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Luthier Program

Instrument Building


The Luthier Program combines old-world craftsmanship with modern manufacturing to guide participants through the fine art of building an instrument that is both rich in sound and beauty. From laser engraving and inlay, cutting the neck and exploring exotic woods to spray booth techniques and tonewood resonance testing, participants are encouraged to dream, innovate and create using the facility's comprehensive lab tools and the guidance of master luthiers.

Years in the making, the Luthier Program at NCC has increasingly expanded its program with tooling, lab and classroom space, instruction and technology. It means that you will get the best, most comprehensive training in the art, science and mechanics of guitar building available anywhere. The program also includes music background classes for luthiers to enhance their understanding of the instruments they are building. All of this is available at very modest prices.

Our Luthier Lab consist of two distinct areas: the main Luthier Lab, where guitars and other instruments are rough constructed, and the Setup and Maintenance Lab, where they receive final assembly and tweaking.  Both provide ample work space for students, plus a myriad of specialty tools, jigs, and equipment to rival any mid-sized instrument making facility. The work and storage areas are humidity controlled, and provide dust collection and filtering.  A spray booth is available for finishing, and all the other labs are at your disposal to supplement luthier specific facilities.

Typical classes

  • Acoustic Guitar Building I

  • Acoustic Guitar Building II

  • Acoustic Guitar Neck Carving

  • Archtop Guitar Building

  • Cigar Box Guitar

  • Electric Guitar Building I & II

  • Electrify Guitar/Uke (3-hr)

  • Evolution of the Guitar

  • Finger Picking Guitar

  • Guitar Maintenance Certificate

  • Guitar Finishing

  • Finishing & Sun Bursting

  • Build a Flattop Mandolin

  • Guitar Set Up (3hr)

  • Mandolin Building

  • Pearl and Material Inlay

  • Spray Finishing & Sunbursting

  • Ukulele Building

  • Ukulele: Learn to Play

  • Bluegrass Banjo Playing

  • Build aTube Amp

  • Build a Stomp Box

  • Music Theory

  • Inlay for the Luthier

  • Acoustic Guitar Neck Carving

  • Electric Bass

Also watch for our week-long summer/winter intensive guitar building courses.

Luthier Cert

Luthier Certification


The Fab Lab offers a path to a Luthier Certificate which combining a series of required and elective courses.  These will give you the confidence to hang up your own shingle as a luthier, or help in obtaining work as a builder or repair tech in established shops.

Northampton Community College is only 12 miles from C.F. Martin Guitar Company. As a select member of the certification class, you will have an opportunity to tour the factory. Martin Guitar is the oldest and most prestigious guitar manufacturing company in the world, and is a generous donor to the College. Although you will be learning how to build your instruments from scratch (step by step), you will also be introduced to the technology that is incorporated into manufactured guitars including CNC, 3-D printing, resin and carbon fiber, laser engraving/inlay, electronics and more. Advanced technical knowledge, coupled with the mastery of old-world skills, will help you apply your earned certification to a wide range of opportunities.

Download the Luthier Certification Program Brochure (pdf)

Luthier Cal
Luthier Calendar
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