The Guitar Building course involves more of the traditional discussions of set up and execution of guitar making procedures and skills.

     The course also covers the practical aspects of setting up a home shop for guitar building. For example, when the wood shop is on the same ventilation system as the rest of your home there must be limitations on machines and procedures that create airborne dust and/or finishing chemicals... among other things.

     Not all of the topics and discussions covered in the course can be presented here this month. Below is a sample.

The Luthier's Shop

     In September Woody has been teaching at the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) of Chesterfield, VA.  LLI is a school for seniors (55+) who enjoy learning and socializing in a school setting. Everyone pays a flat annual fee (~$150) to attend and/or teach classes... as many as you like. No one gets paid to teach.  Consequently, those who teach are doing so because they're excited about the subject.  Student attendance is completely optional. There are no tests or homework.  Everyone in the classroom is there because they are interested in the subject. The Chesterfield LLI offers about 250 different classes every semester.

     I teach (that is, I present  information) regarding lutherie, or, more precisely, guitar building.  I also attend 4 or 5 classes each semester in various subjects that I find interesting.  It's fun and if your area does not have an LLI, I recommend looking into it. Google Lifelong Learning Institute (your state).


     Below are some photos and slides from the two lutherie classes presented by Woody Strings in September at LLI. 


LLI, September, 2018  

Tuning the Guitar Using Harmonics 

Shaping the Neck

     ​​Explanation: The total length of the string between the nut and the saddle includes the actual vibrating length (that produces the tone) and two short lengths at each end of the string that do not vibrate due to the string thickness (stiffness). These two short lengths are called ‘Dead Length’. Thicker Strings have longer Dead Lengths.

Side Bending

​Match harmonic tones to tune your guitar.

String Length Compensation 

Major Chord Frequencies (hz) 


LLI, September, 2018

     The course is a somewhat cursory overview of applied science in guitar building. The application of basic principles of math and science are discussed.  The teaching objective is to be informative as well as entertaining. For example, did you know that Stradivari, J.S. Bach and Isaac Newton all lived at the same time? 


     Topics covered in the Guitar Science class include the following. Not all of the topics will be presented here this month.

The Answer:

September, 2018

Science In Guitar Building


​     Major Chord Frequencies

     String Harmonics

​     Harmonic Tuning

​Home-shop Luthiery

     The Shop

​     Side Bending


​     Shaping the Neck 


Frequencies comprising the A-major chord 

     Tone frequency (hz) actually refers to the number of air pressure cycles per second created by the soundboard (or speaker).  Pulses of air (alternating compression and rarefaction) reach the human ear which interprets these variations in air pressure as sounds of a certain pitch.

     Musically, the frequencies (air pressure cycles) that comprise a major chord create a harmonically pleasing tone because each frequency in the chord has an integer multiple of nodes over the same period as the fundamental frequency of the chord. (see above)

Saturday 12:00 PM  (10/06/2018)

     That's a sampler of the courses and topics that Woody has been giving to some very interesting people. If you have any questions or would like an explanation of anything that you have seen here, Woody is always glad to hear.

     In October we will be getting back to building guitars. Make it a great month.