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Guitar Building School and Repair Workshop

ARC Guitar is a unique Guitar Building School and Vintage Guitar Restoration Specialist located in a 106 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 - 10am to 2pm and by appointment
Closed  on Sunday to observe the Lord's Day

Location: 308 Railroad Avenue, Winters CA 95694

ARC Guitar is now entering the sixth year of our Guitar Building School.

New! We now offer a three year apprenticeship program to students who desire to move past their first guitar building project and learn specialized luthierie skills which will prepare them for the 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.

We use "hands on" personal instruction in all of guitar building and repair courses.

Courses offered:

BAGB-101 Basic Acoustic Guitar Building 101:
The goal for the student is to produce a quality instrument (similar to a Martin D-28 or Taylor 410) and develop a working knowledge of guitar construction.
The classes are four hours in length and cover the basics of guitar building. The student will also learn more advanced techniques like voicing the top and shaping the neck.  Excellent results have been achieved by most students. Upon completion, the guitar is in the finish stage 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 worth $2,500.00 - 5,000.00 and is something that will be cherished for a lifetime and passed down as a family heirloom.

AGDB-201 Advanced Guitar Design and Building 201:
The goal for the student is to design and build their own classical or acoustic guitar. This is an advanced class and is offered only to second year apprenticeship students who have demonstrated proficiency through completion of BAGB-101.

GF Guitar Finishing:
Most students send their guitars out to our master woodfinisher for a professional "tough-as-nails finish" that's returned with a beautiful finish.  There are other choices for finishing too. Under our guidance, a small number of students have applied their own finishes. Nitrocellulose lacquer applied with professional HVLP is the finish of choice but we also teach french polishing and tung oil hand-rubbed finishes.

IE Inlay and engraving:
The goal for the student is to create their own pearl shell inlay design and learn basic and advanced inlay skills. Rosette and edge binding techniques will also be taught. This is an invitation only class.

NS Nut and Saddle making
This is taught during GAB-101 and is also taught as a stand alone course. The student will learn how to choose, thickness size and slot a nut and shape a saddle for correct intonation.

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.

Guitar Building School - Cost and Class Times

Now you can Build Your Own Custom Hand Crafted Guitar exactly the way you want it.

ARC Guitar provides all the materials and supplies needed  for you to build your guitar, with many  beautiful exotic wood upgrades and options to choose from. The weekly classes offered are full day (eight hours) for $150.00 and half-day (four hours) for $75.00 A maximum of three students per class is intentionally designed for student interaction and interests.

It takes an average of 26 weeks to complete an enitre guitar and the process is exciting as you learn new wood working skills and develop poroblem solving techniques. Those without prior wood working skills will catch on quickly in a work environment that teaches safety first. You can schedule your lesson during weekdays and *Saturday (*1/2/15 note: Saturday classes are currently full - please call to be added to waiting list.)

Our guitar kits begin at $800.00 and can be customized with your own choices of woods, binding, shell inlay, tuning machines, case and electronic pickup.  Students are expected to buy their materials from ARC Guitar. Those that wish to use their own wood materials must have permission of the instructor and must pay a non-refundable shop use fee of $250.00.

Introducing ARC Guitar

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

Although we specialize in guitar restoration repair and building high quality hand-crafted guitars, our real passion is found in operating a 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.

Factory guitars look nice and some sound really great too, but they're common and don't have that personal touch that brings a guitar to life. Finding that sweet spot in each guitar has been a four decade quest for owner/luthier Al Calderone. Building your own guitar is more than a project. Its a journey that connects you to the bigger picture of shaping sound by using exotic woods as your canvas and saws and chisels as your brushes.

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 our shop and explain the process of guitar building and show you some of the student's guitars.

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 2-3 during a four hour session and cover all the basics of guitar building and learn more advanced skills like voicing the top and sculpting the neck from a neck blank.

ARC Guitar's building school is in its sixth year and over 50 students have come through the school during that time.  Students become associates and some have become close freinds with one another in this unique artisan community sharing a passion for guitars, wood and music. Some students have entered into a new career field in the professional world of lutherie.


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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