I began building guitars on a trial basis in the early 1980’s, and continued as a hobby, making about one guitar per year for about twenty years. In 2006 I thought it would be interesting to write a blog about the process of building a classical guitar. This was somewhat unusual at the time, but now there are many other guitar builders who have taken up this idea and are regularly posting their progress on their websites and blogs.
I have written over 300 articles on my blog so far, and have received an award as one of the best classical guitar blogs in 2010 and 2011. The blog is not intended to be an advertisement for my guitars, but rather to provide some insight into how a classical guitar is made, some of the tools that are used by makers (including many homemade tools), and some of the philosophy behind my work. I hope you will be able to find something here that will interest you.
Welcome to How a Classical Guitar is Made. My name is Aaron Green. I am a luthier (a maker of stringed instruments) specializing in the construction of the classical guitar.
I have a passion for making guitars and am motivated by exploring and solving the many technical problems involved in this field. I also have an interest in the psychology behind art and craftsmanship, especially as it pertains to music. Creating an instrument that has the ability to produce beautiful music is a rewarding experience and one that I hope to share with you through my work.
This site is about the process of building classical guitars. How a classical guitar is made, the parts and materials used, and how to select woods for your own build. The topics include design, building, and finishing your instrument as well as some background on my classical guitar making philosophy. This blog is not so much about guitar maintenance, but more about the craft of guitar making. I hope you enjoy it.
If you are looking for more information on how to choose woods for your classical guitar, please see my book “The Secrets of Wood”. It covers the basics of the characteristics of tone woods and how they relate to each other in a classical (or steel string) guitar. If you are looking for more details on how to build a classical guitar, then check out “Build Your Own Classical Guitar”. It covers everything you need to know to make your own classical (or steel string) guitar from scratch with only basic woodworking tools. Check it out!
A classical guitar is a very delicate and complex musical instrument. In order to build it, a luthier must be skilled in many areas like woodworking, mathematics, acoustics, physics and art. It takes years of practice to become a master luthier and only the best ones will make the best guitars.
The classical guitar is made up of three parts: the headstock, the neck and the body. The headstock is where the strings are attached to the tuners which are used to tune the strings to their proper pitch. Neck is attached to body by means of a special screw called “truss rod” which keeps string tension from pulling neck outwards or bending it upwards due to string tension (this happens when there’s too much tension on string).
The body consists of two parts: front (or faceplate) and back (or backplate). Front part has soundholes cut into it so that sound can resonate through these holes; back part serves as reinforcement for front part so that it doesn’t flex under string pressure when playing chords at high volume levels (e.g., during performances).
For me, making a guitar is a personal journey. I first learned the craft from Peter Prier in the late 70’s. He was a very meticulous builder and he instilled in me an appreciation for all the little details that make a classical guitar sound great. When I made my first guitar for myself, I wanted to create something that would be as good as any other concert instrument out there. The only way to do this was to build it to the highest possible standards with no compromises.
When I started building professionally, I decided to continue building each instrument at this same level of quality. In short, every guitar is built as if it were being built for me, and that is why I can say with no reservations that these guitars will stand up against any other instrument out there.
The main reason that a guitar sounds great is because of how well it vibrates. This is determined by how stiff the top and back are relative to their weight, how evenly balanced the bracing is, how accurate the shape of the top and back are (and how constant), how resonant the wood is, and how stable everything is over time and in different environments. These are all things that can be controlled by the builder so that you can get whatever kind of sound you
I have always been interested in the interaction between the maker, the instrument, and the performer. The guitar is a very sensitive instrument that can easily be affected by changes in the environment and even by a player’s emotional state. This has always intrigued me: How does one build an instrument that has such variability? How does one design an instrument that is so responsive to touch? And how does one make an instrument that is so expressive?
In this blog, I will focus on my own experiences as a builder in this tradition. As I continue to learn and experiment with different techniques and materials, I will update this blog with details of my work and thoughts on the process. My hope is that it will give you some insight into my approach as a builder and performer, as well as inspire you to think about your own instruments in new ways.
Over the years I have experimented with different methods to glue in the guitar sides. I use a combination of hot hide glue and super glue, but I need to be careful that the gluing process does not introduce stresses into the sides by clamping too tightly or unevenly.
I like to put a piece of paper between the side and the guitar body, but this has its own problems. The paper can stick and get glued in as well as I may put too much glue on the sides or body which then leaks onto the paper and glues it.
I thought that if there was a way to mark where the glue went it would make it easier for me to visually see if any glue got where it did not belong, but I have yet to find something that worked well. So yesterday I tried using an ink stamp pad instead of using paper.
The result: It worked really well! It was easy to see where glue was and where it wasn’t. Also, when rubbing off the stamp pad color after removing the clamps, I could also feel if there were any spots with extra glue oozing out which could have been missed with only using my eyesight alone.