The Responsive Guitar

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By Ervin Somogyi
A major new 2-volume work on acoustic guitar theory, design and construction from master luthier Ervin Somogyi.

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The Responsive Guitar

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The Responsive Guitar

Ervin Somogyi discusses acoustic guitar theory, design and construction.

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By Ervin Somogyi
A major new 2-volume work on acoustic guitar theory, design and construction from master luthier Ervin Somogyi.

Acoustic guitar theory, design, and construction.
A comprehensive look into the design and construction of the steel-string acoustic and classical guitar, from a master luthier, teacher and guitar theoretician. Book One, The Responsive Guitar, explores the current and historical "why" of guitarmaking: soundbox dynamics and voicing, bracing theory, the mechanics of sustain, projection and playability, and more. In Book Two, Making The Responsive Guitar, Ervin Somogyi applies these principles to the "how" of guitarmaking: the entire process from first to last steps. These books are Somogyi's masterwork, formidable classics of guitarmaking literature to be treasured by serious students of the craft.

342 and 282 pages, hardcover. 2-volume set supplied in a handsome protective slipcase.

"I expect these books to become the textbooks for guitarmakers for the next generation." —Dick Boak, C.F. Martin & Co.

Contents in brief:

Book One, The Responsive Guitar
Handmade vs. factory-made guitars
Wood as a material
Dynamics of the guitar
Functions and selection of bracing and bracing systems
Basics of guitar design
Physics of the neck
Functions of the guitar back
Problems of intonation
The guitar bridge
A rational approach to voicing the soundbox
Dynamic importance of the soundhole
Amplifyiing and recording acoustic guitars
Aesthetics and ornamentation
Guitar cutaways
Domes vs. flat face construction
Joinery and the neck/body joint
Action, setup and playability
Mechanisms of sustain and projection
Long-term changes in tone
A common vocabulary for sound
The flamenco guitar
342 pages, hardcover.

Book Two, Making The Responsive Guitar
Tools, sharpening and tool usage
Molds, jigs and workboards
Wood treatment and storage
Glues and adhesives
Constructing the soundboard and back
Making the neck, heel and head
Making the sides, blocks and linings
Body assembly
Bindings, purflings and channels
Cutaway joinery
Neck alignment and attachment
Proper treatment of the fretboard and frets
Making, placing and setting up the bridge
Action, setup, playability and intonation
French polish finishing
Fixing mistakes
Evaluating your guitar
Marketing your work
282 pages, hardcover

Ervin Somogyi is a renowned California guitarmaker and lutherie instructor whose instruments are prized for their extraordinary voicing and astounding craftsmanship. His approach and philosophy of lutherie are the result of over 40 years of acoustic guitarmaking.

Ratings & Reviews

The Responsive Guitar

  • Based on 6 Reviews
Write a review

Awesome set of books

By Michael J from Mason, OH 
(Customer's Reviews) Saturday, June 21, 2014

This is an incredible set of books. Extensive information and insights from one of the master Luthier's of our time. I play guitar for personal satisfaction and enjoyment. I purchased this book set to gain insight into what makes some acoustic guitars sound better than others and to understand how a master craftsman goes about designing and building the finer versions of this instrument. I am enjoying reading and studying both books in this set. Since I currently do minor repairs and adjustments on my own guitars and have woodworking experience, these books are inspiring me to consider building one for myself.

Great stuff

By Leonhard Augenstein from Germany
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, February 15, 2013

I enjoy every page of the books and learn quite interesting detail work! Well spent money!

maybe the best guitar building book ever

By Ciro Marzio from Napoli - Italy
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, November 12, 2012

After almost 30 years of guitar building I was surprised to find a book with so many interesting insights to urge me to rethink and change quite e few significant details in my designs. Thanks Ervin!


By Tomm Stanley from Christchurch, New Zealand
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, August 24, 2012

More information on guitars, wood and anything to do with the craft of lutherie than I'd have expected to find in a library shelf, much less just two books. I couldn't put either down and find myself regularly re-reading, sometimes just for enjoyment, and learning every time.

finally there

By Hugo Valcke stringed instruments from Belgium
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, February 17, 2011

If you are just fooling around with instruments, don't buy this, too complex, too much information you don't want to know or worry about. However, if you serious about he craft : definitely a must and finally available.

How come so many good guitars nowadays: because of sharing information. How come still so many bad guitars : not enough reading, not enough study !!

Thank you Ervin.

A master class from a legendary luthier...

By Josh from Westminster, CO
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, December 06, 2010

I purchased both these books and the accompanying DVD, and am pleased to say that it has been worth every penny.

The books go in-depth into the reasons why guitars are constructed as they are, including illustrations to drive home these concepts in a clear and concise way. Mr. Somogyi possesses a skilled way with words, so the read is very entertaining as well as informative.

While I am only midway through the first volume, I can say without a doubt that these books are important for any aspiring luthier.

Shown on page 91 of our latest catalog.