Masters Program – Term 2 – 2 Months (320 Total Hours)

CLASS: TOOLING 1 – Tools, Cauls and Templates – 20 hrs

To be a successful luthier you’ll need the tools to get the job done. Depending on the areas of building and repair you move into, one of these three packages should fit your needs. If necessary we will custom-build a package to fit your budget. For the rest of the program, you will continue to expand your toolbox by building the cauls, jigs and templates necessary to be a successful luthier so you can hit the ground running wherever you set up shop.

We do not profit from your tool purchase. All tools purchased through the Galloup School of Guitar Building and Repair are purchased at our cost. In many cases, our suppliers offer student discounts to you while you are attending our school. We strongly recommend you take advantage of our services and purchase your tools at this time in the program. Tool package costs vary depending on tool prices at the time of purchase, and shipping charges will be in addition to the costs of tools.

In addition, there are many specialty tools you will need to perform your job that can’t be purchased – you need to make them. You’ll have used many of these school-owned items in the program by this point, and have become familiar with them. This is the time to make note of every specialty item used at the Galloup School to create a detailed catalog of what you’ll need once you open your own shop. If needed, our CNC is available for hire to produce all of the jigs and cauls used at the school and they may be customized to your personal instruments design.

CLASS: DESIGN 1- Guitar Layout and Design – 20 hrs

Over the next four months, you will design an acoustic guitar, including a detailed layout drawing. You’ll be provided with the necessary drafting tools and a checklist of required topics, and you will be graded on your design. This painstaking exercise will give you a solid understanding of guitar layout and design, plus an original instrument you can start building when you’ve completed the Master Program.

You Choose the Instrument You’ll Build in Term 2

Choose any one of the instruments below to build in Term 2 of your Master training (not the same instrument you elect to build in Term 3).

Electric Guitar

Building a Carved-Top Electric Guitar

Bryan has designed a method of building set-neck, carved-top electric guitars and basses that fits well into the Master Program curriculum, and this method is also well suited to small shop production. It’s a very profitable production approach for the micro-builder.

Using high quality materials, you’ll scratch-build a guitar or bass that reflects the classic lines of some of the finest electrics ever made. In addition, we’ve added pickup winding to this project, putting you one step closer to building an entirely scratch-built instrument.

CLASS: 1 ELECTRIC – Electric Body – 60 hrs

Wood choice and body design play a large part in the tone of an electric guitar. Play several solid body guitars unamplified, and you’ll notice distinct differences between various wood types. A solid body that sounds good acoustically will generally sound good amplified. We’ll look at the different woods used to make electric guitars, and the effect of different body styles on tone and sustain.

Topics covered:

Body styles
Wood choice
Joining Flame Maple tops
Joining Mahogany backs
Pre-routing for electronics
Gluing up body blanks
Drilling locating holes
Routing Jigs and templates
Routing control cavities
Routing pickup cavities
Routing neck joints
Routing carved tops
Cutting out body style
Binding

CLASS 2: ELECTRIC – Electric Neck – 50 hrs

Just as wood affects the body, when making a neck you have to pay attention to wood choice in order to have a good sounding guitar. You’ll learn what makes a neck sound and play great.

Topics covered:

Wood choice
Gluing up neck blanks
Truss rod installation
Cutting neck joint
Scale lengths
Fretboard radius
Making fret board
Making peg head overlay
Custom inlay
Drilling tuner holes
Gluing on fret boards
Carving necks

CLASS 3: ELECTRIC – Assembly – 40 hrs

The final set of the electric guitar neck gives the guitar its overall feel and tone. You’ll learn to assemble your guitar with this in mind to give your guitar perfect feel.

Topics covered:

Setting neck to body
Fitting neck joint
Final neck set
Final shaping of neck, heel and body
Finish sanding
Masking for finishing
Installing neck hangers

CLASS 4: ELECTRIC – Finishing – 60 Hrs

You’ll finish your electric guitar with the same methods used by guitar companies in the ‘50′s and ‘60′s techniques that have stood the test of time. See how to get a classic sunburst with a vintage look using high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer.

Topics covered:

Masking bindings
Body filling
Body wood stains
Spraying techniques
Spraying sun burst
Clear coats
Wet sanding
Buffing

CLASS 5: ELECTRIC – Electronics – 20 hrs

Now that you’ve built a custom guitar, you’ll choose the wiring and pickups – pickups that you’ll wind yourself, giving you more control over the tone of your guitar.

Topics covered:

Grounding plates
Pick up winding
Pickup installation
Wiring volume pots
Wiring tone pots
Wiring switches
Wiring output jack
Bridge and string grounding

CLASS 6: ELECTRIC – Final Assembly – 40 hrs

Learn how to assemble and set up an electric guitar to factory specs. Our methods make the job much easier, and cut your setup time in half – skills you’ll use every day.

