Guitar Building Class
Have you ever wanted to build your own high quality acoustic guitar, but were intimidated by the amount of tools, jigs, and skills involved? Here is your opportunity to work one-on-one with an experienced professional luthier and builder to make your own guitar in beautiful rural Knox county Ohio. Expect to come home with new skills, a great guitar, and some wonderful memories.
The class is two weeks in length for a total of twelve days in the shop. At the end of the class you will have a completed all-solid wood acoustic guitar “in the white” and ready for finish. You can take it home and finish it yourself, or leave it at my shop for a professional high gloss lacquer finish for an additional cost. We will build a student version of my Monarch model, with Rosewood or Maple back and sides, a Sitka Spruce top, laminated Mahogany neck, double action truss rod, bone nut and saddle, Ebony or Rosewood fretboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, wood bindings, and sealed Gotoh tuning machines.
You will learn all the fundamentals of guitar construction, such as side bending, plate joining, rosette making, neck carving, fretting, and setup. We will cover the basics of voicing and tuning including placing resonances to avoid wolf notes. Learn how to bind a guitar with wood (not plastic) bindings, and how to make a bolt-on mortise and tenon neck joint. We will make a bone nut and saddle for your guitar from scratch.
Classes of this depth often run to $6000 plus materials. You can build a guitar with me in two weeks for $4500 plus materials (approximately $600-$700 depending on a few options and including a laminated Mahogany and Maple neck.) There are several hotels located nearby. John Glenn International Airport (CMH) is located about an hour away from the shop, which is near Mount Vernon, Ohio. During your time in the evenings and on Sunday, the 14-mile paved Heart of Ohio bike and hiking trail runs along the rear edge of the property with direct access to the trail.
Whether you are a complete novice or a craftsman with experience, you will come away from the class with new skills, a good working knowledge of guitar construction, and some awesome memories. And, a great guitar that you can proudly play for many years! Contact me at 614 348-2147, or via the Contact Page, for details about reserving your class for 2023. Classes are available from March through September. I look forward to discussing your build with you.
Greg is an excellent teacher. His dedication and sense of humor enriched the experience. The goals for each day were clear. Each technique or skill was demonstrated clearly before I carried out the operation. Greg was patient but persistent in making sure outcomes for each part of the build met his standards.
I recommend without reservation Greg Maxwell’s guitar building course.
Tom Stone, Cleveland, Ohio
This was the first time building an acoustic guitar in my life and the first time working in a wood shop since high school. Greg is a great guy and fellow guitar geek. He is also a great instructor and highly skilled luthier. Every step of the build Greg would explain everything we had to accomplish. How we were going to do it and why. He went over all the tool operations and safety. He also would explain what to look out for. What not to do and why. It’s a nice, clean shop with all the tools and equipment necessary to turn a pile of raw materials into a guitar in 2 weeks. Greg answered all my questions and helped me understand some new concepts. I live close to Greg so I asked him to stain the back and sides and spray a lacquer finish. Greg also did a mother of pearl inlay on the head stock for me. Then I went back for the final assembly and setup. That was when I couldn’t hardly wait to hear what it would sound like. I couldn’t be more pleased or proud with how it turned out.
Greg’s guitar build class was an experience and memory of a life time for me.
I learned a lot from Greg about guitar building but one thing he impressed on me was, that to build a quality guitar you have to make the most out of the woods you have. If you do that you will build a guitar, you’ll be proud of. I know I’ll never look at another acoustic guitar in the same way I did before the class. I would strongly recommend this class to anyone interested in acoustic guitar building.
For me, working alongside a great luthier and coming out with a fantastic guitar was a dream come true! Greg guided me every step of the way on the build. I went into the class with very little wood working skill. He is very patient and safety minded. You won’t be pushed into doing a part of the build that you aren’t comfortable with. Greg will, however, encourage you and guide you in learning new skills. He discusses guitar building in detail, but with terms that anyone can understand. He definitely encourages questions and teaches from years of solid experience. His craftsmanship is superb and I feel the class is well worth the time and money. If you are considering doing this class, don’t hesitate, you’ll be very glad you did. I would take the class again in a heartbeat!
Chris M, Westerville Ohio
- Can I design my own peghead shape, body style, etc? For the sake of time and to stay focused on the fundamentals, we will build a student version of my Dogwood Monarch model. The student version has a standard OM style peghead shape, pearl fretboard position markers, Maple binding with bwb purflings, and a Herringbone rosette with bwb rings. If there is time, we may be able to do a simple shell inlay on the peghead. Customizations are limited to your choice of Maple or Rosewood back and sides, and nickel or gold tuners.
- What are the finish options? Your guitar will be completed “in the green” and ready for finish. You can take it home with you to finish yourself, or if you prefer I will apply a high gloss lacquer finish for you at a cost of $500. I can discuss various finish options you can apply as part of the class.
- Are cases available? I can have a Roadrunner molded ABS case available for purchase, or you may bring your own case. Check with me for dimensions as you are responsible for the guitar fitting your case.
- Can I supply my own materials? The bulk of the materials for your class guitar will be ordered from Luthiers Mercantile Int. and shipped to my shop in advance of your class date. The materials and supplier have been selected to ensure that you will have quality experience. Students are strongly discouraged from bringing their own materials.
- How is this different than building a kit? This is not a kit! We will begin with a stack of raw materials, similar to those I use when I build one of my custom Dogwood models. We will cut out parts, bend sides, shape braces, cut a rosette, carve the neck, make the fretboard, bridge, nut, and saddle from blanks. Furthermore, you will have access to all the tools and jigs required to build a guitar, things you will still need to buy when attempting to assemble a kit.
- Will I build the guitar myself? We will work together, one-on-one, through each step of the build. In some cases, I will demonstrate a technique and then you will repeat it. Your experience with power and hand tools will dictate the level of your safe participation, but even complete novices will have plenty of hands-on time.
- Can I split up my two weeks? Yes. Although it is recommended that students schedule their two weeks together if at all possible, the class can be divided up into two two-week sessions scheduled according to my availability. While there is some overlap, the first week focuses on the guitar body, the second on the neck and final assembly. If you need to split your two weeks, I’ll store your work in my climate controlled shop until your second session. All classes need to be completed by the end of September.