William Cumpiano's articles archive

An anthology of articles & transcriptions, both published and unpublished


The Modern Classical Guitar: No longer classical?

A short overview of current classical guitar scene—and how it has evolved—that appeared in Acoustic Guitar Magazine

The Romance of the Individually Handcrafted Guitar

An analysis of the hand-building scene in the United States (1995)

Wood's Appearance

Why is curly maple curly? Why is rosewood purple and mahogany red? What are birdseyes? Bear claws?

Book review: GUITARS—The Tsumura Collection

American musical treasures in Japan--and their eventual fate (1994)

Book review: THINGS ABOUT THE GUITAR—by José Ramírez III
What preoccupies a great guitarmaker (1995)
How Good is this Guitar?
Evaluate a guitar as a luthier would (1995)
Strings: A History

From lion and sheep-gut to Laser-selected trebles; and how your old, worn out strings are rather like the strings made hundreds of years ago. (Frets Magazine, 1979)

Caribbean Memories
Stringed instruments of the Caribbean: their history & traditions (Acoustic Guitar Magazine, 1995)
Notes on Torres' cardboard guitar
A search for the truth behind the apocryphal 19th century cardboard/papier mache guitar made by the father of the modern classical guitar (unpublished).
The Stringed Instruments of Latin America
An overview of the panorama of plucked instruments of Latin America
(Guitarmaker Magazine, 2005, in PDF format)
Classical neck blank machining
My method of laying up the classic guitar neckblank and then slotting and partially shaping the integral heel/headblock entirely on a table saw.
A pedagog's lament
After thirty years of teaching, thoughts on a beginner's impatience.
A theorboed lute is restored in our shop
A partially collapsed renaissance lute that had been "theorboed" was restored by Harry Becker in our shop. See a step-by-step photo sequence.