Robert offers guitar and ukulele building, guitar finishing and masterclasses on topics that range from sharpening chisels and planes to making double top guitars. One-on-one and small group classes are held in his shop in Parker, CO.

Click here to check Robert’s 2022 teaching schedule. Contact Robert at BuildYourGuitar@obrienguitars.com, if these dates don’t work for you. Other dates may be available to fit your schedule.

Click here to see videos of guitars built by students with Robert. You can also see pictures of past classes in the classes gallery page. To see what others have to say about Robert's classes, scroll to the videos section on this page.

Virtual Classes

Today's technology has opened a whole new world of learning opportunities. This is one more way to learn the art of lutherie at O'Brien Guitars.

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Classical, Steel String or Ukulele Building Course

Build you own classical guitar, steel string or ukulele under Robert’s supervision in his personal shop. Whether you are a first time builder or have already built many guitars, you will learn everything needed to build guitars as Robert helps you build your own guitar from a box of lumber to a finished playable guitar.

$4975 6 day course - exclusive one on one private class with French polish finish, plus materials (approx. $475)

$4600 4 day course - build your guitar to a playable condition in the “white” (No finish). You can then finish the guitar at your own shop or pay Robert a fee to finish the instrument and ship it to you when complete. Plus materials (approx. $475)

$9775 2 person course - plus materials (approx. $475)

Click here to view the building course FAQ

Small Group Guitar Building

This is an inexpensive way to learn guitar building so don’t miss out!

In this class a maximum of 4 students will be able to watch Robert as he builds a classical or steel string guitar in his shop. The guitar will start from raw materials and progress to a ready to play state, but without a finish, in 5 days. Ask questions, take notes, shoot unlimited photographs. You will be able to participate in some steps of the construction process.

This is an opportunity for those who have already built guitars to study Robert’s building style and improve your skills. For those considering making a guitar, this class is a good way to explore the idea of building a guitar before jumping in for the first time. The guitar will be for sale at the end of the class at a discount over Robert’s commissioned guitars.


Soundboard Voicing: Classical and Steel String

In 2022 this class will be taught online. March 20, 27 and April 3. This is the Holy Grail of guitar building! In this class you will thickness, brace and voice a soundboard with Robert. This can then be taken to your shop and used as a reference for future soundboards or you can use it on a guitar. Learn about the optimum thickness for the species of wood you are using, what a loose or stiff top is, different radii and how they affect tone and structural integrity, bracing patterns, how to thickness soundboards with hand tools, how to select tonewood, and much much more!

This class is administered online on the dates mentioned above at 9:00AM MDT. Please contact for more info. At the end of the online class students will have the option of sending their tops to Robert for further critique.


Double Tops

So, what’s all the fuss about double top guitars? Learn about the advantages that double top technology has to offer to you as a builder. This modern approach to guitar building uses a thin inner and outer skin with a composite honeycomb material known as Nomex in between. In this class you will learn how to thickness the inner and outer skins and then use vacuum and adhesives to build your own double top. Bracing patterns, thicknesses and other issues associated with double top guitars will be discussed. You will leave the class with your own double top that can then be used on a guitar you build.

$1500 Includes materials

French Polish

In 2022 this class will be taught online. April 24, May 1 and 7. Learn one of the most beautiful and least hazardous finishes used for centuries on guitars and high end furniture. French polish is a method of applying shellac, which on a guitar, is thought by many to yield the best tone of any finish. It is thin, flexible and lustrous. It is also very easy to repair. Traditionally a tedious application, Robbie’s method markedly shortens the process so it can be completed in a few days. In this online class you will learn surface prep, pore filling and how to apply a French polish finish that can be rubbed out to a high gloss or satin sheen. This class is administered online at 9:00AM MDT. Please contact for more info.


Guitar Building Consultation

This service is directed to guitar builders who are stuck, need help only from time to time, or want to get better at a specific skill.

Maybe you just need a master luthier to guide you through a step while you perform it in his shop. Spend an hour or more with Robert, and one or two other luthier friends, if you like, on a topic of your choosing. Finishing, fret work, bridge glue up, voicing, set up, and more. He can demonstrate it, talk about it, you can do it. It is your custom lesson. Robert particularly encourages luthiers with less than 10 guitars to their name to bring their tops in for voicing guidance. Voicing is one of the few steps in guitar building that a book can not adequately address. Robert has voiced well over 600 tops, both steel string and classical. Certain steps in guitar building are forever, and voicing is one of the most critical. Let him share his experience with you for an even better guitar.

$85/hour (one hour minimum)

Sharpening Planes, Chisels, Spokeshaves and Scrapers

Dull tools make woodworking a miserable and more hazardous experience. So impressive are truly sharp tools that most woodworkers can still remember the first time they used a perfectly honed blade. Contrary to popular belief, it is rare to have a chisel or plane ideally sharpened out of the box, even from the best manufacturers. Learn how to make your hand tools glide through wood. Once properly sharpened, woodworking with hand tools becomes a joy and resharpening a breeze. Until then, you will wonder what you are doing wrong. Bring your tools to this class and put a razor sharp edge on them!


This schedule can change often. Be sure to check back often to see who’s coming to town, or put yourself on the O’Brien Guitars mailing list.

Rosette Making

Traditional rosette making is an art that has been passed down from artisan to artisan for centuries. In this class you will learn how to design, make and install rosettes. Also learn how to make rope, wheat and herringbone purflings. Contact for more info.


Modal Tuning with Trevor Gore

In July 2022 Luthier Trevor Gore, from Sydney, Australia, will once again come to the O’Brien Guitars shop and share his knowledge and experience with Modal Tuning. After having to postpone Trevor's Modal Tuning class for the last two years due to covid restrictions, we are pleased to offer this class again for most likely the final time.

