At Melbourne School of Guitar Making our students make instruments from raw materials, not kit projects. We explain and perform demonstrations for every process through the construction. Students get to work through their projects at their own pace in a friendly environment, learning skills that replicate the early years of electric guitar and bass making. We don’t use CNC, but rather show methods of guitar making that can be done at home, using normal tools by the student in future years.
Unlike many courses, our students are given time to finish their instruments in nitrocellulose lacquer. In finishing off their instruments the students also learn how to set up the instrument, including fretwork and wiring.
Class sizes are kept to a maximum of 6 students to 1 teacher and as a result students get immediate attention and direction, allowing the student to progress quickly and safely through their build.
Typically students take approximately 70 hours to complete a standard bolt-on neck build. For those students that have had previous experience building with us we often see projects finished in less time.
For those who want to incorporate more detail into their work like binding or inlay, we offer the ability to complete their project in a time frame that best suites the individual. As we all work at different speed, students have the ability to purchase blocks of time to access classes for as long or as short as they need.
Drawing from many years of designing and making my own electric guitars and basses, I have also enjoyed a number of years teaching the wonderful art of guitar and bass making to many students through NMIT TAFE college.
In 2015, teaching partner Robert Pryke and I decided to move our ‘Electric Guitar and Bass Making’ course from the TAFE environment and re-establish it in our new premises in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
As a luthier I have a strong focus on electric instruments and the use of traditional skills and building techniques developed through the ‘golden era’ of the early years of electric guitar and bas making of the 50’s and 60’s.
Key features of my production work are attention to detail and a high quality finish using exotic feature timbers and ‘high-end’ components.
Before I start I must say that my two main passions in life are woodworking and music. From the age of twelve I had a fascination with timber and its properties and applications. My parents ran an antique restoration business in Bathurst N.S.W. My father apprenticed me from a young age. This passion also included working with both hand & power tools, and setting up, maintaining and operating machinery.
It was a labour of love and always has been to this very day. I also loved music from a young age – particularly rock and roll, country and blues. My other ambition as a teenager was to be a rock and roll singer. I wanted to be like Bon Scott. I had the moves, but unfortunately not the voice to match! Two of my first three albums that I owned were TNT and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap! Hence I followed my first passion and completed my furniture making apprenticeship in Sydney. I travelled the world for 2 years, to gain more experience, working in both London and Montreal. I then came back to Australia to manage my parents business for 5 years.
I moved to Victoria in 2006 and started teaching at Melbourne Polytechnic (formerly NMIT) in 2008.
In 2012 I was managing and teaching furniture making hobby classes at NMIT. There just happened to be electric guitar making classes in the adjacent workshop at the time – run by a gentlemen known as David Searle. I was intrigued and memorized at the same time. I had decided there & then, that I just had to build a guitar.
I asked him if I could join in on the next class/group, as a student. Dave seemed happy to have me involved. It didn’t take too long to develop a passion, or an obsession if you like, for guitar building. Once you build one, it’s hard to stop. As is evident by students who we’ve taught, returning to complete their 2nd, 3rd and even 4th builds.