In the United States, instruction in lutherie is most frequently offered in the form of short courses. Many students find that the combination of an intensive program in guitar-making and work experience is adequate preparation for a career in lutherie. Programs for aspiring luthiers are offered at a few community colleges and by private organizations.
Lutherie programs are offered at the institutions listed below.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Musicians Institute, College of Contemporary Music||Hollywood, CA||4-year, Private for-profit||Certificate, Associate's||$24,030|
|Leeds Guitarmakers||Williamsburg, MA||Less than 2-year, Private for-profit||Classes||$400-$12,000|
|Atlanta Guitar Work||Snellville, GA||Less than 2-year, Private for-profit||Program||$6,500|
|Chicago School of Guitar Making||Chicago, IL||Less than 2-year, Private for-profit||Classes, Certificate of Completion||$250-$1,200|
|American School of Lutherie||Portland, OR||Less than 2-year, Private for-profit||Classes||$1,200-$3,800|
|Whetstone School of Lutherie||Brattleboro, VT||Less than 2-year, Private for-profit||Classes||$150-$2,900|
|Galloup School of Guitar Building and Repair||Big Rapids, MI||Private for-profit||Classes, Workshops, Certificate||$150-$18,500|
|Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery||Phoenix, AZ||Less than 2-year, Private for-profit||Certificate||$10,950 (2017)|
|Colorado School of Lutherie||Denver, CO||Less than 2-year, Private for-profit||Classes, Workshops||$400-$12,000|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); School websites
School Selection Criteria
Consider the following when choosing a guitar-making program:
- Many programs require students to purchase materials and tools in addition to paying the tuition or program fees, so students should make sure they have an accurate picture of how much the luthiere training will really cost.
- Courses can be offered as lectures, demonstrations, hands-on workshops or some combination; choose a school with limited student enrollment to take advantage of instruction and workshop tools.
- Some programs are endorsed by professional luthiers' associations, but you should sit in on a class or contact graduates to assess the quality of a program.
- There are only a few programs that offer formal recognized certificates or degrees, which may influence your decision about which program to enter. Additionally, programs may have a particular area of focus, such as traditional or experimental design, repair and maintenance, and instrument production.
Short courses in guitar making and repair that do not lead to certificates or degrees can take from a few days to six months to complete. Some programs begin with the theory of guitar design, while others focus on introducing the tools and terminology of lutherie. Students may complete one or more instruments over the course of the program.
Certificate programs often teach maintenance and repair along with guitar design. Depending on the program, students may be able to transfer these credits to an associate's degree program with a dual emphasis that includes guitar-crafting instruction; however, associate's degree programs are rare.
Most guitar making programs are short workshops or classes without formal accreditation. Some schools do offer certificate programs, and it is also possible to complete an associate's degree to prepare for a lutherie career.