Design & Theory + Electric Guitar Building – $100 off

Design the guitar of your dreams and then get a head start on building it with this special discounted offer.

Design & Theory + Blueprint Course

Completing this workshop will prepare students for the exciting prospect of starting the actual construction of an original design for an electric guitar, bass, or other stringed instrument.  The student’s main goal in the Guitar Design & Theory workshop is to produce a functional, full-scale blueprint of an original instrument design. This blueprint will contain all the relevant design parameters needed to construct the instrument in its entirety. 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. This workshop also includes in-depth lectures intending to educate the student to expertly manipulate every variable of stringed instrument design. No drawing skills required.

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

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Electric Guitar Building Workshop

This workshop gives students creative control over the guitar’s design, shape, finish and performing quality. At the end of the process students will have a wonderful creation that fulfills their own unique vision. This is a not a kit assembly workshop students build their own instrument from scratch using raw materials and the time-tested techniques of the school. The instructor will be on-hand at all times for assistance and to guide the student through the guitar building process. Students will learn how to shape their guitar’s neck and body, install the truss rod, install all hardware and much more.

Note: Students will NOT be able to complete a guitar build in one session. Total build time varies greatly depending on the design and the working pace of the student. After an initial guitar building session, students may choose to register for more sessions as needed or contact us about our pro-rated shop access opportunity.

Following is a list of some of the procedures that will be demonstrated:

  • Transferring patterns
  • Making templates
  • Preparing body blanks
  • Preparing neck blanks
  • Carving
  • Sculpting wood using rasps and hand planes
  • Neck shaping
  • Binding
  • Truss rod installation
  • Fretboard preparation
  • Routing for neck and hardware
  • Pickguard making
  • Proper gluing techniques
  • Correctly locating bridge and other hardware
  • Finishing

 Electric Guitar 3


  • Design & Theory course runs April 8 & 9 from 11am – 5pm
  • Electric Guitar Building course runs April 22 & 23 from 12pm – 4pm


  • Design & Theory course runs August 12 & 13 from 11am – 5pm
  • Electric Guitar Building course runs August 26 & 27 from 12pm – 4pm


Ian Schneller Ian is the founder and chief instructor of the Chicago School of Guitar Making. Ian teaches Design & Theory + Blueprint CourseElectric Guitar BuildingTube Amp Building and Champ Tube Amp Building. He is also a faculty member of the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute and owner of Specimen Products.

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.

Hours of Operation:

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.

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Choose Date
Expired Sep 13, 14 & 15, Oct 1 & 2
Tue, Wed, Thu 7pm - 9:30pm Sat & Sun 12pm - 4pm
$810.00 (USD)
Expired Nov 19 & 20 + 29, 30 & Dec 1
Saturday & Sunday 11am-5pm Tue, Wed, Thu 7pm-9:30pm
$845.00 (USD)
Expired Jan 10, 11 & 12 + 21 & 22
Tue, Wed, Thu 7pm-9:30pm Saturday & Sunday 12pm-4pm
$730.00 (USD)
Sold Out April 8 & 9 + 22 & 23
April 8 & 9 : 11 am - 5 pm + April 22 & 23 : 12 pm - 4 pm
$800.00 (USD)
August 12 & 13 + 26 & 27
August 12 & 13: 11 am - 5 pm + August 26 & 27: 12 pm - 4 pm
$800.00 (USD)


Classes are taught by Specimen owner Ian Schneller, or guest instructors Richard Phillis, Pete Mueller or 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

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Mail In Registration

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