Chicago has a rich tradition in guitar making – it used to be the Guitar Making Capital of the World! But with the growing inclination of big US companies manufacturing their instruments outside the US using CNC machines instead of traditional building techniques, and nearly all electronics vocational programs being withdrawn from our schools, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for the budding student interested in the tradition of guitar building and repair. The Chicago School of Guitar Making wants to keep the tradition of lutherie alive and thriving with the hope of inspiring new generations for many years to come.


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While there are a number of Luthier Schools out there, most of them require their students enroll in an intensive (and sometimes expensive) 6-12 month program. Our goal is to be the school for people who want to learn but can not leave their home, families, or job to embark in this new venture.

Classes and workshops are held weekdays, weekends and evenings to accommodate busy schedules. Courses can be taken one-at-a-time, all at once, or whenever convenient to the student.

Specimen opened the Chicago School of Guitar Making in 2005 as a response to the growing number of resumes and internship inquiries we received every week for nearly 20 years. We recognized people were hungry to learn, but there was no place in Chicago for them to study and be trained to build and repair guitars.

We started with a basic offering: Guitar Setup. From there we added a Fret Workshop and Guitar Electronics Course. Soon it became apparent these classes weren’t enough, alumni were waiting for more, and many of them were asking about tube amp training, more complex guitar repair techniques, and guitar building classes. Things were going great and word about us spread outside of Chicago. To meet the need, we opened our first Weekend Seminars in Guitar Setup & Electronics, others soon followed and hosted classes for people coming from other states, Canada, Europe, and even Asia. Since then we have added the Tube Amp Diagnostics & Repair, Tube Amplifier Making, Guitar Making, and Guitar Repair Courses to our curriculum.

For news and additional details about our school, including information about the staff, facility and the classes we teach, please visit this page and our FAQ page.