Tools and Materials

The list of tools you need to make guitars includes scrapers, saws, hand planes, and construction and assembly tools. You will also need calipers, rulers, and tuners for intonation, setup, and measurement. Luthier tools also include things such as files and rasps, sanding blocks, fret levelling beams, and others.


There are luthier training courses in Canada with a focus on electric and acoustic guitar retrofitting and acoustic guitar construction. Courses, training, and workshops focus on set up, finishing, assembly, construction, and design. Students learn about the structural function and acoustic properties to make a bass, tenor, baritone, nylon or steel string guitar. Workshops focus on finishing options, assembly methods, types of wood to make a guitar, etc.

Business Plan

If you need external financing to start a luthier business, writing a business plan is your best chance to find a loan with beneficial terms and rates. A business plan normally includes your mission statement, location and store hours, goals and objectives, labor costs and operating expenses, and so on. A detailed business plan also includes financial and sensitivity analysis, market strategy, and advertising and selling. List different advertising venues to promote your business, including websites, social media, magazine and newspaper ads, grand opening, flyers and posters, and others. Discuss things such as target market, location, promotion strategies, and pricing. Obviously, it is important to include a section on products and services offered, for example, guitar accessories, pedal effects and sound amplifier products, guitar retrofitting, and more. It is a good idea to cover the roles and responsibilities of staff, including payroll and bookkeeping duties, direct sales, marketing, and others. Once you have a good guitar business plan, the next step is to apply for a loan.

Sources of Funding

Business loans are offered by credit unions, finance companies, banks, and other establishments. The Canada Small Business Financing Program is a good alternative and a source of affordable financing. Hundreds of institutions participate in the program, including RBC, ATB Financial, First Choice Savings & Credit Union, Bank of Nova Scotia, and others. Business loans and lines of credit are also offered by different financial institutions to start, grow, or expand business operations. Business loans come with flexible terms, prepayment options, and affordable interest rates based on credit rating. Financial institutions offer financing for renovation and expansion, marketing, acquisition, purchase of tools and equipment, working capital, and purchase of inventory. The loan term varies from 3 months to 60 months based on factors such as fixed or floating rate, credit rating, financial institution, loan purpose, and others. A business credit card is also handy when it comes to operating and daily expenses and helps monitor employee spending. It pays to ask about the credit limit, grace period, penalty interest rate, minimum payment, incentives and ad-ons, and other details.

It is a good idea to check alternative sources such as business and entrepreneur grants, incentive programs, business incubators, direct financial support by organizations and networks, and others.

Luthier Business

To start a guitar shop, luthierie, or luthier business in Canada, you will need financing:, a business plan, good location, and so on. Obviously, you need to master the basics of guitar making and think of details such as warranty on your instruments, financial reporting, etc.

Tone Woods Used for Making Guitars

Different types of tone woods are used to make guitars, including basswood, mahogany, maple, swamp ash, and others. They have different tonal properties, ranges, and other characteristics. Differences in tonal properties can be explained with factors such as chambering, density, shape, and size.

Types of Body Woods

The most commonly used types of wood are maple, mahogany, basswood, and ash. Other types include alder, rosewood, poplar, and walnut. Exotic varieties can be used as well, for example, bubinga, wenge, purple heart.

Neck Woods

Different types of wood are used, the most common being maple, mahogany, and rosewood. Mahogany, for example, produces mellow and warm tones while maple is a popular neck wood with firm lows.

Woods Used for Electronic Guitars

The most common tone woods for electronic guitars are ash, basswood, alder, and mahogany. Mahogany is a top choice for models such as SG, Les Paul, and Gibson. This tone wood offers a good balance of warm, thick, and soft tones and balanced lows.

Top Choices for Acoustic Guitars

Different types of wood are used for acoustic guitars, top choices being mahogany, cedar, spruce, rosewood, and maple. Spruce is usually used as a top wood because it is strong and lightweight at the same time. Cedar is also used as a top wood because it produces warm and bright sounds. Laminate is the least expensive option while solid woods are used to make more expensive models. Cheap models usually have sides and back made from laminated mahogany and a top made from laminated spruce. This means that the sides, back, and top are made from laminate or layered wood. Solid wood, which is used for more expensive guitars, produces better tones than laminate wood. There are reasonably priced models that have laminated sides and back and a solid top. The main reason to use laminate wood is that it is easy to work with and keeps costs down.

Tone woods and Tonal Properties


This is a transparent tone wood with good tonal properties and low velocity and is often used to produce bright sound. It is usually used to make guitar necks and for larger instruments. There are different species of maple, including Eastern hard rock, Western bigleaf, and more.

Swamp Ash

Swamp ash is used by many guitar producers because it produces firm bass tones and has a nice timbre. It is rigid and lightweight and is creamy in color. Swamp ash is a popular tone wood because of the balance of warmth and balanced and airy highs. Northern hard ash, on the other hand, is dense, heavy, and hard and produces bright tones. This is a popular tone wood with more sustain. Ash is also used to produce distorted tones, brighter sounds, and strong lows and highs.


Fender guitars were usually made from alder during the 50s and 60s. Alder producers warm, clear, and strong sounds and has nice grain patterns.


A popular tone wood, basswood has good sustain and midrange and a balanced warm sound. For some people basswood is boring looking and has an unattractive grain but it is easy to cut and work with. It dents easily because it is soft. At the same time, basswood is a good choice for Anderson, Suhr, and other models. What is more, some types of basswood are used for cheaper guitars while other types are used for expensive, high-end models.

Other Types of Tone Wood

Popular tone woods include agathis, paulownia, phoenix, American tulipwood, Japanese ash, and korina. Some exotic woods are quite expensive and have good tonal properties, good sustain, and bass and bright highs.