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Coop Harris in my shop
Guitar-picker/ apparel-industry exec Randall "Coop" Harris shown in my guitarmaking shop during a 1998 tutorial session. Here's a day-by-day pictorial on his site!
  • Read Coop's own impressions of his 15-day experience             
  • Photos of Gary Williamson's marquetry rosette tutorial     
  • Read Miami salsa trombonist/ tv commercial producer Robert Berrios' end-of-course evaluation
  • Washington State insurance man Gabe Butler loved the cuatro so much he took a cuatromaking course from me Read his impressions here.
  • Retired steelman Henry Stern made a classic guitar in my shop:

    • Andrew Airoldi made a vintage Fender Thinline copy in my shop for college credit!

    Airoldi.jpg (33292 bytes)

Come to my shop. I'll show you how.

You can spend a couple of weeks in my New England shop and I'll personally teach you how to make your own guitar -- on a one-on-one basis and at a time convenient to you-- all materials, tool use, and instruction included. Here are the details:

Teaching format

How's that? Let me know if I've covered all the bases or not -- or to reserve a slot.




You will be working supervised alongside me, solo, in my shop  (no other students at the same time), and follow my instructions and movements, watching me as I work on a guitar while you do the same on your own guitar in a step by step fashion. We can work on a classic, steel string, cuatro or requinto guitar at your discretion.

Little or no woodworking experience is necesary (see Randall Harris' experiences above), just patience and an open, "beginner's mind."

Although I can tailor the curriculum to suit your particular time and interest requirements, the following breakdown has worked the most efficiently in the past:

2 week Session I: Wood Processing and Parts Making
2 week Session II: Assembling the guitar from parts
2 week Session III: Finishing and Advanced Topics

Learners who can only spare the time/cost of just one two-week session usually choose only Session II. Within Session II, you can create in two weeks a completed, strung up, filled and sealed (but not lacquered) guitar from dimensioned and partly-shaped materials furnished by me (or purchased elsewhere by you). You can then take the completed instrument home to finish or leave it behind for several weeks for me to finish and ship back for an extra charge.

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My shop is located in Western Massachusetts, in the small city of Northampton, which is a half hour's drive from Springfield, Massachusetts, (the state's third largest city) and one hour's drive North on I-91 from Hartford, Connecticut.

Northampton is a beautiful New England college town (Smith College, with Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke and UMass nearby) with great restaurants, a lively nightlife and a lot of top live-music acts coming through town; it has been awarded the title of   "best small town for the arts in America" for two years running.

My shop is a fifteen-minute walk from Main Street.

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Each two-week session consists of approximately 96 contact hours, which can translate to twelve eight-hour days or other similar breakdown. Tuition for any or each two-week session is $2800. If the instructor supplies the materials, their cost would be an additional $350 to $400 depending on materials and fittings selected.

Securing local lodging is the learner's responsibility, and I can suggest some comfortable lodgings at various rates nearby. Learners can also choose to stay in a comfortable guest room at my home (which is 1/2 mile from the workshop), which is available for $50 a night, linens and breakfast included.

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I'll be opening my studio to only four students a year. As a result, there are often more applicants than slots available. As a result, learners can only be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. "First come" means upon receipt of a deposit.

My instructor's fee will be $2800. I will require $1000 retainer (non-refundable as described below), which must be included with the signed letter of agreement that I will send you after we settle on the details. The signed agreement and check must arrive back to me as soon as possible, or you may find that the slot has been made unavailable by another deposit which arrived sooner. The retainer will be applied to the course fee. Usually, the next $1000 will be payable on the first day of the course and $800 at the end.

I need to receive the materials fee (the amount to be determined) three weeks before the start date, and the housing fee (if you're staying in my guest room) one week before the start date.

Just so you know what will be in the letter of agreement: it will specify dates and the instrument's specifications, but most importantly it will specify that you've read and accepted my refund and cancellation policy.

As far as refunds and cancellations,  IF YOU CANCEL the $1000 retainer is returnable only at my discretion, and will depend on several factors, including proximity to start date and good cause. IF I HAVE TO CANCEL for illness or accident, the $1000 retainer will apply to a course at another mutually agreeable time, or will be refunded within 60 days, if you prefer.

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