Musical instrument making. Guitars – starting or finishing instruments with David Whiteman

Musical instrument making

Ref: S5D11176

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2 places available

About this course

Musical instrument making – starting or continuing projects
An exciting opportunity to start making a new instrument in preparation to join our nine day course or to continue one you have already begun. If starting a new instrument or new to these courses, please contact us before booking. Instruments should be selected with advice from the tutor.

Course Description

This course is supplementary to the nine-day Musical Instrument Making course, held in the spring. It enables students to have time to design and make the moulds and jigs necessary for making their chosen instrument. Also to select and prepare some of the woods required. It may also be used to finish and set up instruments made on a previous course.

What you should achieve:

(1) Starting a guitar or ukulele

An understanding of the process of making their chosen instrument.

The correct use and sharpening of hand tools.

The preparation of templates, moulds and work-boards.

The selection and preparation of suitable tonewoods.

(2) Finishing your instrument

An understanding of different types of finishes and their application.

Preparation and application of a French polish or oil finish to your instrument.

Fitting machine-heads.

Cutting and fitting a bone nut and saddle.

Setting up strings.

Teaching is generally on a one-to-one basis catering for the student’s individual needs, and dictated by ability, previous experience and knowledge. There will be group demonstrations where appropriate. As the course takes place in the main workshop, adjacent to the other courses in this series, you will also gain knowledge by interaction with fellow students and other tutors. Those starting certain instruments have information packs provided by the tutors. Health and safety is dealt with as an integral part of the course.

Please note: humidity levels in the workshop are variable to dry; whilst the College has addressed this, as some factors are beyond our control, instruments are brought at your own risk.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • The instrument you wish to complete. As soon as you receive confirmation of your place, please tell us which instrument you wish to work on by emailing
  • If you are new to the course, please give details of your past experience in instrument making and woodworking. We will pass this information to the tutor who will contact you to discuss this and materials required. Alternatively, if you are bringing a part-made instrument, bring materials and information relating to this, or inform the tutor what you need.
  • Any hand tools you may have or think you may need (marked with your name)
  • Appropriate workshop clothes and stout covered footwear (not sandals)
  • Tools
  • Some woodworking tools are provided by the College including a variety of planes, chisels, drills, etc., however numbers are limited, so you should ideally bring your own, if you have them, to include the following:
  • (1) Useful tools for making templates, jigs and moulds
  • 300 or 150mm steel rule
  • Pencil
  • Engineers square
  • Scalpel or marking knife
  • Block plane
  • G clamps
  • Half round file and rasp
  • Glue brush
  • (2) Finishing materials
  • Bench cloth
  • Cotton rags
  • Fine flat files
  • Nut files
  • Any tools you need to continue with basic construction (if in any doubt, please ask the tutor – mark tools with your name)

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • If you are making a new instrument, a basic charge for materials, timber and drawings, if supplied, should be paid to the tutor at the start of the course.
  • A guide price for good quality tone-woods for instruments are:
  • Ukulele £110 Classical Guitar £265 Steel String Guitar £285


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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