Acoustic Guitar Building


Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist

My Acoustic Guitar Building Workshop begins your journey of learning acoustic instrument making. Students will  build their own Martin-style 000 guitar from an excellent kit.  This  class is a perfect initiation to acoustic luthiery. Ambitious students will be ready to build an original design from scratch after completing this build.

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.

No drawing skills or shop experience required.

  • Fee

    Tuition + kit cost.

    $348 + kit cost, Fast Track Weeknights
    Tue, Wed, Thu
    7.5 hours

    $695 + 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

    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 build 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 building 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 in the course.

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

Fast-track and Weekend Workshops
These workshops are designed to make a quick start on the guitar building process, introduce the student to the materials and objectives of the guitar build, the tools and skills required to complete it and to guide the student through initial construction phases. Once the first steps are taken with the neck and body, the project is truly underway. Individual students tend to work at their own pace from this point forward, either taking advantage of the school’s Guitar Building seminars or Open Workshops, or in their own workshop at home.

The 5 Day Workshop
This immersion workshop offers 35 hours within 5 consecutive days. It is structured to guide the  student through almost every phase of their guitar build. This is a special opportunity to work consistently for an extended period with the guidance of  luthier and CSGM founder, Ian Schneller

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

Open Workshop access and other guitar building sessions are available to continue work at CSGM.