Courses for prospective guitar technicians are mostly hands-on. Not many colleges offer coursework in this area, but courses can be found within instrument repair, lutherie or guitar technology programs, offered at select two-year colleges. Some programs confer a certificate or associate's degree. Here are some of the typical topics you might find in your courses:
- Tone woods
- Body design
- Guitar set-up and repair
- Instrument hardware
- Common tools
List of Common Courses
Guitar Building and Design
This course forms the basics of a guitar technician's knowledge. In order to set up and perform maintenance on a guitar, the technician must know how a guitar is made. There are various technical courses devoted to these skills, which have certain aspects in common. Students are taught to create and follow blueprints, calculate neck angles, install the bridge and other hardware and perform proper fretwork, construct the neck and the body of the guitar and integrate the various parts into a whole. Design aspects of the course include learning the differences, advantages and disadvantages of various guitar designs as well as how to create them.
The primary responsibility of a guitar technician on a road crew is to set up the instruments before a performance. Guitar set-up courses, either acoustic or electric set-up, are designed to teach students the skills they need to perform the technical duties required of the occupation. In the case of both acoustic and electric guitars, students must learn about the different components of the instrument, along with how to properly handle them.
Acoustic set-up courses generally involve making, removing, cleaning and adjusting guitar nuts, saddles and bridges as well as adjusting the guitar's height, installing and removing strings, fitting pins and re-gluing the bridge. The guitar neck may also need to be reset. In the case of electric set-up courses, the student must also learn how to properly wire and install electric bridges. In both cases, work ethic and professional conduct are also part of the curriculum.
A guitar technician may deal as much in instrument repair as they do in pre-performance set-up. Guitar repair courses teach students to diagnose problems with the instrument, repair cracks in the frame, remove and restore the guitar's bridge and perform touch-ups and cleaning duties. Design aspects of the course may involve diagnosing and working on problems that have to do with the specific design.