Arch Top Guitar Making Course



In 2006 Phil Carson Crickmore designed a course which covered the entire building processes of a 16.5" solid carved top and back arched-top guitar.

This is in principle is the ultimate experience in the mastery of guitar making, derived essentially from the violin and cello, the construction of this instrument would be classed as the pinnacle of guitar making for anyone wanting to challenge their skill base.

This program is closely aligned with the great emphasis on the materials and construction methods throughout the course and like the Master course every parameter of the building process is covered to the finish of the entire instrument.

The Pilot course was started in November 2006 and over 250 hours of time was spent with my first student Brett Kennedy guiding him through the challenges that lay ahead, in that time all the processes where documented and the curriculum for this course has now been designed and is ready as a professional course that is being offered.



Content of the Course.

  • Instrument Design and History
  • Wood selection and grading
  • Breaking down and conditioning of wood
  • Preparation of Materials
  • Wood selection criteria
  • Mould Design and Making
  • Bending procedures and Heat Moulds
  • Carving the top and back plates
  • Body construction and assembly
  • Bracing designs
  • Tuning the plates
  • Theory on aperture times and air movement
  • Neck design and construction
  • Scale lengths
  • Fingerboard and neck construction
  • Fretting
  • Assembly techniques
  • Setting up and finishing

Materials available for the Arch Top Course.

Materials are limited on this course due to their suitability and their availability in the sizes required. Materials that are on offer are well suited to the requirements of this particular instrument.

  • Back and Side Materials.
  • Victorian Blackwood figured and plain
  • Tasmanian Blackwood figured
  • American Maple Figured
  • American Maple plain 
  • Sycamore Figured
  • Honduras Mahogany
  • Top Materials
  • German Spruce
  • Alaskan Yellow Cedar
  • Sitka Spruce


The Final outcome of the Arch Top Course

With 250 hours of time in the workshops accompanied by Master Luther Phil Carson Crickmore the journey takes you through the renaissance period of European history to arrive and the contemporary edge of American culture. The arched top guitar made famous by early blues and jazz players, the instrument has been proven as one of histories most diverse stringed instruments.

In the Arch Top Master course you will be immersed into the ultimate of guitar building with carving the top and back plates of your guitar to machining the F-holes to bracing the top to fabricating the neck and fingerboard, until you reach the final assembly of your guitar, then the finishing and set up processes begins.

Your exposure to the insights of one of histories most famous instruments will stay with you forever.

The final outcome of this truly amazing course is that you will have completed over 250 hours in a fully equipped workshop and hand build one of the finest instruments that you will have the opportunity to have in your hands. With exposure to the solid and time proven methods of guitar construction that Phil Carson Crickmore delivers the final finish of this instrument has even the most professional Luthiers in amazement.


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