Classical Guitar Making
A modern approach to traditional design
by John S. Bogdanovich

225 x 285mm

Published by Sterling Publishing, NY USA


ISBN 1-4027-2060-2

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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 132

Makers of musical instruments face a unique challenge - their finished products must not only satisfy structural and aesthetic criteria, they must also satisfy musical criteria. No matter how good an instrument looks, it is virtually useless if it does not play well. Achieving the necessary balance between appearance, durability and performance is not easy.

As John Bogdanovich explains in the first chapter of this book: The single thing that makes guitar making more of an art than a science is that no part of the instrument is mutually exclusive - there are no isolated components. Everything is connected to everything else, and a small change in any one spot can have immeasurable effects elsewhere by virtue of the mere fact that the guitar is a coupled system... Therefore, most of what has been learned about what makes a good-sounding instrument has been acquired by trial and error.

This statement makes a compelling argument for the student of guitar making to learn from the experience of others. It also means that the student should be even more careful than usual to ensure that the sources of information used are not only comprehensive and well presented, but are also provided by people of with the required qualifications and experience.

John Bogdanovich clearly has a rare combination of skills that allows him to speak with confidence on every aspect of the guitar from basic design though construction to tuning and playing.

Bogdanovich first played the guitar at age 12, majored in music at College while studying the classical guitar privately with New York's foremost teacher, the late Julio Prol. He then taught and performed music for three years while apprenticed to a cabinetmaking workshop, later returning to College to receive a degree in Electrical Engineering. He undertook research and development with AT&T Bell Laboratories, gained a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering, then started a business designing and building furniture before studying for two years at James Krenov's College of the Redwoods.

J.S. Bogdanovich Guitars was established in 1996 and many of the world’s finest and most famous guitarists now use his guitars.

Classical Guitar Making draws together the author's knowledge and experience in all of the fields in which he has worked - music, cabinetmaking, research and engineering. It contains plans, drawings and more than 500 photos which illustrate a carefully written, step-by-step description of the construction of a classical guitar. It offers, says the author, an opportunity for building skills and the ultimate reward of hearing music played on a guitar that you created.

About the Author: John S. Bogdanovich is a luthier/guitarist who builds mostly concert classical guitars. Bogdanovich brings a unique combination of skills to his craft having been a performer, a furniture maker and a hardware design engineer. He has lectured in the United States and holds guitar-making classes in his shop three times a year. Bogdanovich guitars are used by performers and players around the world. Typically there is a waiting list of a year and a half for one of his instruments. Bogdanovich lives in Asheville, NC USA.

Photos: Colour

Units of Measurement: Imperial


Foreword by James Krenov
Foreword by Jeffrey Van

Part One - Preparation

Chapter 1 - The Guitar
- Anatomy of the Guitar
- Sound
- Choosing to Build or Buy

Chapter 2 - The Wood
- Types of Wood
- Moisture Content
- Cuts, Grain and Selection

Chapter 3 - The Shop
- What You Will Need in Your Shop
- Jigs You Will Need to Make
- Hand Tools
- Vises and Clamps
- Bench Tools to Make
- Specialty Items
- Humidity Control

Chapter 4 - Templater and Molds
- The Plantilla
- A Transparent Template
- Side Mold
- Lining Mold
- The Solera
- Headpiece Template and Drilling Jig
- Back Workboard

Chapter 5 - Layout and Planning
- Choosing the Color and Design Scheme
- Materials and Parts
- Plans and Layout

Part Two - Construction

Chapter 6 - The Neck
- The Neck Blank
- The Headpiece
- The Heel

Chapter 7 - The Sides
- Bending and Laminating the Sides
- Linings
- Assembling the Neck and Sides

Chapter 8 - The Details
- Bindings, Purflings, Back and Butt Strips
- The Wheel Motif

Chapter 9 - The Top
- Selecting a Top
- Jointing and Thicknessing
- The Rosette
- Bracing and Patches

Chapter 10 - The Back
- Jointing and Thicknessing
- Bracing

Chapter 11 - Assembling the Body
- Before Gluing on the Top
- Gluing the Top
- Preparing to Glue on the Back
- Bindings and Purflings
- Heel Cap and Butt Strip

Chapter 12 - The Fingerboard
- Making and Installing the Fingerboard
- Before Fretting
- Fretting
- Shaping the Neck

Part Three - Final Touches

Chapter 13 - Finishing
- Understanding Finish
- Final Touches and Prepping for Finishing
- French Polishing
- Lacquering

Chapter 14 - The Bridge
- Bridge Design
- Building the Bridge
- Installing the Bridge

Chapter 15 - The Setup
- The Nut, Saddle and Tuning Machines
- Strings and Final Setup
- Care of Your Guitar

The Gallery
Metric Equivalents