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Acoustic Guitar Building Weekend ~ Fall 2017

This hands-on course offers the student the opportunity to begin the journey of building their very own acoustic guitar under the watchful eye of an experienced luthier, in a fully equipped guitar building workshop.  Learn advanced  and specialized woodworking techniques – as well as shop safety – while building a beautiful instrument during an uninterrupted schedule. Students will work towards building either a Mahogany or Rosewood Martin-style 000.

This class is formatted with lectures, detailed demonstrations and hands on work. In depth demonstration of each step will precede students working on their instruments.  Working from a kit of roughly formed components this course is designed both for students with little to no experience and also those with intermediate experience. Students will be introduced to the unique process of luthiery while effectively establishing a skillful approach to woodworking.

The building procedure starts with a sequence of specific steps, alternating between neck and body work. Once these begin to take shape, students tend to work at different paces, but we all start at the beginning and move forward together. This class will get most students off to a good start on their build and some through a good portion of the build by the end of the the weekend.

While not mandatory, we also recommend that students take our Fretting workshop and our Bone Nut and Saddle Workshop to obtain complete precision in these steps of the building process.


Applying the finish and finishing techniques will not be covered in the course.

Students have the option to have their guitar finished for them by a Specimen/CSGM professional or apply a finish on their own outside the school or in Open Workshops sessions at the school.

Please note: There is no way to complete the build in one weekend. In order to finish making the guitar, more time will need to be spent either in Open Workshops at the school, or on the students own.

Workshop Materials and Supplies

Everything needed for building the guitars will be included in the kit and provided by the School.  We will go over the tools necessary for a home shop throughout the course for those interested in taking the art to a private space. The kits come with an in depth instruction book Useful handout materials will also be provided. Each student will be given class time occupancy of one of Specimen’s unique guitar workbenches, as well as storage for materials outside of class. 


2 consecutive days, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5 pm. 

Open Workshop access is available with different options and rates, either for unguided access to the facility and tools or with instruction or guidance from an instructor.  Taking advantage of the the specially designed workbenches, tools, and the expertise of Specimen/CSGM luthiers is a special opportunity. Many students come in and receive one or two hours of instruction and then basic access for the balance of that day. This allows the student to work at their own pace more easily and helps keep the fees manageable level.


Enrollment is limited to 6 students. Due to the lead time necessary to order kit materials, this course registration generally ends 15 days prior to class start.


Tuition $695, plus your kit cost which includes tax and shipping.  Tuition includes instruction, hands-on workshop with dedicated guitar bench, use of specialized tools and the shop supplies necessary for the completion of this project.  A catered lunch and refreshments each day of class is included.


Ian Schneller is the founder and chief instructor of the Chicago School of Guitar Making. With over 800 handmade instruments bearing his Specimen name, he brings a wellspring of knowledge to the classroom with the mission of perpetuating the tradition of handcraft and design innovation. He has shown his work in a variety of museums around the country and is a faculty member of the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago


How to Register:

You can register for any of our classes on-line, by phone, or in person.


Select your class dates in Available Dates on the upper right on this page.  Click ENROLL NOW.  Enter your information, then proceed to pay by clicking the Paypal button. It is NOT necessary to have a Paypal account. Choose a payment method.  Your purchase receipt will appear and your registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

By Phone 773.489.4830

Call us to register with your credit card. We will send you a confirmation via email, or by snail mail if you prefer.

In Person

Come by the shop: 1240 N Homan Ave Chicago IL 60651 during business hours and enroll using cash, credit card, or a personal check.

Business Hours:

Monday – Friday  12 – 7,  Saturday: 12 – 5

Map our location


Click Here for a list of nearby places to stay during seminars, along with transportation information.


Choose Date
Expired May 20 & 21, June 3 & 4
May 20 & 21, 10am - 5 pm + June 3 & 4, 10am - 5 pm
$1,680.00 (USD)
+$493.00 (USD) Mahogany 000 Kit
-$100.00 (USD) Early Registration Discount
Expired May 20 & 21, June 3 & 4
May 20 & 21, 10am - 5 pm + June 3 & 4, 10am - 5 pm
$1,680.00 (USD)
+$525.00 (USD) Rosewood 000 Kit
-$100.00 (USD) Early Registration Discount
October 7, 8
Sat & Sun 10 am-5 pm
$695.00 (USD)
+$589.00 (USD) Mahogany Kit
October 7, 8
Sat & Sun 10 am-5 pm
$695.00 (USD)
+$631.00 (USD) Rosewood Kit


All classes are held at Specimen located at 1240 N. Homan Ave. in Chicago, Illinois. Click here for a map

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