Acoustic Guitar Building

Ever want to learn how to build your own acoustic guitar? Or are you a luthier wanting to improve your skills? This course offers instruction for the beginner to advanced builder.

Buy Now $265.00 146 Lessons 24:55:37

Free Videos

About This Course

Welcome to the Robert O’Brien Online Acoustic Guitar Building Course. In this course Robert shows how to build a steel string guitar. With over 25 hours of high quality video and audio instruction divided into 15 chapters, this course provides detailed information about every step in the guitar building and finishing process. The finishing chapter very thoroughly covers how to apply a traditional high gloss lacquer finish. In the course he builds an OM model guitar but the information can also be used to build other guitar models.

If you purchase the entire course you get a special bonus. You get a free copy of the professionally drawn plans for the neck angle jig Robert uses in the course, a $20 value. You also become eligible to join Robert’s invitation only chat group. Here he offers advice and support as you build. There is a wealth of information available to you for free!

If you have ever wanted to learn how to build your own high end steel string acoustic guitar then Robert’s Online Acoustic Guitar Building Course is a must!

Please read the FAQ page before beginning. To begin, just register/login and purchase the video lessons.

It has never been easier to learn the art of guitar building.

Happy Building!

Construction Notes for Steel String Guitar

An in-depth, step by step, handbook designed as a companion to my “Online Acoustic Guitar Building Course”. It has over 250 pages of detailed instructions and each chapter contains hyperlinks to all of the lessons in my online course as well as links to my free YouTube “Luthier Tips du Jour” instructional videos. Free to download.

I purchased your online Acoustic Guitar Building course and just want to say I have found it extremely valuable. For the past couple of years I've spent my saturday mornings taking private lessons from a highly respected local luthier. I'm currently working on my second guitar and your video lessons are a great resource for reinforcing what I have learned from my classes. Although the techniques may vary somewhat the concepts are the same. I am looking forward to my next guitar which I plan on building from your lessons. Thanks for the lessons! Kevin B.
See what others are saying


