Design & Theory + Blueprint

Completing this workshop will prepare students for the exciting prospect of starting the actual construction of an original design for an electric guitar.  The student’s main goal in the Guitar Design & Theory workshop is to produce a functional blueprint of an original instrument design. This blueprint will contain all the relevant design parameters needed to construct the instrument in its entirety. This workshop welcomes both traditionalist and experimentalist. Whether you choose to design a reproduction of a traditional electric guitar or chart new territory, the emphasis will be on designing a supremely-functional and long-lasting instrument of beauty. No drawing skills required.


In this workshop students create their own functional full-scale blueprint of a guitar, bass, or other stringed instrument. This workshop also includes in-depth lectures intending to educate the student to expertly manipulate every variable of stringed instrument design.

Lecture topics include:

  • Design tradition and historic examples
  • Originality
  • Aesthetics
  • Proportion and balance
  • Ergonomics
  • Neck pitch, attachment and geometry
  • Headstock and body design
  • Truss rod systems and installation
  • Selecting appropriate materials and hardware
  • Electronic circuits and control layouts

Materials and Supplies

A variety of blueprint blanks with different scale lengths will be available for maximum diversity. Blueprints are preformatted with various scale lengths for guitar, bass, mandolin, ukulele or other types of stringed instruments. Each student will receive full-scale blueprint blanks to work with and drafting tools/materials to use in class. Students will enjoy working at specially-designed drafting workbenches. Useful handout materials will also be provided.


Weeknights: 7pm – 9:30pm, three consecutive evenings.

Weekend: 10am – 5pm, Saturday & Sunday


$385 weeknights

$450 weekends

*An early registration discount may apply.

Tuition includes lecture/demonstrations, instruction and all class materials.

Sign up for Design & Theory + Blueprint and Electric Guitar Building together and take off $100!

D&T May_11 copy D&T May_05 copy


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:

Registrations are limited to 8 students. You can register for any of our classes online, by phone or in person.

Register Online

Make your selection of the class dates you wish to attend (and if applicable, the type of kit) in Available Dates column on the upper right of this page and click ENROLL NOW> Enter the required information and then proceed to pay by clicking the Paypal button and choose your method of payment. NOTE: It is not necessary to have a Paypal account to use their service.

Register by Phone 773.489.4830

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.

Register in Person

Come by the shop 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.

D&T May_25 copy D&T May_70 copy

Choose Date
August 12 & 13
Sat & Sun 11am - 5pm
$450.00 (USD)
-$50.00 (USD) Early Registration Discount
September 5 - 7
Tue, Wed, Thu 7pm - 9:30pm
$385.00 (USD)
December 2 & 3
Sat, Sun 11am-5pm
$450.00 (USD)


Classes are taught by Specimen owner Ian Schneller, or guest instructor Kye Kennedy. The course description will state who the instructor is for the given class


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