Topics covered:

Pickguard placement
Bridge placement
Tuner installation
Installing strap bottoms
Fret dress
Nut
Bridge set up
Action
String tree placement
Pick up height
Intonation
Final buff and polish

Electrical Bass

Building a Carved-Top Electric Bass

Bryan has designed a method of building set-neck, carved-top electric guitars and basses that fits well into the Master Program curriculum, and this method is also well suited to small shop production. It’s a very profitable production approach for the micro-builder.

Using high quality materials, you’ll scratch-build a guitar or bass that reflects the classic lines of some of the finest electrics ever made. In addition, we’ve added pickup winding to this project, putting you one step closer to building an entirely scratch-built instrument.

CLASS: 1 ELECTRIC – Electric Body – 60 hrs

Wood choice and body design play a large part in the tone of an electric guitar. Play several solid body guitars unamplified, and you’ll notice distinct differences between various wood types. A solid body that sounds good acoustically will generally sound good amplified. We’ll look at the different woods used to make electric guitars, and the effect of different body styles on tone and sustain.

Topics covered:

Body styles
Wood choice
Joining Flame Maple tops
Joining Mahogany backs
Pre-routing for electronics
Gluing up body blanks
Drilling locating holes
Routing Jigs and templates
Routing control cavities
Routing pickup cavities
Routing neck joints
Routing carved tops
Cutting out body style
Binding

CLASS 2: ELECTRIC – Electric Neck – 50 hrs

Just as wood affects the body, when making a neck you have to pay attention to wood choice in order to have a good sounding guitar. You’ll learn what makes a neck sound and play great.

Topics covered:

Wood choice
Gluing up neck blanks
Truss rod installation
Cutting neck joint
Scale lengths
Fretboard radius
Making fret board
Making peg head overlay
Custom inlay
Drilling tuner holes
Gluing on fret boards
Carving necks

CLASS 3: ELECTRIC – Assembly – 40 hrs

The final set of the electric guitar neck gives the guitar its overall feel and tone. You’ll learn to assemble your guitar with this in mind to give your guitar perfect feel.

Topics covered:

Setting neck to body
Fitting neck joint
Final neck set
Final shaping of neck, heel and body
Finish sanding
Masking for finishing
Installing neck hangers

CLASS 4: ELECTRIC – Finishing – 60 Hrs

You’ll finish your electric guitar with the same methods used by guitar companies in the ‘50′s and ‘60′s techniques that have stood the test of time. See how to get a classic sunburst with a vintage look using high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer.

Topics covered:

Masking bindings
Body filling
Body wood stains
Spraying techniques
Spraying sun burst
Clear coats
Wet sanding
Buffing

CLASS 5: ELECTRIC – Electronics – 20 hrs

Now that you’ve built a custom guitar, you’ll choose the wiring and pickups – pickups that you’ll wind yourself, giving you more control over the tone of your guitar.

Topics covered:

Grounding plates
Pick up winding
Pickup installation
Wiring volume pots
Wiring tone pots
Wiring switches
Wiring output jack
Bridge and string grounding

CLASS 6: ELECTRIC – Final Assembly – 40 hrs

Learn how to assemble and set up an electric guitar to factory specs. Our methods make the job much easier, and cut your setup time in half – skills you’ll use every day.

Topics covered:

Pickguard placement
Bridge placement
Tuner installation
Installing strap bottoms
Fret dress
Nut
Bridge set up
Action
String tree placement
Pick up height
Intonation
Final buff and polish

Fingerstyle Guitar

Building a Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar

CLASS: Finger Style Steel String 1 – Body – 100 hrs

In today’s market, detail work such as hand cut mitered purflings on the top, back and sides show the talent and commitment to excellence of a true craftsman. In addition, the side port is a popular feature offered by many contemporary Luthiers. Your finger style acoustic will incorporate all of these features plus many new lessons that will elevate you to the next level of guitar building.

Topics covered:

Finger Style guitar layout and design
Selecting wood
Matching top sets
Matching back and side
Joining tops and backs
Thickness sanding
Bending the sides
Cutting the rosette and soundhole
Fitting the sides to the mold
Gluing in head and end blocks
Fitting kerfing and linings
Shaping side braces
Scalloping back braces
Fan style X braced top bracing
Assembling the body
Cutting binding and purfling slots
Mitering purflings
Binding
Cutting the mortise
Drilling neck mounting holes

CLASS: Finger Style Steel String 2 – Neck – 50 hrs

One of the most popular acoustic guitar designs is an elevated neck joint with the neck/body joint at the 12th fret. Focusing on this format opens an area of guitar building and tone that are overlooked by other builders. In addition, the side port is a popular feature offered by many contemporary Luthiers. You’ll expand your skills by focusing on a different style of neck layout and how it affects the top bracing and tone.

Topics covered:

Scale length
Making fretboards
Binding fretboards
Fret markers
Making the neck
Peghead designs
Peghead overlays and laminates
Tuner layout and fitting
Truss rod installation
Gluing fretboards
Shaping necks and heels
Neck sets
Side markers
Heel cap and laminate

CLASS: Finger Style Steel String 3 – Finishing – 60 hrs

By this time you’ll be very familiar with our spray booth, and you’ll notice a significant improvement in your finishing technique. We will also cover how to deal with side and back purflings during the finishing process.

