Notes from an Amateur Luthier. . .
I build guitars. Not professionally , but as ahobby. (When I was teachinghigh school English, I didn't really have time to build during the school year, so I built one instrument each summer. However, now that I'm retired --- since 2012 --- I can build whenever I want!)
I started out easy, in 1987, by building a few small musical instrument kits, such as a dulcimer, a small harp, an autoharp, and a mountain banjo. After discovering that it wasn't as hard as I had envisioned it would be, I finally took the plunge and purchased a Martin D41 dreadnought guitar kit. By my standards today, that first guitar in 1994 was pretty dreadful in its appearance, but its sound was fantastic! And it didn't fall apart or anything. So, I was hooked. Since then, I've built thirteen guitars (and a few other instruments), four for actual paying customers! It is, indeed, an addictive hobby. The main reason I want to keep building them is that I know, with each one, my skills improve.
|I built my first four guitars from kits. If you're just beginning,this isn't a bad way to get into this hobby! To read more about buildingfrom kits, or for links to other helpful sites, click the links below:|
(This is an old listing, describing some helpful tools I had when I first started in this hobby.)
(much more complete than the "Basic" one above)
|You don't need a huge shop or fancy tools tomake guitars for fun. My former house (I moved in December 1998) was a tinytwo-bedroom home with no garage and no basement. I made my guitars in aspare bedroom and a utility room. (My new house has a little room dedicatedsolely to guitarmaking!) If you'd like to see where I make my guitars andsome of the tools and jigs I use, click on the links below:|
June 2008: Check out this video of my guitarmaking room!!!
And, for an account (originally posted on Facebook) of the actual PROCESS of renovating my workroom, with detailed descriptions, click HERE.
(This is an old page, way back from when I started my website. For a more current listing of jigs, go here.)
|When I was building my fourth guitar, a D41rosewood dreadnought, in 1995, I decided to keep a log on the process. I used a databaseprogram to log in and out, each time I began some task on the guitar, andthe program automatically calculated the time spent. The total hours I endedup actually working directly on that guitar (minus waiting times) was around168 hours. Since then, I have learned a lot, gained new tools, and changedmany of my building techniques, but the log should still give a generalidea of what I went through as a beginner. If you are interested in readingabout the general process of building a guitar --- through the experienceof an amateur builder --- mistakes and all --- then click on the link below:|
|Martin "Size 5" Guitar....I alsobuilt three "parlor-size" guitars, modeled after the Martin "Size5" guitar, which has a 21.3" scale. In the course of buildingmy second one (my third one is pictured on the GuitarPhotos page), I corresponded with a few Internet friends on the progressof the guitar. If you would like to view a copy of that record of the buildingof the tiny Size 5 guitar, click here:|
Here you will find detailed, day-by-day accounts of my projects:
NEW for Summer 2015 ----- Guitarmaking Room Remodel!!!
NEW for Summer 2004 ----- my New Old Shed!!!
Here you will find photos of . . . .
* my new (well, new to me since 1998!) house (includingmy current workspaces)
* the "Shed Shop" shed I had built in Summer 2003, to house my power tools
* my wonderful pets (seen below --- they wanted to say "Hi!")
Some Sad News: Emily, R.I.P.
September 22nd, 2012 .....The church I attend asked me to bring some of my latest instruments to its second "Acoustic Café". Here's a video.
My 2009 Size 5 Guitar in Action!!!!
In December of 2012, my church's former worship leader, David Toledo, returned to his homeland of Guatemala, and, as a going-away gift, I gave him this Size 5 guitar. Just last week, he posted this little video of himself singing and playing my (his now!) guitar:
Feel free to email me (Kathy Matsushita) if you haveany questions or comments:
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