advanced guitar design features
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Hands-On Acoustic Guitar Making
Hands-On Electric Guitar Making
Contemporary Guitar Making
Advanced Design Features
Setup, Maintenance & Basic Repair
Small Shop Production



5 days

Class format: Lecture & demonstration.

Enrollment is limited to six students. Class runs from 9am to 6pm or later, Monday through Friday. This class assumes previous guitar making experience. Please email with any questions, or call to speak with us personally.

Tuition: $1200


ergo advanced design

ADVANCED DESIGN FEATURES is a five-day seminar focused on the many new design features that are redefining the contemporary guitar.

design features guitar making

What a great time it is to be a luthier. The guitar’s ‘golden age’ has gone platinum.  The acoustic guitar is in a period of tremendous growth and guitar building advanced design features    transition and the luthiers involved in this creative renaissance are having thetime of their life.

For a generation or two until recently the acoustic guitar had evolved at a conservative pace, advancing more through gradual refinement than innovation.   Suddenly, that's changed. Yesterday's small number of experimental luthiers has exploded into an army of creative builders whose work has changed the guitar forever and created a market that rewards thoughtful innovation.  


double-top sandwich guitar buildingThe evidence of this design revolution is all around us - bevel arm rests, double tops, side sound ports, rigid rims … these things weren’t even imagined early-on in my own guitar making career. Today’s players have embraced these revolutionary new features for their real value – the players’ enhanced musical experience. Compound and double cutaways, elevated finger boards and body access panels are now offered as options and even standard features by more and more luthiers and manufacturers

Although the attraction and value of these new design elements is clear to most luthiers and players who've experienced them, the theory and how-to is not always obvious.  The Advanced Design Features seminar is a unique opportunity to deepen your understanding of this new realm and to consider the future direction of your own work from a fresh perspective


- Removable necks
- Spiral fret boards
- Adjustable necks - hinged angle, vetricle screw
- Rigid rims
- Double linings
- Solid laminated rims with foam/cedar core
- Access panels
- Scalloped cutaways
- Sound ports - adjustable, non-adjustable
- Arm rests - bevel insert, bent soundboard
- Cantilevered fingerboards
- Elevated fingerboards
- Compound cutaways
- Wedge shaped bodies
- Semi-hemispheric fret ends

- Headless necks
- Braceless tops
- Off-center sound holes
- Double tops - nomex core, lattice core
- Internal baffles
- Removable bridges
- Adjustable tone bars
- Double cutaways
- High tech bridge & saddle materials
- Fan frets, multi-scales
- Lateral compression
- Pinless bridges
- Alternate body architecture
- Ventilated, relieved braces
- Laminated rims


We’ll shine a light on each item listed here with a comprehensive overview of its purpose and history, a study of actual examples, a breakdown of its function and how it’s created, the techniques and tooling, and a round-table discussion brainstorming its possibilities.


This year’s seminar will feature in-depth step-by-step demonstrations of a few key features; body bevels - ergonomic details that have changed the guitar’s architecture, double tops – ultra responsive soundboards engineered for extremely low mass and high strength, and advanced fret board treatments – the highly playable compound radius and twisted playing surface, and full-round fret ends that maximize the neck’s playing width. If time permits, we’ll address the last feature with a hands-on training tutorial.

learn advanced features to make guitars