Specimen opened the Chicago School of Guitar Making in 2005 as a response to the growing number of resumes and internship inquiries we received every week for nearly 20 years. We recognized people were hungry to learn, but there was no place in Chicago for them to study and be trained to build and repair guitars.
We started with a basic offering: Guitar Setup. From that we added Fret Work and Guitar Electronics. Soon it became apparent these classes weren’t enough, alumni were waiting for more, and many of them were asking about tube amp training, more complex guitar repair techniques, and guitar building classes.
We since added the Tube Amplifier Building, Tube Amp Diagnostics & Repair, Guitar Building, Advanced Guitar Repair, and Effects Pedal Builidng Workshops to our curriculum. Things were going great and word about us spread outside of Chicagoland. We started receiving many emails and phone calls from interested students in other states and countries looking for schools like ours in their neck of the woods. To meet the needs of this growing group of people, we opened our first Weekend Seminar in Guitar Setup & Electronics, others soon followed and we started hosting classes for people coming from other states, Canada, Europe, and even Asia.
While there are a number of Luthier Schools out there, most of them require their students enroll in an intensive (and sometimes expensive) 6-12 month program. Our goal is to be the school for people who want to learn but can not leave their home, families, or job to embark in this new venture. We hold our classes on the weekends or in the evenings and they can be taken one-at-a-time, all at once, or whenever convenient to the student.
Chicago has a rich tradition in guitar making – it used to be the Guitar Making Capital of the World! But with the growing inclination of big US companies manufacturing their instruments outside the US using CNC machines instead of traditional building techniques, and nearly all electronics vocational programs being withdrawn from our schools, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for the budding student interested in the tradition of guitar building and repair. The Chicago School of Guitar Making wants to keep the tradition of lutherie alive and thriving with the hope of inspiring new generations for many years to come.