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The Complete Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course


Clear your Schedule

Your New Guitar is Calling!

Learn how to build your own Gypsy Jazz Guitar from the comfort of your own shop.

Craft Your Own Custom Gypsy Guitar with this Step-by-Step Video Course - No Experience Required!

Who doesn’t love the sound of a Gypsy Jazz Guitar? Now you can learn how to build this very popular instrument at your own pace with the expert guidance of renowned luthier, Michael Whitney of Whitney Guitars and the Whitney School of Lutherie.


Over two years in the making, this Gypsy Jazz guitar Building Video Series is a complete guitar building course. It spans over 26 hours of highly detailed instruction, thoughtfully laid out over 171 bite-sized lessons in a clear and easy-to-follow format.


This comprehensive video series, Making a Gypsy Jazz Guitar is the next best thing to studying directly with Michael himself and is guaranteed to make you want to get out into your shop and start building!


Through the course, Michael explains and demonstrates the entire process of building his modern iteration of a Selmer-style 'Grande Bouche' Gypsy Jazz  guitar. Additionally, it will expand your knowledge of guitar building in general while raising your level of craftsmanship.


Accompanying the course is a complete recommended tool list as well as a highly detailed, 8-page PDF blueprint clearly illustrating Michael's custom guitar as well as many unique jigs and fixtures specific to this build.

Here's a quick promo video for the course...

Clicking the button above will redirect you to Robbie O'Brien's Lutherie Academy to complete your purchase.

The Definitive Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course

My goals while developing this course were to create the concise 'roadmap' that I wished I had when starting to build these instruments myself.


Very few comprehensive resources exist to build this style of guitar. While this certainly adds to the mystique surrounding these instruments in general, it makes building them far more challenging than say, a classic Dreadnought or OM guitar - the plans and process for which are far more readily available.

Paying respect to traditional build techniques whilst adding modern upgrades where it makes sense, this course will guide you through the entire process of building a longer scale (670 mm) 'Grande Bouche' (aka 'Big Mouth') Gypsy Jazz Guitar that is well suited for both lead and rhythm playing. This instrument is sure to be a favourite whether you're playing at home or at a gig!


In this course, you will learn about:

  • The history of the Gypsy Jazz guitar

  • Materials and tools required for the build (*A free tool list is included!)

  • All of the required jigs, forms and templates

  • How to veneer your sides and back plate

  • How to apply the pliage or 'fold' in the top

  • Bracing and voicing the Gypsy guitar soundboard

  • How to make solid linings

  • Forming the cutaway

  • How to make the 'Grande Bouche' (or 'D-shaped' soundhole) rosette

  • Scale lengths and how to slot the fingerboard

  • How to install binding and purfling

  • Application and installation of the 'zero fret'

  • How to hand-carve a traditional 'moustache bridge' (and ends)

  • How to 'ebonize' the bridge

  • Installing the truss rod

  • Neck to body joints

  • Neck carving

  • Fretwork

  • How to setup the Gypsy Jazz guitar  

  • And much more!

Quick Chapter Overview

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course - Veneering Back and Sides

Chapter 2: Veneering the Back and Sides

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course - Adding the Pliage

Chapter 3: Adding the Pliage

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course - Bracing the Back Plate

Chapter 4: Bracing the Back Plate

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course - Bracing the Soundboard

Chapter 5: Bracing the Soundboard

Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course - Making the Liners

Chapter 6: Liners

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course - Rim Assembly

Chapter 7: Rim Assembly

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course - Body Connect

Chapter 8: Body Mortise

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course - Making the Fingerboard

Chapter 9: Making the Fingerboard

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course - Making the Neck

Chapter 10: Neck Construction

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Making Course - Making the Selmer Bridge

Chapter 11: Making the Bridge

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Coures - Installing the Hardware

Chapter 12: Installing Hardware

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Making Course - Nut and Fretwork

Chapter 13: Nut & Fretwork

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Making Course - Fitting the Bridge

Chapter 14: Fitting the Bridge

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Making Course - Setting up the Gypsy Jazz Guitar

Chapter 15: Final Setup

Online Gypsy Jazz Guitar Making Course - Ebonizing the Bridge

Chapter 16: Ebonizing the Bridge

Chapter 1 Course Introduction

Clicking the button above will redirect you to Robbie O'Brien's Lutherie Academy to complete your purchase.

