A luthier (IPAEng|ˈluːtɪə(r)) is someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments. The word luthier comes from the French word for lute, "luth".

The craft of lutherie is commonly divided into two main categories: stringed instruments that are plucked or strummed, and stringed instruments that are bowed. While there is a nearly limitless variety of stringed instruments both historic and modern, from many places and cultures — the following lists give some examples of instruments in each category still in use today. [cite web|url=|title=Arts, Music, Instruments, Stringed|last=Open Directory Project|accessdate=2006-11-03]

In the first category are the: autoharp, banjo, bouzouki, charango, cittern, appalachian dulcimer, guitar, harp, kantele, kithara, kora, koto, lute, theorbo, archlute, angelique, torban, kobza, bandura, lyre, pipa, mandolin, oud, shamisen, sitar, ukulele, and veena.

In the second category are the: cello, crwth, double bass, erhu, fiddle, mouthbow, nyckelharpa, hurdy gurdy, rabab, rebec, sarangi, viol, viola, viola da braccio, viola d'amore, viola da gamba and violin.

Since bowed stringed instruments require a bow, this second category of luthier contains a subtype known as an "archetier", which is a French word for one who makes bows. [cite web|url=|title=Welcome to Curtis Violins|first=Claire|last=Curtis|accessdate=2006-11-05] While the division of luthiers into two categories may seem arbitrary, there are those who are passionate about the difference between these categories. [cite web|url=|title=What is a luthier?||accessdate=2006-11-03] [cite web|url=|title=Violin Makers Listing||accessdate=2006-11-03] For this reason, the remainder of this article will use the division for clarity and convenience.

Plucked strings


Important luthiers who specialized in the instruments of the lute family (lutes, archlutes, theorbos, vihuelas etc.):
* Tieffenbrucker family
* Sellas family
* Martin Hoffmann
* Joachim Tielke
* Leopold Widhalm,
* Sixtus Rauwolf
* Michele Harton
* Giovanni Tessler
* Sebastian Schelle
* Vendelio Venere

and in our time:
* Andrew Rutherford
* Richard Berg
* Cezar Mateus
* Stephen Gottlieb
* Grant Tomlinson
* Ray Nurse inter alia


Two important early luthiers in the guitar category are Antonio Torres Jurado of Spain, who is credited with developing the form of classical guitar that is still in use today, and Christian Frederick Martin of Germany who developed a form which later evolved into the steel-string acoustic guitar.

Orville Gibson was an American luthier who specialized in mandolins, and is credited with creating the archtop guitar.

John D'Angelico and Jimmy D'Aquisto were two important 20th century luthiers who worked with archtop guitars.

Lloyd Loar, worked briefly for the Gibson Guitar Corporation making mandolins and guitars. His designs for a family of archtop instruments (mandolin, mandola, guitar, et cetera) are held in high esteem by today's luthiers, who seek to reproduce their sound.

Paul Bigsby's innovation of the tremolo arm for archtop and electric guitars is still in use today and may have influenced Leo Fender's design for the Stratocaster solid body electric guitar, as well as the Jaguar and Jazzmaster.

Concurrent with Fender's work, guitarist Les Paul independently developed a solid body electric guitar. However both Fender and Paul were preceded by Adolph Rickenbacher's Bakelite "frying pan" solid body electric guitar developed with and patented by George Beauchamp. [cite web|url=|title=Rickenbacker Electro Spanish Guitar|first=George|last=Gruhn|accessdate=2006-11-04]

A company founded by luthier Friedrich Gretsch and continued by his son and grandson, Fred and Fred Jr., originally made banjos, but is more famous today for its electric guitars.

Bowed strings

To put the bowed stringed luthiers into some sort of manageable order, it is prudent to begin with the purported "inventor" of the violin, Andrea Amati. Amati was originally a lute maker but turned to the new instrument form of violin in the mid 16th century. He was the progenitor of the famous Amati family of luthiers active in Cremona, Italy until the 18th century. Andrea Amati's son, Nicolò, was himself an important master luthier who had several apprentices of note including Andrea Guarneri, Francesco Ruggieri, Antonio Stradivari, Giovanni Battista Rogeri, Matthias Klotz and possibly Jacob Stainer.

Two other important early luthiers of the violin family were Gasparo da Salò of Brescia, Italy and Gasparo Duiffopruggar of Austria who were each originally credited with invention of the first violin. However, this attribute has since been removed but is still often incorrectly cited. da Salò had at least one important apprentice--Giovanni Paolo Maggini who inherited da Salò's business in Brescia upon da Salò's death. Valentino Siani worked with Giovanni Paolo Maggini. In 1620 he moved to Florence.

Of those luthiers born in the mid 17th century, there are Giovanni Grancino, Carlo Giuseppe Testore and son Carlo Antonio Testore, all from Milan. From Venice the luthiers Matteo Goffriller, Domenico Montagnana, Sanctus Seraphin and Carlo Annibale Tononi were principals in the Venetian school of violin making (although the latter began his career in Bologna). [cite web|url=|title=The History of the Violin|first=William|last=Bartruff|accessdate=2006-11-03] The Bergonzi family of luthiers were the successors to the Amati family in Cremona. David Tecchler who was born in Austria later worked in both Venice and Rome.

Important luthiers from the early 18th century include Nicolò Gagliano of Naples, Italy, Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi of Milan and Giovanni Battista Guadagnini who roamed throughout Italy during his lifetime. From Austria originally, Leopold Widhalm later established himself in Nürnberg, Germany.

The early 19th century luthiers of the Mirecourt school of violin making in France were the Vuillaume family, Charles Jean Baptiste Collin-Mezin, and Collin-Mezin's son, Charles Collin-Mezin, Jr..

