Sydney Guitar Making School

About

The Australian Guitar Making School group is one of the largest guitar making school’s in the world. To date our students have made over 1100 guitars.The Sydney school at Hornsby is run by Luthier – Steve Toscano. At the school, you will create a high quality guitar from raw materials (no kits here!) in a purpose-built workshop under Steve’s or his staffs guidance and tuition.
There are no prerequisite skill levels and all are catered for – most of our students have not picked up a woodworking tool before coming to our classes, let alone made a guitar before.

While it is wonderful to be able to play an instrument that you’ve made yourself, it is not necessary to be a guitarist to make one.
You will be provided with supervised access and FULL TUITION of all tools and machinery and your choice of our high quality tone woods and other materials.

What You Finish With

You will finish with your very own high-quality guitar (these photos below are recent student completions) and the satisfaction in knowing that you have made it yourself. You will also have learnt some new skills and had a great social time while doing so.

Some of our standard build options include:
Acoustic: OM, OR  00, Both Falcate braced with spruce and Carbon Fibre

Classical: Radial or traditional braced

The Teachers

Steve Toscano
Owner and Head Luthier

Steve’s passion for creating instruments by hand started when he was 19yrs of age making solid body electric guitars. Looking for more of a challenge he later studied the art of acoustic guitar construction under the tutelage of master luthier Strato Anagnostis. He quickly became addicted to the art and ‘never left the workshop’ – along the way learning what makes a fine and outstanding instrument, before further developing his skills and a thorough understanding in modal tuning and resonant frequencies from luthier and guitar designer: Trevor Gore.
Steve’s focus is on Classical, Flamenco and Acoustic guitars blended with modern techniques and aspects to make a responsive, aesthetically pleasing, and tonally exquisite guitar.
In recent years he has become a world renown luthier in; consulting and guitar design services to other luthiers and guitar factories around the globe, and his fine guitars which have not only been exported to 11 countries but are played by some discerning concert guitarists.

Steve teaches the Monday Night, Wednesdays and Saturday Classes, and oversees all students work.

 

David Gibson-Smith
Luthier and “Dad Band” guy!

David starting working under Steve’s tutelage in 2019 and took over some teaching duties shortly after. When not teaching David is assisting in the construction of Steve’s guitar’s.

David teaches the Thursday evening and Sunday class.

Tonewoods

The stash of tonewoods available at the workshop is constantly changing. However some staples include: Spruce, Western Red Cedar, Indian Rosewood, Ziricote, many of the Ebonys, Quilted QLD Maple (necks), Maple (quilted and flamed), the Mahoganys, Tasmanian Blackwood, Silky Oak, Brazilian Bloodwood, African Snakewood.
For acoustic makers you can make a guitar that is nearly all Australian natives (with the exception of the soundboard).
The tonewoods available to students are the same that Steve Toscano uses in his guitars – some of which are $10000+ instruments.

Price - Weekly

The tuition fee is:
$150 per weekly 4hr class
For all classes you pay as you go, week by week.
It will take you approximately 23 – 27 classes to complete a standard acoustic guitar.
The cost of materials is in addition to the tuition fee and will vary depending on your choices and the style of guitar, however $700 – $1000 total is indicative. All materials costs are invoiced as you use them, so are spread out through the build.

Plus, a once off enrolment fee of $250

The total cost is typically:
Acoustic / Classical – $4500 paid weekly spread out over 7 – 10 months
Total cost varies depending on your pace of working, and how intricate a build you choose to make. Examples of pricing above is based on a first time guitar maker making a standard instrument.

By following the teacher’s instruction and with a high attention to detail most students will make a guitar that is valued at more than what it cost to make it, however, YOUR guitar that you have made with your hands will no doubt be more valuable to you then a dollar figure.

Price - Intensive

The 3 week intensive courses run in January and July each year.
Price is a flat rate of $5950 all inclusive. See here for future intensive course options. Note, these courses typically book out well in advance.

Weekly Guitar Making

The most popular option

Runs all year round

Our most popular option with flexible payment, flexible self paced, and weekly attendance.
Weekly classes where students attend their session once per week and work at their own pace. Class duration is 4 hours. Class size is 6 students.

Weekly Schedule:

Evening classes:
Tuesday 6 – 10pm: Spots available to start now
Wednesday 6 – 10pm: Booked out, has waiting list, next spot available expected late2023
Thursday 6 – 10pm: Booked out, has short waiting list

Daytime classes:
Wednesday 11am – 3pm: Spots available to start now.
Saturday 10am – 2pm: booked out, has long waiting list, next available expected early 2024
Sunday 10am – 2pm – Spots available to start now.

 

  •  Thursday Night and Sunday classes are instructed by David Gibson-Smith, all other classes are instructed by Steve Toscano.
  • All classes and students work is overseen by head luthier Steve Toscano.
  • The enrolment fee of $250 is payable to reserve a spot on a waiting list.
  • Please note, expected start times are only approximate,  its nearly impossible to judge exactly when spots will become available, as it’s a matter of waiting for an existing student to finish and give up their spot.

Guitar Making Course

Class options – Intensive

3 weeks full time

Steve Toscano teaches small group 3 week intensive courses in January and July each year. These book out in advance, so get in touch well in advance to reserve your spot.
See intensive options here
Intensive courses are only for Acoustic, Classical or Flamenco builds.
Plus there is some availability for 1:1 intensive tuition. Get in touch via contact page to find out more.

What next?

To get enrolled just reply to the email you have received or fill out the contact form below
Watch out – It’s very addictive. Some students never leave……
We only have room to take in around 60 students per year and more popular class times can often have waiting lists that stretch out beyond a year. We often close our books to new enrolments.

Get enrolled or have a question?

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