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North House Folk School
North House Folk School

Build Your Own Guitar

Building your own guitar is almost as much fun as playing an instrument you have created. In this class we’ll be building a small guitar based on the Martin 1-18 parlor guitar. It’s an intimate instrument with shorter scale length and a sweet voice that begs to be played. Much smaller than a dreadnought but not a toy, it is easy to travel with or keep near your bedside for those late night song ideas. Prepared wood will alleviate some of the heavy woodworking but you will get a feel for the entire process of building an instrument start to finish. During the class there will be some time for discussions of building theory and technique and, if time allows, a field trip to Dave’s shop. The finished instrument will be a nice addition to your collection or a nice foray into the world of luthiery. Most of the construction will be with hand tools but a few power tools will be used. We can’t turn you into C.F. Martin but it’ll be a great start. All materials, parts, hardware and even strings are included for a complete instrument. Cases will be available for purchase from the instructor.

The guitar will be of traditional woods. FSC certified Mahogany for the back sides and neck and Engleman spruce for the top. The appointments will be simple and traditional. There will be a few options to personalize your instrument to make it special.

In the first 8 days we will build the complete guitar without decorative binding. The additional two days: January 22-23, can be used to add binding (decorative edge trim) to your guitar or for extra time to finish up last details, but participation is optional.  Additional tuition is $50 per day; additional materials fee for binding is $50. For this course to be successful we suggest some woodworking experience and familiarity with hand tools.

Registration for the course will close Dec 15, 2016.


New! Sat, Jan 14, 2017 - Sat, Jan 21, 2017
(Early bird tuition deadline: 12/03/16)

Course Details

Length in days:


$680.00 per student (Regular rate) add'l optional days $50/day
$600.00 per student (Early-bird rate) add'l optional days $50/day

$825.00 add'l fees may apply for optional days

Intermediate to Advanced

Age with adult:

Making it happen:
  • When should I enroll?
  • Do you take last minute registrations?
  • When will new course dates be posted?

You will need the following tools for this class:

  1. You should have your own dust mask for the class. 
Once registered, students will receive a confirmation packet in the mail that may offer additional optional tool recommendations and suggested reading.

Please notify North House if you plan to enroll in the optional days 9 and 10 to complete the decorative binding in advance. Some students do elect to stay for an extra day to finish up work on their projects. This can be determined at the conclusion of the course.
Dave Seaton Dave Seaton

David built his first guitar at the age of fourteen. He has traveled as close to home as Colorado and as far away as Israel to study the craft, which has led him into new and innovative ways to construct the instrument, create new sounds, and expand on the current voice of the guitar. Dave runs Hungry Jack Outfitters on the Gunflint Trail with his wife Nancy.

Photo by Layne Kennedy.

More about Dave Seaton
Build Your Own Guitar

Build Your Own Guitar

Build Your Own Guitar