Guitar Making and Repair Course - Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery

    roberto venn 664648745 Guitar Making and Repair

Course Details

The Guitar Making and Repair Course consists of practical and theoretical training in acoustic and electric guitar construction and repair. The school offers two five-month (880 clock hour) courses each year, beginning in February and late August. Classes are held Monday through Thursday, from 8 AM to 6 PM and Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM, except holidays, with one hour lunch, and mid-morning and mid-afternoon study breaks.

The curriculum revolves around each student building a minimum of two ‘project’ guitars, including an acoustic steel string and an electric guitar or 4 or 5 string electric bass. Lectures and demonstrations are given for each phase of the construction process throughout the course. Following the lectures and demonstrations, students proceed with that portion of their project guitar. Instructor led one-on-one training is reinforced by the Roberto-Venn School Workbook, a library of tutorial videos, class lectures and student’s notes.

In addition to hands-on training, weekly quizzes and quarterly tests allow the staff to monitor the student’s progress and understanding of the guitar making process.

The school workshop is comprised of individual student workbenches along with instructor’s workbenches. Class size ranges from 25-35 students, with an average ‘Student to Teacher’ ratio of 6 to 1. This ensures that the instructors can provide close supervision and monitoring of students progress on a daily basis. The workshop is equipped with specialized tools, jigs, and clamps for student use.

Power woodworking equipment is located in a Ramada covered area adjacent to the workshop. Students are taught safety and use of this equipment for all milling, sanding, sawing and routing guitar operations. In addition to power equipment and tool inventory provided by the school, students used their own personal tools, designated in the required Student Tool List.

Fall 2024

August 1, 2024 – December 20, 2024

Spring 2025

January 13, 2025 – May 30, 2025





Building the Student Project Guitars

Students may choose from two steel string acoustic body styles: dreadnaught or OM, using the school’s templates, patterns, and molds. Students may design their own headstocks, bridges, rosettes, and inlay patterns, subject to instructor approval, or use the school’s existing templates. The electric guitar or bass will be a solid body, flat top instrument, in the students’ choice of set neck or bolt-on configuration. Templates of traditional body styles are available, or the student may design their own, subject to approval.

The finest air-dried woods are made available for the students’ instruments. Wood choices include: mahogany, rosewood, ebony, maple,walnut, spruce, cedar, myrtle, bubinga, koa and other woods. No pre-made or ‘kit’ parts are used for guitar construction. Machine heads,bridges, pickups, and other guitar accessories and components are obtained from leading manufacturers such as: Schaller, Grover, Gotoh, EMG, Seymour Duncan, Sperzel, Hipshot, and others leading manufacturers. Both acoustic and electric guitars receive a clear nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Translucent colors and sunbursts are offered for the electric instruments.

Both project instruments are built simultaneously during the course. A third instrument may be started in the second month, depending on the students’ progress and satisfactory completion of the core requirements.

student guitars 2020 1 electric Guitar Making and Repair

In addition to guitar construction, sessions are given in: milling and wood selection, guitar design, tool use and maintenance, scale and template derivation, guitar repair, finishing (lacquer, oil, stain, sunburst, and re-finishing), guitar electronics, pickup design and construction, tremolo installation, care and preservation of stringed instruments, and related subjects.

During the five month course time is devoted to specialized training in guitar repair and the ‘start-up’ aspects of establishing a lutherie business. This will include special guest lectures from industry professionals, graduates and faculty. Students will have an opportunity to do work on their own instruments as well as instruments provided by the school, for the purpose of refining repair techniques and skills.


Becoming a Professional

During the course, students participate in identifying and searching for a job in guitar making and/or repair. Students receive assistance in writing a resume and cover letter, and can select prospective employers from lists compiled by the school. Graduates of the Roberto-Venn School work for almost every major guitar manufacturer, as well as smaller custom shops, in the United States and around the world.

Sessions in small business management are also given, to prepare graduates for operating their own lutherie shops or for work in existing music stores. Road touring “tech” work is also covered.

We cannot guarantee job placement, but we are confident that graduates of the school have the basic skills necessary for seeking entry level positions.

Graduate Certificate

Student work is evaluated throughout the course and graded on a percentile as well as a letter grade basis. A “Luthier Certificate” is awarded to each student who completes their project instruments and meets all minimum requirements for graduation. Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery is an accredited member of ACCSC (Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges), licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education and is approved for Veterans Training.

For students with little or no previous woodworking experience, or for those whose skills may have “rusted” from disuse, we offer a three-day Tool Use and Maintenance Seminar. This meets just prior to the beginning of the semester, and is a great way to get acquainted with the program.