Amateurs, autodidacts and the first decade of classical guitar-making in Britain

I have had an article accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society (JAMIS), which will be out later this year. Below is the abstract and brief profiles of some of the people I discuss.

“This article explores the first decade of classical guitar-making in Britain (1948 – 1957) and discusses the efforts of amateurs and autodidacts in the recovery, codification and instruction of craft knowledge and skills. The research for this article draws on two sources of primary data: guitar magazines and the first three attempts in the English language to codify the practical knowledge of classical guitar-making into instructional texts. I begin by identifying the instrument in its historical context. Next, I present biographical summaries of key advocates and outline the work of the first luthiers. I then discuss the Do-It-Yourself texts and argue that classical guitar-making at that time gradually gained cultural legitimacy through the efforts of autodidacts who established the requisite knowledge and skills that were later adopted and validated by educational institutions.” 

2 thoughts on “Amateurs, autodidacts and the first decade of classical guitar-making in Britain”

  1. Thanks for that. It was an enjoyable read and the pics. Would like to see some pics of their work shops. As an amateur luthier it’s always fun and interesting to see these fellows tools, jigs, and such. Thanks again, Mitch Buchanan

    1. Thanks, Mitch. You can see more by reading the sources I used in my research.

      For the Hoing articles in Woodworker, I have written something here: https://josswinn.org/2018/12/21/diy-classical-guitar-making/

      For the Hofmeester article and plan, see here: https://josswinn.org/2019/02/01/hofmeister-plan-of-torres-fe-26-guitar/

      For the Eric V Ridge articles, you can download issues 33-38 here: https://www.digitalguitararchive.com/2019/11/guitar-news/

      For the Sharpe/Roccia book, you can find it here: https://laguitarraclasica.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/28882132-make-your-own-spanish-guitar-1957.pdf

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