Learning to Speak Guitar

The guitar experience guide offering insights and fresh perspectives for all guitar-lovers.

A blue electric guitar lays, face-up, across a table with the neck and head point to the right. Under the neck is a copy of Learning to Speak Guitar, a paperback book with a white cover, black letters, and a black-line drawing of a guitar. Under the guitar's headstock is an open laptop, the screen shows music editing software. There is a lined pad of paper and a pen below the laptop.

Learning to Speak Guitar: A Luthier’s Thesaurus delivers a new way of understanding for all guitar-makers and guitar players by nurturing progress, dispelling myths, and fostering community in a single, approachable volume.

Front Cover of Learning to Speak Guitar: A Luthier’s Thesaurus

Since 1546 the guitar has sparked wonder in its makers, players, and supporters. In that time, much has changed about the guitar: its construction, its repertoire and methods, and its place in the musical landscape. Learning to Speak Guitar: A Luthier’s Thesaurus addresses the one thing that remains mostly unchanged in the guitar industry—the language.

Guitarists and luthiers (guitar-makers) have specialized tools and methods for every aspect of the guitar except an effective and consistent way to discuss and manage things like tonewood, humidity, or noise. This book is the missing tool that serves both sides of the bench with fresh perspectives and the goal of creating more fruitful relationships through the effective and empathetic sharing of musical, emotional, and monetary information. 

Learning to Speak Guitar on the shelves at Sherman’s Books.

Containing information not found in any other guitar book, Learning to Speak Guitar is an indispensable tool. Each of the book’s five sections contain topics and tools for improving musical language.

Section one opens the book with introductions, while section two focuses on aural, visual, and haptic guitar experiences. Technical topics including tone wood, flatness, and relative humidity are addressed in section three, with section four presenting practical troubleshooting and discussion techniques.

The last section is a comprehensive index of terms containing over 370 entries across seven topics: guitar anatomy, colors, construction methods, materials, sounds and noises, woods, and repair techniques. The book closes with tables of the physical properties of guitar woods and metals, options for alternative guitar woods, and a 400-year chronology.


Learning to Speak Guitar is an impressive presentation of form and function of our beloved guitar. Analogies are plentiful, and offer familiar references to the non-musician and non-luthier who otherwise may be completely in the dark. For those experienced guitarists and luthiers the text offers insights as to how they may be perceived by each other and the general public.”
—Bob Benedetto, Founder of Benedetto Guitars.

This book is thorough, even-handed, and accurate: in short, a useful tool… 
—Tony Creamer, Owner of Fretted Instrument Workshop, Amherst, MA.

This meticulously researched document assembles a common language that can be effectively used to communicate with all friends, musicians, devotees and custodians of this most universal and accessible of musical companions.
—Christopher S. Robinson, Master Piano Restorer (retired) and flat-top guitarist.

Available on Amazon, Google Play,
Apple Books, and Reverb.

Also available through Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops and the Luthier’s Mercantile Inc.

Signed copies are available from the author. Please visit the Contact Us page to request a signed copy.

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Learning to Speak Guitar