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I just want to add to the comments below. This really is a very special and rewarding course - for those that know what they're doing to pick up on new ways of doing things, and for those that love guitars but have never had the confidence to do their own set-up. James is an excellent teacher - warm, engaging, expert, humorous, and open to all questions (even the dumb ones from me!), which he handles with ease. His passion for guitars shines through. He's got a willing audience, for sure. But it's the confidence that he builds in you that is the greatest takeaway from the day. The few necessary tools now on order, and looking forwards to putting it all into practice! Totally recommend this course - and James' teaching - for all guitarists!
I have been on both the guitar set up and fret dressing courses, and both were of the same high standard. For me the structure of each of his courses are very similar, a discussion on what we will be doing, the 'Theory' with so much information explained in a way easily understood. The 'Practical', which is also demonstrated, and the help during the execution. This is especially helpful for a novice like me. We all learn differently and James covers all the bases. I stumbled on 'guitars' at later time in my life, I play poorly, but love the whole thing about guitars. Their form, performance, colour and history. So I have created a hobby that I never dreamt I would do. I needed a means to learn how to set up, maintain, repair and restore. James' courses are starting to fulfillthat for me. If I had to say one thing that has helped me it would be 'confidence'. I became confident in James' classes to start setting up guitars. First one took me ages.... but I got there. I don't know where this journey is going to lead me but its fun. Knowing I have somewhere to go to learn for my next step is encouraging. The best thing is being in a room of like minded people, all there for the same aim, to learn and enjoy. So I am going back when a refretting course is available!
I took this course just before Christmas 2017, I found it excellent a thoroughly enjoyable day.James's knowledge and passion came through really strongly; he managed to explain things in an easily understandable way and covered so many topics.The course has given me a framework to work to when setting up my own guitars and the confidence to have a go!Since taking the course I have set up a number of guitars which means the course has already paid for itself and I have now booked the build your own guitar course too.
This day course was given to me as a birthday present. James had set-up a guitar for me a few years ago so I knew the work he did was sound and reliable. It was a busy but enjoyable day pitched at the right level. I had only seen some You Tube videos of guitar set-up and had thought “not for me”. On starting the course I thought I just wanted to know how to do it but doubted I would be confident to actually put what I learnt into practice.By lunch my mind was changing. The pace was right with the ability to try everything for myself really helped. James put the focus on taking measurements, making small adjustments and measuring again in the knowledge you always knew how to undo what you had done.With the questions from the group I left with far more than I expected (including a quicker easier way to re-string the guitar).From the list of tools needed I was buying them on-line during coffee break (knowing that my wife would turn them into Christmas presents for someone hard to buy-for).I have now set-up two guitars (electric and acoustic) with a third to be done soon. The first was a little daunting but it really was so straightforward the second was almost routine and now the course has half paid for itself.I have signed up for the guitar build course at the end of this year (50th Birthday) to gain the total experience and without wishing the year away, it can’t come too soon.
I embarked on this course because I have a large number of guitars and wanted to be able to maintain them myself. Having tinkered a bit over the years I really wanted to understand the logical process that goes with assessing the current state of the set-up then completing the steps necessary to bring the instrument to its ultimate playing condition.The course was relaxed and friendly and with a small group it felt that everyones needs were understood and satisfied. All stages of the set-up were explained in depth and demonstrated before we tried ourselves along with an explanation of the tools we should acquire to do this at home. Active discussions at break times with a group of guitar nuts was also great fun!I left the course buzzing and have since assembled the tools needed and have started benchmarking my guitars ready to begin work.I am now booked on the fret dressing course in January to complement my current knowledge and cant wait!! - Mike
I came in expecting to build a "reasonable" guitar with very average build quality and the craftsmanship of a novice builder. What transpired during the course however far out weighed my expectations. With James' (and Ollie) attentive tutelage and very personable teaching style I walked away with a strat that met the exact spec that I wanted which I am finding impossible to put down or find a flaw in. All parts used were much higher quality than expected and the attention to detail that James and Ollie provided meant that the guitar truly felt flawless once complete. This course is absolutely incredible and an unmissable experience for all guitarists. My deepest and most heartfelt thanks to James and Ollie and hopefully I will be back for the setup course and potentially another build in due time.Kindest regards-Will T
What a great last few days, with a good group of like minded guitar luving dudes! ... with a loverly mix of different builds going on from the beautiful bling real custom machines to the understated "sleepers" that. blow your socks off!James, you gave me just the right amount of guidance too (no point doing the course if you don't want to build it yourself). - I'm all proud of myself being the only one who needed to jump on the chisels! Lol.And the tele I built is wonderful ... only just put it down - the neighbours aren't so keen though ! I mean for versatility this things kills anything I can think of.Thanks GTC and pass my email to the guys to stay in touch.