This is a rare opportunity to study with an expert in the field of guitar acoustics and design. Trevor's classes always fill quickly. You will not want to miss this class. We are offering two sessions: July 15-17 and July 19-21. The cost is $1800. There are just a few spots left in each class. If interested contact me to get on the list of participants and also let me know which class session you prefer. I will try an accommodate your request but can't guarntee it due to high demand for Trevor's class.

Topics covered include:

  • How strings drive your guitar
  • Visualizing and understanding modes of vibration
  • Relating modes of vibration to guitar frequency response curves
  • Measuring frequency response curves
  • Relating frequency response curves to generic guitar types (classical, flamenco, steel string rhythm, steel string finger picking)
  • Introduction to theory of modal vibrations
  • Mechanical impedance and admittance
  • Targeting the “right” modal frequencies and avoiding the wrong ones
  • Requirements of a guitar as a static and dynamic structure
  • Measuring material properties so that you can make the best of the wood you have rather than wishing for the wood you would like
  • Bracing schemes for backs and tops
  • Practical tuning of guitar modes: Moving from “as built” to “to design”



These are the classes currently offered.


January 4 - 9 Steel String - (reserved)
23 - 28 Steel String - (reserved)
February 6 - 11 2 Person Steel String - (reserved)
13 - 18 Steel String Cutaway - (reserved)
27 - Mar. 4 Steel String - (reserved)
March 5 - 19 Virtual Voicing - This class is administered online 3/5, 3/12 and 3/19 at 8:00AM MT - Available
13 - 18 Steel String - (reserved)
27 - Apr. 1 Steel String - (reserved)
April 10 - 15 Classical - (reserved)
16 - 30 Virtual French polish - This class is administered online 4/16, 4/23 and 4/30 at 8:00AM MT - Available
24 - 29 Steel String - (reserved)
May 8 - 13 Classical - (reserved)
15 - 20 Steel String or classical - Available
22 - 27 Steel String - (reserved)
June 19 - 24 Steel String or Classical - Available
July 5 - 8 Guild of American Luthiers Convention in Tacoma, Washington - (reserved)
10 - 16 Instrument Finishing Class with Jeff Jewitt - Marc Adams School of Woodworking - Available
August 14 - 19 Steel String - (reserved)
21 - 26 Steel String - (reserved)
September 11 - 16 Steel String - (reserved)
25 - 30 Steel String - (reserved)
October 9 - 14 Steel String - (reserved)
23 - 28 Classical - (reserved)
November 6 - 11 Classical - (reserved)
13 - 18 Steel String - (reserved)
December 4 - 9 Steel String - (reserved)
11 - 16 Steel String - (reserved)


January 8 - 13 Classical - (reserved)
22 - 27 Steel String or classical - Available
February 5 - 10 Steel String - (reserved)
19 - 24 Steel String or Classical - Available
March 4 - 9 Steel String - (reserved)
18 - 23 Classical - (reserved)
April 1 - 6 Steel String - (reserved)
15 - 20 Classical - (reserved)
22 - 27 Steel String - (reserved)
May 13 - 18 Steel String Cutaway - (reserved)
June 10 - 15 Classical - (reserved)
September 9 - 15 2 Person Steel String - (reserved)

Please contact Robert to reserve dates.

Class Videos

I really enjoyed your article in the Guild of American Luthiers Magazine about How To Set Up Your Guitar. Peter
See what others are saying


