Are you ready to create, design, and build your first electric guitar?

Were you planning to visit Berlin for the Holy Grail Guitar Show in on May 2018? If that is the case, you can take that opportunity to learn about the ancient art of guitar making, designing and building the instrument you always dreamt of. I have put together a hands-on, intensive course on guitar making, in order to make that dream into a reality. In five days.

 

 

This is how it works:

Phase 1 – DESIGN

You start as soon as you want, drawing sketches of the instrument you would love to build.

Then, with my help, you will refine your concept: You will develop an electric guitar (or bass) working on the shape, the ergonomics, the materials, the aesthetics, the style, and the playability.

This usually takes 5 or 6 remote, one-on-one, 45-minutes sessions, which we will held via Skype, so it doesn’t matter where you live (we will speak in English, Spanish, or Italian).

This process results in the complete blueprint and specifications of your own electric guitar. We will define each detail, even your own logo!

Phase 2: CONSTRUCTION

You come to Berlin, one of the coolest cities in Europe. Together with me (and the other participants of the course—ideally no more than 6 people) you will build your actual guitar. You will learn about the tools, the techniques, and you will acquire the knowledge to make your next guitar by yourself.

This phase takes place during the week from April 30th to May 4th – 2018, right before the “Holy Grail Guitar Show” (which is the most important guitar show nowadays, featuring the creations of the most renowned guitar makers in the world.)

We will only have five days to complete the instrument, so we will work with focus and resolve, following this timeline:

  • Day 1: Introductions. Presentation of the designs. Speech about safety (10 minutes). Body making. Body Finishing (part 1).
  • Day 2: Neck making. Neck finishing (part 1). Body finishing (part 2).
  • Day 3: Electronics. Neck finishing (part 2). Body finishing (part 3).
  • Day 4: Montage + Setup
  • Day 5: Final touches + sound test + photo session.

 Requirements

No previous lutherie or woodworking experience is needed. Ideally, you must read my two books on the subject (you get a free copy when you sign up for the course). However, there is one crucial requirement: that you strictly follow my indications in regard to safety. The process has been designed to be safe (we will use mostly hand tools, no chemicals, etc.) but nonetheless you will be required to sign a contract with a waving clause. We want you to travel back home with a beautiful guitar and all your fingers and eyes attached to where they belong, okay?

 

The workshop:

The construction sessions will take place in an authentic lutherie workshop (see pictures below). You don’t have to worry about tools, machines, or anything else. Everything is ready for work.

The workshop is located in Berlin, in the traditional neighborhood of Spandau, close to the famous Citadel (a fortress built in the 1500’s, and one of the best conserved in the world). Reaching the venue is easy from almost any part of the city, either by train or subway. The workshop is located at a 10-15 minutes walk from the Spandau station, an ideal opportunity to breath in the fresh air before the work starts—you are going to need it!

 

Hours:

We will work from Monday, April 30th to Friday, May 4th — each day from 1pm to 7pm. This leaves you the mornings free, so you can have a relaxed breakfast and visit the city attractions (museums, historical places, etc.). After a full afternoon working on your guitar, you are ready for a shower, dinner, and the night-life of the city (although you will have to organize that part by yourself).

However, save the date for Friday, May 4th, as we will share a dinner at the medieval restaurant of the Spandau Zitadelle (http://www.zitadellenschaenke.de/). And yes, the dinner is included in the course fee, too 😉

 

 Cost:

The cost of the course is EUR 2,350 (final price, taxes included, no hidden charges), which includes the following:

  • All the materials. We will use only top quality, certified tonewoods in this project.
  • All the tools. After the course you will take home the basic kit of tools you used, so you can start your own workshop.
  • All the hardware. We will use high quality Schaller parts (bridge, tuners, etc.), made in Germany.
  • All other parts. Pickguard, truss-rod cover, control cavity cover, pickup frames, plates, etc.
  • The electronics. Pots, caps, switches, wire, jack, solder…. Everything is taken care of.
  • A customized apron, the luthier’s uniform of choice.
  • Refreshments: There will be fresh coffee, tea, sodas, and something tasty to nibble in every session.
  • A ticket for the Holy Grail Guitar Show. You get to visit the show—and of course come visit me at my table, where I will be showing my own guitars. (Note that my seminar has no affiliation with the EGB or the HGGS).

Not included in the cost:

1) The pickups. Since this is a very personal choice that regards the sound and character of your instrument, you will buy and bring the pickups yourself. You will receive guidance on this too, of course.

2) The knobs. Wait – the knobs? Yes. Hunting for vintage, unusual, or special knobs on eBay is just too much fun, so you get to do it yourself. Also, you get to hunt for all other particular, custom parts you want to include in your design. Let your creativity flow!

Payment:

The payment is done in two parts. You pay 50% before the design phase, and 50% before the construction phase. Please note that the payment is strictly in advance (EUR 1,175.- before the beginning of each phase).

Payment methods: Bank transfer or PayPal. Please note that I cannot accept cash, WU, or other methods.

What do you get from this course?

You go back home with all of this:

  • A unique guitar or bass, made by yourself—your first instrument to show to the world.
  • The knowledge you need to build your next instruments, acquired under the guidance of a professional luthier, author, and guitar designer.
  • The basic tools you need to start your next project (I mean the actual, physical hand tools: a file, a chisel, a hammer, a rasp, the setup elements, etc).
  • A high quality picture of your instrument in order to feature them on your website or your preferred social networks.
  • The fun of an unforgettable experience in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.

… All at the price of a good quality —but conventional— instrument (i.e. your typical Fender or Gibson), bought over-the-counter at some music shop (yawn).

(This is an example of a guitar designed and built by one of my students).

 

The things you must take care of yourself

  • Transport. You must arrange yourself the travel, from, and around Berlin.
  • Lodging. You must book and pay your lodging according to your preferences (hotel, hostel, Airbnb, a friend’s sofa, etc.)
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, etc. The refreshments during the seminar’s hours and the final dinner are on me, though.)
  • Touristic attractions. I will do my best to satisfy every guitar-related question you might have, but I will leave the matter of touristic guidance to the specialists 🙂

 The next steps:

1) Contact me at [email protected], and let me know that you are interested in participating. You are automatically put on a waiting list until the first payment is made; only then you are confirmed as a participant. Please remember that I can only accommodate a limited number of participants, in order to closely follow everyone’s work.

2) The design sessions will take place at your earliest convenience, but not later than March, 2018.

3) We are only a few months away, so make the necessary reservations to come to Berlin. I suggest using AirBnb.com or Booking.com, where you can reserve lodging options without paying in advance—many hotels and apartments can be booked using a free-cancellation policy. (Tip: Take into account how easy would be to get from your hotel or apartment to S + U Rathaus Spandau station.)

Again, I wait for your message, questions, etc. at [email protected].

See you in Berlin!

 

 

 

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