New! Effects Pedal Building Workshop Open Now

 Register here.

Design & Blueprint for Guitar Building

Whether you choose to design a reproduction of a traditional guitar or chart new territory, the emphasis is on designing a supremely-functional and long-lasting instrument of beauty. The student’s main goal in the Guitar Design & Blueprint 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. Completing this workshop will prepare students for the exciting prospect of starting the actual construction of an original design for any stringed instrument – electric or acoustic. No drawing skills required.  This workshop welcomes both traditionalist and experimentalist.  Sign up for Design, Theory & Blueprint +  Guitar Building together. Questions? Please call us: 773-489-4830

Schedule Format

Students will work at their own pace and the complexity of each of their designs will vary.  Some students will arrive with clearly conceived design ideas and parameters while others may have an idea outlined for the build, but will need more time in the workshop to develop and finalize specifications and design detail. For this reason – and for the convenience of the student, we offer workshops of varying length: A full weekend and for those who feel their ideas and parameters can be detailed quickly, either our one day workshop pr mid-week evenings. Students who sign up for the shorter workshopa and wind up needing more time are welcome to attend open shop hours to complete the work.

Weekend Workshop  12 hours

Weeknight Workshop  7.5 hours

One Day Workshop     7 hours


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 pre-formatted 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.


Tuition includes lecture/demonstrations, instruction and all class materials. *An early registration discount or 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.

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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

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Specimen Freeman Royale Archtop Electric Guitar

Choose Date
Expired Dec 2, 3
Sat & Sun 10 am - 5 pm
$450.00 (USD)
May 1, 2, 3
Weeknights: Tue, Wed, Thurs 7 pm - 9:30 pm
$345.00 (USD)
-$50.00 (USD) Early Enrollment Discount
June 2 One Day Workshop
Weekend: Saturday 10 am - 5
$385.00 (USD)
-$50.00 (USD) Early Enrollment Discount
July 21 One Day Workshop
Weekend: Saturday 10 am - 5
$385.00 (USD)
-$50.00 (USD) Early Enrollment
Design Summer Camp* July 25 & 26 Two Day Workshop
Weekdays: Tuesday & Wednesday 11 am - 5 pm
$485.00 (USD)
-$100.00 (USD) Early Summer Camp Enrollment


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