Guitar Building School and Training Program Information
Guitar builders, commonly called luthiers, are skilled in building all types of string instruments. Most luthiers make the guitar from start to finish by carving, staining, assembling and stringing. Some luthiers are self-employed while others may be employed by a factory or workshop. A number of schools offer training programs in guitar building.
How to Choose a Guitar Building School
Guitar builders, or luthiers, must be skilled at working with wood, plastic and metal in order to build different types of guitars. Guitar builders do not need to know how to play the guitar; yet they must comprehend how a guitar produces music. Community colleges, technical schools and for-profit career schools offer courses, workshops, seminars and training programs in guitar building. Some of the longer programs result in certificates.
Individuals may want to seek schools that have a low student-to-teacher ratio because individual instruction and attention is an important part of the guitar building process. Students may look for schools with programs that emphasize one type of guitar building (acoustic or electric), depending on their career goals. Additionally, students can look for schools that provide shorter programs that teach the basic skills needed for a workshop or factory job or schools that have longer programs that provide in an in-depth, advanced education. Longer programs may be helpful for those looking to become self-employed guitar builders.
The expense may be a factor in choosing a guitar building school. Some programs may require materials fees in addition to tuition and application fees.
Overview of Guitar Building Programs
Guitar Building Courses
These programs may be in the format of a seminar, workshop or course and may last from two days to six months. Students learn the basics of guitar building and are able to seek entry-level employment as a guitar maker or as a stringed-instrument repair technician. Short 1-2 day courses and workshops may focus on a specific topic, such as inlay design, guitar repair or specialized tool use. Weeklong courses may focus on small shop production, contemporary guitar making or advanced guitar design. Other topics covered include theory, material selection, design and maintenance.
Certificate Programs in Guitar Building
Certificate programs can last from six months to one year and courses are taught sequentially starting with repairs and tooling and ending with guitar design. These programs are for those who desire a career in the guitar building industry or who want to start their own business. Courses covered in these programs typically include tools, adhesives, common repair procedures, wiring and bridge installations. Other courses may cover finishing materials and procedures, dynamic testing, computerized analysis and record keeping. Students must successfully build a guitar in order to graduate.
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