Chapter 1 - History

Clicking the button above will redirect you to Robbie O'Brien's Lutherie Academy to complete your purchase.

The Benefits of Guided Instruction

Did you know that...

  • Learning a new skill through direct demonstration improves learning by 85% (hear it, see it, do it)?

  • Practical, hands-on learning plays a huge role in your ability to retain information and then duplicate it?

  • When it comes to guitar building, many instructional books and video 'shorts' include countless 'knowledge gaps' that can actually impede your workflow and set you back?


We've all been there. The desire to learn a new skill naturally brings us to seeking resources online. Before the digital age, our resource bank was often the public library, consulting with friends and colleagues or writing into trusted publications with mere hopes of receiving a reply. We now live in a remarkable age where information on any given subject is a mouse-click away!

However, reflect back on your last internet search. Did you find every detail that you needed in one place? Were there 'missing links' that left you puzzled? After a blog read-through or after watching a YouTube video, did you feel 100% confident in carrying out that task? 


Don't get me wrong. There are a ton of skilled craftspeople sharing their knowledge online. Yet, often the sheer volume of information (and differing opinions!) out there can leave our heads spinning! Of course, research is a critical step and I liken information gathering as a foundational phase of learning. 

However, executing that information effectively is another story.

Why Video Courses are Ideal

Nearly all new builders I speak with are frustrated because despite all of the resources they've consulted to build their first (or even more) guitar(s), they've simply missed some absolutely KEY components to build a great guitar. 


Neck set, scale length, fret-work, setups and finishing are often confusion points for many. This can leave you lacking confidence (especially if you want to sell your guitars) and to then wonder if you can ever overcome the 'missing links' with your guitar building.

The good news is, you can!

Here’s why direct video instruction is helpful:

  • Benefit 1 - THE MISSING LINK: There's a ton of great information out there and I personally have a library filled with guitar construction books that I still consult. However, written instruction alone won't make you a great builder. Instruction combined with a practical and thorough step-by-step method is going to move you through the 'labyrinth' of guitar construction and expedite your learning and efficiency as a builder.


  • Benefit 2 - BRIDGING KNOWLEDGE GAPS:  A lot of good information can be garnered from a lutherie book. However, reading alone is cognitively intensive and despite an author's best efforts, it is extremely difficult to articulate every step of the guitar building process. If you've built a number of guitars, certain knowledge gaps can be bridged through experience and extrapolation. For a new builder, though, the success equation consists of two parts: Theoretical knowledge AND practical knowledge.

  • Benefit 3 - A PROVEN ROADMAP: Whether you’re passionate about building as a hobby for yourself, or scaling up your craft and potentially selling instruments to players, this course will give you a step-by-step roadmap from which to create successful (and beautiful) guitars that players will actually want to play.

  • Benefit 4 - COMBINING SKILL SETS: Many people assume that some woodwork courses in high-school or previous experience in furniture construction will naturally make them great guitar makers. While I consider previous woodworking experience to be a huge asset with my students (although, not essential), the truth is, the guitar truly is an engineering feat. Guitar making marries both engineering and craftsmanship (don't worry - I'll help you to develop both!).

  • Benefit 5 - PRACTICAL INSTRUCTION: A huge part of the success of a guitar comes down to the interplay of particular woods, their responsiveness, sound projection and tonal emphasis, to name but a few. The guitar is so much more than the sum of its parts and understanding the instrument, holistically, is what will help make you a great builder. Written word will give you a foundation. Simply put, practical experience will elevate your game exceptionally and will help you to achieve consistent and repeatable results.

Why guitar making books can fail us...

