Acoustic Guitar Making Fast-track Course


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This Acoustic Guitar Making course offers the student the perfect initiation to the craft of guitar making. Students will embark upon making a their own high quality Martin style guitar and learn skills and techniques necessary to build any fine acoustic stringed instrument.

The course is designed for the beginning or intermediate level student who prefers to get a quick start and then continue making their acoustic guitar on their own schedule either at the school in our Open Workshops or on their own at home.

No drawing, shop skills or prior experience is necessary.

Perfect for a beginner. No workshop experience necessary.

The student will learn fundamental workshop and luthiery skills as the instructor carefully guides them through each construction phase of their guitar.

Students will work at their own pace. More time outside of this course will be required to finish making their guitar. The student may choose to continue the work on their own at home, or with instruction and access to tools at the school in Open Workshops.

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

We offer longer courses in our Acoustic Guitar Making Camps!


  • Fee

    Fee includes tuition and the kit cost, tax and shipping to the school. Tuition includes instruction, use of an individual luthiery workbench equipped with specialized tools and all the shop supplies necessary.

    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.

  • Kit Options

    OM Style Rosewood
    Dovetail Neck, Sitka Top, Indian Rosewood Back & Sides

    Dreadnought Style Rosewood
    Dovetail Neck, Sitka Top, Indian Rosewood Back & Sides

    Triple 0 style Rosewood
    Dovetail Neck, Sitka top, Indian Rosewood Back & Sides

    Triple 0 style Mahogany
    Dovetail Neck, Sitka top, Mahogany back and sides

  • Classroom

    Class size is limited to 8 students.

    Course is taught in a professional guitar service shop equipped with 8 individual workbenches stocked with specialized tools necessary for the course work.

  • Schedules

    Courses offered with varying number of completion hours.

    Longer courses offer more hands-on bench time and instruction, giving students the opportunity to continue working on their project with guidance from the instructor.

    Shorter courses are perfect for those who prefer to set their own work schedule in our OPEN WORKSHOPS or plan to finish this project on their own.

  • Workshop Safety

    While we make every effort to keep the CSGM workshop clean it can be dusty and at times noisy. We recommend hearing, respiratory, and eye protection be used when working in the shop. We have this safety equipment available for use or purchase when in class and it is the students responsibility to exercise diligent use of these safety measures.

  • Instructors

    Ian Schneller read bio

  • Location

    1240 N. Homan Ave. in Chicago, Illinois 60651   Map

  • Registration

    Register online, in person, or by phone: 773.489.483 . Cash, credit card or a personal check are accepted. Registrations are final and non-refundable. Payment credit is transferable.


Course Description

Our Acoustic Guitar Making courses are 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.

Some of the many tooling and skill 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


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. A full-size blueprint modeled after a vintage Martin is also included.

The 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. 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.


Students may choose to receive additional instruction in guitar finishing either in Open Workshops at the school, or have their guitar finished for them by a Specimen/CSGM professional, or apply a finish on their own outside the school.

Please note: Most students will require 80-100 hours to complete a first guitar.  Students will require additional time outside of this course to complete their guitar.  They may choose to continue working on this project on their own at home or at the school with guidance from the instructor in Open Workshops.


Fast-Track Courses

This course offers the student a quick start in to their guitar making with instruction and hands-on work. The instructor will introduce the materials, tools and processes and guide the student through the first steps of the construction of their guitar. Once the first steps are taken with the neck and body, the project is truly underway and students will work at their own pace from this point forward.

Continued work will be required to complete the guitar outside of this course. Most students will require about 100 hours to complete their first guitar. Completing an acoustic guitar in under 90 hours may be possible for students who come to class with developed shop skills.

Our Acoustic Guitar Making Camps offer more hours with instruction and an opportunity to make great progress. The camps are structured to teach essential luthiery skills while guiding the student as they progress through each construction phase of their own guitar.

5 Day Camp

This course offers 30 hours of instruction, shop training and hands-on work .

2 Week Camp

This 10 day course offers 60 hours of instruction, shop training and hands-on work.

3 Week Camp 

This 15 day course offers 90 hours of instruction, shop training and hands-on work.

Most students will require about 100 hours to complete their first guitar. Completing an acoustic guitar in under 90 hours may be possible for students who come to class with developed shop skills.