MI’s Guitar Craft program offers comprehensive training in guitar design, construction and maintenance of both electric and acoustic guitars. In keeping with MI’s total-immersion approach to education, your classroom is a fully-equipped instrument manufacturing facility. As a final project, you design and build your own instrument, learning through direct experience under the guidance of first-rank professionals how to analyze and solve the problems encountered by working luthiers. Whether your goal is to work for a guitar manufacturer, design and build your own instruments, or work as a guitar tech, a Guitar Craft education provides the foundation for success.
Learn from Experienced Professional Luthiers
Guitar Craft instructors bring decades of experience in manufacturing, custom shop operation and instrument repair directly into the classroom.
Design, Build, and Play Your Own Instrument
Design and build your personal guitar or bass from scratch (no prefab bodies or kits) using the same methods and equipment used by custom builders and manufacturers, from hand tools to a top-of-the-line Computer Numeric Control lathe. Weekly private lessons by expert MI guitar instructors will take your own playing to a new level.
Electric and Acoustic Design
With the optional Acoustic Guitar emphasis, learn to design and build virtually any style of electric or acoustic instrument.
Day and Night Schedules
Day or evening class schedules, Monday through Friday. Choose the schedule that works best for you (Acoustic Guitar emphasis offered only Mon-Fri 6-10pm).
Small classes provide plenty of hands-on experience under the close supervision of professional luthiers. A sample of courses includes:
As an Associate of Arts student in instrument performance programs (Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keyboard Technology, Vocals) you may opt for a combined course of study which is a combination of the performance program and a music industry program (Audio Engineering, Film, Guitar Craft, Music Business, Independent Artist).
Enrollment in such programs is dependent upon admission approval and space availability.
Associate programs are vocational and do not include General Education requirements or specific preparation for study at the Baccalaureate level.
Certificate in Guitar Craft
The two-quarter/30 credit-unit Certificate program in guitar design, fabrication and maintenance provides comprehensive preparation for the instrument manufacturing and repair professions. Courses are held in a custom-designed facility containing all of the tools, fixtures and accessories required to build high-quality instruments. During the program, every student designs and builds a custom electric guitar or bass for their personal use. You also receive weekly private instruction in stylistic instrument performance techniques. Completion of all program requirements qualifies the student to earn the Certificate in Guitar Craft.
An introduction to guitar and bass electronics. Topics include understanding magnetic, piezo, and active pickups, proper shielding techniques, switching options, and proper soldering technique as well as trouble-shooting and repair. You will also learn how to make your own magnetic pickups, balancing output and tone to arrive at optimal tonal properties for different instruments and stylistic applications. You are required to research a wide range of after-market electronics. Ten lecture hours and ten supervised lab hours plus projects for one quarter.
Students learn electronic troubleshooting and wiring modifications, coil taps, phase switching and other more advanced electronics applications. Ten lecture hours and twelve supervised lab hours plus projects for one quarter.
Fretwork & Setup 1
Learn essential guitar maintenance techniques used by professional technicians. String height and truss rod adjustment, intonation, fret dressing and fret replacement are covered along with effective methods for trouble-shooting related problems. You learn principles of temperament and harmonics as well as how to adjust the instrument for proper musical “feel.” Eight lecture hours and 24 supervised lab hours plus projects for one quarter.
Fretwork & Setup 2
Continuation of GC03a with emphasis on final preparation for demands of professional setup. Four lecture hours and 30 supervised lab hours plus projects for one quarter.
Instrument Design 1
Every detail of an instrument’s design affects its musicality and playability. This course covers principles of neck, headstock, and body design, including the weight and musical properties of various types of tone woods, as well as pickguard and control cover fabrication and design, selecting instrument hardware, musical qualities of hardware materials, overview of instrument fabrication history and template design. Eight lecture hours and 14 supervised lab hours plus independent research assignments and design projects for one quarter.
Instrument Design 2
You design a tilt-back neck and body and research the design and fabrication of classic instrument designs, including the Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul. Four lecture hours and six supervised lab hours plus independent research assignments and design projects for one quarter.
Instrument Fabrication 1
Building outstanding instruments starts with understanding the tonal properties of wood and shaping it to produce the most musical results. This course is an introduction to the use of woodworking tools and techniques, including routing, jointing, milling, and shaping along with the use of large industrial and handheld tools. Six lecture hours and 33 supervised lab hours plus independent fabrication projects for one quarter.
Instrument Fabrication 2
The ultimate proof of a Luthier’s knowledge and skill is in the instrument itself. As the centerpiece of the program, each student designs and fabricates a personal electric guitar or bass from raw materials, including instrument bodies, necks and pickups as well as painting and buffing. Four lecture hours and 35 supervised lab hours plus independent fabrication project for one quarter.
Course covers the methodology and organization of materials and procedures for basic guitar repair and modification. Includes building the relationship between musician-client and technician and communicating in musical and technical language. Twelve lecture hours plus projects for one quarter.
An instrument’s finish is not only cosmetic, but can have a profound effect on its musical properties. Class covers procedures and techniques for finishing and repairing musical instruments, including preparation, painting and buffing. Twelve lecture hours and 24 supervised lab hours plus projects for one quarter.
Instrument Performance 1
Private instrument instruction on electric guitar or bass with a focus on understanding the relationship between musical style, technique, sound and instrument design. One private lesson hour per week for one quarter.
Instrument Performance 2
Continuation of private instrument instruction on electric guitar or bass with a focus on understanding the relationship between musical style, sound and instrument design. One private lesson hour per week for one quarter.
Certificate in Guitar Craft (Acoustic Guitar Design)
The three quarter/45 credit-unit Certificate in Guitar Craft (Acoustic Guitar Design) provides guitarists with comprehensive practical training in the field of guitar design, fabrication and maintenance with additional emphasis on acoustic guitar design. Classes are held within a professionally-equipped facility containing all of the tools, fixtures and accessories required to build high-quality instruments. Practical application-oriented courses culminate in a design project during which you design and build a custom acoustic guitar. You receive weekly private instrument performance instruction throughout the program. Completion of all program requirements qualifies you for the Certificate in Guitar Craft (Acoustic Guitar Design).
Acoustic Guitar Design
Every detail of an instrument’s design affects ergonomics, function, sound and playability. This course covers principals of acoustic guitar neck, headstock and body design, including selection of hardware and template design. Eight lecture hours, fourteen supervised lab hours, research assignments and design projects.
Acoustic Guitar Fabrication
Each student builds a complete acoustic guitar from raw materials. Includes wood selection, sizing stock and surfacing, bracing, neck and body construction, scaling, marquetry, inlay work and setup. 20 lecture hours and 39 supervised lab hours plus projects.
Acoustic Guitar Fixtures
Design and manufacture of all necessary fixtures for the construction of an acoustic guitar. Includes molds, clamping fixtures and layout templates. Six lecture hours and 28 supervised lab hours.
Acoustic Guitar Finishing
Techniques for finishing acoustic guitars, including wood preparation, filling, masking, sealing, top coating, sanding, color sanding and buffing. Eight lecture hours and fourteen supervised lab hours.
Instrument Performance 3
Private instrument instruction on acoustic guitar with focus on understanding the relationship between musical style, technique, sound and acoustic guitar design. One private lesson hour per week for one quarter.