Ellsberry Archtop Guitar Models


Making the Laminate Archtop Electric Guitar

Guitar Building Class Action Shot

Type of instruction:
This is a 1-on-1 class working with the instructor; only one student per class;  student and instructor each build a guitar.

Number of classes: 2 classes/week until finished; typically 5-6 months. (Classes can be scheduled on a combination of weekdays, evenings or weekends during a week.)

Hours per class:  Working hours average about 2.5 - 3 hours per class, depending on the progress being made and the steps being working on.

Instruction - $2200
Materials - $350 (this is an approximate materials cost - may vary depending on materials choosen: pickup, tailpiece, tuners, etc.)
Total: approx. $2550


About the Guitar

The guitar made in this class is a 17” cutaway laminate archtop with a single, in-body, pickup at the neck position.  It has a very large acoustic sound for a laminate guitar, and it can be played unplugged as well as amplified.  When plugged in, the guitar has a traditional jazz archtop sound, warm and acoustic in nature.   Quality, action and playability are equivalent to any high-end, custom-made laminate archtop.

Guitar Building Class Action Shot

At the end of this course, the student will have a guitar which is described as “completed in the white” - this means it does NOT have a paint finish.  The guitar will be prepared for finish, including sanding and sealing.  Options for painting the guitar will be discussed to include French polish, nitrocellulose lacquer, water-based lacquer or poly finish.  The student can choose to paint the guitar him/herself, or have the guitar professionally finished in any of the above paint mediums (painting sources will be provided).

About the Class

The class is held at the shop of Ellsberry Guitars in Huntington Beach.  In addition we will do a field trip to a woodworking/CNC shop in Los Angeles to gain an understanding of CNC technology as is relates to guitar building.

The class student will develop traditional lutherie skills.  These include making of guitar templates and simple fixtures, wiring of electronics for guitar, installing and dressing frets, understanding guitar setup, to include principals of truss rod adjustment, nut height, bridges adjustments and intonation.   

Luthier jigs and fixtures will be extensively used in the class.  Proper woodworking skills will be developed as they relate to guitar building.  Traditional woodworking tools such as chisels, hand planes, and scrapers are used in addition to tools specific to the luthier trade, like finger planes and palm planes, files for nutwork and fretwork, binding cutting tools, and others. 

Material Components / Features of the Guitar


Spruce laminate top – 3 layers of spruce
Maple laminate back and sides – figured maple
17” (lower bout) cutaway body
Fully bound with traditional grained ivoroid binding
Traditonal style f-holes
Parallel or x-braced with spruce bracing


Neck is fully handmade
25” scale
Ebony fretboard – 12” radius, pre-cut fret slots
2-way adjustable truss rod
No binding (neck would have a faux binding – you do not see the end of the frets - clean solid sides.
White position markers are applied on edge of fretboard.
Headstock veneer is a multi-laminate of different wood tones; after it is glued, the edges are beveled to show the underside laminate, giving a clean and attractive “binding” look to the headstock.


We will prepare the guitar for finish and discuss options for having the finish applied, which can be done by the maker or can be sent to a professional guitar finisher.


Approx. materials cost -
Body - Outside
Laminates Top 30
Back 20
sides 15
Binding grained ivoroid 15
Pickup humbucker 40
Pickguard 10
Bridge ebony 15
Tailpiece Metal 25  
Body - Inside
Kerfing 10
Bracing 10
Electronics 1 vol, 1 tone 10  
Maple blank 50
Fretboard 20
Headstock veneer Ebony 10
Frets 10
Tuners 40
Truss rod 20  


For more information, contact Jim Ellsberry at (310) 218-2658