Luthier at Northampton
The NCC Martin Guitar Foundation Luthier Lab is located in the heart of South Bethlehem, PA., an artsy business district filled with restaurants and entertainment venues. Just 12 miles north, in the town of Nazareth, is the C.F. Martin Guitar Factory. Learn to build your guitar in a place with a rich and historic heritage of music and guitar building.
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. From laser engraving and inlay, cutting the neck and exploring exotic woods to spray booth techniques and tonewood resonance testing, participants are encouraged to dream, innovate and create using the facility's comprehensive lab tools and the guidance of master luthiers.
Years in the making, the Luthier Program at Northampton Community College has increasingly expanded its program with tooling, lab and classroom space, instruction and technology. It means that you will get the best, most comprehensive training in the art, science and mechanics of guitar building available anywhere. And, you will get that education at a price you can afford.
What makes Northampton's program special?
NCC Luthier has evolved into one of the most well-staffed and well-equipped Luthier schools in the country. Started six years ago, the luthier program has grown from a small woodshop on the third floor of the Northampton Community College Fowler Campus building (in Bethlehem, PA) to its current location within a brand new eight thousand square foot Fab Lab facility. One of the features that makes the Luthier program so unique is the Fab Lab. While students are learning to make their instruments they also have the opportunity to learn advanced technologies such 3D drafting, CNC technology, Laser engraving, Carbon Fiber Resin Casting, Electronics and more. All of the processes that are incorporated into the modern age of stringed instrument building are available. The Luthier Lab, recently named The Martin Guitar Foundation Luthier Lab, is a self-contained area where nothing but Lutherie takes place.
Sound Booth Access
All Luthier participants are also welcome to utilize the controlled environment within the Fab Lab Sound Studio booth to record and compare the guitars built on site.
Luthier Certification is a comprehensive education in the art of stringed instrument building. The basic certification can be accomplished in 3 semesters and all courses are purchased as you take them so you do not have to apply and enroll or pay tuition. That means the certification can take you longer if that is better for you. Most classes are at night and on weekends so it makes it easy to manage if you have other daytime responsibilities. Attend one of the Luthier Information Sessions held monthly or call for information.
One thing to keep in mind: The luthier line-up of courses is always evolving, but the basic certification courses should remain the same. If changes are made to the requirements your certification course requirements will only include the courses that were listed at the time you started the program. Another important factor in learning the art of lutherie: The NCC Luthier Program and the Fab Lab offer many more courses over and above the requirements for certification. You have the luxury of taking your certification in a place that abounds with a wide range of skills training from 3D printing, resin casting, laser engraving, metal working, and woodworking to name a few. The Fab Lab has thirty-two amazing instructors and the lab offers over 80 courses per semester. We will be glad to sit down with you and map out a course selection that will round out your luthier skill levels over and above the certification.
One Week Intensive Guitar Building Workshop
For the first time, the Northampton Community College (NCC) Luthier program is offering an intensive one-week course to build a guitar almost from scratch. During the course, you will build either your choice of a Martin Style 24.9 Scale 000 or a 25.4 Scale OM.
We say "almost" because, although you will carve a neck and learn the steps to complete the neck, you might not use that neck on your guitar. Otherwise you will learn every step of the guitar-building process from beginning to end.
The course will count for both the Acoustic I and the Acoustic II courses so if you are going for your certification you will be able to put two of the most difficult courses behind you in one week
The workshop is offered the first week in August which coincides with MusikFest. That means you will build your guitar during the day and listen to live music at night. MusikFest is the largest festival of its kind in the country. There is no entry fee because it encompasses the entire center of the city, Northside and Southside. And most of the over 20 venues are absolutely free. View more information now.
Luthier Information sessions are the first Wednesday of each month from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Fab Lab, Room 340, located at 511 East Third Street, Bethlehem, Pa 18015
For more information on information sessions, please view our Active Calendar.