This is my personal library listing of instrument building (and general woodworking) resources, books, DVDs and articles. There are many books about many kinds of instrument construction and maintenance listed here, mostly in English, but some in Russian or German.

Instrument Books

Acquired of the Angels: The Lives and Works of Master Guitar Makers John D’Angelico and James L. D’Aquisto by Paul William Schmidt

The Art of Inlay: Design & Technique for Fine Woodworking by Larry Robinson

The Art of Making a Harpsichord by Darryl Martin (quite expensive, but beautiful!)

Balalaika Works of the Masters – Балалаечных Дел Мастер, А. С. Пересада (in Russian only – although I’m working on an English translation – Russian Version available here) – about Simeon Nalimov, the Stradivarius of Balalaika Makers in the late 19th/early 20th Century – A short treatise, extremely rare, almost impossible to find, but I managed to get a PDF copy. I believe there are only 2 copies of the actual book in the U.S.!

The Big Red Book of American Lutherie:

Volume 1 1985-1987
Volume 2 1988-1990
Volume 3 1991-1993
Volume 4 1994-1996
Volume 5 1997-1999
Volume 6 2000-2002
Volume 7 2003-2005

“Building a Balalaika” by William Prince (Member of the Fretted Instrument Guild, and of the International Classic Guitar Association) was originally published in Woodworker (magazine) in Britain in 1960. It complements the Flynn book (below) nicely, and has better pictures and drawings.

Building the Balalaika by Jim Flynn

Classical Guitar Making by John Bogdanovich

Clavierbuchlein der Anna Magdalena Bach, Wiener Urtext Edition UT 50150

Constructing a 5-String Banjo: A Complete Technical Guide by Roger Siminoff

Das Berliner “Bach-Cembalo” Ein Mythos und seine Folgen by Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (in German)

The Equal-Beating Temperaments by Owen Jorgensen

Fret Work Step By Step – Stewart MacDonald Shopguide Series

A Guide to the Harpsichord by Ann Bond – 2003

Guitar – An American Life by Tim Brookes

Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step 2nd Edition – Stewart MacDonald

A Guitarmaker’s Canvas: The Inlay Art of Grit Laskin

Guitar Making Tradition and Technology by William Cumpiano

Hana Lima ‘Ia ‘Ukulele Construction Manual

Harpsichord design and construction by Evan J. Kern

Harpsichord in America: A Twentieth-Century Revival by by Larry Palmer – 1993

Harpsichord manual: A historical and technical discussion by Hanns Neupert

The Harpsichord Manual – An Introduction To The Technic, Ornamentation and Performance Practices Paperback, by Margery Halford

Harpsichord Method: Based on Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century Sources Paperback – 1977 by Maria Boxall

The Harpsichord Owner’s Guide: A Manual for Buyers and Owners by Edward L. Kottick

The Harpsichord Project E-Book by Ernest Miller

Harpsichord Regulating and Repairing by Frank Hubbard

Harpsichord Tuning (Course Outline) by g. c. klop

The Historical Harpsichord: A Monograph Series in Honor of Frank Hubbard, Vol. 1 – 1984 by Howard Schott, Diane Hubbard, William Dowd

Historical Harpsichord, Vol. 4: Harpsichord Decoration and the Yale Taskin – A Monograph Series in Honor of Frank Hubbard by Sheridan Germann, Richard Rephann – 2002

Historical Lute Construction by Robert Lundberg

L’Art De Toucher Le Clavecin – The Art of Playing the Harpsichord by Francois Couperin, Margery Halford (Editor, Translator), (French and English Edition), 1974

The Luthier’s Handbook by Roger H. Siminoff

Make Your Own Electric Guitar & Bass by Dennis Waring & David Raymond

Making a Spinet by Traditional Methods by John Barnes, 2015

Making an Archtop Guitar by Robert Benedetto (book & video)

The Mandolin Manual: The Art, Craft and Science of the Mandolin and Mandola by John Troughton

Manufacture and repair of stringed musical instruments, by N. A. Komarov and S. N. Fedyunin [In Russian: Изготовление и ремонт щипковых музыкальных инструментов, Автор: Н.А.Комаров, С.Н.Федюнин] – The section on balalaika construction and repair has now been translated into English by Boston Balalaika Workshop and is being offered here as a service to the worldwide English-speaking balalaika community for download as “The Construction and Repair of Balalaikas“. Or the original Russian text is also available as a PDF (a bit easier to read than the scanned link above).