If you're anything like me, you likely have a mountain of unread books stacked between good intentions. Perhaps it's simply a matter of better time management but I only have so many hours in a day and only two hands.


Most creatives that I know are visual learners - our brains operate best in pictures and in application; in other words, tell me but better still, show me and I can more effectively go to task. The act of doing through application is simply a matter of applying knowledge. From there, the learning curve becomes much less of an arduous and guideless ascent and more of a trail walk with a helpful tour guide.

Traditionally, one would seek out and apprentice under a master craftsman in their field of interest. That pairing of teacher and student would be a symbiotic relationship and one neither easily found nor to be taken lightly.


Nowadays, I believe there to be a resurgence of interest in the arts. However, true craftsmen are fewer and further between. Procuring a teacher that is able (or better yet, interested!) in sharing their craft can be a daunting pursuit.


I wanted to do something to change that...

This is why the Whitney School of Lutherie was born!

"My goals while developing this course were to create the concise 'roadmap' that I wished I had when starting to build these instruments myself."

~Michael Whitney, Luthier / Instructor

Clicking the button above will redirect you to Robbie O'Brien's Lutherie Academy to complete your purchase.

My Story: A Journey from DIY'er to Apprentice, Student & then Luthier / Instructor

I remember the very night I was inspired to create my own guitar. I've played guitar and have been a woodworker since the 80s. Despite what one may deem a decent foundation for guitar making, there was a mystique about the inner workings of a guitar that made making one seem little more than a pipedream.

Decades later, I recall watching a blues band performing at a local venue near my home town and for their remaining set, they brought out two cigar box guitars. These instruments weren't as common as they are now and I'd never even heard of one, let alone heard one played. I was blown away by the sound coming out of these crude little three-stringers!

Something in their simplicity made them more accessible and creating one seemed plausible. I didn't have any books on the subject but there was a spattering of information online and along with some photos, I had enough of a foundation to run with. It took me hours upon hours of research, and trial-and-error and while crude, I eventually created my first stringed instrument. There were many things my first guitar was not, but this single endeavour taught me a ton about guitar design fundamentals.

After my first cigar box guitar, a fire was lit.

I was 43 and had spent twelve years in a corporate healthcare job that was draining me on all levels. I allowed it to take me to a dark place and then realized that while a fear of failure was keeping me from changing careers, I was ultimately failing myself, my family and my loved ones by being constantly burned out and miserable. 

When faced with the question, 'What would make me the happiest?', being in my shop, using my hands and creating guitars was my most authentic answer. 'Failing', then, was no longer a fear for me. Not chasing my dream was a far greater 'evil'.

It was then that I resigned from my corporate job, apprenticed for a year with a local luthier, enrolled in a 'Masters Program' for guitar building and upon completion, opened my own shop where I continue to build custom guitars, repair and restore stringed instruments and teach the art of guitar making. In short, I now get to light a fire in others which is one of my greatest joys.

What was the one simple thing that helped move me from novice builder to one who can confidently and consistently create sought-after instruments?

You guessed it... direct instruction. 

See, there are nuances of knowledge that can only be learned from direct instruction. Regardless of the vocation or hobby that you're interested in, this is best facilitated by a teacher or instructor under actual working conditions -- it's the very reason people go to school! 


As great as resources such as YouTube may be, they are simply limited by time and space constraints and often fall short in one capacity or another.

"Yeah, but Guitar Building is just a Pipe-dream."
I assure you, it's not too late.

Ask yourself, “What if I'd started when I was younger, had more time, or [insert your perceived roadblock here]?” 


What if you could remove all limitations from your mind and put 'you' first for a change? You see, whatever our reasoning, these are just stories we've created and continue to subscribe to. Perhaps a better question to ask is: "Do I want to continue to live through my old stories or do I want to author new ones?"

Overcoming all of my personal roadblocks sounded implausible to me during my time in healthcare. 'Change' was met by a ton if inner resistance ranging from navigating finances to the logistics of leaving my family to go away and study - it was hard on all of us but looking back I realize that when a will is strong enough, the 'how' just works its way out.

