Guitar Maker – John Bogdanovich
Guitar maker John Bogdanovich has a background tailor made for guitar building. John began woodworking and playing guitar at the age of 12. He majored in music at what is now Richmond College studying performance and composition, and studied classical guitar privately with Julio Prol.
John served as an apprentice cabinetmaker for 3 years in a well known cabinet shop in New York City training with old world European craftsman. This is where he began to develop the foundation of skills he would later be known for in guitar building.
After completing his apprenticeship John returned to college where he received a BSEE in electrical engineering from Pratt Institute and a MSEE from Polytehcnic University, both in Brooklyn, NY. Upon graduation John worked as a design engineer in research and development at AT&T Bell Labs in Holmdel, NJ. and retired after 10 years of service. Then returned to woodworking starting a small business designing and building furniture in Freehold, NJ.
John studied fine woodworking with James Krenov for two years at the College of the Redwood Fine Woodworking program in Fort Bragg, California. Upon completing the woodworking program took a guitar building class with Charles Fox. John built his first guitar immediately following and began his journey in lutherie.
Classical Guitar Making Book
In 2003 John was approached by Sterling Publishing and asked if he would like to author a book on guitar making. He had been given a rare opportunity to share techniques and thoughts about something he loved. This would prove to be a challenging project. In 2006 “Classical Guitar Making: A Modern Approach to a Traditional Design” was released. The book was instantly successful and is widely accepted as the ultimate reference for building classical guitars. After the books release he was quoted as saying “I just wanted to produce something that I would be proud of”.
After the release of the book readers began to ask where they could get some of the items John developed to build guitars in his unique way. This was the beginning of product development which continues today. Currently there are over 50 products in the catalog.
Classical Guitar Making DVD
After many requests from readers preparations began for the production of the first ever classical guitar making video. Over the next two years the video was shot and edited. The 10-DVD box set entitled “Making a Concert Classical Guitar with John S. Bogdanovich” was released in May 2010. The video demonstrates the entire process of building a concert classical guitar from beginning to end. The award winning guitar making DVD set has received rave reviews from viewers and reviewers across the industry. The video series is considered one of the best instructional videos available on guitar building and woodworking in general.
Plane Making DVD
John learned the art of plane making while at the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program studying with James Krenov. He has made countless hand planes over the years. The compass plane John uses for making work boards as demonstrated in both the book and dvd is not commercially available. John made his own.
Readers and viewers expressed frustration in being unable to find a compass plane. Late in 2010 work began on a plane making video. The video demonstrates how to make Krenov style wooden hand planes The video shows how to make a compass plane and a bench plane . Get more information on the plane making DVD…
Articles & Publications
John and his guitar were included in the book “With Wakened Hands by James Krenov. He was first student to make a musical instrument at the fine woodworking program at the college of the Redwoods. John’s work have been covered in many magazine articles and trade publications. He has made a cameo appearance in a novel written by best selling author Steve Perry. John gives regular presentations at luthier symposiums. Read more about the books, articles and publications…
Influences, Teachers & Inspirations
My guitar teacher, Julio Prol, initially planted the seed that sprouted my interest in guitars. Julio had a vintage Ramirez guitar that sounded great and made me wonder why my guitar did not. It started me off searching for sound in a instrument.
I have been fortunate enough to have taken guitar building classes with some excellent luthiers. They were very generous in sharing some of their knowledge. Jeffery Elliott, John Gilbert, Charles Fox and Greg Byers were inspirational. They both broadened my knowledge and increased my enjoyment of guitar building. Their high standards drove me to improve my guitars and to continually strive for improvement. Their help, knowledge and generosity has been priceless.
The person that had the biggest effect on my life was without question my teacher and friend James Krenov. Jim instilled in me the notion that quantity and fast money were not as important as quality, integrity and finding enjoyment in your work. He showed me that working with hand tools was more pleasant that listening to loud machines and just as efficient. And he demonstrated by example that breathing lots of dust was unnecessary if you knew what you were doing.
He taught me about aesthetics. He taught me that its the little things that matter, even the things you cannot see. He encouraged me when I started building instruments and let me build them at the school even though others were not crazy with the notion. He put me in his book. And every time I came to visit him after school was over he would give me some wood. Jim’s influence in my life is felt every day. I will be forever grateful and I miss him. He is probably most responsible for the guitar maker John Bogdanovich.
From the blog
I was recently interviewed by Michael Bashkin for Fretboard Journal’s podcast. We talked about guitars, guitar players, guitar building and a bunch of other things. The interview took place in my shop a month or so ago and we had a great time. Michael conducted a fantastic interview and got me talking about my background, […]
Consigning guitars seems to be a new craze among guitar salons and dealers. But who really benefits when you consign your guitars? Certainly not you the guitar maker. The guitar salon or dealer that’s who. New builders might be enticed into consigning guitars to dealers in order to get them into whatever shop for the […]
Soundboard selection can be difficult if you are new to guitar building. Learning to select good soundboards for your guitar is also difficult. Can someone really teach you to choose the right wood for your guitars and the way you build? I think not. It’s complicated. I just love these guys that devote entire videos […]
In a recent guitar building class the student, William Kiel, from San Anotnio, TX , walked away with a really nice instrument. Sorry this took so long to post. Things have been a bit hectic here. The guitar is an Indian rosewood spruce top 650mm scale length classical guitar. The center of the rosette features a […]
Recently I had a white oak tree taken down in my yard. It was my favorite tree and I hated to see it go, but it was dying at the top. The tree was about 2′ in diameter, and straight as a die. The bottom 30’was flawless and could have been used as a veneer […]