Vermont Instruments School of Lutherie

Vermont Instruments is a teaching lutherie begun in 1982.   As a lutherie we make acoustic guitars and other instruments for sale, and as a school we teach the craft in both short and long-term courses of study.  Anyone who wants to build a guitar for him or herself or to train for a professional career in the craft is welcome to attend.

Four-week Introductory Course

As an introduction to the craft we offer a one-month course of study for one or two people at a time.  Starting dates are negotiable; there are no scheduled course dates.  During this course students build a straight-ahead, high-quality guitar by hand from scratch with special attention paid to the most important aspects of the instrument: craftsmanship, tonal quality, playability, and strong design. The four-week introductory course is $4800, which includes instruction, materials and housing.

Apprenticeship

Long-term study, either six months or one year, is available for those who want deeper involvement.  Here, after an introductory month building their first instrument, students plan their own course of study, keep their own hours, and focus on what is important to them.

The methods used are low-tech and hands-on, relying only on basic hand and small-scale power-tools, and a few simple jigs, following the hand-building tradition, not the factory model, and strive to promote the craft by blending useful and labor saving modern technologies with traditional wisdom and technique. We prepare students to begin working in their own shops as soon as possible, with minimal investment in tools and equipment.

We teach the rudiments of the craft: the care and use of tools (especially chisels, planes, knives and scrapers), understanding the nature of wood as a working medium, practical acoustic theory, and repair and jig-making strategies. An illustrated shop manual with step-by-step instructions is provided. No woodworking experience is necessary, but facility with one’s hands is.

Living accommodations are included, as well as phone service, Wi-Fi, kitchen equipment, and bedding.

$4800 is charged for the first month and includes housing and all materials.  The remaining 5 months are priced at $1440 per month, which covers housing but materials are the student’s responsibility. (in short , tuition for the 6-month program is $12,000. )

The one-year program costs $22,000, with $4800 charged for the first month and $1565 for each of the remaining eleven months.

Long-term studies must be negotiated with the school. 

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The time that I spent under the mentorship of George was honestly a life changing experience. I have recommended this course to many. Whether you just want to get away from the every day stress of life, or you are serious about becoming a luthier, I can’t think of a better place to escape to. The instruction, care, environment, camaraderie, and sincere passion that is part of Vermont Instruments, is unbelievable. Every guitar that came out of our group was a superb prize! Highly recommended!
— Lynn Wiles