CONTEMPORARY GUITAR MAKING
Class format: lecture & demonstration seminar
Enrollment is limited to six students. Class runs from 9am to 6pm or later, Monday through Friday. No previous guitar making experience is required. Please email with any questions, or call to speak with us personally.
CONTEMPORARY GUITAR MAKING is a window on guitar making's dynamic new reality. Today’s high quality guitar making is based on an accurate grasp of the acoustic behavior of the instrument and a working knowledge of the most effective means of the craft. Armed with these two things, a growing number of world class luthiers are able to systematically optimize important qualities of their guitars, and to build enough of them to both advance steadily in their craft and make a comfortable living. CONTEMPORARY GUITAR MAKING invites you to share the understanding and the techniques that make this possible.
CONTEMPORARY GUITAR MAKING is a comprehensive five-day survey of the craft as it is practiced today. This seminar's study topics range from nuts-and-bolts skills to fundamental theory and principles, with an emphasis always on their direct application to state-of-the-art guitar making. Every aspect of the guitar's function, design and construction - both steel string and classical - is demonstrated on actual work in progress and explained in detail. CONTEMPORARY GUITAR MAKING examines the guitar's acoustical, structural, and aesthetic design factors as well as materials, construction methods, voicing, tooling, shop design, marketing, and other topics critical to the practice of lutherie in today's world.
IS THIS FOR YOU?
For the beginning guitar maker, this unique seminar is the best possible introduction to the field - a strong foundation for working ultimately at an accomplished professional level. This course will take years off your learning curve by starting you off right at the top, ready to work with a clear awareness of the state of the art. Although it's not required, some familiarity with tools and materials is useful, as this program is not a general introduction to the art and craft of woodworking.
For the more experienced guitar maker, this seminar will dramatically broaden your frame of reference. It is an opportunity to review your own approach to the craft in a new creative light; a chance to further refine the quality and direction of your work and to resolve the guitar building problems that remain for you.
For the full-time luthier, this intensive re-examination of the craft will help you both to break out of the old habits that we all get stuck in and to take your work to its next level with renewed inspiration and increased productivity. The information and techniques from this seminar should allow you to measurably increase your output.
We'll concentrate throughout on the basic physics that inform the guitar's design. Every important principle is identified, explained, and underscored by demonstrating its direct application. The aim is for you to be guided in your work by a clear understanding of the phenomena that govern the behavior of the instrument.
The creation of a guitar begins with design work and pattern making. The logic and thoroughness of this process are rewarded throughout the building of the instrument. You'll learn simple procedures that will produce an integrated design and a complete set of working patterns in just a few hours.
TOOLING, JIGS AND FIXTURES
The best choice of tools for guitar making depends on your personal style, resources and available space. We'll examine an extremely versatile and compact setup that's perfect for the small guitar-making shop. Well-designed jigs and fixtures are a key to efficiency and to consistent high-quality work. We'll explore the few basic principles around which most jigs and fixtures can be designed and we'll examine many affordable time-saving guitar making devices.
SHOP SETUP AND PRODUCTION
Working efficiently is important to anyone who values his or her time. There's more than one way to set up an efficient workshop, but there's only one best way for you to do it without compromising either the quality of your work or your enjoyment of it. We'll discuss tooling up and organizing the one-person shop for smooth productivity, with an emphasis on economy and appropriate means.
Fundamentally, there are two basic ways to build guitars: free-form on an open work board, for prototyping and other custom work, and fixed-form, using solid molds and other specialized devices, for efficiently reproducing your standardized designs.
Familiarity with both ways is essential for creative, efficient lutherie. We'll examine a variety of approaches to every construction process, from traditional hand methods to up-to-date time-saving production techniques. You'll learn ways of guitar building designed to maximize the quality of your work while minimizing your time and effort. All of these methods are presented in the context of a logical, integrated approach to the craft.