Synopses & Reviews
It whispers, it sings, it rocks, and it howls. It expresses the voice of the folkand#151;the open road, freedom, protest and rebellion, youth and love. It is the acoustic guitar. And over the last five decades it has become a quintessential American icon. Because this musical instrument is significant to so manyand#151;in ways that are emotional, cultural, and economicand#151;guitar making has experienced a renaissance in North America, both as a popular hobby and, for some, a way of life.
Inand#160;Guitar Makers, Kathryn Marie Dudley introduces us to builders of artisanal guitars, their place in the art world, and the specialized knowledge theyand#8217;ve developed. Drawing on in-depth interviews with members of the lutherie community, she finds that guitar making is a social movement with political implications.and#160; Guitars are not simply madeand#151;they are born. and#160;Artisans listen to their wood, respond to its liveliness, and strive to endow each instrument with an unforgettable tone. Although professional luthiers work within a market society, Dudley observes that their overriding sentiment is passion and love of the craft. Guitar makers are not aiming for quick turnover or the low-cost reproduction of commodities but the creation of singular instruments with unique qualities, and face-to-face transactions between makers, buyers, and dealers are commonplace.
In an era when technological change has pushed skilled artisanship to the margins of the global economy, and in the midst of a capitalist system that places a premium on ever faster and more efficient modes of commerce, Dudley shows us how artisanal guitar makers have carved out a unique world that operates on alternative, more humane, and ecologically sustainable terms.
and#8220;Kathryn Dudley deftly reconstructs the social, moral and aesthetic worlds that a counter-cultural generation of North American luthiers has made in concert and in conflict with the volatile, and#8216;entrepreneurialand#8217; imperatives of a globalizing, neoliberal economy.and#160; Out of the many different artisanal voices in her studyand#8212;all of them eloquent in and for themselvesand#8212;Dudley teases out a haunting, antiphonal meditation on the meanings of embodied work, knowledge, and exchange in an increasingly virtualized and commodified world.and#160; In this, Guitar Makers is as masterfully crafted and richly resonant as the instruments themselves.and#8221;
and#8220;This book honors the decades of unremitting toil that a generation of self-discovered artists invested in bringing the and#8216;folkand#8217; guitar to its current pinnacle of sophistication.and#160; The barriers to this evolution have been formidable, beginning with the scorn of polite society and continuing up through todayand#8217;s baffling legislation that impedes the movement of millions of fine guitars across national borders.and#160; Now that the cultural and commercial ship has come in, can luthiers serve both Art and Mammon?and#160; That is the question that drives this groundbreaking anthropological analysis.and#8221;
and#8220;Guitar Makers attunes readers to the complex works and lives of American artisan guitar makers. In this finely honed ethnography, Dudley helps us hear how guitar makers seek to challenge capitalist mythmaking by pursuing work out of a sense of passion, even obsession, often at the expense of profit. Dudleyand#8217;s luthiers, consoled by the conviction that others might recognize in the quality of their products the values that make their labor worth pursuing, come alive in this engaging anthropology of commodities, class, and craft.and#8221;
and#8220;Guitar Makersand#160;is a terrific book. Dudley has investigated the world of North American guitar making, orand#160;lutherie, the long hard way, the way of intense participation and observation, deep involvement in the world she studied, and in general following the old anthropological wisdom of seeing for yourself and asking about everything you donand#8217;t understand.and#8221;
"A richly informative contribution to our knowledge of the predicaments and challenges of artisanship in this relentlessly high-tech and commercially unforgiving age, Dudleyand#8217;s beautifully written study of modern American guitar-makers explores the intersection of the sensual, the affective, and the practical in their lives and works.and#160; Dudley tells a story that weaves together stories of coping with harsh economic realities, of intense explorations in personal self-realization, and of the often trial-and-error acquisition entailed in what she astutely takes to be the craft epistemology of a demanding and specialized but often undervalued and risk-fraught profession.and#160; She thereby offers us an incisive account--historical, ethnographic, personal, and analytical in kaleidoscopic rotation--of the vicissitudes of value and the mystique of mastery."
and#8220;Guitar Makers is a must read for anyone working in the field of guitar building. . . . Born out of the spirit of the late '60s, with more than a tinge of hippie idealism, the roots of American modern lutherie are far from the European model, grown out of the medieval guild system, with its mistrust, secrecy of methods and territorial angst.and#8221;
andldquo;An energetically researched and intellectually penetrating ethnography of artisan guitar makers. . . . Guitar Makers is an important book.andrdquo;
andldquo;Worthy. . . . This is not only a book for guitarists, luthiers and collectors, providing as it does a cogent overview of the economics and practicalities involved.andrdquo;
andldquo;Dudley exposes a fascinating story of the North American guitar builders. . . . If you love the guitar and want to know more about the story of the American luthiers, buy and read this book.andrdquo;
andldquo;If you love artisanal acoustics and archtop guitars, youandrsquo;ll find this book fascinating.andrdquo;
andldquo;A fascinating look at the lives and the stories that members of the lutherie community tell about ourselves and how the current andlsquo;golden age of lutherieandrsquo; came about. . . . Besides a historically accurate look at the rise of American lutherie since about 1960, the book provides an in-depth look at what motivates independent builders, how success develops, and the obstacles that each builder must overcome.andrdquo;
For thirty-five years, bestselling author and accomplished musician Jonathan Kellerman has been, as he puts it in his Introduction to this lavishly illustrated, endlessly fascinating volume, “chasing fabulous sound.” The result of that quest is a world-class collection of guitars, mandolins, and other stringed instruments that number more than 120 . . . and counting.
Kellerman takes us on a fascinating guided tour through his collection, complete with rich personal histories of his favorite instruments and of the brilliant, often eccentric craftsmen and musicians who brought them to life. It is a record of one mans lifelong love affair with the guitar . . . and it is much, much more.
Whether writing about household names such as Fender, Gibson, Martin, and Dobro or about marques revered by aficionados-DAngelico, Hauser, Stromberg, and Torres-Kellerman brings to bear the same sure storytelling instincts and keen attention to detail that characterize his bestselling fiction, making each entry a sparkling mini-essay as much to be savored as the sensual photographs that follow.
Your fingers wont be walking through With Strings Attached. Theyll be strumming. Picking. Stroking.
In this sumptuously illustrated coffee table book, "New York Times" bestselling author Kellerman shares photos and stories of his incredible, world-renowned collection of rare guitars. Rich with personal account of how he acquired the treasures, the text anecdotally documents Kellerman's love affair with the guitar.
About the Author
Jonathan Kellerman is one of the worlds most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to more than two dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butchers Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, and Twisted. With his wife, the novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored the bestsellers Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. He is the author of numerous essays, short stories, scientific articles, two childrens books, and three volumes of psychology, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California and New Mexico. Their four children include the novelist Jesse Kellerman.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Geppettoand#8217;s Dream
1 Crossroads of Knowledge
2 Stories of Making
3 Politics of Authenticity
4 Scenes of Instruction
5 Guitar He roes
6 Ghosts of Empire
Conclusion: Pinocchioand#8217;s Body