David Russel Young - The Steel String Guitar: Construction and Repair

I don't have this in my collection, but have seen many references. It's available used on Amazon for roughly $100!  Reviews anyone?

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I got a copy there last year for a lot less, but only as a nostalgic reference.

There is nothing outstanding in his approach, he basically shows how to make a rather overbraced dreadnought, and uses an epoxy butt joint for the neck to body (wonder how that has stood up)

I think his popularity in the 70's was due to his artistic inlay

Thanks Jeff. I plan on hitting the library to see if I can check it out there, and keep an eye out for a cheaper copy.

Well... just found one eBay for $22.00.  Didn't see it earlier ... Sold. :) 

~ Funny thing is there is another Title listed cheaper, but the photo is of the book is 'The Joy of Sex'  LOL!

I'm in process on a neck reset on a 1964 Roy Noble Brazilian Rosewood Dreadnaught that was built very much in Youngs style. Epoxy butt joint, epoxy to mount the board, and very heavy rosewood bracing. There was also a 1/4" X 1/2" steel bar as a truss rod. The neck was really heavy and the damage amounted to the headblock caving in to the body. I had to cut the neck off to remove it. I've thus far been able to bring the block back out to its original position and I am converting to a bolt on joint. I removed the steel bar and will replace it with a carbon fiber bar of the same size. The thing I wanted to mention is that the butt joint was still tight! The scariest part of such a joint is it relies 100% on the structural strength of the side grain. I have seen many Japanese guitars from the 70's which used the same joint and were still holding strong. No fun to reset though.

I've had my copy since 1977 or 1978.. It was a great find at the time, and very instrumental in furthering my interest in guitar building.  About the only other books available at the time on steel stringed guitar construction was one by David Brosnac, and there was a repair book by Irving Sloan...oh, and the repair book by Hideo Kamimoto.. the information wasn't out there 'back in the day' as it is now..If nothing more, it provided much needed inspiration.

I'm from the same vintage- When I started in 1978,  I had the  David Russell Young book, as well as Irving Sloane's Steel String Guitar book. I charted a course somewhere between the 2 approaches... which caused some unforeseen problems. I never tried the epoxied butt joint for the neck, but I still curse when I look at the oversized , yet too low bridge DRY espoused - 7 inches  long by  1.375 wide by 1/4 inch tall... this from memory, but too big and too low- not easy to correct. Who knew? I took his word for it.

Young's book was the first time I heard about arched top bracing- I didn't pursue that at that point, though it seems a given now.

 The inlays were beautiful though, and the redwood and cedar topped guitars were unusual at the time, and very attractive.

The book had its issues- primarily the notion that necks could / should be fastened permanently, without penalty....but it did  convey how much fun the voyage could be. I read it over and over. He was a good writer, and very convincing- unfortunately, he was just plain wrong on a number of key details, IMHO.

Hi I bought this used on ebay for about ten bucks. I would search there first, It's not a bad book. He recommends an butt joint for the neck using the relatively new epoxy glue. Doesn't see no reason why this isn't good enough . I thought that was funny.

I started in 1970 with banjos. The first guitar book I used was Irving Sloane followed by David Russell Young's. I still have my first guitar, built in 1980, following his book. Yes it's heavy and overbraced. BUT the epoxy butt joint is still as strong and tight as the day I made it. The guitar is not only a cannon but a TANK as well!  David "escaped" from guitar making and now makes fine bows in the Sierra foothills. Nice life.


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