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Building the Steel String Acoustic Guitar - Online Annex

R.M. Mottola

Online Annex

There is always some amount of useful information that is subject to change frequently. Inclusion of such information in a printed book means that this information quickly becomes out of date. In this book all such information is put in an online annex that is referenced by the printed book. In this way the information can be kept up to date.

Note to commercial suppliers of lutherie tools, materials, services, and educational resources: Want to see your offerings listed here or change the blurb I have here for you? Contact me.

Errata (errors in the text of the book)

Known errors in the text of the book are listed here by edition and by page. If an error is found in the book please send me email and let me know about it so I can inform other readers by listing it here, and fix the error in a subsequent edition of the book.

First Edition

Page 22, column 2, line 3: The word "fretboard" should be changed to "headstock."

Page 27, Table 2-4, line 2: The value for Nut width should be changed to 13/64" (5.2mm). Note that there will be no problem if an instrument is built using the original value.

Page 62, column 1, step 3, line 8: The metric value of 0.126" is 3.2mm, not 6.4mm.

Page 388, column 1, line 20: "1/4" (6.4mm)" should be changed to "13/64" (5.2mm)." Note that there will be no problem if an instrument is built using the original value.

Page 453, table 23-1, line 2: The metric value of 0.110" is 2.8mm, not 0.28mm.

Plans and Templates

Much of the description of construction in the book involves two example instruments. Plans and templates for those example instruments are available for free download here. All plans and templates are in PDF format and are delivered automatically via email only, directly from this website.

Requesting Plan and Template Files

Before attempting to get any of the plans and templates, be sure that the domain is white listed in your email client, and be sure your email client is set up to allow messages containing PDF attachments to be sent. Requested plans and templates are automatically mailed immediately upon receipt of your request. If you do not receive plans or templates you requested, the problem is always (ALWAYS!) a configuration issue with your email server and/or email client. If you can't configure your email server and/or client so that you can receive messages with pdf attachments from this domain, please attempt to request plans and templates here using the email address of a friend or family member.

There is one plan for each of the example guitars. There is also one general template book and one neck fitting sanding board template book for each of the example guitars. Readers should request the plan and both of the template books for the example guitar they are interested in. Readers should also request the nut slotting template, which is the same for both example instruments.

Printing Plans and Templates

The instrument plans are color engineering drawings (blueprints) which must be printed out on Arch E (36 x 48 in, 914 x 1219 mm) or B0 size paper. Most people don't have a printer that can handle paper of this size. Various businesses provide printing services that can handle this. Most online office supply stores offer this service. Selected UPS and FedEx stores offer large format printing. There are specialty online blueprint printing companies as well.

The templates are all sized for standard ANSI Letter size (8.5 x 11 in, 215.9 x 279.4 mm) paper but will fit on A0 size paper as well, and can be printed on most computer printers. Instructions for printing are included in the book.

!!!IMPORTANT!!! All plans and templates MUST be printed without additional scaling! After printing, the size of the drawings must be checked to be sure they are correct. All plans and templates contain ruler scales on two edges. After printing, an accurate ruler must be used to measure these scales, to verify that the plans were properly printed. If your ruler measurements don't match BOTH the horizontal and the vertical ruler scale on a plan or template, then the printing of that plan or template failed in some way and the plan or template will NOT be accurate. If troubleshooting of the printing problem cannot be done, the best bet is to try a different printer.

Download Plans and Templates for the Tripletta OM Style Guitar

 Download Plan for Tripletta OM Style Guitar (PDF)

 Download Construction Templates for Tripletta OM Style Guitar (PDF)

 Download Neck Fitting Sanding Board Templates for Tripletta OM Style Guitar (PDF)

Download Plans and Templates for the Paura Dreadnought Style Guitar

 Download Plan for Paura Dreadnought Style Guitar (PDF)

 Download Construction Templates for Paura Dreadnought Style Guitar (PDF)

 Download Neck Fitting Sanding Board Templates for Paura Dreadnought Style Guitar (PDF)

Download Nut Slotting Template for Either Example Guitar

 Download Nut Slotting Template for Steel String Guitars (PDF)

Specific Tools

Information on specific tools referenced in the book can be found in this section. This is generally just a link to the website of the tool manufacturer.

Jasper M400 Pro Circle Cutting Router Baseplate

This tool is referenced in the description of cutting the rosette channels. It is manufactured by Jasper Tools. I have no idea if there are any similar tools which can be substituted. Instructions for installing and using this tool for guitar rosette channel cutting is available on this site here. That page also includes an online calculator that will calculate channel diameters when small diameter router bits are used. Additional information, including purchase information is available on the manufacturer's website.

Specific Finishing Materials

Unfortunately finishing products come and go at a rate fast enough that it really doesn't make sense to specifically mention them by name in a hardcopy book. This section specifies those finishing products which have been used successfully using the application descriptions described in the book.

