Acoustic Guitar Tool Cost
During the past five years that I have been teaching guitarmaking to students, I hear the same question from almost every student that comes to my shop. “What equipment do I need to buy to make acoustic guitars?”, they ask.
I have always tried to explain that that is not an easy question to answer. Guitars can be made with most anything depending on your individual skill level. I once watched a video of a Mexican guitarmaker make a complete instrument with a knife! Now that is taking the art to its’ most primitive method! On the other hand, most factories, and many individual makers now utilize computer controlled machinery (CNC) to make most all of the individual parts of the guitar. Those are the extremes at either end of the spectrum. Most individual builders are somewhere in the middle, and their tools are usually an indication of their woodworking experience level and what has worked for them over the years.
Of course, most hobbyists and individual luthiers cannot afford CNC equipment. But they do not want to make the guitar with only a knife either. And, since they are beginners, most have little or no woodworking experience to rely upon. So my response has always been to say you are learning to make guitars in the methods I use. Therefore, look around my shop and decide what you need and what you don’t. I never felt like that was a very satisfying answer and I sensed that it wasn’t to the students either.
As a result, over the last couple of months, I have tried to take stock of what you really need in order to have a well equipped shop that would allow you to make, consistently, good acoustic instruments. You probably do not need all of the tools on the list right away but your woodworking life will be a whole lot easier with all of it. If you cannot afford the tools all at once, think about getting a few at a time. If you stay in this endeavor long, it will be no time until your shop is complete! You can find that list along with approximate costs, here.
I am sure there will be some tools I have overlooked. I am sure there are some builders who will take issue with my selections. But at least there is now something out there to give some guidance to all the "new" guitarmakers. I hope it is helpful to you!