Vermont Instruments School of Lutherie
Begun in 1982 by myself, George Morris, Vermont Instruments is a teaching lutherie offering small group tutorials in guitar making, and repair. Students build their own instruments from raw materials.
Three or four of us get together for three weeks and each builds an instrument of his or her own design by hand, juggling the variables of wood choice, bracing and structural design, finishing and set-up.
I teach the rudiments of the craft and use them to build a guitar from scratch in tandem with everyone else. By rudiments I mean the use and sharpening of tools (especially chisels, planes, knives and scrapers), understanding the nature of wood as a working medium, and also practical acoustic theory, and repair and jig-making strategies. No woodworking experience is necessary, but facility with one’s hands is. There is lots of space to accommodate different levels of skill and experience.
My interest is in training the next generation of luthiers. Put another way, I’m not as interested in helping you build a guitar, as I am in helping you teach yourself to build guitars. My focus is on skill development and the sharing of essential information with students who want to continue their own creative work.
The methods used are low-tech and hands-on, relying only on basic hand and small-scale power-tools, and a few simple jigs. I follow the hand-building tradition, not the factory model, and strive to promote the craft by blending useful modern technologies with traditional wisdom and technique. I would like students to be able to begin working on their next instruments as soon as possible, with minimal investment in tools and equipment.
During Your Workshop We Provide
FREE HOUSING FREE MATERIALS SMALL CLASSES
During the course everyone builds a straight-ahead, high-quality guitar with special attention paid to the most important aspects of the instrument: craftsmanship, tonal quality, playability, and strong design. With enrollment limited to four, students receive a great deal of personal attention. We work together daily doing one simple woodworking operation after another, until one day a guitar appears on the workbench. We don’t actually build guitars every day. What we really do with tools in our hands is perform one task at a time, the sum total of which yields a guitar. There’s a big difference.
Students graduate with a set-up guitar, partially or totally finished (that’s up to the student), along with an illustrated shop manual with step-by-step notes detailing the building process, including information about acoustic and structural design. It is designed for course use and future reference. Many graduates have moved directly from this course to building at a high level in their own shops. I hope to continue this tradition to promote the craft into the future.
Students are encouraged to use our extensive library of books, journals, magazines, and videos while they are here to deepen their knowledge of the craft. Guitar cases, pick-ups, and other accessories can be purchased from the school at below market prices. We supply on-going technical support for all graduates.
Kitchen equipment, bedding, and all the materials and supplies for the instruments are provided. You need only bring food money, and personal items. There is no cell phone service here, but there is a phone available to students... 802.727.4311. WiFi is available in both buildings so computers are welcome.
There are two separate living quarters, each essentially an apartment for three, with some private and some semi-private rooms to choose from. Each apartment has its own bath and kitchen and they are right here on campus. A general store and post office is less than a mile away, and a Laundromat nearby.