Satin Oil Wiping Varnish

Two such products are known to have been successfully used when applied according to the application descriptions in the book. Note that these are both oil based finished, NOT water based finishes.

Minwax Wipe-On Poly, Satin (Oil Base) - From Minwax.

Liberon Finishing Oil - From Liberon.

Clear Waterborne Grain Filler

There are a number of waterborne grain fillers on the market. Unfortunately the range of working characteristics of these products is quite wide. The qualities which differentiate these products are generally the amount of time it takes them to set up, and the ease with which excess filler is sanded off. One product is known to have been successfully used when applied according to the application descriptions in the book.

Aqua Coat Clear Wood Grain Filler - From Aqua Coat.

Satin Brushed Waterborne Varnish

There are a large number of waterborne varnishes on the market. Unfortunately the range of working characteristics of these products is quite wide. The qualities which differentiate these products are generally how well they flow out, the tint of the cured finish, and the ease with which the finish can be wet sanded flat. One product is known to have been successfully used when applied according to the application descriptions in the book.

High Performance Satin Water Based Top Coat - From General Finishes.

Sources of Lutherie Tools and Supplies

I've attempted to list various sources of lutherie tools and supplies by the types of their offerings. Each supplier in the list will only be listed once, in the category that best describes what the supplier sells. Suppliers are listed alphabetically under each category. General lutherie suppliers tend to sell some of everything. There are wood dealers that only sell wood, tool dealers that only sell tools, and some suppliers that have even more specific offerings. The list is likely to expand over time.

General Lutherie Suppliers

Allen Guitars and Luthier Supplies. Supplies and parts.

Allparts. Tools, supplies and parts.

Bitterroot Guitars. Tools, supplies and parts.

Music Nomad. Surface Care, Setup and Fret Care Tools.

Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies. Tools, supplies and parts.

Lutherie Wood Dealers

Alaska Specialty Woods. Guitar tops - 100% salvage sourced old growth Sitka spruce, western red cedar, and Alaskan yellow cedar. 27 yrs. Family owned and operated.

Allied Lutherie. Guitar tops, backs and side sets, fretboards, and other lutherie wood. Custom machining and CNC work.

Gurian Instruments. Marquetry inlay strips, bindings and purflings, and other wood guitar parts.

RC Tonewoods. Guitar tops, backs and side sets, fretboards, and other lutherie wood. Custom machining.


Mark Blanchard. Luthier Mark Blanchard makes really, really nice stainless steel trussrods in standard and custom lengths.

Sources of Lutherie Services

Other than custom machining of wood pieces, which is usually provided by lutherie wood suppliers, the most commonly used lutherie services are custom CNC, guitar finishing, and inlay work. Lutherie CNC services will mill all common wood guitar parts and also cut inlays for head plates, rosettes, and fretboards. Hard cut inlays are available from other service providers.

Lutherie CNC Services

Birkonium CNC. CNC services for guitar and industry.

Guitar Finishing

Eady Guitars. Guitar spray finishing.

Custom Decals

Guitar Decadence. Custom headstock decals made to your specs.

Advanced Guitar Building Information

Novice luthiers looking to advance their lutherie knowledge are fortunate these days that such a wide variety of information sources are available. The listings here are weighted toward those specifically for the steel string acoustic guitar.


In addition to books listed here, be sure to see my comprehensive list of recommended lutherie books.


French Polishing for Guitarmakers. A very detailed video on the subject of French Polishing by Ron Fernandez. This is one of original videos of this finishing technique and still one of the best.

In Person Instruction

American School of Lutherie. Charles Fox is one of the original teachers of the craft. ASL offers comprehensive lutherie instruction in Portland OR.

Sylvan Wells. Sylvan Wells of Baystate Guitars offers comprehensive one-on-one lutherie instruction in Omond Beach, FL.

Guitar Builder Organizations and Discussions

Guild of American Luthiers. The Guild of American Luthiers is a nonprofit educational membership organization whose purpose is to facilitate learning about lutherie: the art, craft, and science of stringed musical instrument building and repair. Since 1972, the Guild has been the foremost source of information for makers, repairers, and restorers of all kinds of string instruments.

Guild membership and publications are open to all. Whether you’ve been making instruments for years, or have just acquired the lutherie bug; whether you live in Brooklyn or Bangladesh; whether lutherie is your livelihood or your passion or both; you are invited to join the Guild and learn more about the many ways you can benefit from and contribute to its information sharing system!


• Latest American Lutherie article: "Book Review: The Caldersmith Papers", American Lutherie #148 Table of Contents

• Latest research article: "Quantifying Player-Induced Intonation Errors of the Steel String Acoustic Guitar"


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