Stringed Instrument Makers of Southern California


Sponsored and taught by SIMSCal  at


10770 Talbert Ave.

Fountain Valley, CA 92708

2017 classes are alreadycompleted.  2018 classes start in January. If you would like to get your name on a list for a future class, please register with the appropriate instructor.

***   ***

Electric Guitarmaking Class

Register with - Larry McCutcheon


***   ***

Steel String Guitarmaking Class

Register with - Eric Nichols

(714) 319-9909

Learn how to make a flat top hollow body guitar, from side-bending to neck carving, assembly, and intonation, from the some of the best builders in the local guitar community. Or, if you prefer to “plug in,” take our new class offering for 2018 and build an electric guitar, utilizing the latest in CNC technology.

Guitar-Building Methods Taught

Choose to build either a steel string acoustic or an electric guitar. The steel string construction method, based on the technique of Bob Mattingly, uses a combination of both hand and power tools, and employs a contemporary mortise and tenon to connect the neck and body. The electric guitarmaking method will involve instruction on operating a CNC routing system to cut out the body shape from a digital template, as well as some traditional construction techniques, to build a Fender Telecaster-style guitar.

Class Schedule and Procedure

Class schedules are still being decided for 2018. To give you an idea of what to expect, though, in 2017, the steel string guitar class consisted of 20 weekly evening sessions., meeting on Wednesdays, commencing in mid-January. The workshop opens at 5:00 p.m., with instruction and building time continuing to 9:00 p.m. The electric guitar class is a new offering in 2018, and we  are still deciding on the number of class dates necessary.

Because of space limitations, enrollment is limited to 6 students for the steel string guitar building class, and 6 students for the electric guitar building class. This allows for personal attention for each student, that is to say that, realizing that life priorities vary, each student can proceed at his/her own pace.

Meetings consist of lecture / demonstration and shop time. It is an ambitious project to complete a guitar in 5 months, even with a fair amount of "home work" done by the student. All the information necessary to complete a guitar, including a nitrocellulose lacquer finish for steel string guitars, will be provided. Due to the nature of lacquer finishing, actual demonstration is not possible at Woodcraft. In the past, we have had "open shop time" available for students – and club members – through the summer and early fall months, for students who wish to continue working on their guitars.


Prior woodworking experience is not necessary. Students will be instructed in the proper and safe use of the tools used in guitarmaking. Although those with experience may proceed faster than those without, the small size of the classes allows for personal attention. No one will be left behind.

Costs – Tuition and Materials

Tuition costs for 2018 are yet to be determined. Tuition cost for the 2017 steel string 20-session courses was $1000. This includes group and individual instruction, shop time, use of required power and hand tools. A non-refundable deposit of $100 is required at time of registration in order to hold a position in the class.  Class payments may be made in three installments, $300 at the first class, $300 at the 8th class, and the final payment of $300 at the 16th class.

Additional costs: Each maker will choose his/her own guitar materials - woods and hardware.  These material costs will be about $300- $500 for a basic, attractive guitar of excellent sound quality.

You will also want to invest minimally in some tools (for home assignments) such as clamps, rules, adhesives, etc. – most of which can be had at local stores. Finish will be another cost to consider, and this will vary on type of finish you choose. All this will be explained in the first meeting. Finally, personal tastes may lead to upgraded hardware and additional guitar ornamentation; these costs can be discussed with the instructors.

About the Instructors

The Steel String Guitar instructor is Eric Nichols, a well-known luthier with over 20 years of experience building guitars and teaching; he is a former instructor of guitar making at Orange Coast College in Southern California. Eric is assisted in the class by Drew Richman.  Drew is no stranger to wood - in addition to building guitars, he builds boats as well.

The Electric Guitar instructor is Larry McCutcheon, an independent luthier and proprietor of Huntington Beach Ukuleles. Larry has a strong interest in incorporating modern technology into the traditional art of instrument making, particularly the use of CNC routing systems.

click here for map


      Eric Nichols                           Drew Richman                              Larry McCutcheon


Woodcraft Store:  10770 Talbert Avenue, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Click here for map

Click for more information about the steel string guitar building class.


Click for more information about the electric guitar building class.

2016 Steel String Guitar-making Class

       2016 Classical Guitar-making Class

2016 Guitar Building Classes - students hard at work

Trimming braces and tops,  and utilizing the go-bar deck on the solera to clamp harmonic bars and carving the heel in the 2016 Classical guitar building class.

Preparing braces and using the jointer to prepare the neck blanks in the 2016 steel string guitar building class.