Options & Costs
You can build either an acoustic or electric guitar or bass at the Hancock Guitar Making Course. There are several options and prices are based on the complexity of the build, the time it takes and the materials used.
We are committed to helping our students build high-quality instruments at the course. You will leave the course having built a guitar that’s as good or better than a high-end American instrument, which would cost around the same amount of money to buy from a music shop
Simple Acoustic Guitar
Time – 2 Weeks
Cost – $5,450
Key Features – Body Unbound, Partly-Shaped Neck Used
The Simple Acoustic offers a lot of scope to customise the style and materials of the guitar you build.
You can choose to build a Dreadnought, 000, Orchestra Model or Parlour guitar. You can also add a cutaway to the selected body shapes.
The aesthetic style is simple and elegant. The instruments are left free from edge binding and the same material is used for the top, back and sides to give the guitar a more modern, seamless look.
Unique and beautiful timbers can be used for the top, back and sides to give the finished guitar a stunning look. The most popular choice is Australian Blackwood while Mahogany, Hawaiian Koa or a number of other timbers can be used.
You will use a partly shaped neck to save the time it would otherwise take to cut a neck from a block of timber. You will perform all the other processes from choosing timbers, through to bending the sides using heat and steam, right through to spraying the lacquer finish.
Custom Acoustic Guitar or Bass
Time – 2-1/2 Weeks
Cost – from $6,750
Key Features – Body Binding, Wide Selection of Timbers, Neck Made from Scratch
The Custom Acoustic Guitar option includes three extra days to allow for more a more complicated build. This extra time allows you to customise your guitar even more than with the Simple Acoustic option.
You can choose from a number of shapes including Dreadnought, 000, Orchestra and Parlour Guitar profiles. It is also possible to build an acoustic bass.
One key difference between the Custom Acoustic and the Simple Acoustic is that you can have your choice of body bindings. Aside from making a more elaborate looking instrument, the use of bindings creates a visual border on the edges of the guitar. This border visually separates the top and back from the sides, allowing for the use of different timbers for each part.
Why not build a truly unique guitar by using your favourite timber? If you don’t have a preference we can make some suggestions from our stock of timbers. We keep a variety of Rosewoods from Brazil, India, Honduras and Madagascar, Mahogany from Brazil and Africa, as well as many unique sets of Australian native timbers including Blackwood, Queensland Maple and Bunya Pine.
The Custom Acoustic is the most challenging option we offer and covers the most luthierie techniques. You will begin your guitar with a raw top, back and sides and can choose from using a partly shaped neck or cutting the neck from raw timber as well. Over the 2-1/2 weeks you will work away at the raw timbers forming them into a highly-refined, great sounding instrument you can truly be proud of.
The cost depends on the materials used. The starting price will cover most tonewood options. If you have a particular timber selection in mind please contact us about the cost and availability.
Simple Electric Guitar or Bass
Time – 2 WEEKS
Cost – from $4,750
Key Features – Partially-Made Bolt-on Neck Used, Freedom to Choose Body & Head Shape
This option gives you the freedom to design a unique body shape and customise many other details of the guitar.
The neck is made from American Rock Maple and comes fretted and with the truss rod installed. You can customise the shape of the headstock and carve the neck to the perfect profile for you.
You will begin by choosing the timber for the body of your guitar, this can be a imported wood like Ash, Alder or Mahogany, or something Australian like Figured Queensland Maple or Australian Red Cedar. You will then profile, contour and route cavities, transforming the timber blank into the body of your guitar.
The shape of the guitar can be anything you can imagine. You can choose from any of the classic guitar shapes like Strat, Tele and Les Paul or design a completely unique shape. You can also customise the pickup combination, the position of switch, volume and tone controls and many other details of the body.
There are a wide selection of pickups available and you can choose the perfect type to give your guitar exactly the sound you want. You can install humbuckers, single-coil pickups or P-90s. You can also choose the pickguard shape, or not have a pickguard.
You can either mount a tremolo or a fixed bridge and can choose from a range of brands and finishes for the tuners and other hardware.
The cost includes high quality pickups and hardware from Gotoh Japan. If you would like another brand of pickups or hardware we can adjust the price to cover any additional cost.
Custom Electric Guitar or Bass
Time – 2-1/2 WEEKS
Cost – from $6,450
Key Features – Bolt-on Neck Made from Scratch, Freedom to Choose Body & Head Shape
Build a truly custom electric guitar exactly the way you want it.
The Custom Electric option is built from scratch, you will start with the raw timbers and transform them into the guitar of your dreams over the 2-1/2 weeks. You can choose the timbers, the shape and the style of hardware.
You will begin by designing your guitar and making a plan. You can start with a classic shape or design your own shape. We will guide you through the design process and explain any important principles of guitar design that you need to consider so that the finished guitar plays and sounds great. You can choose from a tremolo or fixed bridge and any number of combinations of pickups and controls.
Once you have your guitar planned out you will cut, route and and shape the body using a range of electric and hand tools. You’ll make a fingerboard and neck, install a truss rod and frets. After the body and neck are made you’ll assemble the guitar, solder the pickups and wiring and then install the hardware and set it up.
There is an almost endless array of timbers you can use for the body and neck of your guitar. You can stick to the traditional timbers like Ash, Alder and Maple or go with something Australian, such as Quilted Queensland Maple or something exotic like figured European Maple. The fingerboard can be a focal point in itself and there are a lot of amazing timbers you can use for this, you can also incorporate a custom pearl headstock inlay to add an extra level of customisation to the instrument.
The cost depends on the materials used. The starting price will cover most tonewood options and high quality pickups and hardware from Gotoh Japan. If you have a particular timber or parts selection in mind please contact us about the cost and availability.
All tonewoods and other materials are included in the course fee.
We want you to build an instrument which truly reflects your tastes and personality. There’s a lot of scope for choosing materials and customising the design of your instrument.
The timbers used will give the instrument its unique look and sound. We’ll discuss the materials with you before the course begins and explain the characteristics of each timber so you can make an informed decision about what to use on your guitar.