Larry Stamm, Luthier

Stringed Instruments and Tonewoods

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Classical Guitars

Steel String Guitars

Irish Bouzoukis



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Instrument Building

Although I've built more classical guitars than any other type of instrument, I enjoy building all kinds of wooden instruments. Many luthiers feel that they must concentrate in one area to achieve the highest level of competence, but I've come to believe the experience of building different types of instruments has taught me more about the acoustics of stringed instruments than I would have gotten through specialization. This knowledge is then applicable to all the instruments I build.

Steel String Guitars Instruments are built one at a time, or in small batches of 2 to 4, entirely by myself. I utilize some power tools, but most of the work is done with planes, chisels, and rasps and files. The finish is usually french polished shellac, although I also use TruOil oil varnish and water based finishes too. I no longer use nitrocellulose based finishes, both for reasons of personal health and finish quality.

I build with the traditional woods, such as spruces, cedars, maples, mahoganies, and rosewoods, but I also enjoy utilizing alternative tonewoods. Some of my favourites are Douglas Fir and Western White Pine for soundboards, and Paper Birch, Walnut, Pau Ferro, and Bubinga for the backs and sides. Acoustically, these alternatives are quite acceptable, and it in some cases superior to the traditional woods.

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Last modified: Mon Dec 27 07:13:22 PST 2004