Your teaching skills are top notch and you obviously put the effort into melding with the students you are presented with. You made us feel very comfortable and we had the best time working with you and being welcomed by your family. The kicker is our wonderful guitars we brought home. I haven't, and don't expect to find a better sounding classical than the one I made with you. Dave and Lisa
This has been an awesome week for me! It has been a great deal of fun building this guitar with Robbie and I've been learning a great deal. I am shocked at how quickly the guitar came together. I have a few years of experience building furniture (though as a hobby; I make about 3 pieces per year) but this is my very first guitar. Martin in San Diego
Robbie, Thank you so much for everything. This was such a wonderful week for me. I really enjoyed drinking from the fire hose of your guitar knowledge. I've had a hard time just getting off my ass and building a guitar and this class was such an effective way to push myself to do that. I suspect I could have learned much of this on my own--by building a couple dozen guitars--but I feel like you have given me a shortcut to competency as a builder. I would recommend his class for anyone that can take it. It really was such an effective way to get my feet wet. I hope to build a classical some time with you too. Martin in San Diego
“I think O’Brien Guitars hits the best balance of price, accessibility,breadth of offerings, quality of instruction and production out there.”
“Robbie is so accessible. I'm lucky as he's in Colorado and I've gone to his shop a few times, but he's always there via email, phone etc. And no matter what idiot thing I've done, he doesn't ever make me think he thinks I'm an idiot. Superb teacher!
“I have spent many hours with Robert O'Brien and other Luthiers that offer lessons/classes. I have learned the most, and feel (by far) the most confident with Robert O’Brien. The primary reasons are clarity of lessons, presentation and variety of topics.”
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
When someone, such as yourself, is a grand master of their craft they often can’t relate to the complete novice. That is definitely not true for you. Your teaching is exceptional and you have the rare talent of being able to convey complex and intricate procedures in a concise, friendly, easily understood and often amusing way. Alan
A shout to Robbie O'Brien and O'Brien guitars. I just showed my guitar off to 2 friends, both magnificently skilled musicians. The reviews were SO positive and they both thought it looked and sounded amazing. Thanks again Robbie for your guidance and patience. Bruce
I can't say enough how much I enjoyed the steel string voicing class yesterday and today, and how much I learned from it. Peter
I just had one of the best two days of my guitar building experience! While I have built over fifteen tops so far, I was always “guestimating” the sound and flexibility I was looking for. Being with Robbie and the other students helped me to develop an ear for the sound I was going for and a feel for the flexibility I was after. While I knew about putting a top together, hearing and feeling the progress of getting the top to where I wanted was just what I needed. In addition, the table talk about other aspects of guitar building, the questions/comments from the other students and Robbie’s answers, as well as the extra comments from Robbie about other aspects of guitar building was worth twice as much as I paid for the class. Robbie’s teaching style is stellar. He is clear and concise about the tasks we needed to perform. He is as easy going as can be but kept the class progressing as needed. I felt as a welcome guest in his home/shop and Adrianna’s hospitality made me feel pa John
Robbie’s teaching style is stellar. He is clear and concise about the tasks we needed to perform. He is as easy going as can be but kept the class progressing as needed. I felt as a welcome guest in his home/shop and Adrianna’s hospitality made me feel part of the family. And I even got a cool hat out of the deal! I highly recommend taking this class to anyone who needs to learn or improve their top building/voicing skills John
I took the Classical voicing course in June. The best guitar related money I've spent. Chris
You have caused a dilemma with me. I am being 100% honest when I say the playability and cutaway make this the guitar I want to play every day. I love the sound. I think the French polish and redwood give it a pleasing tone and of course everything else that goes into it. It's easier to play then my Hauser. Jon in Pennsylvania
The quality of your work and training is really superb! Sean - United Kingdom
If you really want to understand traditional flamenco guitar building Paco’s course is a must. And with Paco and Robbie you get two genius instructors for the price of one and a hand built true flamenco guitar as well. What an extraordinary and fun experience. Thanks again Paco and Robbie. Richard
You're a terrific teacher on-line. I can only imagine what it's like to be in your shop. Alex - Brazil
Both the voicing and French polishing classes were great -- lots of new information and skills to work on. It was well worth the time, travel, and expense. And thanks to your family for their hospitality. Stephen
I built a guitar with you in November of 2017, and I imagine that you have so many students and meet so many people that it is unlikely you remember me, but I wanted to let you know that my steel string guitar is sounding better and better as time passes. My guitar teacher says it is one of the best sounding guitars he has ever heard and he is not prone to hyperbole. Also, I sing your ( and your school’s) praises whenever anyone asks me about the guitar. You never know, you might get a new student out of it. Take care. Jerry
I built a guitar with Robbie a couple of years ago, and it is fabulous and getting better all the time. Robbie is great and his instruction is the best. Jeff
I can't imagine anyone being more qualified to instruct in the field of Lutherie. You definitely have a talent for keeping things interesting. Roger
I want to thank you for an amazing week. The guitar built with you over that 6 day period exceeded my expectations. This class was the fulfillment of a desire to put my 2 favorite hobbies together - guitar and woodworking. The guitar looks and sounds fantastic. After playing it when I got home, it felt like an old friend already! Jon
Just a note to let you know how much I'm enjoying the guitar - getting better and better and a joy to play...and how much I enjoyed our build - I learned a ton...thank you! Will
Building a guitar With Robbie is an exhilarating experience. One feels comfortable from minute one, as he shows you his straightforward, methodical approach. He is extremely patient and never gives the apprentice a hard time. Pedro - Brazil
I attended Robbie’s class this December and couldn’t be more pleased with the experience and the outcome. We started with a box of beautiful materials from LMI and 6 days later I walked out with an outstanding OM steel string acoustic guitar. The class moved right along but not so fast that I did not have time to soak up lots of knowledge and new skills. Whether you are a musician looking for a custom guitar that fills all your wishes or a seasoned builder wanting to learn more, Robert’s class delivers. I highly recommend his class and look forward to working with him in the future. Dave
I can’t say enough good things about Robbie’s class David
I recently took a class with O'Brien Guitars. A one on one build for an OM cutaway with his simplified French polish finish. I can't say enough good things about my experience. Robbie was very knowledgeable and I learned some good tips/tricks for my future builds, his modified french polish was very simple at least in person. I imagine it will take me a few guitars of doing it on my own to master it but it certainly took most of the complexity out of a French polish finish. P.s I couldn't wait for the opportunity to say just a skosh lol David
I hope you remember me from a number of years ago when I studied classical guitar making with you. I owe you many thanks for all the things you showed me especially for showing me how to to things by hand and with out a bunch of fancy jigs and tools. I can’t help but think about you every time I’m in my shop building guitars and I’m always grateful for all the nice tricks you showed me. Bryan
You're a really good teacher. I was fortunate to have good shop teachers in K-12. You're right up there with the best. Fred