The Modern Harpsichord – 20th Century Instruments and Their Makers by Wolfgang Zuckerman

The Moskvichka Concert Balalaika Plan, adapted in an original drawing by J. H. Flynn from a plan by M. A. Kupfer (USSR) and drawn by John Morgan, is available from the Guild of American Luthiers as Plan #25. There is a scaled-down version of this plan printed in the Big Red Book #2 or in American Lutherie #17. This drawing is from the original article “A Word About the Balalaika” (“Слово о балалайке” in Russian) that originally appeared in an issue of Nauka i Zhizn (Наука и Жизнь), 1968, No. 8

Pearl Inlay: An Instruction Manual For Inlaying Abalone And Mother-of-Pearl by James E. Patterson

Playing the Harpsichord by Howard Schott – 2002

Ruckers: A Harpsichord and Virginal Building Tradition by Grant O’Brien

Selected Harpsichord Music by Francois Couperin le Grand, Edited and annotated by Sylvia Marlowe, 1970

Shamisen of Japan, the definitive guide to the Tsugaru Shamisen by Kyle Abbott

Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making by Frank Hubbard

The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual by Roger Siminoff

Violin Making: A Guide for the Amateur by Bruce Ossman

A Word about the Balalaika (“Слово о балалайке” in Russian) – a great article from one of the most important builders of the 20th Century.

Woodworking Books and Magazines:

By Hand & Eye – George Walker and Jim Tolpin
Mouldings in Practice – Matthew Bickford
The Anarchist’s Design Book – Christopher Schwarz
The Anarchist’s Tool Chest – Christopher Schwarz
The Essential Woodworker – Robert Wearing
The Joiner and Cabinetmaker

Woodworking DVDs:

Fine Woodworking

Turning Wood – Richard Raffan

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks DVDs

Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design – George Walker
Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design: Moldings – George Walker
Moldings in Practice with Matthew Bickford
Making Traditional Side Escapement Planes with Larry Williams
Sharpening Profiled Hand Tools with Larry Williams

Lost Art Press

The Anarchist’s Tool Chest
Workbenches – from Design & Theory to Construction & Use
The Joiner and Cabinet Maker (DVD)

Popular Woodworking

A Traditional Tool Chest in Two Days – Chris Schwarz
Build an 18th Century Workbench – Chris Schwarz
Handplane Basics: A Better Way to use Bench Planes – Chris Schwarz
Make a Traditional English Tool Chest – Chris Schwarz
Mastering Hand Tools – Chris Schwarz
SketchUp For Woodworkers Part 1 and Part 2 – Robert Lang
Super-Tune A Handplane – Chris Schwarz


Basics of European Woodcarving with Nora Hall
Essential Woodworking Techniques – Woodworkers Guild of America
Japanese Hand Tools & Joinery – Jay van Arsdale
Mastering Dovetails with Lonnie Bird
The Woodworker’s Edge: Massachusetts High Chest of Drawers
Choosing, Refurbishing & Using Moulding Planes with Bill Anderson
Choosing, Refurbishing, & Using Joinery Handplanes with Bill Anderson
Classic Planemaking Volume 1 – Hollows and Rounds with Tod Herrli
Making a Custom Ogee Moulding Plane with Tod Herrli


Popular Woodworking Magazine 1995-2015 DVD
Woodworking Magazine 2004-2009 DVD – Issues 1-16
Woodwork 1989-2014 DVD
American Woodworker 1985-2014
Mortise and Tenon Magazine – a most beautiful magazine!

Flute and Tin Whistle

The Flute Library I have is mostly about playing.

3 Responses to Library

  1. Pottsvillain says:

    Man that is a great list. I have a few of those. The Benedetto book on making an archtop guitar is good if that interests you.

  2. Pingback: Transposer and Music Desk | Confessions of an Amateur Luthier

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.