This site can go in different directions for folks interested in various aspects of bowed and fretted instruments, history, maintenance, repair and so on.

Not to mention music and other such things.

For example:

❖  My work with bowed instruments

❖   My  work with plectrum and other instruments


❖  Some of my thoughts on bowed instrument care

❖  How I learned, and a bit about my background

Repair techniques and tips I recommend that you visit, a marvelous and enormous site put together by my old friend Frank Ford, over in Palo Alto. Much of what I have here on my site is merely ancillary to what he has on his site.

Violin related:

Violin and bowed instrument care

A page about cutting nuts

And a page about the files I use to do that with

Here's a piece about spruce

Herewith, a couple of approaches to repairing broken scrolls and necks on bowed instruments, mainly basses and cellos.

This is banjo-specific, but it explains the general concept of afterlength

An historical review of important violinmakers

A bit about plywood in acoustic instruments

What is grain runout, you ask?

violin bridge wood grain orientation

Fretted instrument related:

Here's more than you cared to know about spruce

A chart with the main available fretwires in the US

Tuner maintenance - reviving old ones and new ones too

Saddle angle, intonation and compensation in steelstring guitars

Mandolin (and guitar) gear direction

About cutting nuts

And the files I use to do that with

On how the 14-fret guitar evolved from the 12-fret ancestors

Scales, bridge placement, and so on and so forth

About packing, shipping, and flying with guitars

About certain Gotoh mandolin gears

On replacing Gibson bridges with adjustable saddles

How to finesse bridgepins

How cam clamps on old Gibson pickguards are supposed to work

On fitting and adjusting mandolin and archtop guitar bridges

This is banjo-specific, but it explains the general concept of afterlength

A bit about laminated wood in acoustic instruments

On neck straightening with heat (with caveats!)

About some resophonic mandolins I made some years back

What is grain runout, you ask?

The SCGC Model H

This link leads to a cluster of pages about one of my favorite guitars.

Selmer guitars

Those marvelous Franco-Italian things that get used for Gypsy Swing and more.

For many years, my main man in Paris has been François Charle. He has a marvelous operation going there called R&F Charle, comprising a shop offering lutherie and restoration, a lot of very cool instruments, and an astonishing amount of information.

A link to, which I think is the best single place to get information about the burgeoning gypsy jazz scene, with forums, ads, reviews, you name it. 

A vanished site about possibly the most influential luthier of the 20th century, Luigi Mozzani.
                        shop, 1906, with cutaway guitars!

How-to stuff, cont'd

How to make your own flatpicks and the wonders of garish plastic picks


I often receive inquiries from folks wondering where they can learn guitarmaking, violinmaking and so on. When I began, there was virtually nothing available, so it was often a case of the blind leading the blind. Now we have an embarrassment of riches, in terms of books, videos, journals, luthier's guilds, schools, seminars and so forth. Probably the most significant advance in information is the internet.

Online Forums which really work:
  — hosted by Frank Ford 
Mandolin Café
— civilized and populated by a great many real experts 
The Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum — vast and sometimes messy, but civilized too 
Maestronet — for the violin crowd 

To participate, you will need to register for each of these, of course. These are really the only public ones I find useful.

Organizations you should know about

There are three luthier's organizations I belong to and heartily endorse. One is approximately west coast, a non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization, another is approximately east coast and touts itself as a "Professional Luthier Organization," though many people - professional and otherwise - belong to both. The third one focuses entirely on bowed instruments, and now encloses the Catgut Acoustical Society. Each has occasional conventions, and produces journals. 

   Guild of American Luthiers 

8222 South Park Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98408
Publication: American Lutherie
Association of
Stringed Instrument Artisans


Publication: Guitarmaker
The Violin Society of America

48 Academy Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Publication: Journal of the Violin Society

The GAL site has a great list of schools and resources for 
learning various aspects of lutherie here:

These are a few of my favorite luthiers, including some shops

Drop me a line or something: click here

This page © 2001-2018  Paul Hostetter. All rights reserved.