Your teachings have given us the ability to give voice to a tree. That voice then is able to express emotion without words. Our guitars radiate love, life, memories and healing frequency that everyone around can benefit from. Your teachings are priceless, and we luthier students are grateful. Abe
What a unique experience it is to finish a course with Robbie and always take home a fine guitar. Richard
I just finished building a classical guitar with Robert O’Brien today. It is difficult to tell just how thrilled I am with the result. Robert is an absolute joy to work with. He is both entertaining and professional at all times. Dan
I had been trying to find an opportunity to take this class for years, but it was always full. This time when he announced a cancellation, I jumped on it. I strongly recommend to anyone who is considering taking a class to do so now. Dan
I remember this and how amazed I was by the efficiency of it all, without ever feeling rushed. Thanks for the memories. The guitar I built there is still my favorite. Unfortunately it is still better than the ones I have made subsequently. Still practicing! Allen
I like your common sense approach to guitar building and that you don’t take things too seriously, it has really helped me. There’s a lot of hype and BS out there... you teachings are practical and concise. Bruce
Just want to say that in the first three hours of the Steel String Voicing masterclass today, I feel like years have been taken off my learning curve! Thank you! RandyJ
Robbie, thank you for the excellent classes the past several days. I leave them both with more than I had hoped for, both knowledge and experience. Not only did I learn your French polish technique, but SO much more! Thank you. Randy
Had a great time at your workshop, and I learned a LOT. In fact, I learned as much from the off-topic discussions as I did from the course material. I also appreciate the hospitality you and your wife showed us! Thanks, again! Marty
Brazilian Rosewood guitar built at Robbie O'Brien's shop . Hasn't left my side. Left all the rest behind Zef
Robbie, thank you for your help Sir. You made all the difference in the world. You kept me from making mistakes and helped me around the ones I made. You are a great teacher and I sincerely appreciate your help. Barry
Thanks again for this wonderful experience. I woke up early and spent a good hour and a half playing on my new guitar. It responds so well to my touch. Diego
Robbie O’Brien, you are the most unbelievably energetic and comprehensive teacher in the entire History of lutherie. You are an incomparable source of craft wisdom and know-how. Thank you for being alive on Earth and doing what you do! Stephen
Robbie, you are an awesome teacher and luthier. I have learned so much from you In a few visits. Dana
I want to thank you for an amazing week. The guitar built with you over that 6 day period exceeded my expectations. This class was the fulfillment of a desire to put my 2 favorite hobbies together - guitar and woodworking. The guitar looks and sounds fantastic. After playing it when I got home, it felt like an old friend already! I already can’t wait for the OM build next year. Jon
You’re a superhero! Thanks for all the great YouTube videos, your website, courses, GAL interviews and articles, etc… you’re awesome! Bryan
You are one of the best teachers and communicators out there without doubt. Francisco - Spain
Thanks again! Nathan has been playing nonstop since we’ve been back to the hotel. Awesome guitar! I hope to be back before too long for another set of lessons. You’re an awesome teacher, and your knowledge, experience and confidence, are very impressive. Chuck
The guitar my dad built with you really sounds amazing, better than the Martin D15 or Taylor 314CE we have. The level of clarity the mids and highs have is really unmatched to anything else I’ve ever played. It’ll be the main studio recording guitar for years to come. Thanks for having us and giving us the opportunity to create such an amazing instrument! Nathan
I have wanted to learn more about French polishing for a long time. Your presentation and working with me has raised my finishing skills by so much, thanks for sharing your skills with us. Jim
After playing the heck out of this thing for three weeks, I only have one complaint. WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO FIND YOU? ;-) I remain supremely pleased with the outcome - and can't thank you enough for your excellent work on my beloved axe. Tom
By far the best experience I’ve had in years! Diego
I need to tell you that I continue to be amazed at the crispness, brightness, and volume of my new guitar. I have to say that it makes my Martin 000-28 and the Andrew White sound more mellow - almost muffled. The sound when I pick a string (the attack?) is immediate and the sustain is unbelievable. It is, without a doubt, my favorite guitar to play now. If I can learn to reproduce an instrument of this quality I will be ecstatic! Thanks, again, for helping build such a beautiful guitar. It wasn't my first, but it is definitely the best I have ever built. Tom
I built a classical guitar with you in May and brought it to the Luthiers Interactive North Texas meeting last month to show off. Well, it was a big hit. A couple of the guys couldn’t put it down. After the meeting, two of the classical pro builders pulled me aside to say we had built something special. I just wanted you to know. Thanks again. Dan
The teacher makes all the difference. The ones you helped me build have incredible tone and others have said so as well. I’m extremely proud of them! Chuck
Thanks for being such a excellent resource for the building community!" Bill
Best teacher ever!! Worth every penny! Alex
Robbie, you are about so much more than being a luthier. Your classes and forum inspire people to build and create! Elaine
Just wanted to thank you again for an incredible week building with you. I should tell you though that this guitar is making my fingers bleed and my Martin now sounds inferior. Oh, and I'm getting a complex from all the attention via my wife's Facebook. Seriously though, it really was an incredible experience and one I intend to build upon. Thank you for what you do -- you really have a gift with teaching and making people happy. Take care and hope to cross paths in the future. Tom
You did a fantastic job. The playability had gradually been deteriorating over the years and finally became clear to me that I needed to have a trusted professional (you came highly recommended) have a look at it. You've given me a brand new 61 yo guitar. It now plays better and sounds better than my recently purchased 614ce Taylor. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I also really enjoyed my visit.
My son and I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful week working with you to create these elegant works of art in the form of guitars. You guided us through those areas of trepidation and put us at ease in those delicate tasks of bending sides and bindings, carving the neck and bridge, and fretwork and inlays. We also appreciate the warm reception by your family and the shop dog Duke. Yes, we came away with beautiful instruments that sound like grand pianos, but the most important takeaway was the father-son life experience in sharing our common passion of guitars. We now both have incredible heirlooms to pass on to our grandchildren (and in my case, great grandchildren). With the greatest respect, thank you with all our heart. Michael L. and Michael J. Hudkins
You're a great teacher and your time-lapse videos of the builds are terrific. Shop dog is a star too! Seán
(Virtual acoustic guitar voicing class) - I am so excited to work on my top. Taking this class has jump-started my building process again. It is a wonderful next step for those who have taken the Acoustic Build class online. Elaine
I'm really enjoying the (Live Virtual Voicing)class! Don
Thanks for guiding through the build. You are truly a fabulous teacher and a great guitar builder. Kevin
I feel like it’s one of the best tops I’ve made. I took your online course (for this) last year or so and made a big jump in tone then, but I’m lovin the boat ramps!!! Summation. I made a better sounding top in a fraction of the time. Your the man! Thanks for doing what you do!! (Virtual voicing class) Matt
Thanks again for your help. The (Virtual) voicing class has been great. Don
Today I’m working on the finish. Sanded all morning and the French Polishing all afternoon. I love the quiet thought that goes into this finishing technique and am so happy to have learned it from Robbie O’Brien Allen
