Ellsberry Archtop Guitar Models


Making the Semi-Carved Electric Archtop

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 - $2500
Materials - $450 (this is an approximate materials cost - may vary depending on materials chosen: pickup, tailpiece, tuners, etc.)
Total: approx. $2950

About the Guitar

This guitar is a semi-carved, 17" archtop with a traditional 2-piece, hand-carved spruce top. The back and sides are laminate, made from instrument grade maple veneers. The guitar features a single, mini-humbucker pickup which "floats" over the top, secured to the pickguard.

This guitar has loud acoustic projection, and it retains that warm jazz sound when plugged in. Like the other guitars we make, this instrument has the quality, action and playability equivalent to any higher-priced, custom-shop archtop of its type.

Guitar Building Class Action Shot

Again, this is a guitar which is “completed in the white” - meaning 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 on 2 days per week, to be scheduled with the student.

This is an intermediate-to-advanced course and assumes the student has some woodworking experience. Hand planes, chisels and scrapers are used extensively in this class.

The student can expect to further develop his/her woodworking and lutherie skills as we focus on creating a finely carved toneplate for the archtop guitar. In additional, the student gains an understanding of how to make subtle adjustments to the carved top in order to optimize the overall sound.

Material Components / Features of the Guitar


European spruce top (2 bookmatched halves, which are glued together)
Maple laminate back and sides – figured maple
17” (lower bout) cutaway body
Fully bound with traditional grained ivoroid binding
Traditional style f-holes, non-bound
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
Top Euro spruce 135
Laminates Back 20
sides 15
Binding grained ivoroid 15
Pickup mini-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