Hi JamesI am writing to thank you so much for the enjoyable and highly informative guitar set up course last Saturday.You managed to pack in so much and presented everything in a way that was easy to understand.The course has given me the confidence to start working on my guitar collection (which I have started to do already!) and I feel that doing so will help bring me closer to my instruments and increase my playing enjoyment.So all in all I am delighted that I attended the course and thanks again for a great day!Kind regards, Quentin.
Dear James Many thanks for a superb guitar building course.Over the three days I felt inspired, stressed, joyful, awed, worried, delighted, proud, engaged, relaxed, re-assured, capable, tired, focussed and ….mostly like a child in a sweet shop. Three days of the best fun I've had in years, your style is relaxed but attentive. Your approach made me aware of potential pitfalls, how to avoid them and your skill and experience gave me the re-assurance that if things went wrong you'd be able to help recover the situation.I am delighted with my guitar and was massively impressed with the other students instruments (I wanted them all). Each guitar is a unique instrument personal to the maker, using quality components, based on proven standards and processes resulting in superb playability and gorgeous tones, what more could we ask for (oh, I know, another one).I feel I have come away with a guitar that’s worth more to me than the cost of the course and the knowledge and confidence to help me set up my existing guitar collection to make them more playable and toneful.I also need to thank the other guys on the course who helped to make it a very special event, I now have four new guitar buddies.Health warnings:
I would be grateful if you could share this mail with the other students and if they are happy for you to do so pass on their email address as I'd like to keep in touch.Many thanks again and I hope to see you early next year…Best RegardsDave Thorne
- This course is addictive and I'm now planning to attend a second course to build the Telecaster to partner my "Dave-ocaster". I would probably spec the neck pick up as per Duncan's after hearing how that sounded (sweet as..) I know others on the course have similar intent as well.
- If you stay at the May Garland Inn you will be distracted and may find concentration during the working day difficult. There is enough comedy (of errors) material in the pub to create stand up tour think "Al Murray- goes to Sussex).
Thanks to James for a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. The course was relaxed and easygoing yet still very informative. Nothing was too much trouble for James, even ordering different guitar parts at very short notice. So , three gorgeous guitars and three very happy people who would recommend you just take this course if you are wondering if it is worth it. Trust me , it is.
I did the course back in May. James does a really great job of demonstrating the skill that goes into building a guitar while making it accessible. Thanks also to Andy for helping me with fret dressing It’s good fun and I’m really pleased with the end result.
James/James. Just wanted to say thanks for a brilliant weekend. The guitar build course surpassed my expectations, as did the guitar I came home with, which is easily the best I have owned. The whole process was great fun and a real challenge, but more importantly has left a luddite like me confident enough to set about my rather tired guitar collection and upgrade all of them. You have made the process thoroughly enjoyable from the very start of the booking process, at which point it became clear that you were going to make a huge effort to ensure we would not only be learning essential luthiery skills, but coming home with a dream guitar. The teaching was a really good mix of expert knowledge and just letting us get on with it, which really helped the knowledge learned to stick. I would recommend this course to anyone and think it represents superb value for money. It is also a great privilege to be tutored by guitar builders of such obvious brilliance.Thanks again. Dan
Hello James, Just a note To say thanks for the course on Saturday. I thought it was just what I needed to give me the confidence to attack a guitar, and very well presented in a relaxed environment. I will bear in mind the build course, depending how I get on with my own projects. Please email me if you are in the area at any shows. Once again, thank you. Cheers Paul
Just a quick note to thank you and Andy for hosting a significantly enjoyably course last weekend.
I found the time most productive and stimulating let alone door right good fun.
The mix of theory and practise made it easier to retain a broad base of information, notwithstanding concluding with a tip top output!
Great syllabus and very well presented - I have no hesitation in recommending the course to others.
Great weekend great guys both luthiers James and Andy plus all fellow inmates John and the two Rodgers. Will hopefully see you at the Liverpool guitar show!
3 fantastic days working with James and Andrew! I'll upload some photos in the near very future - so much information and advice from these guys it's really priceless. It really is an amazing experience to build a guitar with these guys... Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you both again soon - John
My 15 year old son has just completed your 3 day course and had a wonderful time. Although he knew no-one on the course and is very quiet, he felt at ease immediately and would love to repeat the whole experience. His completed guitar is just as he wanted it and looks amazing. The service from initial contact has been professional and helpful and well worth the expense. Thanks again.
Thanks again for taking the trouble to source all the black bits and pieces and for your patients with my ham-fisted luthery. I think I’ve ended up with quite a unique instrument. I’m very pleased with the way it turned out. It sounds great, very traditional and twangy.
All the best, Paul
Just a quick note to say that I really enjoyed the build course a couple of weeks ago and got my guitar safely back to the middle east with no issues.
The course confirmed that this is something I would really like to get into... Cheers.
I cannot speak highly enough of the sence of achievement that I gained form this course. James is a very talented luthier whose expectaions are high. The course was very well set out and the training superb. I have a very special guitar that I have real attachment to because I built it and it also plays and sounds great, Thank you James ps I also made some good friends over the three days