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First Tmer-Need Advice
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Author:  Talley [ Sun Dec 25, 2016 8:28 pm ]
Post subject:  First Tmer-Need Advice

I am ready to get started and learn a little about Luthier. Question for all of you experienced guys... Should I start with a kit build just to learn a little from doing it or just try and build one myself and get my nose bloodied?

Author:  John J [ Sun Dec 25, 2016 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Tmer-Need Advice

From a mildly experienced builder I'll throw in my vote to start with a kit. My first two were kits from KMG that I believe provided me with a rock solid foundation from which I've progressed to scratch building. I had very little woodworking experience and even now I am amazed at how much I've learned in two years. Maybe if you are an experienced woodworker you can jump in right from scratch.

Author:  dpetrzelka [ Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: First Tmer-Need Advice

I'll second the recommendation to start with a kit. I too started with a KMG Kit ( ) - it's a great foundation. Ken also has some of the most thorough instructions that not only lay out what you need to do, but what the objective is at each step - something some kits are short on.

Author:  MikeWaz [ Mon Dec 26, 2016 12:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Tmer-Need Advice

I too recommend staring with the KMG kit.

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Author:  Talley [ Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Tmer-Need Advice

Thanks everybody for chiming in. You all confirmed what I was thinking. KMG seems to be the consensus kit so I am ordering now!

Author:  dpetrzelka [ Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Tmer-Need Advice

If you have any inclination to build more than one, the KMG Mega Mold is the way to go - it has been an incredibly useful tool in my shop. Specifically find it useful for creating side profile templates on new builds.

Author:  Freeman [ Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Tmer-Need Advice

I would approach this a little differently (altho I did start with kits too).

Buy Cumpiano's book - you will want it in your library anyway. As you read it, ask yourself if you have the tools, wood working experience, patience, to do each of the operations - thicknessing the plates, bending the sides, shaping the neck and bridge...

Then download the free instruction for a StewMac kit (very typical of whats available) and read thru it. ... tions.html

With a kit the operations that require special tools or that you can really screw up are done for you, but you still get to learn how everything works together (and you'll get a chance to still screw things up). My first home made guitar was a kit and it is still my daily player (its now 11 years old). I built a couple more kits where I purposely ordered them less prepared (LMI calls this "unserviced kits") as I got more confident. I've added tools (and abilities) and am now scratch building basically whatever I want. But I still pick up my old 000 and marvel about the long and interesting road.

Author:  Ruby50 [ Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: First Tmer-Need Advice

I am on # 7. First two were complete kit's, then I slowly made things more complicated with wide purfling, bound fretboards, sunbursts, and I took over jobs like bending, gluing plates, and I just finished my first neck, complete with a Martin volute. So #7 is completely scratch built.

Bill Cory has 2 books on building kits - the better one (IMHO) is the one on building Martin style kits - and they will do a good job of getting you through your first one without a large investment in books. The books are good for kits from KMG, Stew Mac, Blues Creek,etc.

Here is his website and if you can download both books pretty cheaply and just print out what you need at the bench


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