Guitar Building Classes

Learn how to make a flat-top, hollow-body, steel string acoustic guitar from scratch, including side-bending, neck carving, assembly, and intonation. You’ll be learning from some of the best builders in the local lutherie community.

GUITAR BUILDING CLASSES

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

The next session begins in January 2023. If you would like to put your name on the waiting list, please register with the appropriate instructor, below.

Steel String Acoustic Guitarmaking Class
Register with: Larry McCutcheon
lpmclpmc@verizon.net

Guitar-Building Methods Taught

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, bolt-on joint to connect the neck and body.

Click for more detailed information on the Steel String Acoustic 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 4:00 pm, with instruction and building time continuing until 8:00 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 2023, 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 $450-$600 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 will be taught by Larry McCutcheon. Larry has been building guitars and ukuleles—off and on—for 22 years. He studied guitar-building technique with Eric Nichols, who taught guitarmaking for over twenty years, first at Orange Coast College, then with SIMSCal. Larry has taught guitarmaking classes both “from a kit” and “from scratch,” and approaches the subject with an easy-going attitude: “Teaching is just sharing what you know.”

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