Art of the Archtop

About
the Course

If you have dreamed of building an archtop guitar but were afraid you lacked the tools or skill, now is your chance to learn from a master. With Wyatt’s Art of the Archtop course, you will have the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with a world-class luthier.

 

Wyatt will guide you as you plane, chisel, rout and feel your way through the process of building your very own archtop.

About
the Comox Valley

Wyatt’s shop is set in the heart of the Comox Valley, close to the sea and mountains of mid-Vancouver Island. In nearby Courtenay, Cumberland, and Comox, you will find a variety of shops and restaurants catering to every taste.

The Valley is home to many wineries and plays host to musical and cultural festivals throughout the year. Students are responsible for finding their own transportation and accommodation.

Please contact us for more information on how to get to the Comox Valley and how to locate accommodation.

Contact
Us

The cost of the course is USD $8,500 and includes all of your wood and basic hardware. Students are responsible for procuring their own case.

We look forward to working with you, contact us today to arrange a time to get started.

 (250) 871-4329

wyatt@wilkiestringedinstruments.com

Jakes Booth Journey through the Master Class...

 

Art of the Archtop

A Documentary by Darcy Muenchrath

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Day 1

  • Cut sides to size and sand to thickness

  • Make end blocks

  • Bend sides and clamp in form

  • Make kerfed lining strips

Day 2

  • Glue linings to rim

  • Make neck blank

  • Rout groove for truss rod

Day 3

  • Continue work on neck blank

  • Rout dovetail in neck

  • Rout ledge for fingerboard extension

  • Glue ears to headstock

  • Install truss rod and cover with wood gusset

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Day 4

  • Initial carving of outside shape of top and back plates

Day 5

  • Carve inside surfaces of top and back plates

  • Drill depth reference holes

  • Carve, plane and scrape to shape

  • Cut soundhole in top plate

Day 6

  • Carving/scraping to refine contours of both plates

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Day 7

  • Prepare material for bindings and X-brace

  • Bend binding for guitar rim and sound hole

  • Mark and cut braces to conform to top plate contour

  • Sand braces to final fit then cut X-joint and glue in place

Day 8

  • Glue back plate to rim

  • Shape braces on top plate

  • Coat inside surfaces with shellac

  • Glue top to rim

  • Slot fretboard

  • Rout plate edges flush with rim

  • Sand and scrape sides

  • Rout grove for binding

  • Install, tape and glue binding

Day 9

  • Remove binding tape

  • Wipe top and back with damp paper towel to relieve compression dimples

  • Scrape bindings and blend into recurves on plates

  • Cut taper dovetail mortise in body

  • Plane fretboard to 12 in. radius

Day 10

  • Thickness and taper back of headstock

  • Make tailpiece

  • Shape neck dovetail

  • First fit neck to body

  • Carve neck

  • Scrape sand body and binding

  • Refine neck/body fit

  • Install frets

  • Drill holes for tuners

  • Glue neck to body

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Wyatt Wilkie hand-builds around a dozen archtop guitars and mandolins per year in his small workshop on the coast of Vancouver Island where he has lived for several years with his wife, Emily, and two children, Jasper and Linnea. He considers himself lucky to have finally arrived at such a beautiful place to live and work after a lengthy and unpredictable journey.

If I were young and wanted to learn how to make archtops, I would sign up for this course. Wyatt is a no-nonsense maker. He’s creative, knowledgeable and never runs out of steam. He is the consummate role model for anyone who wants to learn how to make archtops.

– Bob Benedetto