Journal Introduction

The journal entries on this website are from a six month period in 2017/18, when I visited Roy Courtnall for one day a week to learn how to make a classical guitar. Initially, I took my camera so as to document the process for myself, thinking that an image would often act as a better reminder of what I had learned than written notes; after all, Roy had already written a well-regarded book I could refer to for guidance, too.

Within the first couple of weeks, we both realised that documenting the process in this way might be of interest to other people like me who wanted to make a guitar. It could also act as a way to show changes that Roy had made to his method over the years – most notably a move to building guitars with lattice-braced soundboards and laminated back and sides.

After my fourth visit to Roy’s workshop, I started posting updates each week on the Delcamp Classical Guitar Forum. Many luthiers first learned their craft using the book and I thought members of the forum would find it interesting. It was also a way for me to make a contribution to an online community that I was learning a lot from.

As I progressed, the weekly updates on the forum effectively became my workshop journal. We would take about 40-50 photographs each session and then I’d go home, select the most representative and describe what I had done that day, including anecdotes and details that I would otherwise forget. I wrote each post for other people to read but also in the knowledge that I could go back to it when building my next guitar.

After a few weeks of posting to the forum, we thought that a website more closely associated with his book could enable Roy to extend and update Making Master Guitars. The website would not replace the book, but introduce new ideas and methods to the reader. My journal entries could document the actual process of someone learning for the first time – often working on more than one part of the guitar on the same day – while other sections of the website could follow the structure of the book more closely, chapter by chapter. And so here it is.

We hope you find the website useful and welcome your comments. Thank you.

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