So grateful for this class (virtual voicing), your instruction, your talent and your willingness to share it with the world. Steve
When it comes to learning how to make guitars, I have gotten more useful instruction from Robbie O'Brien's video courses (featuring Robbie, Jeff Jewitt, and a number of other instructors) than from any other source. Things just got even better, though: I participated in Robbie's first virtual class on voicing a steel string guitar top, and it was a wonderful experience. I ended up with a great sounding top, but more importantly, I have learned how to get the most out of my guitar tops. Maybe learning in person from Robbie would be better, but learning from him via Zoom was pretty awesome. Don
Thanks again for offering the Virtual voicing course online. I have done lots of training over Zoom for work and you did an amazing job! Matt
Virtual voicing class - It was a fantastic class. I highly recommend it! Christ
I must thank you for the knowledge and skills I’ve learned in your Virtual Voicing class! I have studied many, many books on the subject, scoured the web and chatted to as many people as I could find on this subject. Your voicing class brought it all together in a pragmatic and logical approach. The delivery was right on target. Not only did the course afford the understanding of how to get the most out of a guitar but the skills learned transcend to building a better sounding and better built guitar. Thank you for eliminating 20 years of trial and error! Bruce
I want to thank Robbie for offering the virtual voicing class. The instruction was excellent and I really enjoyed myself. It gave students that are not able to attend an in person class a chance for some hands on work. David
Virtual Voicing Class - Thanks for your guidance and advice. This was one voicing class where I could leave my calculator in its drawer. Finally, a sensible and attainable approach to guitar top voicing without complex or confusing calculations. Thomas
Soundboard Voicing Class Testimonial. "This class was amazing. As a very new Luthier I walked away with the feeling of having 20 years of trial and error, experience, and knowledge packed into my brain in just a few hours. Voicing seems to be the only step where a special jig or tool cannot replace those things. I am now very confident that I can make a beautiful sounding guitar for any style and any venue. Robbie has a special ability to pass on his processes in a way that anyone could understand. I am grateful to have discovered this curriculum.....Now on to the full Steel String Guitar build course!!!!" Matt
Thank you again for an incredible week! I had an unforgettable experience and you did an amazing job. I’m so thankful for your time, your patience and your wisdom. Truly a gift! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Rodd
Today's class (Virtual French polish) was truly excellent! Worth the price all on its own. I now see what I was doing wrong with guitars 1-7. I'm so grateful! Don
(Virtual French polish) Thanks for the class so far. I am impressed with your ability to juggle teaching, questions and camera/computer stuff all at once and keep it interesting, fun and funny. You have knack for teaching, that's for sure! Philippe in Canada
Virtual French polish - "It was a great class. Probably would not have taken it if it wasn't virtual, so there are some benefits that came out of the whole pandemic. The virtual format was just like being there. It was seamless, and pretty much just like being there, with feedback, personal attention and guidance. I would definitely take another virtual class with Robbie. Thanks! Christ K
I just wanted to provide some well-deserved praise to Robbie O'Brien for his virtual guitar making classes that he now offers via Zoom, and encourage anyone interested to participate in one. I have now taken two such classes: Top voicing and French polishing. I learned things in both classes that have made a huge difference for me in my building. In addition to the Zoom classes, Robbie gives you access to his pre-recorded classes that touch on the same subject, and provides ongoing access to the Zoom class recordings. I think Robbie is a great teacher. Two enthusiastic thumbs up! Thanks for all the help, Robbie. Don
Thanks again for being such a welcoming and knowledgable host - as I am sure many have told you already, you have a natural talent for teaching. Combining that with your repertoire of stories, jokes and generally good humour makes for a memorable time during the online class! I definitely learned a lot, you break it down into manageable chunks, with clear and unambiguous explanations. One can easily see that you do that already for a long time and that you have honed your presentation and teaching skills to a fine degree. Florian - Austira
The guitar arrived today and it’s great. You did a superb job on the finish. Thanks for everything! Byron
I just wanted to thank you again for your instruction, wisdom, patience and fantastic sense of humor in putting up with me for six days while building my OM. I’m still completely in awe of your teaching style and the tremendous experience in getting to work with you. The finished product is just amazing and the sound, which was incredible from the first string installed continues to get better every day! My guitar instructor came by for a lesson today and, well, I didn’t have a lesson because he couldn’t put it down (it’s a 1-hour lesson btw). I think I mentioned he’s been playing for over 50-years, used to own a music store and has toured all of the world with many jazz bands. He said it was “F@#^ing Amazing!”, one of the most playable guitars he’s ever experienced with exceptional sustain and added he would love to record with it. Thanks again!! Todd
I just wanted to thank you again for your instruction, wisdom, patience and fantastic sense of humor in putting up with me for six days while building my OM. I’m still completely in awe of your teaching style and the tremendous experience in getting to work with you. The finished product is just amazing and the sound, which was incredible from the first string installed continues to get better every day! My guitar instructor came by for a lesson today and, well, I didn’t have a lesson because he couldn’t put it down (it’s a 1-hour lesson btw). I think I mentioned he’s been playing for over 50-years, used to own a music store and has toured all of the world with many jazz bands. He said it was “F@#^ing Amazing!”, one of the most playable guitars he’s ever experienced with exceptional sustain and added he would love to record with it. Thanks again!! Todd
Thought I’d share that since my class with you in May, you definitely lit a fire. The guitar we built sounds amazing and my son loves playing it. I’ve spent the time since then finishing my bench project and am finally ready to jump into my next build. Just ordered another OM kit from LMI along with most of the specialty jigs, bending machine, plate joining, binding cutter, mold, radius dishes, go-bar, etc. I’ll fill in the rest as I build. Thank you again for a great experience and I’ll send pics of the completed guitar. Rodd
Robbie, You have given me the most pleasure of my woodworking career even though I’m now 72 and am chronically unemployable. Taking tone wood to the closest thousandth of an inch still gets my motor running. Thank you so very much once again!! Dave
My name is Carrie. I built a guitar with you several years ago. It was a great week and I LOVED my guitar. In my last move, the guitar went “missing.” I am wondering if you have any available openings in March 2022 (or even the second half of Feb 2022) for me to take another class with you and “re-build” my FAVORITE guitar. Thank you, Carrie
I wanted to thank you again for a great experience building a fantastic guitar. Everyone who plays it is immediately impressed by its responsiveness and great sound. I learned so much, I am having trouble remembering it all. Dan
I’m dropping you a quick line to let you know that a couple of my teacher’s classical students have seen and played my guitar, and they were very impressed. Both are considering building a guitar with you, and one of them seems pretty serious. I have to say that it’s fun to show off the guitar we built together. The guitar sounds great, and I play it most every day. Someday my playing may be worthy of it, but I’ve always been more of a builder than a player. Thanks again for a wonderful experience. Peter
Hi Robbie! Just wanted to thank you again for an amazing week of guitar building. I love my guitar and can't wait to build another one. Bret
