Gathering Supplies and Wood

Before buying wood and tools, it's a good idea to spend a little time designing the guitar. If you have access to any sort of AutoCAD software, it can be extremely helpful in working out critical dimensions and trying out different curves.

I chose to build an OM sized guitar (approximately) with a tighter waist, using Amazon Rosewood for the back and sides, and AAA Englemann Spruce for the soundboard. Since I want to build a guitar for fingerstyle playing, the smaller body and livelier soundboard wood should pair well with the rich tones of the rosewood (at least that's what I hope..) I haven't decided yet, but I'll probably use curly maple for bindings and use rosewood for the bridge, headplate, fingerboard, etc.

Cumpiano's book basically spells out all of the necessary tools and rough wood dimensions needed to get going (although you don't need all of the tools he recommends, and many can be bought later in the process to spread the cost). Here are some great links for the harder to find tools:

Allied Lutheirie

Here's a pic of the Amazon Rosewood back and side sets I purchase from Allied Lutherie for around $200.

Sure, you could get a typical (boring) set of East Indian Rosewood for about $75, but EVERY production rosewood guitar is made with it, and since you'll eventually spend months crafting the guitar, it's worth the marginal splurge to get something exotic. I was advised to stick to straight grained, well quartered side wood--(essentially avoid anything curly or figured) for my first guitar due to difficulties that would arise when bending the sides (it turned out to be sage advise).

Another lesson I learned quickly--BUY QUALITY TOOLS

Without semi-decent tools, you might as well not even bother. The first "guitar making" tool I bought was a #4 Smoothing Plane, and I tried to save a couple bucks by purchasing a cheap one, which resulted in a near annihilation of my soundboard! In the end I threw the tool away and got a better one. You don't have to spend huge sums of money on good tools, just don't buy the cheapest one. When in doubt, Stanley planes seem to be a good match between price and quality.