Acoustic Guitar Making


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My Acoustic Guitar Making Workshop begins your journey of learning luthiery.  Students will make their own Martin 000 style acoustic guitar from an excellent kit with the guidance of an experienced luthier.  This course offers the perfect initiation to luthiery and acoustic guitar making.

Students will learn fundamental workshop skills and advanced techniques required to build a fine acoustic stringed instrument. 

We will cast a wide net into the realm of woodworking, with a finished guitar as proof of application.

The student will be ready to make an original design of an instrument from scratch after completing this acoustic guitar.

No drawing skills or shop experience required.

Students work at their own pace and may require more time to finish their acoustic guitar project. They may choose to continue the work at home or at the school in our Open Workshops or our Guitar Making Workshops

  • Fee

    Tuition + kit cost.

    $348 + kit cost, 3 Weeknights
    Tue-Thu 7 pm - 9:30pm
    7.5 hours

    $685 + kit cost, Weekend Session
    Sat-Sun 10 am - 5 pm
    14 hours

    $2,080 + kit cost, 5 Day Session:
    Mon-Fri, 10 am - 5 pm
    35 hours

    $3800 + kit cost, 12 day Session
    Two Weeks: Mon-Sat, 10 am- 5 pm
    84 hours

    A special discount may apply.

    Tuition includes lectures, demonstrations and personal guidance, the use of an individual guitar workbench with specialized tools and all of the shop supplies and tooling necessary to complete the project.

  • Materials and Supplies

    Rosewood kit with rosewood back and sides, Sitka spruce top, dovetail neck joint.

    Mahogany kit with mahogany back and sides, Sitka spruce top, dovetail neck joint.

  • Instructors

    Ian Schneller read bio

  • Refund Policy

    Registrations are non refundable. A tuition fee may only be applied to other CSGM classes with written notice of cancellation prior to class.

  • Location

    All workshops are held at Specimen located at 1240 N. Homan Ave. in Chicago, Illinois. view map

  • Registration

    Register online or call 773.489.4830 to enroll with a credit card.  You are also welcome to come by the shop and enroll using cash, credit card or a personal check.  Please note that all registrations are final and non-refundable. 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.

The Triple 000 kits we construct have a dovetail neck/body joint. This is traditional, authentic and correct. These kits come stock with a two way adjustable truss rod. I believe this is a poor choice and a needless compromise. I prefer to modify the neck/ truss route to fit an authentic steel, non adjustable truss rod, like all Martin instruments had up until about 1980.  This is also the way I have built all of my instruments since about 1996. They are sonically superior (surprisingly so), infinitely more stable, and give the instrument the longevity old Martins are known for. However, some people like the new fangled adjustable truss rods and that is Ok. Unless otherwise instructed, I will prepare the kit for the non adjustable steel truss rod and revel in the splendor.

The kits come with plastic binding but I often use wooden binding. You may do so as well if you so desire. One is not better than the other. This topic can be discussed during the initial sessions.

This course is formatted as a series of lectures and demonstrations with lots of hands on work.

Working from a kit of roughly formed components and pre bent sides, this course is designed both for students with little to no experience and also those with intermediate experience.

A few of the many tooling demonstrations include:

  • Clamping and gluing
  • Caul making
  • Sanding and scraping
  • Chisels and knives
  • Rasps and files
  • Handsaws
  • Routers and router bits
  • Band saw
  • Table saw
  • Drill Press
  • Belt sander/spindle sander
  • Fretting tools

Workshop Materials and Supplies
Everything needed for making the guitars will be included in the kit and the necessary supplies and tooling is provided by the school.

All kits contain AAA-grade tone-woods. Roughly carved mahogany neck. Pre-bent bent sides. Book matched and joined back. Book matched and joined Spruce top with sound hole and rosette channel pre cut. Kits include a full-size blueprint modeled after a vintage Martin.

Each student will be given occupancy of one luthiers guitar workbench, as well as storage for materials for the duration of the course.

We will go over the tools necessary for a home shop throughout the course for those interested in taking the art to a private space.

Applying the finish and instrument finishing techniques will be discussed but not covered.

Students will have the option to apply a finish on their own outside the school, receive instruction in guitar finishing from CSGM faculty in Open Workshops or Guitar building sessions at the school or have their guitar finished for them by a Specimen/CSGM professional.

The Fast-track and Weekend Workshops 

The fast track workshops are designed to help the student make a quick start on the guitar making process. We’ll  introduce the materials and objectives of the acoustic guitar making process and the tools and skills required to complete it. We guide the student through the initial construction phases. Once the first steps are taken with the neck and body, the project is truly underway. Students will work at their own pace from this point forward.  They may continue the work at home, or in our Open Workshops, or our  Guitar Making Workshops.

Fast-track 3 Evenings Workshop

This Fast-track workshop offers 7.5 hours of instruction designed to give the student an overview and a quick start toward making their first acoustic guitar. Continued work will be required to finish the guitar.  Students may choose to work on their own at home, in our Guitar Making Workshops or in our Open Workshops.

2 Day Workshop 

The 2 Day  workshop offers 14 hours of instruction and is designed to give the student an overview and a quick start toward making their first acoustic guitar. Continued work will be required to finish the guitar. The student may choose to work on their own at home, in our Guitar Making Workshops or our Open Workshops.

5 Day Workshop Summer Camp
This course offers 35 hours of instruction and hands-on work in an immersive 5 days making and learning experience. Students will develop shop skills while working at their own pace. This course structured to guide the student through every essential phase of their guitar build.  Completing the guitar in under 40 hours is possible, but unlikely. Continued work may be required to complete the guitar. The student may choose to continue their work on their own at home, or  in our Open Workshops, or in our Guitar Making Workshops


12 Day Workshop Summer Camp

This course offers 80+ hours of instruction, hands-on work and additional courses to complete your very own pre-1980 Martin 000 style acoustic guitar under the guidance of professional luthier and school founder Ian Schneller.

Completing the guitar in under 80 hours is possible. However, students work at their own pace and continued work may be required to complete the guitar build. The student may choose to work on their own at home or continue their studies and work in our Open Workshops or in our Guitar Making Workshops.

This is a special opportunity to work consistently for an extended period with the guidance of  luthier and CSGM founder, Ian Schneller



Please note: Each student will work at their own pace.  Students will require additional time outside of this workshop to complete this project. While it is possible for a student to complete a first guitar build within 40 hours, it is highly unlikely.

Open Workshop and our Guitar Making Workshops are available to continue work at CSGM.