Your online class is perfect! It is like being in your shop. I am a piano tuner/ re-builder, but my passion has always been for the guitar. I have been a player and teacher for a long time and have even done fret jobs, head stock repairs, etc. I love being in the shop and as a classical and jazz player, plan on going through your arch top class next. Thanks again for offering these classes. Gary
I purchased your online Acoustic Guitar Building course and just want to say I have found it extremely valuable. For the past couple of years I've spent my saturday mornings taking private lessons from a highly respected local luthier. I'm currently working on my second guitar and your video lessons are a great resource for reinforcing what I have learned from my classes. Although the techniques may vary somewhat the concepts are the same. I am looking forward to my next guitar which I plan on building from your lessons. Thanks for the lessons! Kevin B.
When I got the steel string course, it was a gold mine for me because it presented everything so clearly, logically, and sequentially, all I needed to do was follow the instruction and learn by doing, which is the only way this work goes. The video presentation is just right - the focus is the task at hand, everything's clear and easily visible, and there's no distraction from the work. Also, the process is broken up into an orderly, and DIGESTABLE organization. Peter
I’m a hobbiest, intrigued by the process of building light, responsive steel string guitars - I’m currently working on #13, a pretty Koa/Sitka OM on consignment for a friend. Each time I head down to the shop to work on a particular aspect of the build, I run through that chapter of your course and make sure I’m up to speed on what to do. It always reminds me to watch for this or that and keeps me focused on the important steps. - and of course, I’m always on the lookout for “your friend”. Tony in Colorado
Thank you for your excellent guitar video lessons. My guitar looks, feels, and sounds great. It is definitely the nicest sounding guitar I have ever played. I am looking forward to making at least two more, one for each son. John
Thanks so much for your inspiring acoustic steel string course. While I followed different plans and specs, I followed your course step-by-step and built it pretty much in line with your instructions. My intention was to build a replica of a Collings DS2H, which is probably the nicest sounding guitar I've ever played. While the finish is not up to Collings' standards, the sound of this instrument is, in my opinion, just as powerful and well balanced. As it plays-in it should open up and give me pleasure for years to come.Thanks again for your excellent instructional series. This guitar could not have happened were it not for that. Paul
I would like to thank you for your course.I have just finished a new guitar for my daughter. I follow all you courses and step and i didn’t get major problems. I would never thank you enough for all your videos. I spent almost a year and half, to watch your videos very often, and now all my family knows your voice, they are saying « say hello to Robert ! » Once again many thanks! Nicolas in Paris, France
I purchased your steel string instructional videos a little over a year ago and have been really enjoying them. I am about to complete my third “O’Brien build” and I couldn’t be more pleased. You are a gifted educator. Ed
Can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed the videos in the course. Very professionally done. John
Chapter 1 • The Sides
3:39:36 $27.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Cutting Sides to Width 10:02
Lesson 2: Thicknessing 20:11
Lesson 3: Scraping 6:31
Lesson 4: Sanding 4:37
Lesson 5: Molds 2:38
Lesson 6: Intro to Bending 7:28
Lesson 7: Tapering the Sides 7:55
Lesson 8: Bending 23:15
Lesson 9: Bending Part II 8:31
Lesson 10: Heel and End Blocks 23:12
Lesson 11: Cutting Sides to Length 6:53
Lesson 12: Gluing Sides to Blocks 11:21
Lesson 13: Radiusing 21:24
Lesson 14: Kerfing 17:50
Lesson 15: More Radiusing and Kerfing 8:37
Lesson 16: Crack repair 10:40
Lesson 17: Side Struts 12:41
Lesson 18: End Wedge 15:59
Chapter 2 • The Soundport
26:33 $11.00 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Soundport Overview 5:41
Lesson 2: Making Veneers 5:24
Lesson 3: Attaching Veneers 8:32
Lesson 4: Routing the Soundport 6:57
Chapter 3 • The Back
2:19:57 $16.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Joining the Back 12:39
Lesson 2: Making Back Braces 21:43
Lesson 3: Thicknessing the Back 8:52
Lesson 4: Reinforcement Strip 11:48
Lesson 5: Gluing Back Braces 18:24
Lesson 6: Voicing the Back 27:29
Lesson 7: Radiusing Back Kerfing 3:50
Lesson 8: Fitting the Back 21:58
Lesson 9: Attaching the Back 13:26
Chapter 4 • The Top