Maybe your barriers to entry aren't as drastic as mine, maybe they are far greater, or perhaps your goals aren't to become a full-time luthier. My point in sharing my story is to simply illustrate that any perceived barriers to following your dream can be overcome!

"But what if I can't study at your school?"
Then this video course is for you!

Program Overview


Complete Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Video Course
Over 26 hours of detailed instruction spanning 16 chapters and 171 lessons.

BONUS 1: Whitney Guitars original Blueprint

8-page guitar plan drawing ARCH E 36" x 48" printable to scale for a 670mm scale 'Grande Bouche' Gypsy Guitar!

BONUS 2: Complete Tool List 

Tool recommendations per each course chapter!

BONUS 3: Jig and Fixture Plans 
Includes schematics for jigs unique to this build!

Regular Price: $435

(The Gypsy Jazz Guitar Building Course is ON SALE until March 11, 2024!)


Clicking the button above will redirect you to Robbie O'Brien's Lutherie Academy to complete your purchase.

Free Bonuses

Included with your program!

BONUS 1: Whitney Guitars Original Blueprint

Custom blueprint for the 'Grande Bouche' Gypsy Guitar


This detailed, CAD drawn and downloadable PDF includes an 8-page guitar plan drawing (ARCH E 36" x 48") that is printable to scale and contains all necessary details including: measurements, body outlines, bracing layout, fingerboard radii, neck profile, fret positions, and even jig and fixture schematics!

Additional details:

  • 670 mm fret scale.

  • 14-fret connection.

  • Period specific 'snakehead' headstock with t-slots.

  • Ladder braced design.

  • Additional templates and jig specs for the rosette, pliage, headstock and more.

  • Instant access!


BONUS 2: Complete Tool List
No homework. No guessing.

A complete 'recommended materials and tools' list is provided for the entire course and is broken down by chapter.


This allows for proper planning ahead of time as you move through the program.

NOTE: All tools and materials are suggestions and you're free to use your own favourite tools and supply companies.


BONUS 3: Jig & Fixture Plans

Make your workflow easier!


Detailed plans are included for specific build methods that are unique to Gypsy Jazz Guitar construction.

Plans include:

  • The 'Grande Bouche' rosette template and offset guide.

  • The fixture and support to install the pliage or 'fold' in the soundboard.

  • Tablesaw jig for cutting the neck block.

  • The neck profile templates.

  • The bridge profile template for a period-specific bridge.

Clicking the button above will redirect you to Robbie O'Brien's Lutherie Academy to complete your purchase.

"Fantastic course! Michael gives very detailed, easy to follow instructions. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Michael."



