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CNC for Guitar Making

Updated: Jan 6

Automation, Repeatability, Consistency... say no more.

Thank you for your interest in our CNC for Guitar Building Course. We are now offering a hands-on, four-week, beginner-to-intermediate' CNC program at our school. This course was designed for students wishing to compliment their existing knowledge of guitar-making or for those looking to simply gain an understanding of the CNC as it pertains to guitar making. Even if you’re a hobbyist looking to incorporate the CNC into your creative workflow, this is the program for you.

For course details and answers to common questions, continue reading...

Michael Whitney - Luthier CNC for Guitar Making Course Canada

Michael Whitney | Luthier, Instructor

CNC for Guitar Making Course - Summerland, BC Canada

Why the CNC

CNC machines have been used by larger guitar building companies for many decades as they allow for consistent and repeatable results in manufacturing. From simple jigs, templates and fixtures to complete guitar design and production, the CNC should be considered as yet another tool in one’s shop to leverage both time and efficiency.

But Isn't the CNC 'Cheating'?

Make no mistake – the CNC is not ‘magic’ by any means, and there is not a secret ‘guitar button’ that one can simply hit, and ‘presto!’. Rather, the CNC will do what you program it to do – nothing more, and nothing less. Anyone who has gained experience and an understanding of CAD (computer aided design) and CAM (computer aided manufacturing) will agree that there is a completely new level of artistic and technical knowledge required to achieve satisfying results with this technology.

While purists may argue that the CNC has no place in a ‘true’ luthier’s shop, one could say the same of any power tool! It is my opinion that marrying traditional and modern methods of guitar construction should be considered an asset both for the individual builder as well as for someone looking to be hired as a guitar maker by any of the bigger players out there.

What can I Expect from your CNC for Guitar Making Course?

In short, CAD and CAM training as well as hands-on experience with the CNC is an invaluable asset for students seeking employment in the guitar making field. Most recently, the cost of high quality CNC machines has continued to become more affordable and there is now a wide range of robust ‘hobbyist’ machines suited to smaller shops and individual luthiers.

To summarize, the very high accuracy and repeatability of CNC machining allows for practical alternatives as well as a supplement to traditional jig-guided power- and hand-tools.

During our 4-week CNC Course, you will move from design-phase to production-phase as either ‘makers’ or hobbyists, and students will learn all the skills needed to create consistent parts and to bring their creative ideas to light. While this course is geared to the art of guitar making, this course would be an asset for any ‘maker’ looking for a comprehensive ground-up approach to CNC design and manufacturing.

Course Snapshot

Our 4-week Intermediate CNC Course runs for 20 days (spanning one month) and deeply explores both CAD and CAM enivronments. Building upon smaller projects, students will then model a complete guitar body and neck using Rhino 3D and later move into Fusion 360 to generate tool-paths and G-code from 3D models.

We conclude the course by CNC milling both a Tele-style guitar body and neck using the AXIOM AR8 CNC. Time permitting students will sand, hand-finish, install hardware and electronics and finish with the final setup of the instrument.


Student Spotlight


Mike was an absolute pleasure to have as a teacher! His products are up to the highest standards, and his program was equally well-constructed and delivered. If woodworking [or] guitar building, interest you, you should seriously consider taking a course with Mike. -Harrison Vos | Eugene Oregon, USA


Student Spotlight


The course was very project-based and focused on hands-on learning... I implore any aspiring (or experienced!) creatives interested in learning guitar making, to explore this wonderful opportunity! -Miles Staley | Kelowna, BC Canada

CNC for Guitar Building Course Details

Course Type On-site; hands-on; one-on-one.

Certificate Program Yes

Areas of Study CNC - includes both CAD and CAM components; drafting a guitar using Rhino 3D; use of Fusion 360 to generate tool-paths and G-code from 3D models; CNC milling of Tele-style guitar body / neck using AXIOM AR8 PRO CNC as well as Vectric VCarve Pro software; sanding and finishing; wiring; electronics; guitar assembly and setup (*time permitting).

Woods & Hardware All woods provided. Hardware is the responsibility of the student.

Projects small parts; guitar templates; finished 'Tele-style' guitar and neck.

Hours 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Deposit $600 (includes $100 registration fee)

We ask that you review our School Policies before registering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I require any previous knowledge of the CNC?

No. This course takes a ground-up approach, and each lesson builds off of the previous to get you confident with the software, orient you to the CNC machine itself and have you milling by the end of the course. This course will provide you with a solid foundation from which to move forward in your own shop as a hobbyist or professional.

What can I expect from this course?

Do we work on weekends?

Do I need to bring anything with me for the course?

What type of guitar do I get to create?

I'm not interested in guitars. Would this course help me to learn the CNC?

I still have questions. Can you help?

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