One of SIMSCal’s proudest and most enduring traditions is teaching those new to lutherie how to build their first instrument. Whether you’re a complete beginner, or a veteran woodworker looking for a new challenge, our small group classes offer a fun, educational introduction to the world of instrument making.
Our Current Offerings:
Steel String Acoustic Guitarmaking
Learn to build a “flattop” acoustic guitar from scratch, in either the Dreadnought or OM body shape.
Workshop Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Solid Body Electric Guitarmaking
Learn to build a solid body electric guitar from scratch, based on the classic Fender Telecaster™ design.
Workshop Location: North Hollywood, CA
Our class registration process is pretty low-tech:
- Visit the page for the instrument-making class that you want to take.
- Find the instructor’s contact info (email or phone number).
- Call or email the instructor directly to let them know you are interested in taking their class.
The instructor will add your name to our class interest list. A month or two before the next class session is scheduled to begin, they will go down the list and start contacting people, to see who is still interested/available to join the class. A non-refundable deposit of $100 is required at time of enrollment, in order to hold your spot in the class.
Because of space limitations, enrollment is typically limited to six (6) students per class. This allows for personal attention from the instructor, so that each student can proceed at their own pace.
There is a fair amount of demand for our classes, so there is a chance you may have to wait until the following year to take the class. On the other hand, people’s plans, schedules, and financial situations change frequently, and we often find that one or two enrolled students will need to drop the class, last minute, allowing us to offer their spot to the next person on the list. Have patience—we will have a spot for you, sooner or later!
You must be an adult, aged 18 years or older, to take our classes.
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 & Materials
Please refer to the individual class pages, or contact the instructor, for current tuition prices. Tuition includes group and individual instruction, shop time, and access to the required power and hand tools.
Additional costs: Each maker will select and purchase their own materials—woods, hardware, etc.—before the class begins. As of 2023, one can expect these material costs to total around $500 – $600 for a basic, attractive guitar of excellent sound quality. Of course, personal tastes may lead one to purchase more exotic tonewoods, upgraded hardware, and additional ornamentation, all of which would increase the cost of materials.
You may also want to invest minimally in some tools (for home assignments) such as clamps, rules, adhesives, etc.—most of which can be found at local home improvement stores, or specialty woodworking & lumber stores in the L.A./O.C. area, such as Woodcraft, Rockler, Ganahl Lumber, Austin Hardwoods, Hudson & West, etc.
Finish will be another cost to consider, and this will vary depending on the type of finish you choose, and whether or not you opt to carry out the finish work yourself, or send your instrument out for professional finishing.
SIMSCal is proud to offer our classes to anyone who wants to learn how to craft their first stringed musical instrument. Building an instrument is a fun, challenging, and ultimately satisfying project. We look forward to having you join us in one of our classes!