~ Bill

  • What can I do after my training?
    The possibilities truly are endless. Many students go on to open their own repair shops while others build their own guitars full-time. Some students approach guitar building as a hobby while maintaining their professions and others work in music stores, as music equipment wholesalers, take on guitar ‘tech’ jobs, tour with bands, work with larger guitar manufacturers and so forth.
  • What course dates are available? Can I choose my own start date?
    As we are a working shop, much of our calendar year is reserved for custom guitar commissions. With only a portion of the year being allocated to teaching, course vary throughout the year. As such, we operate on a first-come-first-serve basis and recommend that interested students register early. Requested course dates will be taken into consideration (although not guaranteed) and registrants can formally submit their course deposit to secure their spot. All courses require a $600 deposit which includes a $100 non-refundable administration fee. Please see our ‘Registration and Payment Policies‘ before applying. If you'd like to request a specific start date, you can contact our admin department.
  • Do you provide accomodations?
    Unfortunately, we do not currently offer accommodations. However, most of our students stay at local AirBnBs. The Okanagan valley is a tourist mecca boasting endless wine-tasting, stunning scenery and tons of outdoor activities. You’ll definitely love the quaint town of Summerland and the surrounding area.
  • Can I go on a waitlist for your next course / program?
    Yes. Students requesting a specific start date or those wanting to pre-register are encouraged to register as far in advance as possible. We operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. Your course deposit reserves your place in our calendar. If you have questions about coming course availability, feel free to contact our admin department to discuss.
  • Do I need to bring anything with me for the course?
    As you’ll be in a working shop, hearing protection, safety glasses, a dust-mask, and appropriate footwear is required. For a specific list of items, please contact our admin department: Notebooks, binders and pens / pencils are recommended as well. Some students like to work with their own lutherie tools. If you have a small kit you’d like to bring, that is encouraged, although not necessary. For a recommended basic tool list, please contact our admin department.
  • I still have questions. Can you help?
    Of course. For all other inquiries, feel free to send an inquiry via our contact form.
  • How do I submit payment?
    If you are interested in studying at our school, the first step is to apply to attend a given course. Successful applicants will be contacted via email and then be given a link to formally register and submit their course deposit. NOTE: The remainder of the course fee is due on the first day of class for our 3-week and 5-week courses. A payment schedule for our longer 3-month, 6-month and 1-year courses will be arranged via our admin department. Please see our ‘Registration and Payment Policies‘ for more information or contact our admin department directly to discuss additional payment plan options.
  • Do you offer any payment plans?
    For courses less than three months in duration, all program fees (less the initial deposit) must be paid in full on or before the first day of class. Payment plans may be considered for courses exceeding three months in duration. To apply for a payment plan schedule, please contact our administration department. Educational loans that are available through banks and RESP’s can be used for training.
  • Do you require a course deposit?
    Yes. All courses require a $600 deposit, which includes a $100, non-refundable registration fee to secure your spot. For all three-month-or-less courses the balance of the course fees are due upon the first day of class. For our longer courses, a payment schedule may be considered, or you are welcome to pay your course fees in full before, or on the first day of class. Students interested in applying for a payment schedule are encouraged to make a request with our admin department. For more information, please review our ‘Registration and Payment Policies‘. Successful applicants will be contacted by our admin staff to finalize their registration and submit their course deposit.
  • What is your refund policy?
    Please review our ‘Registration and Payment Policies’, here.
  • What if I have my own parts, have a different design idea, or want to build a different style of guitar?
    Our pricing covers all wood, hardware and basic electronics. We use quality parts from well-known manufacturers but are open to discuss hardware colours (tuning machines, pickguards and so forth). While there is creative freedom around elements such as rosettes, headstock design and inlays, we recommend that students learn the basics during their course and then move on to experiment and expand upon those skill-sets once in their own shops.
  • Do I get to apply finish to my guitar?
    Yes. Depending on the length of your course, students will be able to apply a hand-rubbed oil finish, a water-based lacquer finish, and / or a French polish finish.
  • Do you use kits for your guitar making courses?
    We do not use kits. For our shorter courses, students will often use our jigs and templates to make their instruments. For the longer courses (3+ months), students will make their own jigs from scratch. However, all courses involve milling rough stock and building guitars from the ground, up.


Clicking the button above will redirect you to Robbie O'Brien's Lutherie Academy to complete your purchase.

"I have anxiously been waiting for this course for a while. Thanks for putting it together."



~ Dan


Meet Your Instructor


I'm a luthier, woodworker, designer, military veteran, instructor, shop owner, husband and father of two. I started my guitar building journey probably a lot like you - I was a musician first, fell in love with the aesthetic of the guitar and have always loved creating and using my hands.


It's in my shop that I feel the most at home and truly connected to something deeper. It is my hope to ignite that same fire in you.


My guitar building courses streamline the learning process and have been helpful for many students.

I sincerely thank you for your interest in my courses and the Whitney School of Guitar Building. I look forward to helping you build your next guitar.


Stay tuned!

Michael Whitney, Luthier / Head Instructor
Whitney Guitars | Whitney School of Guitar Building

© 2024 - All Rights Reserved. Whitney Guitars & School of Lutherie.

Whitney Guitars & School of Guitar Making

Summerland, BC Canada V0H1Z8


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