The Chicago School of Guitar Making

Welcome to the Chicago School of Guitar Making! We teach classes in guitar setup and repair, guitar building, effects pedal building, tube amplifier building and tube amp diagnostics. We are the only school in Chicago where you can learn instrument repair and building from a professional luthier. We are also the only school teaching the craft of tube amplifier building. Since opening in 2005, more than 1,900 students have enrolled in our classes.



Courses and workshops are offered all year. We release the schedule of new sessions every six months to give students ample notice.

Courses are scheduled to meet either weekly or as weekend seminars.

The weekly classes meet weekday evenings from 7 pm to 9:30 pm.

Weekend seminars provide the same curriculum as weekly courses but are condensed into a weekend format. These seminars are ideal for those who have schedule conflicts with our weekly classes or are not in close proximity to the Chicagoland area.

We send out an email Newsletter several times each month announcing the school’s upcoming schedule and any new classes. Please sign up for our newsletter by providing your email address in the Newsletter Sign Up box which is found in the upper right hand corner of this web page!



Our school is located at Specimen Products, 1240 N. Homan Ave, Chicago IL, 60651.

It is outfitted with individual workbenches custom-made for the students. Each workbench is stocked with all the tools required in our classes. Students also have access to our fully-equipped wood and metal shop, and a wealth of specialized tools and supplies.



Ian Schneller Ian is the Chief Instructor and founded the School in 2005. Ian teaches Design & Theory + Blueprint Course, Tube Amp Building and Champ Tube Amp Building at the Chicago School of Guitar Making. He is also a faculty member of the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute and owner of Specimen Products.

Pete Mueller Pete is a guitar builder and repair technician at Specimen. Pete teaches Electric Guitar BuildingLap Steel Guitar BuildingSetup & Maintenance for Guitar and BassBone Nut & Saddle MakingAdvanced Repairs and Fretting Workshop at the Chicago School of Guitar Making.

Richard Phillis Richard is a guitar builder, repair technician and surface finisher at Specimen. He teaches Effects Pedal BuildingGuitar ElectronicsElectric Guitar BuildingLap Steel Guitar BuildingAdvanced RepairsSetup & Maintenance for Guitar and Bass and Finishing Techniques at the Chicago School of Guitar Making.

Kye Kennedy We are pleased to offer the rare opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Tube Amp Building and Tube Amp Diagnostics & Repair with master technician Kye Kennedy. Kye is a visiting guest instructor who travels to Chicago from Nashville, Tennessee specifically to give instruction at the school.



These courses are part of our foundation curriculum and are structured to teach students the essentials of guitar repair and design. All of our foundation courses provide a good groundwork for anybody interested in building their own custom guitar. Depending on the students desired focus, we are offering suggested bundles of curriculum to suit their specific needs. Classes listed in bundles are not necessarily in a specific order.


Suggested bundles:

Guitar Building

Setup & Maintenance for Guitar and Bass

Design & Theory + Blueprint

Electric Guitar Building

Lap Steel Guitar Building

Fretting Workshop

Guitar Electronics Repair & Upgrades

Bone Nut & Saddle Making

Finishing Techniques


Guitar Repair

Setup & Maintenance for Guitar and Bass

Advanced Guitar Repair

Guitar Electronics Repair & Upgrades

Bone Nut & Saddle Making

Fretting Workshop



Setup & Maintenance for Guitar and Bass

Guitar Electronics Repair & Upgrades

Effects Pedal Building – One Pedal

Effects Pedal Building – Two Pedals

Champ Tube Amp Building

Tube Amp Building

Tube Amp Diagnostics & Repair I

Tube Amp Diagnostics II – Advanced Techniques

Hi-fi Stereo Tube Amp Building


For additional information about our school and the classes we teach, please visit our Classes and SeminarsFAQ and About pages.