Partnering with C.F. Martin & Co.
So, what is a Guitar Luthier? In general, a Guitar Luthier is a skilled craftsman who builds and/or repairs guitars. A Guitar Luthier can find employment in several different ways, including: a guitar factory, guitar repair shop or as a self-employed business. Though most guitar luthiers learn and refine their skillset as part of an apprenticeship or on-the-job training, many come to the field with some previous experience & knowledge excelling them in the trade. Some skills that lend well to this career path include:
- Knowledge and experience in guitar design and repair
- Experience with woodworking and finishing
- Knowledge of how to run a business
The Fab Lab is part of the Northampton Community College Fowler Family Southside Center Campus. Renovated and expanded in 2017, the Fab Lab is an 8,000 square feet facility offering open access to state-of-the-art technologies ranging from a full metal and woodshop, spray booth, 3D printers, laser cutters, a sound booth, cold casting and more. The Martin Guitar Foundation Luthier Lab consists of two separate spaces devoted to the Luthier: a guitar building and a set-up/repair lab. Each space is equipped with individual workbenches, hand tools and equipment needed so that every Luthier student has a dedicated space for their builds.
The Fab Lab Luthier Program combines old-world craftsmanship with modern manufacturing to guide participants through the fine art of building an instrument that is both rich in sound and beauty. And while knowing how to play the guitar is not necessary to become a Guitar Luthier, it is a skill that will help you get a better sense of how the guitar is used and how design has a role in performance. Our program allows you to accomplish both building and playing the guitar to its fullest.
The course curriculum of the Luthier Certification Program is comprehensive yet challenging. It is designed to teach all aspects of guitar building from basic woodworking skills to custom designed bodies. The program is designed so that you can work at your own pace, ensuring you master the skills and knowledge needed to be a successful Guitar Luthier. The Program includes eight (8) stringed instrument builds:
- The Parlor Guitar
- OM Style Guitar
- Electric Guitar, with a focus on electronic components
- Electric Guitar, with a focus on body design
- Archtop Guitar
- Tenor Ukulele
- Your Choice, Independent Build – OM Style, Dreadnaught, Parlor
We have developed a methodical course line up that is essential for successful guitar building. Part of the required courses include woodworking classes, inlay, repair & set up, finishing techniques and neck carving classes. The instrument builds must go in order, but the supplementary classes listed may be taken at any time, unless otherwise listed as a prerequisite, during your Luthier Education.
Electives are designed to help further your education depending on the career path you choose. There is no particular order in which you need to take the elective courses, but you do need to complete four (4) of them to receive your certification. Description of the elective courses are listed on the next page.
While we have mapped a program to ensure your success as a Luthier, the Fab Lab also offers several other courses that will enhance your skillset, set you apart from other Luthiers and enrich your builds, such as: 3D printing, metal working, resin casting, laser engraving, and more. Please visit our website to browse the catalog of courses: www.northampton.edu/fablab
For more information, including courses included and pictures of the builds, click here
To attend a Free Luthier Information Session, click here.
Questions? Call (610) 332-8665 or email us
About Martin Guitar
C. F. Martin & Co.® has been Inspiring Musicians Worldwide® for nearly two centuries with their superior guitar and string products. Martin guitars and strings remain the choice for musicians around the world for their unrivaled quality, craftsmanship, and tone. Throughout the company’s long history, Martin products can be seen and heard across all genres of music and in all segments of pop culture, from concert and theater stages to television and movies.
With an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible manufacturing practices, Martin continually drives the acoustic guitar market forward, introducing innovative features that have become standards across the industry. These groundbreaking innovations include the introduction of X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar, and the "Dreadnought" size guitar.