sized journal American Lutherie in 1985, and went to full-color printing in 2011. Beginning in 2000, we collected three years of American Lutherie at a time into large hardcover volumes called the Big Red Books of American Lutherie, as the back issues went out of print. We published seven Big Red Books, covering eighty-four issues of American Lutherie magazine.

Four issues of American Lutherie are the main benefit of annual GAL membership. Want to get the current issues of American Lutherie? Become a GAL member today! Members receive three regular issues (spring, summer, and winter) and a double American Lutherie anthology issue in the fall.

Current Issues

The Guild is Great!

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Jay Lichty, Tryon, North Carolina

"Let’s face it. when you become a luthier, you become one of us. This is a family. OK, a family of nuts, but still family. We are a different breed who share our passion and our tricks. The best place to come and benefit from your new family is the Guild of American Luthiers. And talk about quality and bang for the buck: Hands down, the best, most consistent publication of our craft in the world is American Lutherie, which by itself is worth the price of membership. And what a great organization to support. I am proud to be a member and look forward to the next Convention, which is a family reunion of sorts."

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Dana Bourgeois, Brunswick, ME

"Back in the mid ’70s, when I first started building guitars, information on the topic of lutherie was not so easy to come by.  At that time a few good books were available, but guitar-building wannabes like myself had to make do without such luxuries as guitar schools, local luthier communities, apprenticeships, and the internet. There was a GAL, however, whose publications and conventions quickly became my lifeline to a universe of information. In the interim a lot has changed. Information is now widely available from so many sources that one can spend a lifetime digesting it all. Of all the sources out there, though, GAL is still the deepest, widest, and the one I find most rewarding. If I had to start over again I’d get myself a membership to the Guild of American Luthiers, a workbench, and a Stew-Mac catalogue, in precisely that order."

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Stephen Marchione, Houston, Texas

"The GAL is the ultimate worldwide resource for lutherie information; from design to tool skills and technique. The fraternity of the GAL is the bedrock of the institution which has invaluably contributed to the modern stringed instrument as we know it and the success of many prominent members."

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R.E. Bruné, Evanston, IL

"After over 40 years of lutherie, I still have a lot to learn, and the GAL is THE source of information, a veritable living encyclopedia of lutherie that eclipses the endeavors of any individual luthier. From the magazine and plans to the conventions, you can't get this information anywhere else, for any price. Why anyone who has even modicum of interest in lutherie is not a member is beyond my comprehension."

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Fred Carlson, Santa Cruz, California

“Why join the GAL? Besides the obvious reason of all the knowledge to be shared, I think that for the art to move forward and for us as individual luthiers and humans to evolve, we need each other; we need to be part of a larger community. Having access to knowledge and experience is priceless, but having access to people is the thing. So much that is worthwhile about life comes from human contact. Many of my best friends I've met through the GAL. Many jobs and opportunities have come to me because fellow luthiers have come to know and respect my work enough to send clients, suppliers, and others in my direction. I'm convinced that my long-time membership and participation in the GAL has been one of the most important factors in achieving the level of success and enjoyment I've gotten from being a crazy, self-employed luthier/artist. Join the GAL; it may be the single best thing you can do for yourself as an aspiring or practicing luthier.”

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Jeff Elliott, Portland, Oregon

“When I was introduced to the Guild in 1975 it was a fledgling organization with a grand vision. I joined because I believed in that vision: by sharing our collective lutherie experiences we would increase everyone's understanding and raise our own level of craft faster and more fully than any one of us might achieve by working alone. Each of us has something to share and something to learn. Together we're extraordinary. For over 30 years I have witnessed this ideal become an ongoing reality for thousands of luthiers, musicians, and aficionados the world over, and am proud to feel a part of it. Together with the unanticipated but equally satisfying benefit of lifelong friendships and professional camaraderie, my life has been immeasurably enriched. Thank you GAL.”

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Harry Fleishman, Sebastopol, California

“I recommend, with only a hint of threat, that my students join the GAL immediately. I tell them that not only will they learn a lot and support a good group, but also they will have access to some of the best luthiers in the world. The Guild has been instrumental in fostering the idea that we learn together and grow together. Yes, there are too many luthiers; yes, the competition is getting fiercer by the day. But more luthiers has raised the bar for all of us and moved us from emulating the 19th century to creating the 21st. Joining GAL isn't enough, however. I encourage new members, especially younger members, to contribute. This gets fresh ideas into the lutherie community and also helps younger builders get known. Everybody wins.”