Learn traditional methods of making classical guitars, steel strung acoustic guitars and ukuleles. You will learn about the design and construction of your chosen instrument. The course will cover all aspects of guitar making: drawing plans, making moulds and jigs, selection of tone woods, correct use and sharpening of hand tools, working wood to fine tolerances, inlays and decoration, differing construction techniques, finishing and setting up. If you have prior experience of instrument making you can use this opportunity to develop your skills to a higher level. If starting a new instrument, the model must be agreed with the tutor.
Materials and techniques covered will be tailored to individual requirements. You will work in wood (spruce, maple, ebony and fruit woods). Techniques in making the instruments include: planing wood to fine tolerances, using cabinet scrapers, jointing and clamping, using a bending iron, carving, making and fitting decorative inlays, fret work and finishing.
Teaching is generally on a one-to-one basis catering for individual needs and dictated by previous experience, knowledge and ability. There are group demonstrations where appropriate. As the course takes place in a large workshop, adjacent to the other courses in this series, interaction with fellow students and other tutors also plays a valuable role in the learning process.
Please note that typically the completion of a guitar or ukulele will take more than one nine-day course, although for advanced students with some pre-course preparation it may be possible to finish an instrument, but this cannot be guaranteed.
West Dean College has run musical instrument making courses for more than 40 years. This nine-day and supplementary five-day courses can provide an insight into full-time study on the College's FdA Historic Craft Practices - Musical Instruments.
Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential to arrive by 6.45pm
6.45pm Welcome followed by dinner (included)
8.00-9.00pm First teaching session, attendance is essential
9.15-5.00pm Classes (lunch included)
From 6.30pm Dinner (included)
Evening working – Students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor’s permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
9.15am-12.30pm Classes (lunch included). Workshops must be cleared by 3.30pm.
Residential students to vacate rooms by10am.
Please note: Humidity levels in the workshop are variable to dry; whilst the College has addressed this, some factors are beyond our control, therefore instruments are brought and left in the workshop at your own risk. Each tutor will take a half-day break, in rotation with the other tutors, to be decided during the week. They will discuss suitable work for that session with you if you wish to continue working.
Peter Barton studied musical instrument making under the direction of Roger Rose on the full time course at West dean.
Since 1986 he has been working as a professional luthier making classical and acoustic guitars.
He has also taught guitar making as a part time lecturer at Leeds College of Music and West Dean College.