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Acoustic Guitar Building ~ Summer Camp

This hands-on acoustic guitar building immersion course offers the student a valuable hands-on workshop and learning experience with the chance to start building their own beautiful acoustic guitar under the watchful eye of an experienced luthier and instructor. No prior experience is necessary.  Registration is limited. Questions? Please call us! 773-489-4830


Five consecutive days: Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm.  A catered lunch and refreshments are served each day.

Students will learn specialized and advanced woodworking techniques, as well as shop safety, while working towards building either a beautiful Mahogany or Rosewood Martin-style 000. In an uninterrupted schedule, over consecutive days, students will be introduced to the unique process of luthiery while effectively establishing a skillful approach to woodworking.

This class is formatted as part lecture and part demonstration with lots of hands on work. Presentations will inform the hands-on application of the tools and the theories that constitute fine luthiery. In depth demonstrations of each step will precede students working on their instruments. Working from a kit of roughly formed components and pre bent sides, this course is designed both for students with little to no experience and also those with intermediate experience. Our goal is to cast a wide net into the realm of woodworking, with a finished guitar as proof of application.

A few of the many tooling demonstrations include:

• Clamping and gluing

• Caul making

• Sanding and scraping

• Chisels and knives

• Rasps and files

• Handsaws

• Routers and router bits

• Band saw

• Table saw

• Drill Press

• Belt sander/spindle sander

• Specialized guitar tools

• Fretting tools

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 occupancy of one of Specimen’s unique guitar workbenches, as well as storage for materials for the duration of the course. 

Open Shop 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.  Many students come in and receive one or two hours of instruction and then basic access for the balance of that day. This helps keep the fees at more manageable level and allows the student to work at their own pace more easily.  Taking advantage of the the specially designed workbenches, tools, and the expertise of Specimen/CSGM luthiers is a special opportunity.


Includes tuition $1980* + kit surcharge, which includes sales tax and shipping. A catered lunch and refreshments for each day of class is also included.

Tuition: 35 hours of instruction and guided hands-on workshop.  Students have the exclusive use of a dedicated guitar workbench, specialized tools and all of the shop supplies necessary for the completion of this project. 

Due to the lead time necessary to order kit materials, this course registration generally ends 7 days prior to class start.

*Early Registration Discount or a special SALE price may apply.


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


Register for any of our classes online, by phone or in person. Please note: Registrations are final and nonrefundable. In the event that a student cannot attend a class, written notice must be given in advance to receive a credit to be used on another tuition. Valid credit may be transferred to another course date, or to another student, if so desired.



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


Select the class dates you wish to attend in Available Dates column. (See the upper right of the this page.)

Click ENROLL NOW. Enter the required information. Pay by clicking the Paypal button. (NOTE: It is NOT necessary to have a Paypal account to use their service.)

Choose your payment method. Complete the payment transaction. Your receipt and a confirmation will be emailed to you.


Come by the shop during business hours to enroll using cash, credit card, or a personal check.


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


The Chicago School of Guitar Making

ADDRESS   1240 N. Homan Ave. Chicago IL 60651

HOURS   Monday – Friday: 12 – 7 pm, and Saturday: 12 – 5


PHONE  773-489-4830

Choose Date
Expired Sale Ends 1/1 August 6-10 Summer Camp Rosewood
M - F 10 am - 5 pm Rosewood
$1,680.00 (USD)
+$631.00 (USD) Rosewood Kit
Expired Sale Ends 1/1 August 6-10 Summer Camp Mahogany
M - F 10 am - 5 pm Mahogany
$1,680.00 (USD)
+$578.81 (USD) Mahogany Kit
August 6 - 10 Summer Camp Rosewood Kit
M - F 10 am - 5 pm
$1,980.00 (USD)
+$631.00 (USD) Rosewood Kit
August 6 - 10 Summer Camp Mahogany Kit
Monday - Friday, 10 am-5 pm
$1,980.00 (USD)
+$578.81 (USD) Mahogany 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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