I love these classes. I always learn a lot and get a great guitar in the process. Greg
Getting pumped to finally get there and build the guitar :) I have been watching the video course to get better prepared and just wanted to say “great job” on the video. It is easy to follow along and will help a lot with future builds. Chris
My wife is an adult learner specialist and she commended the other day as she overhead one of your courses, “He is an excellent instructor” I totally agree with her. Melanie
I just wanted to tell you how impressed I am with your body of work as a luthier and teacher. I have followed your work, your forum, tips, videos etc. It is an incredible lifetime of achievement. Dave
We built a guitar last year in March. I have been playing the heck out of it. It is the most fun guitar I have ever played. And the sound is wonderful. I just sent you an audio CD of some fiddle tunes I recorded on it. Mark
I have recently watched quite a few of your instructional videos, mostly about finishing, as that is the stage I’m at with my first acoustic guitar build. I’m realizing now that I could have made a better instrument and in less time, if Id found your site before I started. Graham
Wow! Five years ago building a ukulele from a kit. I’m definitely on a different level today thanks to Robbie O'Brien and his guitar building instruction and week-long building experience at his shop in Parker, Colorado. Mike
I highly recommend anyone interested in guitar building to take a one-on-one building class with Robbie O’Brien. I’m confident that not only will you have a fun-once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will also walk away with an amazing sounding instrument that you will have a personal connection to. Victor
Robbie makes the intimidating prospect of building a guitar a fun and rewarding process. He breaks down guitar making into simple repeatable steps. He explains and demonstrates each step in the process, and then has the student execute each step so that they can internalize the techniques themselves. Robbie’s sense of humor puts the student at ease, and his thoughtful coaching gives the student the confidence to execute each of the tasks at hand. Victor
I had a great time building with Robbie O’Brien, and I highly recommend his course to anyone interested in building a guitar. Paul
Thanks, as always, for everything! You are the reason I can make guitars and I'll be forever grateful for that! Chris
Thanks, again, for a great week of learning and easy conversation - not to mention a GREAT GUITAR!!! Tom
Thanks again Robbie, what a great week that was. And my new guitar is simply stunning. Best to you and your lovely family. Sylvain
I just had time to sit with my beautiful new guitar, and boy is it ever great! I had a wonderful time this past week, it was such a pleasure and a privilege to spend this time with you and your family, to learn from the best lutherie teacher I have ever had the chance to meet, to have great chats, to share some laughter, Brazilian coffee, pão de queijo and croissants in your beautiful home and shop. I am leaving with a lot more than just a great guitar, but also with precious new knowledge, wisdom and great memories. All the best! Sylvain
If anyone is interested in learning how to make an acoustic guitar - look up Robbie O'Brien. My dad and I took his class this past March and it was outstanding. Mike
If anyone is interested in learning how to make an acoustic guitar - look up Robbie O'Brien. My dad and I took his class this past March and it was outstanding. Mike
Thank you for your time, and thank you for your commitment to high quality teaching! Daniel
VIRTUAL VOICING CLASS - Without reservation, I recommend this class. Extremely valuable. I participated in the last one. It was both informative and fun! Steven
WOW! Thanks to your previous hand bending demos, I skipped getting a bending machine and instead purchased a guitar sized bending iron....and the experience has been fantastic. I have made three side assemblies so far, for three different shaped models, without mishap. Thanks for your great teaching! Chris
I just realized it's my 1 year anniversary of my build with you and wanted to report in. This guitar (Western Red Cedar dreadnaught) continues to impress the hell out of me and I'm more excited about its tone today than I was a year ago. It sounds incredible! I've built 3 other guitars in the past year and have 2 more in the works (both about 75% done). Thanks again for your inspiration and this guitar that I love to play. Tom
Fortunately for the rest of us you have made a career of teaching. Robbie's individual course is incredible. Richard
I must say after reading countless complex methods of voicing etc that your class was a fantastic eye opener. Your way of teaching is wonderful. Your way of teaching is a nicely distilled and simplified take that helped to sort through the mounds of voicing techniques. Again I cannot say how much I enjoyed your class enough. After countless online videos, articles, books and how to's on voicing, your class made it click! You are a fantastic teacher and I look forward to learning more! Have a great day and Happy making! Aaron
Last year, I was part of the first two "virtual" classes Robbie O'Brien taught via Zoom: Soundboard voicing and French polishing. I learned a whole lot in both classes, and was extremely satisfied with the experience. I'm not financially affiliated with Robbie at all, other than the fact that I buy his courses and am a satisfied customer. He's a great teacher, and I particularly enjoyed these Zoom courses. Don
After completing the OM build with you last June I spent the rest of the year converting my garage into a shop. I am so glad my wife signed me up to study under you!! You’re a tremendous teacher!! I continue to review the videos at each step and it takes a ton of stress out of it. The Tips Du Jour are excellent as well. Love the O’Brien forum as well, but will wait to post until I’m a bit more confident in what I’m doing. I might land on your doorstep at some point again and would love to take another class. Todd
Thanks for teaching me all last week….it was such a great experience! It’s really cool you do those classes and are willing to teach others your methods. I learned a ton, and I’m excited to implement so many new things into my shop. As expected, the guitar has already opened up quite a bit over the last 24 hours. Hopefully I can make it back up to Colorado before too long. Thanks again for all the tips, tricks, and instruction! Joseph
I'm really enjoying the Voicing class. I know that the class is more aimed at intermediate and advanced builders but as a novice I've learnt a huge amount and probably shaved years off the process of developing that sensitivity to the properties of the materials we use. Nick
VIRTUAL VOICING - Thanks for putting on the class.  I have really enjoyed it and it has clarified for me that there isn't a magic formula and it's all about manipulating the variables to get to the right balance of stiffness and looseness.  It's taken a lot of the voodoo out of the process.  I have been watching your courses and videos a ton over the last 5 years and it's fun to finally get to meet you "in person".  Brian
VIRTUAL VOICING - Thanks again for such a great class! As a novice builder, I feel like I have a better handle on both the process and desired outcome for building steel string tops. Hopefully one of these days I'll be able to join you at your shop for a start-to-finish build class! Gavan
VIRTUAL FRENCH POLISH CLASS - Last week's session was great - really informative and enjoyable too. You made the process very easy to understand and implied that it was much more straightforward than the rather problematic and mysterious reputation it's acquired. I've spent all week putting it into practice and frankly I've been amazed at the results I've achieved - especially as a complete beginner and without one to one tuition. I've made some pieces of wood very shiny! I've no doubt that finishing an instrument will be a bit more challenging than small flat sample boards but even at this stage I feel confident enough to have a go at it. You've done such a good job with the classes and videos. Nick in the UK
Virtual French polish - Thanks again for the French polish instruction. It's going to make a world of difference for me. Jered
