I was browsing the internet one day looking for inspiration for somewhere to go on holiday in Spain, when I discovered some photos of La Herradura. These photos were part of Stephen’s website which was immediately of great interest to me as a guitarist and DIY enthusiast.

After reading about Stephen’s guitar making courses I was inspired by the idea of making my own guitar but was a little apprehensive about going abroad to do this. Curiosity got the better of me and soon I booked a flight and car to investigate further.

After landing in Almeria and driving across the Sierra Nevada to further enhance the adventure I arrived in La Herradura, an unspoilt and perfect destination for a summer holiday. I remember telephoning Stephen for the first time from a little café on the seafront and he arrived to meet me almost immediately.

Before long, we were travelling into the hills to a little casa in Rescaté and when we got there I was amazed. There were guitars everywhere and just as I had imagined, it was a master guitar maker’s workshop.

I didn’t waste any time booking a place on the next course and I couldn’t wait. For what you gain, which are new skills, practical confidence and an excellent hand-made guitar, the course is very reasonably priced.

Stephen’s knowledge is immense; indeed I tested him with most of the things that can go wrong while building a guitar. There really is no situation with wood that he can’t rectify somehow.

The scariest thing for me was the neck carving, but with expert guidance even my worst practical fear was conquered. I found this part of the instrument quite natural to create actually.

My favourite part of the course (other than wine and tapas) was making the soundboard. Stephen encouraged me to treat it as a stand-alone work of art, even though you hide half of it once fitted.

I developed a real responsibility for this component, and would stumble into the workshop on my nightly way back from local tavernas to greet and admire my soundboard.

I therefore thoroughly recommend Stephen Hill’s guitar making course and my advice to prospective students would be to make the most of your time there – it soon passes and will emerge to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.

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