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Acoustic Guitar Making Courses


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On Sale now through Dec 31!


Our Acoustic Guitar Making course offers the perfect initiation into the craft of guitar making.

Students will make their own Martin style acoustic guitar from an excellent kit.

This course teaches fundamental workshop skills and the advanced techniques required to build a fine acoustic stringed instrument. 

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 the school in our Open Workshops or our Guitar Making Workshops or at home.

  • Fee

    Fee includes tuition, supplies, kit, tax and shipping to the school.

    Tuition includes lecture, demonstrations, guidance, use of an individual luthiery workbench equipped with specialized tools. All shop supplies necessary to complete the project are included in the fee.

  • Kits

    Kit options:

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

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

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

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

    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.

  • 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.


Fast-track Weekend and 3 Day Courses

Fast track courses are given as either a 2 day weekend or 3 day mid-week course designed to give the student a quick start to their guitar making project. We’ll  introduce the materials, processes, and tools, and guide the student through the initial construction phase of their guitar. 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.

5 Day Summer Camp Course

This course offers 30 hours of instruction and hands on work within an immersive 5 day making and learning experience. Students will develop shop skills while making their own acoustic guitar.  This course is structured to guide the student through the essential construction phases of a guitar.  Students will work at their own pace. Completing this project in under 30 hours is unlikely, and continued work will 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

2 Week Summer Camp Course

This 10 day Acoustic Guitar Making Camp offers 60 hours of instruction, shop training and hands-on work in an immersive learning environment. Students will work at their own pace, developing shop skills while making their own acoustic guitar.

For students who arrive to class with well developed shop skills, completing their guitar in under 60 hours is possible, however each student will work at their own pace and most students will require additional time to finish their guitar.

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.

Our Summer Camp courses offer students a special opportunity to work consistently on thier project for an extended period with the guidance of  luthier and CSGM founder, Ian Schneller.

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.

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 our Open Workshops or Guitar Making sessions 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.

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

Please note:  

Students will work at their own pace and may require additional time outside of this class to complete their guitar.

Students may continue working on their project at the school in either our Guitar Making workshops or in our our Open Workshops.