Virtual French polish - The class was excellent! I was apprehensive about how well a virtual “hands on” class would work. I wasn’t sure I would be able to see what you were demonstrating clearly but your use of multiple HD cameras made everything very clear and easy to follow. I was also concerned that in the virtual format a lot of the useful interactions between students would be lost. That was not the case at all. The format worked perfect for French Polish. A couple hours of instruction followed by several hours of homework and practice allowed me to apply what you demonstrated before the next class and get help with any problems I ran into. Thanks for a great class. Mike
Virtual Voicing Class - Just wanted to let you know that your steel string voicing class has been invaluable to me in understanding how to control my steel string voicing for the type of guitar I am building. I appreciate how simple and straightforward your process is. It was a pleasure being in your class and I am sure I will take another virtual class In the future. Steve
"Thanks again for all your help and guidance this past week with the classical guitar build as well as your hospitality. I am amazed at how much can get done in such a short period of time with a remarkable end result! The guitar looks great and as you said, it sounds better each day! My wife and children all loved the final picture you took of me holding the guitar. Ed in Wisconsin
VIRTUAL FRENCH POLISH CLASS - The class was very useful and worth the money. I’m happy with what I got out of it and the ability to log in for refresher is a great facility. Thanks again for the class and the feedback, I appreciated them both. Foster
VIRTUAL FRENCH POLISH "Foi na partilha humilde e sincera de um ser humano especial, que encontrei num outro continente, algo que repensou as metodologias e técnicas do polimento Francês Tradicional. A visão e adaptação pragmática que o Robbie nos transmite é algo que nos poupa recursos, tempo e dinheiro. Foi uma experiência única que ficará para sempre presente nos processos de acabamento em qualquer instrumento musical que faça de futuro. Muito obrigado Robbie. Um saudoso abraço de Portugal". Marco em Portugal
I just finished a one-on-one Classical Guitar build with Robbie O'Brien. I had a wonderful time! His class exceeded my expectations and has given me the confidence to build another guitar on my own. The guitar looks, and more importantly sounds beautiful! I'd like to also give a shout out to LMI for providing such a great selection of high quality tone wood. I used East Indian Rosewood, Engelmann Spruce, Ebony, and Spanish Cedar. I soaked up a lot of techniques and tips from Robbie. He is a great teacher! Very knowledgeable, very organized, and very patient. Swapping stories with him was a great added bonus. I'll never forget this experience. Polly
Taking Robbie’s class changed my whole shop, priorities and process. Spent some money as well, but in the right direction finally. Anyone thinking whether or not to take his classes should take the plunge. Louie in Alaska
Taking Robbie’s class changed my whole shop, priorities and process. Spent some money as well, but in the right direction finally. Anyone thinking whether or not to take his classes should take the plunge. Louie in Alaska
Thank you again for having me up to learn from you. I wanted to let you know how much it's changed the way I work--I've been able to streamline my process A LOT with how my shop is now set up, and tasks that used to take quite a while fly by and allow me to spend more time focusing on the more detailed hand work. I've also got my french polish a lot thinner and smoother, and it's producing absolutely amazing results. Joseph
Through all the Luthiers I have studied over the years You are my prime choice to start with. Hey, I'm 73 now and still going strong Dave
"I just realized it's my 1 year anniversary of my build with you and wanted to report in. This guitar (Western Red Cedar dreadnaught) continues to impress the hell out of me and I'm more excited about its tone today than I was a year ago. It sounds incredible! I've built 3 other guitars in the past year and have 2 more in the works (both about 75% done). Thanks again for your inspiration and this guitar that I love to play." Tom
I studied with you May 2-6 this year. I am enjoying my classical guitar and it is sounding great! Ed
I wanted to thank you again for the class I attended with you way back in July of 2021. I’ve since finished one guitar for my nephew and was in the middle of another guitar for my son-in-law when a friend asked if he could build a guitar with me. Bret
I have managed to set the shop more efficiently and have 3 guitars on the bench and almost ready for assembly. Thank you very much for everything you have thought me. Eternally grateful my friend. Ramón
I built my first guitar from a kit using only the videos from O'Brien guitars. My wife suggested that I take the class in Colorado, and should invite my son Michael to go as well, since he was building ukuleles. The experience is a lifetime experience, and completely changed my life with such a fulfilling hobby. You not only learn to build a guitar, but you come back with a world class guitar that will compete with any Martin, Gibson, or Taylor available. If you want to learn to build a guitar, I agree with Mike- go to Colorado and build a guitar with Robbie O'brien. Then prepare to enter a hobby and spend a bunch of money (chuckle). Michael
  I wanted to express that the time my son and I spent with you in Colorado has so wonderfully added to our quality of life.  My son, Mike (jr) has built more than 30 guitars since our class with you.  I have been quite a bit slower, but am currently working on my number 7.  Thank you so much for adding such beauty to our lives, and we will cherish it for as long as I have the ability to use the gift you have given us. Mike
I love my guitar you made. Matt was playing it with a capo on about the 7th fret and said it really sparkles in the high that way. Well that’s a great guitar! Kim
Robbie Obrien is a great luthier and a master teacher. He offers both hands on and video instructions. I highly recommend his classes. John
Robbie is for a woodworking novice as well as more advanced. No better teacher for someone starting out. John
I really like the online classes that Robbie O'Brien offers. I have watched (on his forum for students) as many first timers without wood working experience have built their first. The classes are not inexpensive, but I found they are worthwhile. He is great teacher, having taught Lutherie in a community college, the classes are nearly real time. He also offer one week build a guitar classes from his home shop. John
Robbie is an EXCELLENT teacher. You can't go wrong Kevin
I really enjoyed your article in the Guild of American Luthiers Magazine about How To Set Up Your Guitar. Peter
Robbie is the teacher/instructor/mentor who takes a personal approach to teach you how to build a fine instrument. He takes the time to explain and shows you the task, then guides you as you perform the task. For a novice, this was a huge relief. His classes are structured like a well-oiled machine, there is no downtime, and you move right to another task, which truly helped me learn how this instrument is structurally built. One section leads to another section. Like his organizational skills, his shop is also like a well-oiled machine. It’s laid out so that you are never out of reach of something, yet still large enough to work comfortably. There is an old saying, “Any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad” this can apply directly to Robbie; any Luthier can show you how to build an instrument. A true teacher of luthiery teaches you how to build that instrument. Robbie is that person. Donald
As a novice to any shop tools other than a screwdriver, wrenches, and a few hammers and such, and with no skills in woodworking, I scheduled a six-day, in-person class with Robbie to build a guitar at his shop in Parker, Colorado. When I arrived, it felt like I had just seen an old friend. I was greeted at the door and invited in to start my class. I left his shop with the confidence and understanding of the tools that I would be able to build a guitar in my basement. Robbie’s instruction ability, confidence building, and patience equate to an excellent instructor. Donald
If you are at all thinking about learning to build a guitar you should strongly consider studying with Robbie. Stephen from Montana
This was one of life’s experiences I’ll remember clearly for a very long time… playing an instrument you’ve personally built has a special feeling. It’s an experience shared by a precious few. I’m happy to have become one. Thanks Robbie! Jim from Maryland

