Guitar Building Classes

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Learn how to make a flat-top, hollow-body guitar (steel string acoustic or nylon string classical) from scratch, including side-bending, neck carving, assembly, and intonation. Or, if you prefer to “plug in,” take our new class offering for 2018 and build a Fender Telecaster™-style electric guitar, utilizing modern CNC technology to facilitate much of the work. Either way, you'll be learning from some of the best builders in the local lutherie community.

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GUITAR BUILDING CLASSES

Sponsored and taught by SIMSCal at
Woodcraft of Orange County
10770 Talbert Ave
Fountain Valley, CA  92708

Our 2018 guitarmaking classes have already ended.  Next session begins January 2019.  If you would like to get your name on the waiting list, please register with the appropriate instructor, below.

Steel String Acoustic Guitarmaking Class
Register with: Eric Nichols
ricnic2@gmail.com
(714) 319-9909

Nylon String Classical Guitarmaking Class
Register with: Jason Wolverton
jason@jasonwolverton.com
(949) 463-7802

Electric Guitarmaking Class
Register with: Larry McCutcheon
lpmclpmc@verizon.net

Guitar-Building Methods Taught

Choose to build either a steel string acoustic, nylon string classical, 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 spline joint to connect the neck and body. The nylon string classical guitarmaking method is based on the techniques of the Spanish maestros Torres and Romanillos, and utilizes the solera workboard.  The electric guitarmaking method will involve instruction on operating a CNC routing system to cut out the body from a digital template, as well as some traditional construction techniques, to build a Fender Telecaster-style guitar.

Click for more detailed information on the Steel String Acoustic Guitarmaking Class.
Click for more detailed information on the Nylon String Classical Guitarmaking Class.
Click for more detailed information on the Electric Guitarmaking Class.

 

Class Schedule and Procedure

Contact the appropriate instructor for the current class schedule.  In general, our guitarmaking classes consist of 20 weekly evening sessions, commencing in mid-January. The workshop opens at 5:00 pm, with instruction and building time continuing until 9:00 pm.

Because of space limitations, enrollment is typically limited to 6 students per class. This allows for personal attention from the instructor, so that 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 "homework" 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.

Prerequisites

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

For classes beginning in January of 2019, tuition cost will be $1250. This includes group and individual instruction, shop time, and access to the 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.  The remaining tuition amount may be paid in three installments: $400 at the first class, $400 at the 8th class, and the final payment of $350 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 depending on the 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.

Meet the Instructors

The Steel String Acoustic class is taught by Eric Nichols, a luthier with over 20 years of experience building guitars and teaching guitarmaking; he is a former instructor of guitarmaking 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 also builds boats.

The Nylon String Classical class is taught by Jason Wolverton, a professional guitar player, composer, and luthier who has studied Spanish guitar construction with legendary maestro José Romanillos in Siguenza, Spain.

The Electric class is taught by Larry McCutcheon, an independent luthier under the label of Huntington Beach Ukuleles. Larry has a passion for incorporating modern technology into the traditional art of instrument making, particularly the use of CNC routing systems.

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Eric Nichols

Steel String
Acoustic Class

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Drew Richman

Steel String
Acoustic Class

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Jason Wolverton

Nylon String
Classical Class

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Larry McCutcheon

Electric Class