Artisan Fretted Instruments By Ivon Schmukler

I am offering a limited number of tutorials each year in my shop. Until recently, the Leeds Guitarmakers’ School offered classes for up to six people at a time, but because I am no longer in the space I was then, I am offering only one-on-one instruction for the foreseeable future. Take a look at the site.

All of the below described classes are available as tutorials, i.e. one-on-one instruction. The tutorials are taught on a three-day-a-week schedule unless the student is coming from a location from which he or she cannot commute, in which case I will teach five or six days a week.

Accommodation is available for stays up to 12-day tutorials. Three-day-a-week schedules can also be accommodated. The rate for students is $27.50/night. Continental breakfast is included.

For more information please contact me or fill out the online registration form or the printable registration form.


Construction of steel string and classical guitars.  Students, regardless of skill level, have all completed high quality instruments in these courses over the past twelve years. Student will assemble the parts they have made for their guitars. Students can opt to either build two steel strings, a classical and a steel string or two classicals. 


A twelve-day, basic hands-on course for beginning instrument makers where students build a classical or steel-string acoustic guitar. Included in the price of the course is a set of high-quality materials, including a joined Sitka spruce top, bent mahogany sides, un-joined mahogany back, rough-shaped neck blank, a pre-cut neck block, ebony fingerboard and bridge, and tuners. The course includes lectures on bracing patterns, acoustical and design theory; and demonstrations of side bending.
Ivon teaching sanding technique
As a tutorial this course runs from 8 to 12 days, depending on whether the student starts with a rough kit or making the parts from scratch.

Tuition for tutorial: 8-day - $2800, materials: $550 12-day - $4200, materials: $375.


A basic hands-on course for beginning classical guitarmakers . Included in the price of the course is a set of high-quality materials, including a joined spruce top, bent Indian rosewood sides, an unjoined Indian rosewood back, rough shaped neck blank, ebony fingerboard, rosewood bridge, bone nut and saddle, and tuners. The 12-day course includes bending sides and making the parts from scratch.

Tuition, 8-day $2800, materials: $550 12-day $4200, materials: $375.


The nature of French polish shellac finishes, material preparation, surface preparation and application is covered in this class. The student will do hands-on work on sample pieces.

Tutorial:  $400


I have been resetting necks on steel string guitars since 1968. I have done hundreds of neck resets and will share his secrets with you. This class is not a demonstration but a hands-on class designed to complement the Refretting class. Most guitars should be refretted when their necks are reset. These are the two repair jobs most in demand from repair people.

Students must bring a guitar to work on. Check with us to make sure it has a dovetail neck joint.
The class takes three days 9am - 5pm.

Tuition: $900


Students must bring an electric and an acoustic guitar in need of refretting. The class is a complete overview of action geometry, intonation, nut and saddle string heights, the mechanics of the neck, truss rod, fingerboard, fretting.

The course runs one week , 9am to 5pm.

Tuition: $1250


For those interested in a comprehensive course of study, the following series of tutorials is available. The student will build two guitars either steel string or nylon string instruments, both standard and cut-away models.

There will be breaks between the individual classes to provide a breather for the student and teacher.

Tool Craft:
Basic hand- and power-tool setup and fabrication of basic edge tools (the students will make a Japanese spear chisel).

Parts Fabrication:
Fabrication of the parts for flat top, arched top and electric guitars. Students will be instructed in the proper use of the machinery used in parts fabrication; these include table saw, band saw, floor standing belt and disc sander, thickness sander, drill press, joiner, bending irons and a panoply of hand tools. During this nine-day session, students will make the parts for the instruments they will build in the construction classes.

student at workBasic Flat Top and/or Basic Classical Guitar Construction:
Construction of steel strinstudent and/or classical guitars is undertaken in the third and fourth units of the comprehensive tutorial. The student can build either a steel string and a classical, two steel strings, two classicals, any combination. Because the course is a tutorial, the student can essentially design the course of study to reflect her/his particular needs. By the time the first instrument is well along, I can make a determination as to the student’s aptitude and have some idea of how advanced the second instrument can be.

Finishing / Repair:
This course will entail finishing the students instruments over a three-week period. As time allows we will give instruction on basic repair methods including; cracks, regluing loose braces, neck resetting, refretting, setup for various instruments and adjustments.

The course runs three days a week for ten to twelve weeks.

Tuition: $12,000 plus materials.

For more information please contact me or fill out the online registration form or the printable registration form.