Step-by-step Guitar Making (Anglais) Broché – 1 avril 2007
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regrets: la construction décrite se fait en montage "espagnol" et non en tenon-mortaise (sujet non abordé) traditionnelle pour les folks et il manque un peu de plans cotés dans le texte (obligation d'interpréter et de de relever les mesures d'après le plan 1:1)
Edit du 05/09/2013: la nouvelle version est complétée en particulier par le tenon-mortaise et comporte des ajouts sur le renversement du manche; donc ouvrage très recommandé...
Ce livre représente une excellente marche à suivre pour construire la guitare acoustique que l'on voit en couverture.
L'auteur donne plein de petits conseils très intéressants. Les photos en couleur sont très bien réalisées. On a aussi le droit à un plan complet de la guitare.
Enfin, il faut savoir qu'un plan taille réelle vaut en moyenne 15 euros, soit juste 1 euro de moins que ce livre.
Donc, très bon prix pour ce livre très bien réalisé.
Le plan du livre et le développé sont parfait.
Il le faut dans tous les ateliers.
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There seems to a movement of sorts in the U.K. for enthusiastic amateur builders to come up with highly personalized designs, ideosyncratic assembly techniques and then... publish. Doubtfire, Kinkead, and now Willis all fall into this category. Each offers us an instrument design quite unrelated to what's been considered "the norm" in North American steel-string building. Of the two, I'm more confident in the Kinkead design.
Never having played one of Mr. Wills instruments, I can't comment on it's tonal characteristics. I am confident however, that this is an UNDERBUILT guitar. A dozen years of building and repair gives me concern about the following:
-The assertion that 2mm is the "optimum final thickness... for spuce tops" is pretty much insane. Two millimeters is considered razor-thin for most nylon-string classical designs.
-Couple that thin top with the X-brace layout described and you have a recipe for collapse. The braces are heavily decoupled, and they are at lacking at least 25% of the mass found on typical factory guitars.
-The low-profile design of the heel is elegant, but structurally problematic.
-The Spanish heel design with integral neck and top block can work for steel strung instruments, but is highly irregular.
-The extreme back-set neck angle necessitates an auxillary wedge under the upper part of the fretboard. Why? This geometry results in 3/8" of saddle protruding above the hight of the bridge. Assuming one can find a commercially prepared bridge blank this tall, you've still got an awesome amount of forward torque on the top.
-The assertion that, "a suitable height is about 5/23in (4mm)on the sixth string" is again,-laughable. Any repair person presenting a customer with a lightly built instrument obviously designed for fingerpicking with that sort of setup would be out of business in short order.
If I'm reading the label afixed to the instrument correctly, this is Mr. Willis' 16th instrument. The text bio states that he started devoting his time to instrument building in 2003. This book is copyrighted 2006. I'd be interested to see what changes he's made to his design. (There are very few photos on his website, but quite a number of ads for this book).
In summary, if you want to build a guitar modelled on the Martin OM design as was stated in the introduction, purchase a Martin plan from one of the suppliers. It's a time-tested design, unlike Mr. Willis'. And if,(again like the introduction says), you think the idea that starting a business making musical instruments is an exciting possibility, do follow his advice and consult a qualified business adviser. Perhaps he or she will suggest taking photos of one of your first guitars and publishing a book so you too can be a master.
-In all seriousness though, please don't use a regular household fan to exhaust the lacquer fumes from your spray booth as pictured on p.23. A spark from the motor could cause an explosive fire that could end your luthiery career very quickly.
I can't figure who this book is written for. On the one hand it assumes you have no tools yet and don't know how to organize your own workspace. Thus these handy tip; a good way to get tools is to ask for them for Christmas, and, don't subject your family pet to noxious fumes.
On the other hand he uses very very advanced manual techniques and includes complex details that only an advanced craftsman could handle, with no overall benefit to the 'guality' of the guitar. Just funny embellishments (internally and externally) that appear to be nothing more than the author's personal preference.
The real danger with it is that a novice woodworker might think that this book will help them to build their first guitar. That person would be doomed to fail. Only the author's traditional hand tooled methods are described in short one-paragraph captions to the photos. The level of detail is very poor. And that assumes that you want the exact single design that is discussed. For that matter I find the steel string 'OM' style with integrated 'spanish/classical' neck is a bit peculiar to begin with. Alternatives and optional choices that a person might made even with this design are rarely mentioned. The opportunities to make critical flaws without knowing it would be staggering, and you would be well past the point of no return before you realized something wasn't quite right.
I am sure that the author builds fine guitars. I am an experienced woodworker with a very well equiped shop (hand and power tools), and I would never under any circumstances try to build a guitar as this book suggests. There are too many easier, safer, and more risk-free methods to choose from.
On a positive note, as a documentary on how guitars can be made (one method only) the book is ok. Certainly well put together, lots of clear photos printed on quality paper. That's about all.