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Guitar Building School and Repair Workshop

ARC Guitar is a unique Guitar Building School and Vintage Guitar Restoration Specialist nestled in a 107 year old historical brick building in the quaint city of Winters, CA.  We're only 30 minutes from downtown Sacramento and less than 60 minutes from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Visitors Welcome!

Guitar School & Workshop Hours:
Monday  -  Closed
Tuesday -  Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturday - 9:30am to 3pm and by appointment
Closed  on Sunday to observe the Lord's Day

Location: 308 Railroad Avenue, Winters CA 95694

Guitar Building School - Cost and Class Times

ARC Guitar is now in the seventh year of our Guitar Building School.

When you visit ARC Guitar, you'll see guitars being built by students enrolled in ARC Guitar Building School. Classes meet 5 days a week and are designed to fit into busy work schedules.  Students are taught in groups of three during each session and cover all the basics of guitar building and more advanced skills like voicing the top and sculpting the neck.

New! We also offer a three-year apprenticeship program to students who desire to move past their first guitar building project to learn specialized luthierie skills which could prepare them for the expanding job market. We are in the process of developing a certificate program that carries the same prestige of other schools of lutherie in the country.

Depending upon the individual's schedule and hours invested, it can take anywhere from 21 days to one full year to complete a guitar from start to finish. The process is exciting as you learn new wood working skills and develop problem solving techniques. Those without prior  shop or wood working skills are welcome.

ARC Guitar takes a simple straight-forward approach to guitar building and  stringed instrument repair:  excellence, integrity, value, and customer satisfaction.

Although we specialize in guitar restoration repair and high quality hand-crafted guitars, our real passion is found in operating this unique school of luthierie. Teaching others how to build their own guitars and passing along highly specialized wood working skills is what really excites us.

We're friendly people too. Stop in for a visit anytime during regular shop hours and we'll be happy to give you a tour of the shop and explain the process of guitar building and show you some of the student's guitars under construction. This unique artisan community is perfect for sharing a passion for guitars, wood and music. Some students have entered into a new career in the professional world of luthierie.

Classes Offered

(BAGB-101) Basic Acoustic Guitar Building:
This class covers the basics of acoustic guitar building. The goal for the student is to produce aquality instrument (similar to a Martin D-28 or Taylor 410) and develop a working knowledge of guitar construction. The student will also learn more advanced techniques like voicing the top, shaping the neck and fretwork.  Excellent results have been achieved by most students. Upon completion, the guitar is in the finish stage "in the white" and ready to apply a protective coating. All materials, tools and supplies are provided for the student. When completed, the value of the guitar is priceless and will be cherished for a lifetime and passed down as a family heirloom.

Cost: Including basic materials, tools and shop use $3,200. Upgrades are available.
Payment options:
1. Pay for the entire course when registering for $3,200, materials are included.
Pay for the entire course in two equal monthly installments of $1600.00 per month, materials are included.
3. Pay "as you go" by the session; cost for an eight-hour day is $135.00 (26 sessions average) or cost for a four-hour day is $75.00 (52 sessions average). With this option, you pay for your materials as you proceed.

Note: This class is also offered as a three-week "intensive class" that runs Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm and the guitar will be finished "in the white" (sanded and ready to apply a finish).

(AGDB-201) Advanced Guitar Design and Building 201:
The goal for the student is to design and build their own classical or acoustic guitar with features. This is an advanced class and is offered only to second year apprenticeship students who have demonstrated proficiency through completion of BAGB-101.
Cost: $3,200 and includes basic materials, tools and shop use. Upgrades are available.

(GF) Guitar Finishing Seminar (8 hours):
This course demonstrates the techniques of finishing a guitar from preparation to final buffing. The class takes place over two weeks. The first session will be a discussion of the different kinds of finishes (french polish, varnish, tung oil, lacquer, urethane water-based finishes) and the advantages and disadvantages of each. There will be a demonstation of prep work and grain filling techniques of open pored woods, as well as the spraying of initial coats. The second session will be focused on sanding, leveling, polishing and troube shooting the coated surface.
Cost: $300

(IE) Inlay and engraving:
This class demonstrates the process of inlay techniques. The goal for the student is to design, lay out and create their own unique pearl shell inlay design and learn basic and some  advanced inlay skills. Tools and materials will be discussed as well as elements of design and execution.  Rosette and edge binding techniques will also be taught.
Cost: $150

(NS) Nut and Saddle making
NS is taught during GAB-101 and is also taught as a stand alone course. The student will learn how to select material, cut material to size, thickness sand and slot a nut for proper string spacing and depth, sand and polish to final shape. The student will also seect, cut and shape a saddle for correct intonation.
Cost: $175

Other workshops and seminars offered:
Neck Resetting
Fretting and advanced fretwork
Guitar Wiring
Crack repair and finish touchup
Guitar Setup
Nut and Saddle construction

Class size for all courses is limited to three students per session. The small class size allows for student interaction, safety, an opportunity for demonstration of procedures and techniques and less competition for machines and work space. The school's approach resembles an old world apprenticeship model that often continues for up to six months, often longer.

Custom "Add ON" options for your guitar

    - wood binding - $60.00
    - abalone rosette - $65.00
    - master grade top - $125.00
    - exotic hardwood for body -$200 -500
    - ivory nut/saddle set - $200.00
    - electronic pickups - $350.00
    - economy case - $100.00

    - premium hardshell case - $250.00 and up
    - custom inlays - $50.00 and up
    - premium tuning machines - $125.00

Exotic woods include rosewoods, koa, myrtle, maple and many others.


ARC Guitar is also a Skilled Restoration and Repair Workshop-
All repairs are performed by resident luthier Al Calderone

  • Bone nut - $75.00
  • Bone saddle - $70.00
  • Re-set & reglue acoustic bridge - $75.00 and up
  • Re-wire electric guitar/bass (plus parts) - $85.00 and up
  • Install new tuning machines (plus tuners) - $25.00
  • Re-fret entire instrument  - $250.00 and up
  • Partial re-fret - $20.00 per fret ($40.00 min.)
  • Repair broken headstock - $75.00 and up 
  • Crack Repair - $15.00 per inch 
  • Re-set acoustic neck - $295.00 and up
  • Re-Finish Instrument with Nitrocellulose Lacquer - $150.00 min.

    ARC Guitar
    308 Railroad Avenue
    Winters, CA 95694
    shop phone: (530) 795-1795 
    cel phone: (530) 902-8920

    email: guitars@arcguitar.com

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