Just recently finished Leonardo Lospennato's book Electric Guitar & Bass Design
A very nicely organized presentation about the design decisions and compromises behind the world's most popular instrument family. This isn't a how-to book so much as it is a why
-to book. Definitely worth reading if you build or work on guitars or bass guitars. Leonard Lospennato
is a custom instrument builder, so this book isn't an academic or 'serious hobbyist' presentation like some guitar building books are. Much of what's in here finds it's way into his well-regarded line of $3K (and up) instruments.
Players can benefit from reading it as well since it explains what the critical factors to guitar tone and construction are (and debunks several long-standing myths along the way) thereby making you a more informed player and future buyer. Good book! Available directly from the author's website
or Amazon. (Note: there are also bootleg PDFs of the book up on RapidShare and other file "sharing" sites. Please don't get your copy that way.)
The other book I'm currently working on is A Guide to Advanced Cigar Box Guitar Making
by Joshua Gayou. This is 179 pages of detailed information and tips on how to build a "cigar box" instrument. I put "cigar box" in quotes because cigar box, in this context, is more an esthetic
and an approach
to guitar making rather than a 100% accurate description of the components used to build one.
Josh walks you through the construction of a less common "precision" 6-string electric quasi-solid body CBG. (Most CBGs have 3 or 4 strings and are hollow or semi-hollow.) So much of the material in his book applies to standard solid body guitars as well.
If you're going to build a simple stick-through-a-box guitar, you don't need to invest a lot
of time in design. You're not exactly making a precision instrument, so it's pretty safe to
figure things out as you go.
Once you start adding details like scale, frets, standard bridges, and 100 other features,
you'll want to start planning things out on paper first before you take a saw blade to any
wood. Especially when you get to a point that you're using more expensive woods,
you'll want to plan everything out on paper first as mistakes become costly.
One of the challenges we face when we make what I would describe as a precision
cigar box guitar (accurate scale length, frets, string spacing, etc) is that we are
constrained by the size of the box we are using. Conventional guitar makers have a lot
more freedom than we do because they get to design the shape and size of their guitar
body around the features that they want the guitar to have. Cigar box guitar makers
have to design their guitar around the box to ensure that everything will fit correctly.
Available as a free (legal!) PDF download from here
This book and other CBG plans can be found on this page
over at the Cigar Box Nation website..
(Note: "cigar box guitar" is a catchall term for a huge variety of self-made instruments constructed of things like: tin cans, antique bed warmers and bedpans
, cigar boxes, canoe paddles, washtubs, wine cases, old bureau drawers, broomsticks, and 2X4s. The emphasis is on using found materials and having fun, while at the same time creating a good sounding and playable instrument.)OT Alert!!!:
below has nothing to do with books. Feel free to ignore.
Just as an aside...to give you some idea of what to expect when cruising with the cigar box crowd, here's the well known UK pro-CBG builder 'Chickenbone John' doing a pitch for his 6-string CBGs - which are very similar to the guitar Josh is describing in his book.
Chickenbone John (who looks like he's just back from a gig) gives us a slightly inebriated presentation of two new guitars - one made from a cigar box, and the other out of an oil can. Plus, as a bonus, he puts in a few words for Chickenbone John's Miracle Tonic Remedy
which is equally suitable for 'medicinal' sipping, cleaning guitar strings, or boosting the mileage in you gas tank.