Archtop Guitar Build

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Project by rdwile posted 641 days ago 2396 views 4 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a project I finished a while back, but still remains as the project I am most proud of in 25 years of woodworking.

I think the arch top represents the pinnacle of the Luthier’s craft. All the technical challenges of a a flattop, except that its top and back are carved from a solid wood and fined tuned to make the perfect sounding instrument. They are also huge, 18” across the bottom end 3-4” wider than a normal steel string. They are built similar to a violin or mandolin with lots of shaping from the finest woods in the world.

This guitar is made from European Spruce and Maple which comes from the same forests from which Stradivarius sourced his materials 300 years ago.

This was made following the book and plans by Bob Benedetto who wrote the book on building an archtop – literally. While this instrument exceeded my expectations once finished, I will never build another, it’s far too much work!

Hope you enjoy,


-- Richard D. Wile,

27 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13741 posts in 965 days

#1 posted 641 days ago

Beautiful. Wish I had a chance to play it.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View intheshop's profile


47 posts in 1466 days

#2 posted 641 days ago

Gorgeous guitar. That must have been an incredible amount of work I’ve heard that you really never know how a guitar will sound until you finish it, string it and play it. From that perspective, it must be a pins and needles build from day one. I’m glad you’re happy with it’s performance. Thanks for sharing.

-- Cole - Rydal, GA

View sras's profile


3813 posts in 1756 days

#3 posted 641 days ago

Awesome project!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View a1Jim's profile


112011 posts in 2204 days

#4 posted 641 days ago

That’s an amazing guitar Richard what a master piece you work of art is.

-- Custom furniture

View dnick's profile


910 posts in 1009 days

#5 posted 641 days ago

That is a beautiul piece of work. Well done. I remember you, you’re the guy with the collapsing house logo!

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View CJay's profile


133 posts in 1858 days

#6 posted 641 days ago

Stunning. I’m looking at trying my hand at building one of these. You’ve done an amazing job.

-- Chris Boreham, Oxfordshire, UK - -

View JimDaddyO's profile


286 posts in 1706 days

#7 posted 641 days ago

Beautiful, the book and an archtop are on my bucket list

-- I still have all my fingers

View rdwile's profile


140 posts in 739 days

#8 posted 641 days ago

Thanks for all the kind comments and PM’s. One thing I would say, if you are thinking of a building a carved instrument, start with a mandolin. It uses far less material (in case you butcher it) and all the carving and building techniques scale up directly to the archtop.

-- Richard D. Wile,

View carguy460's profile


782 posts in 963 days

#9 posted 641 days ago

Beautiful work!

-- Jason K

View griff's profile


1206 posts in 2389 days

#10 posted 641 days ago

Well it looks awesome and i bet it sounds even better.

-- Mike, Bruce Mississippi = Jack of many trades master of none

View Rob W's profile

Rob W

423 posts in 2163 days

#11 posted 641 days ago

That is awesome!

-- Rob — I've cut it off twice and it's still too short!,

View Nicky's profile


636 posts in 2719 days

#12 posted 641 days ago

You should be very proud of the achievement. Just out of curiosity, how many hours do you have into the project?

This is becoming a lost art form, hope you change your mind an build more.

-- Nicky

View CharlieM1958's profile


15684 posts in 2845 days

#13 posted 641 days ago

Fantastic piece of work! You should really post a YouTube of how it sounds.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Surfside's profile


3079 posts in 801 days

#14 posted 641 days ago

Stunning and gorgeous work!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 1610 days

#15 posted 641 days ago

awesome project. thats alot of curves, to get right.congrats

showing 1 through 15 of 27 comments

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