Building Courses FAQ

Who is the class for?

First time to advanced builders - Whether you just want to build one guitar or become a professional luthier Robert’s classes are tailored to suit your needs.

Where is the class?

In Robert’s shop in beautiful Parker, Colorado, Only 35 minutes from Denver International Airport.

What can I build?

Robert offers classical, steel string guitar and ukulele building classes – For steel string most students build an OM model but you can also build a dreadnought. For classical you will build Robert’s own classical guitar model.

What materials are used?

All materials come from Luthiers Mercantile International and are high quality 3A instrument grade materials. You purchase the materials and have them shipped directly to Robert’s shop a few weeks in advance of your class dates. Classical - Indian rosewood back and sides, bridge blank, headstock veneer and bindings, spruce or cedar soundboard, cedar neck blank, ebony fretboard, classical rosette, mahogany kerfing, spruce and mahogany or cedar bracing, bone nut and saddle and Gotoh tuners. Steel string – Indian rosewood back and sides, sitka spruce soundboard, ebony bridge blank, fretboard and peghead veneer, MOP fret markers, flame maple bindings, traditional herringbone rosette with B/W/B inner and outer rings, Gold Gotoh tuners.

Can I substitute some of the materials?

Robert will allow some substitutions like tuners and rosettes or spruce for cedar soundboards. Contact Robert for questions about substitutions.

Can I bring my own materials?

This is highly discouraged as Robert likes to know the quality and condition of the materials that will be used to build the guitar. Robert has worked with LMI to put together a selection of materials that are instrument grade. Hundreds of students have been satisfied with these materials and the resulting guitars built from them.

What finish is applied?

In the class Robert teaches his French polish method. Your guitar will go home with you completely finished. For an additional fee Robert can apply a traditional high gloss lacquer finish to your guitar and ship it to you when complete.

Is this a kit guitar?

No! It is just a box of materials. You will make the neck, carve it, thickness and bend the sides and bindings, slot and thickness the fretboard, carve the bridge, thickness, brace and voice the soundboard etc. The only things pre-done for the sake of time are the rosette, kerfing and bindings. You must do everything else.

Can I bring a family member or friend?

Of course! This makes a great father son/daughter, husband/wife or even friends project. You will have bragging rights and lasting memories. There is even a discount for two person classes.

What about cutaways and soundports?

These are highly discouraged for first time builders. Let’s do basic math before algebra folks. It also adds an extra day to the course and another $500

What kind of neck joint is used?

A traditional Spanish heel is used on the classical guitars and a bolt on mortise and tenon for the steel string guitars.

Are cases available?

Yes – Robert has top of the line Access cases available for sale.

Prefer to call Robert on the phone to talk about a course designed to suit your needs? No problem! Robert welcomes your call and looks forward to discussing your needs in a personalized building course.