Topics covered:

Scraping binding and purflings
Finish sanding
Using spray guns
Wash coats
Fillers
Clear coats
Wet sanding
Buffing

CLASS: Finger Style Steel String 4 – Setup and Assembly – 60 hrs

Final setup and assembly are the means to well-balanced tone, and most people consider these to be the most challenging aspects of the course. The Finger Style Steel String guitar setup can prove to be especially challenging in order to get the dynamic tone this instrument has to offer.

Topics covered:

Final neck sets
Bridge layouts
Gluing bridges
Installing tuners
Fitting bridge pins
Leveling frets
Dressing frets
Making nuts
Making saddles
Final setup
Final buff and polish

Archtop Guitar

Building an Archtop Guitar

CLASS: ARCHTOP 1 – Body – 120 hrs

Your guitarmaking skills aren’t complete until you’ve mastered the techniques of building an archtop guitar – one of the most desirable and collectible instruments, and also among the most difficult and fun to build. By the time you have completed this final segment of the Master Program you will have experienced every aspect of guitar building and repair and will have the knowledge necessary to progress as a well-rounded Luthier.

Topics covered:

Guitar layout and design
Selecting wood
Matching top sets
Matching back and side
Joining tops and backs
Top carving
Bracing top
Carving F – Holes
Tuning the top
Bending the sides
Fitting the sides to the mold
Gluing the head and end blocks
Fitting the kerfing
Shaping the side braces
Scalloping the top bracing
Assembling the body
Binding and purfling
Cutting the dovetail

CLASS: ARCHTOP 2 – Necks – 40 hrs

The archtop neck design includes the handsome details that are traditional on jazz-style guitars: wooden stringers running the length of the neck, and a carved volute on the back of the peghead. You’ll build a neck using these classic design elements and learn how they affect tone and strength. Advanced binding work is included too: a bound peghead, bound fretboard, and peghead inlays.

Topics covered:

Scale length
Making the fretboard
Fretboard bindings
Fretboard inlays
Truss rod installation
Cutting the dovetail
Peghead designs
Peghead overlays
Tuner layout and fitting
Gluing fretboards
Leveling fretboards using the neck jig
Fretting
Shaping necks and heels
Neck-sets
Fretboard markers
Side markers
Peghead inlay
Heel cap

CLASS: ARCHTOP 3 – Bridge, Pickguard, Tailpiece and Truss Rod Cover – 40 hrs

Like the most impressive archtops, yours will have a hand-carved wooden tailpiece and bridge, and a pickguard and truss rod cover made of wood. You’ll choose wood that matches your fretboard and peghead overlays, and ties together the overall look of your instrument.

Topics covered:

Tailpiece styles
Tailpiece mounting bracket
Truss rod covers
Pickguard styles
Pickguard mounting brackets

CLASS: ARCHTOP 4 – Electronics – 20 hrs

Your archtop is a true acoustic instrument, but most archtop players prefer the added versatility of a pickup. You’ll mount a free-floating pickup that secures to the pickguard, learning how to mount electronics to the instrument unobtrusively.

Topics covered:

Pickup selection
Pickup placement
Altering the pickguard to accept the pickup
Mounting controls to the pickguard
Output jack placement

CLASS: ARCHTOP 5 – Finishing – 40 hrs

In finishing, you’ll learn how to deal with flame maple back and sides, with the added challenge of an arched top and back. At this point, you’ll be impressed by how far you’ve progressed as a finisher!

Topics covered:

Scraping binding
Finish sanding
Using spray guns
Advanced masking techniques
Wash coats
Spraying a three-tone sunburst
Clear coats
Wet sanding
Buffing

CLASS: ARCHTOP 6 – Setup and Assembly – 40 hrs

Setting up an archtop is significantly different from the other instruments we’ve covered. You’ll now be dealing with a much steeper neck pitch and adjustable archtop style bridge.

Topics covered:

Final neck sets
Bridge layouts
Making the bridge
Making the tailpiece
Installing the tuners
Fitting the tailpiece
Dressing frets
Making nuts
Final setup
Final buff and polish

CLASS: VOICING, LEVEL 2 – Materials Measurement and Data Collection – 10 hrs

New concepts in measurement and data collection, helping the student understand and quantify the material properties of wood.

Topics covered:

  • Using measurements to select materials
  • The value of quality materials
  • Importance of record keeping
  • New data collection methods
  • Material properties of wood: density, Modulus of elasticity,
  • Determining Modulus of Elasticity
  • Dynamic and static determination of Modulus of Elasticity
  • How to obtain and measure a tap tone
  • Using an FFT analyzer
  • Speed of sound and quality
  • Thickness sanding to a deflection
  • Utilizing MOE, speed of sound, quality measurements
  • Setting standards for top plates