Archtop-related Books

December 9, 2007

Nicolai Foss


Sideman – The Autobiography of Billy Bauer as told to Thea Luba I haven’t read this one.

Peter Broadbent: Charlie Christian: Solo Flight — the Seminal Electric Guitarist. The definitive (meaning very well-researched book on Charlie). (Don’t mind the silly reviewer comments on Amazon).

Sharony Andrews Green: Grant Green: Rediscovering the Forgotten Genius of Jazz Guitar. Generally OK, but too much in the “neglected-black-genius-made-drug-addict-by-society” vein. Includes an excellent annotated discography.

Jazz guitar history, interviews, etc.:

Charles Alexander: Masters of Jazz Guitar. Excellent. But with perhaps too much emphasis on the last two-three decades and inclusion of players that aren’t jazz guitarists at all (e.g., Steve Vai).

Charles Chapman: Interviews With the Jazz Greats. A strange book. Should have been titled: Interviews with Guitarists who Play 7-String, Benedetto-built Archtops.

Jazz Guitarists — Collected Interviews From Guitar Player Magazine. Lots of classic interviews with the greats.

Norman Mongan: History of the Guitar in Jazz. Nice and comprehensive history. Some transcriptions.

Maurice Summerfield: The Jazz Guitar. Going back almost 30 years to its first edition, this is the classic biography-oriented treatment of the history of jazz guitar playing.

Guitars and Luthiers:

Jim Fisch and L.B. Fred: Epiphone: The House of Stathopoulo. A classic. Unsurpassed. Buy it. But beware: You will lust for an Emperor or Deluxe.

Adrian Ingram: The Gibson L5 — It’s History and It’s Players.

Adrian Ingram: The Gibson ES175 — It’s History and It’s Players. Both Ingram books are very detailed and with beautiful illustrations.

Thomas A. Van Hoose: The Gibson Super 400 – Art of the Fine Guitar. I haven’t read this one.

Robert Benedetto: Making an Archtop Guitar. Here is the blurb: “The definitive work on the design and construction of an acoustic archtop guitar by one of the most respected luthiers of the twentieth century. It iincludes a list of suppliers to acquire all the tools and materials listed and fold-out templates for construction.”

Paul William Schmidt: Acquired of the Angels: The Lives and Works of Master Guitar Makers John D’Angelico and James L. D’Aquisto. A fine book, but could have been much longer. Not definitive.

Ken Vose: Blue Guitar. The docu of the Scott Chinery blue guitar project. I haven’t seen/read this one.


4 Responses to “Archtop-related Books”

  1. Thomas Says:

    Sideman – The Autobiography of Billy Bauer as told to Thea Luba

    This is a fantastic book! Many great stories. I had the opportunity to purchase this directly from Billy, who autographed mine before mailing it. He passed away a few years later.

  2. Thomas Says:

    Martin Taylor Biography:

    Kiss and Tell: Autobiography of a travelling musician By Martin Taylor with David Mead

    A fantastic book with great stories – many involving Stéphane Grappelli

  3. Jeffn Says:

    Good point on ‘Acquired..” At least my teacher Ray is on page 12 (or 13?) with John checking out a top for one of his NYers.

  4. Hi Nicolai. This is an excelent page and I would like to add that there is a very large range of guitar books out there with lots of interesting reading. However, we don’t see a lot of these books because they come and go before we get a chance to buy them. Some years ago I got frustrated trying to buy illustrated guitar books so I went on a mission to collect them. Then, when I realised how many I had collected I then created a site on line to offers some of them for sale and share my findings. The site is known as Now, I am not an expert on guitar books nor am I a big reader but I do have a big collection and would like to pass on to your readers some of the most interesting, popular and most saught after books of the last two decades. They are:
    The Chinery Collection, The Tsumura
    Collection. The Steve Howe Collection. The Blue Guitar. Acoustic guitars and other fretted Instruments. The History of the American Guitar and The Ultimate Guitar.
    The most recent published books that come to mind that might interest the Archtop lovers are: The Incyclopedia of the acoustic Guitar by Dave Hunter. The Illustrated Directory of the Guitar by Nick Freeth and hand made Hand Played, just to name a few. Any one out there that knows any guitar books that are worth collecting, I would appreciate your suggestions. Thank you. Richard.

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