DVD Review: Making a Concert Classical Guitar, with John S. Bogdanovich
Making a Concert Classical Guitar with John S. Bogdanovich
10 DVD Set
For anyone who hasn’t tried, building a guitar, steel-stringed or classical, is a complicated, challenging deal and not something you approach casually. Essentially a delicate little box, a guitar has to be built to withstand the stresses of string tension, seasonal changes in humidity, age, and the players themselves. Unless you never take it out of the case, a guitar should look as good as the fanciest piece of furniture you can imagine making. And most important, it should play easily and sound good.
There have been a stack of books written about the process of making guitars. Some are better than others, but even the best only manage to address the major points of guitar construction. Like I said, it’s a complicated business, and there’s only so much space in a book.
Video, on the other hand, is a medium better suited to convey the array of techniques, jigs, esoteric facts, figures and the prerequisite obsessive attention to detail that’s required to assemble one of these babies. Bogdanovich’s DVD “Making a Concert Classical Guitar” runs with the idea and stretches out for a full 10-disc session. And it succeeds, as far as I can tell. I imagined setting a laptop up in my shop and just following along as he works. A master class in a box, if you will. And as near as I can tell, the personal approach is the way to go. Every luthier who I’ve met or read about has their own style and reasons why they work the way they do, so watching someone work and talk at the same time gets a lot of information across that a book might not be able to convey.
Bogdanovich builds his instruments in the traditional Spanish style, mostly, but he concentrates on the task at hand and doesn’t get into the traditions themselves. (That would be another 10-volume set.) He demonstrates both hand and power tools for some of the same processes, and so addresses both experienced woodworkers and those just starting out.
If you want a good look at how one experienced builder practices his craft, this series is a good place to start. Best of all, the set includes the plans and templates for both the guitar and the necessary jigs you’ll need. Like swimming, you’ll never get it until you jump in, and that’s where the real fun starts. But at nearly fifteen hour run-time, this box o’ movies will certainly get you on the diving board and then some.