4:43:48 $40.00 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Joining the Top 11:40
Lesson 2: Prepping for the Rosette Part I 4:23
Lesson 3: Hand Planer Setup 3:21
Lesson 4: Prepping for the Rosette Part II 11:42
Lesson 5: Installing the Rosette 23:57
Lesson 6: Installing the Rosette Purflings 13:00
Lesson 7: Thicknessing the Top 20:09
Lesson 8: Binding the Soundhole 20:05
Lesson 9: Top bracing Overview 4:22
Lesson 10: Making Braces 18:44
Lesson 11: The X Brace 17:30
Lesson 12: Tone Bars and Finger Braces 16:07
Lesson 13: Upper Braces 12:26
Lesson 14: Soundhole Bracing 2:02
Lesson 15: The Bridge Patch 17:09
Lesson 16: Braces Discussed 10:42
Lesson 17: Voicing Part I 18:25
Lesson 18: Voicing Part II 19:51
Lesson 19: Voicing Part III 14:14
Lesson 20: Closing the Box 24:12
Chapter 5 • Bindings
1:47:24 $16.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Bending 10:18
Lesson 2: Setting Up the Binding Cutter Jig 13:44
Lesson 3: Cutting Binding Channels 17:07
Lesson 4: Install Prep 7:48
Lesson 5: Installing the Bindings 21:24
Lesson 6: Installing the Back Bindings 17:41
Lesson 7: Scraping the Bindings 19:34
Chapter 6 • The Neck
2:27:06 $22.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Cutting the Scarf Joint 10:56
Lesson 2: Laminating the Neck 10:31
Lesson 3: Gluing the Scarf Joint 7:54
Lesson 4: Thicknessing the Peghead 8:14
Lesson 5: Truss Rod Slot 10:15
Lesson 6: Peghead Veneers 10:46
Lesson 7: Trimming Peghead Veneer 3:18
Lesson 8: Veneering Back of Peghead 10:31
Lesson 9: Shaping and Drilling the Peghead 9:27
Lesson 10: Heel Block 3:23
Lesson 11: Calculating Neck Angle 10:40
Lesson 12: Tapering the Neck 6:22
Lesson 13: Neck Joint Jig 3:26
Lesson 14: Cutting the Mortise 7:38
Lesson 15: Cutting the Tenon 20:37
Lesson 16: Attaching the Neck 9:21
Lesson 17: Truss Rod Slot Extension 3:49
Chapter 7 • The Fretboard
49:56 $11.00 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Slotting the Fretboard 9:55
Lesson 2: Tapering the Fretboard 6:44
Lesson 3: Binding the Fretboard 8:54
Lesson 4: Fretboard Length 5:43
Lesson 5: Positioning the Fretboard 11:33
Lesson 6: Attaching the Fretboard 7:07
Chapter 8 • Neck Carving
1:15:08 $22.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Making the heel cap 7:14
Lesson 2: Carving the heel 16:29
Lesson 3: Neck Width 10:49
Lesson 4: Neck Thickness 4:38
Lesson 5: Shaping the Neck 15:30
Lesson 6: More Shaping 13:08
Lesson 7: Sanding and Scraping 7:20
Chapter 9 • The Fretboard II
1:12:31 $16.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Radiusing the Fretboard 8:57
Lesson 2: Leveling the Fretboard 5:45
Lesson 3: Fret Markers 13:24
Lesson 4: Side Fret Markers 6:56
Lesson 5: Fret Installation Overview 3:20
Lesson 6: Fret Installation 12:17
Lesson 7: More Fret Installation 16:40
Lesson 8: Beveling Fret Ends 5:12
Chapter 10 • The Bridge
44:11 $16.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Bridge design 3:19
Lesson 2: Bridge Thickness and Shape 6:55
Lesson 3: Bridge Pin Holes 3:17
Lesson 4: Bridge Bottom Radius 3:03
Lesson 5: Tapering the Wings 4:11
Lesson 6: Bridge Top Radius 3:47
Lesson 7: More Shaping 4:15
Lesson 8: Saddle Slot 8:25
Lesson 9: Sanding 6:15
Lesson 10: Bridge Weight 1:44
Chapter 11 • The Finish
3:14:24 $50.00 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Finish Overview 2:56
Lesson 2: Rounding the Bindings 4:11
Lesson 3: Gap Filling 1:20
Lesson 4: Sanding the Neck 8:37
Lesson 5: Sanding the Body 8:35
Lesson 6: Masking for Bridge 7:40
Lesson 7: Pore Filling Prep 9:38
Lesson 8: Pore Filling 19:06
Lesson 9: Masking the Fretboard 5:36
Lesson 10: Spray Equipment 5:55
Lesson 11: Spraying Sealer 10:05
Lesson 12: Spraying Explanation 5:15
Lesson 13: Sanding the Sealer 19:36
Lesson 14: Spraying Lacquer 12:14
Lesson 15: Sanding the Lacquer 18:58
Lesson 16: Final Spraying 7:38
Lesson 17: Leveling the Finish 24:45
Lesson 18: Buffing the Finish 22:05
Lesson 19: Satin Finish 3:51
Lesson 20: Finishing Conclusion 2:32
Chapter 12 • Attaching the Bridge
25:43 $11.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Positioning the Bridge 8:29
Lesson 2: Preparing for Gluing 7:07
Lesson 3: Gluing the Bridge 10:07
Chapter 13 • Fretwork
17:41 $11.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Removing Masking Tape 5:44
Lesson 2: Leveling Frets 4:34
Lesson 3: Crowning Frets 5:53
Lesson 4: Final Fretwork 12:30
Chapter 14 • Nut and Saddle
27:37 $11.50 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Fitting the Nut 5:42
Lesson 2: Shaping the Nut 5:24
Lesson 3: Slotting the Nut 9:02
Lesson 4: The Saddle 7:29
Chapter 15 • Setup
1:04:02 $30.00 Buy Chapter
Lesson 1: Bridge Pin Holes 7:10
Lesson 2: Installing Tuners 6:32
Lesson 3: Installing Strings 11:49
Lesson 4: Neck Relief 3:26
Lesson 5: Nut Action 9:13
Lesson 6: 12th Fret Action 4:12
Lesson 7: Intonation 11:42
Lesson 8: Initial Playing 6:05
Lesson 9: Final Thoughts 3:53