Jérôme-Thibouville-Lamy was the most important musical instrument maker in France. The firm started making wind instruments around 1730 at La Couture-Boussey then moved to Mirecourt around 1760 and started making violins, guitars, mandolins and musical accessories. It was very successful, and opened offices in Paris, then in London. It made thousands of quality instruments that were exported throughout the world.

Modern luthiers (violin)

20th Century

* Gaetano Antoniazzi
* Riccardo Antoniazzi
* Otello Bignami
* Leandro Bisiach
* Carlo Bisiach
* Terry Borman
* Ivor Darreg
* Antonio de Torres
* Annibale Fagnola
* Giuseppe Fiorini
* Raffaele Fiorini
* Ferdinando Garimberti
* Johann Goldfuß
* Hermann Hauser Sr.
* Heinrich Th Heberlein Jr.
* Mathias Heinicke
* Giuseppe Ornati
* Ansaldo Poggi
* Harry Partch
* Giuseppe Pedrazzini
* Sergio Peresson
* Sesto Rocchi
* Ernst Heinrich Roth
* Ernst Reinhold Schmidt
* Igino Sderci
* Gaetano Sgarabotto
* Pietro Sgarabotto
* Stefano Scarampella
* Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume


* Francesco Bissolotti
* Horst Goldfuß
* Alois Honek
* Jonathan Beecher
* Roberto Regazzi
* Sergio Peresson
* Yuri Landman
* Bradford Reed
* Iner Souster
* Terry Borman
* Jim Fleeting
* Alexander Rabinovich
* Faruk Türünz



* "Historical Lute Construction" by Robert Lundberg, Guild of American Luthiers (2002) ISBN-10: 0962644749
* "The Complete Luthier's Library. A Useful International Critical Bibliography for the Maker and the Connoisseur of Stringed and Plucked Instruments". Bologna, Florenus Edizioni 1990. ISBN 88-85250-01-7
* "The "Secrets" of Stradivari" by Simone Fernando Sacconi
* "The art of violinmaking" by Chris Johnson and Roy Courtnall
* "25 masterpieces by Guarneri del Gesù" Peter Biddulph
* "Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology" by Cumpiano and Natelson
* "Build your own Acoustic Guitar" by Jonathan Kinkead
* "Steel String Guitar Construction" by Irving Sloan
* "Classic Guitar Construction" by Irving Sloane
* "Making an Archtop Guitar" by Bob Benedetto
* "Big Red Books of American Lutherie" by the Guild of American Luthiers
* "Lutherie Tools" edited by Cindy Burton and Tim Olsen
* "Making Master Guitars" by Roy Courtnall
* "Classic Guitar Making" by Arthur E. Overholtzer (Out of Print)
* "Clapton's Guitar" by Allen St. John
* "Make your own electric guitar" by Melvyn Hiscock
* "The Fretboard Journal" (quarterly magazine)
* "The Secrets of Stradivari" by S. Sacconi
* "The Art of Violin Making" by Roy Courtnall (Preface by Lord Yehudi Menuhin)
* "A Comparison of Wood Density between Classical Cremonese and Modern Violins" by Behrend Stoel & Terry Borman, The Public Library of Science, PLoSOne, July 2, 2008 []

External links

* [ Guild of American Luthiers]
* [ Liutaio Mottola Lutherie Information Website]
* [ Luthier's International]
* [ Smithsonian Institute - Violins]
* [ Mirecourt Luthiers]
* [** ALL** Guitar Foundation of America] a worldwide directory of guitar luthiers.
* [ The history of the violin] a short summary including answers to "why do old instruments sound so good..."
* [ Luthier Brasil] a Brazilian resource for guitar building, by Luthier Celso Freire.
* [ Luthiers Forum] a resource for guitar building.
* [ Guitar Museum] Classical Guitar Museum,(UK)
* [ Guild of Argentine Instrument Makers]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • luthier — luthier, ière [ lytje, jɛr ] n. • 1649; de luth ♦ Fabricant d instruments à cordes et à caisse de résonance (comme le luth et surtout le violon, la guitare, etc.) à l exclusion des instruments à clavier. Les luthiers de Crémone. L art du luthier …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • luthier — lu thi*er (l[=oo] t[ e]*[ e]r), n. One who makes wooden stringed instruments, such as violins, guitars, etc. [RDH] Note: A guitarmaking Web site can be found at: …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • luthier — lute maker, 1879, from Fr. luthier, from luth (see LUTE (Cf. lute)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • luthier — |lutiê| s. m. Artesão que fabrica ou repara instrumentos de corda com caixa de ressonância (ex.: Stradivari era luthier). • Feminino: luthière. Plural: luthiers.   ‣ Etimologia: palavra francesa, de luth, alaúde …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • Luthier — (fr.) m. Persona que fabrica o repara instrumentos musicales de cuerda, con exclusión de los de teclado, especialmente violines y otros instrumentos de su misma familia. * * * Persona que se dedica a la construcción o reparación artesanal de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • luthier — → lutier …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • luthier — (del francés; pronunciamos lutié ) sustantivo masculino,f. 1. Uso/registro: elevado. Violero, constructor de instrumentos de cuerda …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • luthier — [lo͞ot′ē ər] n. [Fr < luth, lute (< OFr leüt, LUTE1) + ier, ER] a maker of stringed instruments, orig. of lutes …   English World dictionary

  • Luthier — Un luthier est un artisan qui fabrique, répare et restaure les instruments de musique à cordes pincées ou frottées tels que les violons, altos, violoncelles, violes d amour, guitares, guitares électriques etc. Le terme dérive de luth. Mais le… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Luthier — Para el grupo de música de humor, véase Les Luthiers. Taller de luthiers en Cremona …   Wikipedia Español

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