Foundations of Method: Charting Your Course at CSGM


There are two directions to take here at the Chicago School of Guitar Making. I recommend pursuing both since as they feed each other, but one must start somewhere.

There is: Technical work, and Design.

One can go the technical path and learn to work on instruments or tube amps that are used by countless musicians every day. Many of these items have rich service histories, which we learn to unravel, marvel at, and repair. If we learn to do solid quality work on these items we can preserve legacies of other peoples work. Maybe we can make a living while we are at it as well.
Over the years, my pipeline of setups, fretwork, modifications, and damage control has provided income, during periods when commission work was spotty.

Specimen circa 1994 at 1728 West Division Street, Chicago

The other direction is designing and making your own instruments or amps.
Over four decades, I’ve crafted around 860 instruments, drawing inspiration and refining my craft through years of performing technical service. You cannot help but think of other ways to do things when you are forced to work on “questionable design”.

My evolving process has become a proven methodology—a set of steps both on the drawing board and in the workshop. It’s like a blank canvas that consistently delivers guaranteed results. My methodology has represented a springboard for many CSGM alumni who have gone on to do great things. I am very proud to watch the careers of my students blossom into heralded practices, as their voices gain influence and their outputs grow. Please see the profiles of some of them at the bottom of this newsletter.

Students can start in either direction – The tech program or the design program. However, all curriculums are available Ala carte to fit anyones schedule or budget. I always recommend starting with my setup class. It is a great way to get to know me and my shop and embark on this journey of creation and control.