This site can go in different directions for folks interested in various bowed and fretted instruments, maintenance and repair.

Not to mention music and other such things.

For example:

My work with bowed instruments


Some of my thoughts on bowed instrument care

My  work with plectrum and other instruments

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 more than you cared to know about the provenance of spruce, particularly the celebrated and somewhat mythical German 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 (someone thought this was really important)

Fretted related:

Here's more than you cared to know about the provenance of spruce, particularly the celebrated and somewhat mythical German spruce.

Saddle angle, intonation and compensation in steelstring guitars.

About cutting nuts

And the files I use to do that with

A chart the main available fretwires in the US

Scales, bridge placement, and so on and so forth.

Tuner maintenance - reviving old ones and new ones too

About certain Gotoh mandolin gears

About problematic Gotoh guitar gears

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

Gibson bridges with the dreadful adjustable saddles. 
Here's a piece on replacing the bridge with a better one.

How to finesse bridgepins

How cam clamps on old Gibson pickguards are supposed to work

On fitting and adjusting two-piece mandolin (and archtop guitar) bridges

How I fixed a Favilla uke that didn't play in tune one bit

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

A bit about plywood in acoustic instruments.

On neck straightening with heat (which is a method I don't endorse except in rare instances)

About some resophonic mandolins I made some years back

What is grain runout, you ask?

This leads to Michael Simmons's excellent piece on the twelve-string guitar

The SCGC Model H

This link (click on the photo) leads to a cluster of pages about one of my favorite guitars.

Selmer guitars

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

My main man in Paris is François Charle. He has a marvelous operation going there called (you guessed it) 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!

Some semi-connected and possibly useful remnants of the expired Dupont site:
       discussion of details  | details about rosettes  | about tops and bracing

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 summer 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

Fun Stuff

The smallest guitar in the world, the nano-guitar! And an update, too.

Would Steve Martin miss the chance to take great advantage of
      a two page spread in People Magazine? I sure don't think so. 

A one-man band photo (from Detroit) I found

From George Gruhn's site, a piece on a rosewood Gibson Nick Lucas  with a Brazilian rosewood top (honest).

Insane Brazilian rosewood in an old guitar.

All about picks (picky2picky3)

Fender made a whole Strat covered in clownbarf. It's so beautiful.

Found on eBay, of course: a weird Asian banjo. Pay close attention to the frets!


Party of Seven
is an uncommon and a very episodic band. I am proudly one-seventh of it. Read about it here, please, and here too: seven #2.

Tony Flores

Tony Flores, my friend and playing partner for many years, passed away on the 12th of September 2004, less than a month shy of his 90th birthday party.

China with the Blue Mountain Ramblers:


Lots of load time because of lots of pictures. Worth it. 

My account              Jody Stecher's account


Here again is a link to that list of local (Santa Cruz and SF Bay Area)
       live music events I keep for folks. If you want to receive periodic notices
       about updates, just send me an email. 

Drop me a line or something: click here

This page © 2001-2012  Paul Hostetter. All rights reserved.