$50 Off  WORKSHOPS  Registered by Phone  773-489-4830 

Acoustic Guitar Building ~ Weekend

This course offers the student a hands-on opportunity to begin the journey toward building their very own acoustic guitar under the watchful eye of an experienced luthier and instructor.  Students will have the opportunity to learn fundamental and specialized woodworking techniques and build a high quality musical instrument that will become an heirloom.  Our goal is to provide an enriching environment for the burgeoning student with many opportunities for exposure to various techniques and skills, with tutorials and guidance while working in a fully equipped guitar building workshop. Students will work toward building a Rosewood or Mahogany Martin-style 000. No drawing skills or shop experience required. Registration is limited. Questions? Please call us 773-489-4830

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.

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.

Open Workshop access is available with different options and rates, either with instruction or guidance from an instructor or unguided access to the facility and tools.  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.

While not mandatory, we 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 are not covered in the course.

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

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. 


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



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

EMAIL  info@specimenproducts.com

PHONE  773-489-4830

Acoustic Summer Camp August 2017


Choose Date
Expired October 7, 8
Sat & Sun 10 am-5 pm Rosewood 000 Kit
$695.00 (USD)
+$631.00 (USD) Rosewood Kit 000 Kit
Expired 50% OFF Tuition SALE Expires 9/4 Midnight
Oct 7, 8 Sat & Sun 10 am - 5 pm
$347.50 (USD)
+$631.00 (USD) Rosewood Kit
Expired January 6, 7 Rosewood
Sat & Sun 10 am - 5 pm
$695.00 (USD)
+$631.00 (USD) Rosewood 000 Kit
Expired January 6, 7 Mahogany
Sat & Sun 10 am - 5 pm
$695.00 (USD)
+$538.00 (USD) Mahogany 000 Kit
March 17, 18 Rosewood
$695.00 (USD)
+$631.00 (USD) Rosewood Kit
Expired March 17, 18 Mahogany
Sat & Sun 10 am - 5 pm
$695.00 (USD)
+$538.00 (USD) Mahogany Kit


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

Student Feedback

Click here to read student feedback about our school

Mail In Registration

Please download this form if you want to register for a class by mail