Gear News

Boutique Acoustics: 180 Years of Handbuilt American Guitars

Discerning guitarists know that solo luthiers and small workshops are currently building some of the finest acoustic guitars ever made. Boutique Acoustics tells the story of how America’s crop of talented luthiers came to create guitars that rival the legendary instruments of the 1930s an 1940s from builders like Martin, Gibson, and the Larson brothers, as well as a number of more obscure guitar makers who all have played a key part in the evolution of the instrument.

Boutique Acoustics starts in 1833 with C.F. Martin, Sr., the first known luthier in America, and the classical guitars he learned to build in Vienna under the tutelage of Johann Stauffer. From there, the book follows the story of how a gut-strung Austrian classical guitar developed into the modern steel-string flattop guitar with the help of Spanish luthiers, Hawaiian steel guitarists and Italian mandolin players.

Boutique Acoustics also explains how unusual 19th century inventions like the harp guitar and the 12-string influenced the development of the modern six-string guitar, and it covers the birth of the steel-string, the rise of small factories, the advent of „one-man shops,” the origins of various trends in guitar construction – the design of cutaways; the use of a variety of woods, polishes, and other aesthetic detailing; and the incorporation of high-tech materials, such as carbon fiber and Nomex.

Current luthiers such as Ervin Somogyi, Charles Fox, Jeff Traugott, Michihiro Matsuda, and Kathy Wingert are covered, and so are the pioneers of modern guitar-making, including Michael Gurian, J.W. Gallagher, Stuart Mossman, Nick Kukich, the Santa Cruz Guitar Company, and Roy Noble. The Book also explores important but now obscure builders like Gower, NBN, and Max Krimmel.

Included in this lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive guide to every significant US maker, descriptions of the most popular styles, and a detailed reference section about boutique guitar models.

Boutique Acoustics


Published since 2005 as a printed magazine, TopGuitar is a magazine of opinion for professional and amateur musicians. Since 2020 on a digital platform. Contain reviews of various guitar-related musical gear, interviews and original articles on world’s most popular artists, music reviews, event reports, guitar workshops and tips, the latest products and artist news. The Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Dariusz Domanski, a guitarist and academic teacher, doctor of musical arts.