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About

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 added the Tube Amplifier Building, Guitar Building, and Advanced Guitar Repair 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US using CNC machines instead of traditional building techniques, and nearly all electronics vocational programs being withdrawn from our schools, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for the budding student interested in the tradition of guitar building and repair.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.

For additional details about our school, including information about the staff, facility and the classes we teach, please visit this page and our FAQ page.

Classes & Seminars

Fret & Re-fret Workshop ~ Weekend August 23 & 24
Aug 23, 2014 -
Aug 24, 2014

Bone Nut & Saddle Making Course ~ Augsut 25, 26 & 27
Aug 25, 2014 -
Aug 28, 2014

Design & Theory + Blueprint Course ~ September 2, 3 & 4
Sep 2, 2014 -
Sep 4, 2014

Guitar Building ~ Martin 000 style - 4 Weekends Sept 6 - Oct 19
Sep 6, 2014 -
Oct 19, 2014

Guitar Building Workshop ~ Monday September 8 - 29
Sep 8, 2014 -
Sep 29, 2014

OPEN WORKSHOP ~ 15 Weeks - Monday Evenings Sept 8-Dec 15
Sep 8, 2014 -
Dec 15, 2014

Setup & Maintenance for Guitar, Bass + Strings - September 9, 10 & 11
Sep 9, 2014 -
Sep 11, 2014

Design & Theory + Blueprint Seminar ~ Weekend September 13 & 14
Sep 13, 2014 -
Sep 14, 2014

Fret & Re-Fret Workshop ~ Weekend September 13 & 14
Sep 13, 2014 -
Sep 14, 2014

Effect Pedals Building Workshop ~ September 16,17, 18, & 19
Sep 16, 2014 -
Sep 19, 2014

Effect Pedal Building in ONE DAY ~ Saturday Workshop Sept 20
Sep 20, 2014 -
Sep 20, 2014

Advanced Guitar Repair Workshop ~ September 23, 24 & 25
Sep 23, 2014 -
Sep 25, 2014

~ Setup & Maintenance for Guitar, Bass + Strings ~ Weekend September 27 & 28
Sep 27, 2014 -
Sep 28, 2014

Fret & Re-fret Course ~ Sep 30 - Oct 2
Sep 30, 2014 -
Oct 2, 2014

French Polishing Techniques - Mondays October 6 - 27 at 7pm
Oct 6, 2014 -
Oct 27, 2014

Guitar Building Workshop ~ Monday October 6 - 27
Oct 6, 2014 -
Oct 27, 2014

Guitar Electronics Installations & Upgrades ~ October 7, 8 & 9
Oct 7, 2014 -
Oct 9, 2014

Theremin Building Weekend ~ October 11 & 12
Oct 11, 2014 -
Oct 12, 2014

Setup & Maintenance for Guitar, Bass + Strings - October 14, 15 & 16
Oct 14, 2014 -
Oct 16, 2014

Fret & Re-fret Seminar ~ Weekend October 18 & 19
Oct 18, 2014 -
Oct 19, 2014

Hi-Fi Stereo Tube Amplifier Building ~ Weekend October 24, 25 & 26
Oct 24, 2014 -
Oct 26, 2014

Tube Amp Building ~ Weekend October 24, 25 & 26
Oct 24, 2014 -
Oct 26, 2014

Bone Nut & Saddle Making Course ~ October 28, 29 & 30
Oct 28, 2014 -
Oct 30, 2014

Advanced Guitar Repair Workshop ~ Weekend November 1 & 2
Nov 1, 2014 -
Nov 2, 2014

Guitar Building Workshop ~ Monday 7pm November 3 - 24
Nov 3, 2014 -
Nov 24, 2014

French Polishing Advanced Techniques ~ Monday Evenings November 3 - 24
Nov 3, 2014 -
Nov 24, 2014

Finishing & Relicing Workshop ~ November 4 - 7
Nov 4, 2014 -
Nov 7, 2014

Setup & Maintenance for Guitar, Bass + Strings - November 8 & 9
Nov 8, 2014 -
Nov 9, 2014

Setup & Maintenance for Guitar, Bass + Strings - November 11,12 &13
Nov 11, 2014 -
Nov 13, 2014

Bone Nut & Saddle Making Seminar ~ Weekend November 15 & 16
Nov 15, 2014 -
Nov 16, 2014

Effect Pedal Building in ONE DAY ~ Saturday Workshop November 15
Nov 15, 2014 -
Nov 15, 2014

Advanced Guitar Repair Course ~ November 18, 19 & 20
Nov 18, 2014 -
Nov 20, 2014

Finishing & Relicing Workshop Weekend ~ November 22 & 23
Nov 22, 2014 -
Nov 23, 2014

Guitar Building Workshop ~ Monday 7 pm December 1 - 22
Dec 1, 2014 -
Dec 22, 2014

Theremin Building ~ December 1, 2, 3, & 4
Dec 1, 2014 -
Dec 4, 2014

Tube Amp Building ~ Weekend December 5, 6, & 7
Dec 5, 2014 -
Dec 7, 2014

Effect Pedals Building Workshop ~ December 9, 10, 11, & 12
Dec 9, 2014 -
Dec 12, 2014

Guitar Electronics Installations & Upgrades ~ Weekend December 13 &14
Dec 13, 2014 -
Dec 14, 2014

Advanced Guitar Repair Course ~ December 16, 17, & 18
Dec 16, 2014 -
Dec 18, 2014