The Luthier Program at the Martin Guitar Foundation Luthier Lab at Northampton Community College (NCC) combines old-world craftsmanship with modern manufacturing to guide participants through the fine art of building a stringed instrument that is both rich in sound and beauty. The course curriculum is comprehensive yet challenging. It encompasses all aspects of guitar building from basic woodworking skills to custom designed bodies. The program is designed to ensure you master the skills and knowledge needed to be a successful Luthier.
The program has a methodical course line up that is essential for successful instrument building. While the program is developed to ensure your success as a Luthier, Northampton Community College also offers several other courses that will enhance your skillset, set you apart from other Luthiers and enrich your builds.
The Luthier Certification Program is a two-semester program. The first semester is on-site and hands-on. For 16-weeks, working Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., students will complete twenty (20) courses of varying length, plus the OSHA-10 Certificate course. The curriculum is challenging, encompassing all aspects of guitar building from basic woodworking skills to custom designed bodies. Courses are arranged to provide a methodical progression of skill development that is essential for successful instrument building, yet throughout the process, students are encouraged to dream, innovate, and create using the lab's advanced tools and the guidance of Master Luthiers.
In the 16-weeks, students will build the following seven (7) stringed instruments:
- Martin Style Parlor
- Flat-Top Electric – Five template choice
- Martin Style Orchestral Model (OM/OOO)
- Carved Top Electric – Les Paul
- Tenor Ukulele
- Custom Electric
- Custom Acoustic designed by student (Capstone Final Project)
- See Guitar Specs for more details about each build
Along with the courses, these additional workshops are provided at no additional cost:
- Art of Inlay from former Martin Guitar Custom Shop Artist, Sean Brandle
- Decorative heel carving from National Award Winner Dave Dion
- 3D Modeling custom guitar body/neck
- Comprehensive guitar finishing
During two full days of the first semester, students will participate in the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Training Certificate course to earn an OSHA-10 completion card. Instruction will include an OSHA-10 overview, emergency action planning, personal protective equipment, hazard communication practices and materials; ergonomics, and health/safety programming.
Upon completion of the first semester, students will return home to complete the 14-week Small Business Management & Entrepreneurship Certificate program delivered in a virtual format during the evenings to accommodate the work or school schedules of participants. Instruction will focus on how to successfully own and manage a small business and is comprised of four (4) key areas: product development, customer discovery, business financing, and smart recruitment and retention. By the end of the program, students will have the skills, knowledge and confidence to pursue the luthier profession, start a guitar building business or obtain work as a builder or repair tech in established shops and companies.
Room and board is available for all students at an additional cost. See FAQs for more info on Room and Board.
Click here to view the complete Luthier Course Curriculum.
Click here to view the Small Business Certificate Curriculum.
Click here to view the Payment Plan Due Dates
Click here to view the Payment Plan Due Dates (with Room and Board)
Click here to view the Spring 2024 Refund Policy
Click here to view FAQs
Click here to view the Guitar Build Specs
Not sure if you want to become a Luthier? Try building a guitar during our One-Week Intensive Guitar Building Class! Students choose either an OM or 000 Martin Style acoustic guitar. Click here for more information.
The Spring Semester starts January 15, 2024. Enroll Today
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.