Complete Spanish Guitar Building Course - One Month
We run two or three of these exclusive top level guitar building courses per year. Each course lasts for one month and is strictly limited to six students per course with 2 teachers, a ratio of 1 to 3. This ensures the high quality of both the personal teaching standard and the completed guitar.
We accept students from all over the world, of any age over 16, with experience ranging from nil to skilled woodworker.
During the course you will make (from start to finish) your own high quality, beautiful Classical or Flamenco Spanish guitar, using specially selected raw materials. (These are included in the course price as well as a hard case).
You will be learning to build guitars using traditional Spanish and Granada techniques, how to construct your own ´Solera´and mold, the Spanish way of building using the heel and slipper method, about the finer qualities of timber and their selection, tool use and sharpening, traditional rosette making ´Taracea´with mosaic tiles, machine set up and safety and most importantly, how to make the workshop environment into a place of the heart and soul, to produce the finest work!
The guitars we make are to world class luthier Stephen Hill's own pattern and internal designs developed over years of work and study, following closely the Spanish tradition. However there is always room for a few personal ideas.
We book out the courses normally at least a year in advance so get in touch! Go to dates of the courses.
We would say that to participate in one of our guitar building courses can be a life changing event for some, highly challenging, needing commitment and perseverence but in the end, a wonderfully rewarding experience and often, a great deal of fun!
The result of this course was a guitar built by my own hand to a standard which I did not believe was possible.
Guitar Building Curriculum
The course lasts for 4 weeks with a total of 20 teaching days. Your day will start at 9.15am and continue until 6.30.pm with breaks for lunch (1,5hrs) and coffee.
This gives you a total guitar building teaching time of over 140 hours (a professional maker builds a guitar in less than 100 hours). While in principal this should be enough time to finish your guitar, students sometimes choose to carry on working outside these hours. This is allowed under strict instruction and the workshop is open to any student at any time during the course as each student is given their own set of keys. The workshop has Wifi access also that proves very useful in research or contacting family!
You will be given a complete course manual with short descriptions of every step in the process of building your guitar. We will give some short informal seminars focusing on a certain process to the whole group, but mainly the focus will be on one-to-one teaching in English or Spanish.
Over the years Stephen has developed a very personal and relaxed way to work with and motivate all his students into building their best guitar with their available skillset.
As every person who comes into the course has their own background and experience it is important to have this personal approach in order to work around possible challenges and keep the spirit up.
This often leads to amazing experiences for both students and teacher and brings out a beautiful guitar as a result.
Stephen's approach is of simplicity and fluency, making use of simple jigs to give more control in the working of components. We use power tools; sanders, routers, bandsaws and drill presses in a separate dust controlled machine room as they save time but there comes a point where the human hand has to make contact with the timber, adding a human "vibration" to the molecules. To this end we focus highly on the correct use and sharpening of hand tools.
This we believe helps form part of the identity and quality of the guitar and sets it apart from mass production.
Timber selection is very important and wood should be well dried and stable, having gone through some seasons and climate changes to reach stability. We have stocks of dry timber that our students use, often selected from the master grade timbers which Stephen uses on his own 1a guitars , with plenty of quality and tonal possibilities.
We choose our wood with care, in particular we are happy to work closely with Madinter from Madrid, one of the largest guitar making suppliers in the world, supplying us with high quality and dry materials. http://www.madinter.com
For what you gain, which are new skills, practical confidence and an excellent hand-made guitar, the course is very reasonably priced.
The materials that we provide as standard for the course are as follows:
1a Indian rosewood, rippled Sycamore or Cypress back and sides
Indian rosewood bridge and head plate
1a German spruce or cedar for the soundboard
Cedrela for the neck
Der Jung machine heads or similar
Hiscox Pro Hard case
Other timbers could be supplied if required (this can incur an additional cost).
We are happy to work closely with Madinter from Madrid, one of the largest guitar making suppliers in the world, supplying us with high quality and dry materials.
As second teacher Graham Emes has worked first as Stephen Hill´s student and then as his Master apprentice in Spain, and is an intuitive and dynamic maker who now currently runs his own successful shop in the UK. We have also worked with Pablo Requena, Stephen Eden, Ricardo Ramos and Evan Kingma in the past.