For me, guitar-building is fundamentally a creative endeavour. Even though it requires a lot of technical skills in woodworking, fundamentally, the underlying inspiration and motivation for designing and building guitars is based in satisfying my creativity needs.
There’s already plenty of “how-to” resources on the Internet for building guitars, including this website, but there’s not as many for the artistic or inspirational element of this craft.
In this article, I want to list some of my favourite resources including documentaries, movies, shows and books that I consider “must-consume” content if you are the creative type and get a boost from watching other people create amazing things, not just guitars.
These resources are not educational or “how-to” but rather inspirational and often deal with the reasons of “why” we do something.
So here we go, in no particular order, I hope you find them as enjoyable, inspirational and motivational as I do.
This is a well-made 55 mins documentary that documents the guitar-building life of Randall Fullmer of Wyn Guitars. It’s freely available on Youtube.
There’s also a playlist of 16 videos where Randall goes through the whole process of the steps involved in building his basses.
Making a Guitar | Où se trouve: Greenfield Guitars
This 60 mins documentary shows how Michael Greenfield makes his acoustic guitars. We get to see his process, jigs, workshop, etc. Greenfield guitars start at over $10K
Jiro Dreams Of Sushi
This 1 h 23 mins documentary highlights the life of Jiro, considered to be world’s best sushi maker. There are so many parallels with guitar building, including his quest for perfection, obsession for quality and depleting resources of top-quality materials.
It’s difficult to believe the level of quality and craftsmanship he demands of himself and his workers and the never-ending evolution of the craft.
Here’s a 2 mins Youtube preview
Indie Game: The Movie
This documentary shows the emotional roller coaster ride of three separate computer game programmers.
The journey of a large project, the hard work, frustration and eventual sense of accomplishment of a completed project are so familiar to guitar builders.
The full movie *was* available on Netflix https://www.netflix.com/title/70229918
You can watch a 3 mins trailer here.
Abstract, The Art Of Design
This is a Netflix original series. Each episode highlights a creative person working in his/her domain. From car design, architecture to running shoes…
Ashikuchi, Syachi-sen and Komisen
A 2 mins video showing some very fancy joining of beams, “mating” is probably a more accurate word, without using screws or glue, very impressive!
The Birth of Saké
This documentray demonstrates the level of dedication that a Japanese team of saké makers devote to their craft, sometimes at the expense of social and family life.
The Birth Of A Tool
This is a short 6 min, well-produced, video with music showing the making of an axe (the wood chopping type) in a small workshop in a forested area.
Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman by Peter Korn
This book explores the fundamental purpose and search for meaning behind the creative urge to make things with our own hands. In today’s digital age, this is a refreshing and grounding book.
I would love to know if you have a resource that I could watch and add to this list. Let me know in the comments below.