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Guitar & Bass Building Workshops – 2017 Fall/ Winter

This workshop gives students creative control over the guitar’s design, shape, finish, and performance qualities. At the end of this multi-step process students will have a wonderful creation that fulfills their own unique vision. Students build their own instrument from scratch. This is a perfect follow up to Design and Theory. It’s also the perfect opportunity to follow up working on acoustic guitar or ukulele kit builds started in another class. Registrations are limited.  Questions? Please call us 773-489-4830


While prior knowledge of woodworking and shop tools is helpful, the instructor will be on-hand at all times for assistance or to carry-out machining procedures for those students with less experience. The main objective of the Guitar Building Workshop is to provide a set of sequential tutorials that will guide the student through the guitar building process. During the course of these workshops, students will build their own electric guitar completely from scratch using raw materials and the time-tested techniques of the instructor. Students will learn how to shape their guitar’s neck and body, install the truss rod, and install all hardware. Our goal is to provide an enriching environment for the burgeoning student with many opportunities for exposure to various techniques and skills.  Whether the student chooses to build a reproduction of a traditional/classic design or chart new territory into an unknown realm, the emphasis will be on making a supremely-functional and long-lasting instrument of beauty. This workshop welcomes both the traditionalist and the experimentalist. During the workshops students will observe numerous demonstrations on various aspects of the building process. The timing of these demonstrations will be dependent upon the needs of the students so that workshops can be personalized to match where each student is within the building process.

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

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.

Electric Guitar 3

Materials and Supplies

The school provides each student with custom workbenches and all tools needed to build their instrument. All building materials such as body and neck blanks, fretboards, truss rods, pickups, nuts, bridges, and any hardware can be ordered through the school or the student can elect to source these materials for themselves. The instructor is available to guide students through the selection of any of needed materials and can order parts at a discount when possible.  However, for those wanting boutique parts, many of these items are only available as custom orders and best left for the student to order directly from the maker.

Mandatory Pre-requisite

Students must complete the Design & Theory + Blueprint Course before they can enroll in this workshop.

Register for the Combined Design & Theory + Blueprint and Guitar and Bass Building and save.


Summer Camp:  10 Hours, Two full mid-week days. 10 am – 5 pm.  Lunch is included.

Weekend: 4 hours per day: Saturdays and/or Sundays, 12pm to 4pm

Weekday Evening Sessions: 2.5 hours per evening, Tue, Wed, Thu, from 7pm – 9:30 pm


Tuition includes instruction, demonstrations, guidance, handout materials, use of specialized tools, guitar workbench and shop supplies.

$165 for a Weekday Evening – One Day Session (2.5 hours)

$230 One Day Session – Weekend (4 hours)

$450 Three Evenings or Two Weekend Day Sessions (approx. 7.5 hours)


Ian Schneller  Ian is the founder and chief instructor of the Chicago School of Guitar Making. With over 800 handmade instruments bearing his Specimen moniker, he brings a wellspring of knowledge to the classroom with the mission of perpetuating the tradition of handcraft and innovation. He is also a faculty member of the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute and the founder/owner of Specimen Products.


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