Lessons with a Master Luthier


Hi Richard,

I just wanted to say a big thank you for this magnificent guitar that you helped me build. Your invaluable experience, wealth of knowledge and your generosity to share this with your students, allows us to construct a truly beautiful high end guitar.

Forever grateful,

Best wishes always,
Trevor (Ocean Grove)

A few years ago I went along to see Richard Howell with the view of making a guitar. I thought making my own guitar would be a bit of fun. I was not expecting it to be very good nor was I expecting to make more than the one instrument. I knew virtually nothing about Richard when I turned up for my first lesson and was not fully convinced I was capable of actually making a guitar. To be honest when I turned up for my first lesson I was not even convinced I actually wanted to make a guitar. But I thought I would give it a shot. It was probably about 30 minutes into that first lesson that it dawned on me Richard was not just a guitar maker but a maker of extraordinary talent. And he was more than willing to share the wealth of knowledge he had built up over a lifetime with me. It was at about that point in my first lesson I decided I really did want to build a guitar. I also realized this guitar I was about to make would be a good one. By the end of my first lesson with Richard I had decided I would continue to make guitars for many years to come. After all, we were going to work off tried and tested plans. We were going to use time honoured techniques and we were going to use the finest materials we could get our hands on. By the end of that first lesson I had decided I would spent the rest of my life making guitars. The first guitar I made was indeed a very fine instrument. Not because of any great ability on my part. But because I had a master luthier teaching, guiding, encouraging and showing me what to do. It also had a lot to do with the fact Richard's one on one approach to teaching is practical, methodical and incredibly effective. It is also a very enjoyable way to learn what is effectively a dying art. I have made a few guitars since then and each one has been better than the last. And I am still going to see Richard. And I fully intend taking his classes for many years to come. There is just so much to learn. Everything form how to select the right timber for your guitar to the all important and almost lost art of French polishing the finished instrument. Richard is internationally recognized as one of the best makers of classical guitars in the world. He has made well over 400 fine hand crafted guitars. Or as I like to point out to him, we have made over 400 guitars between us. Making that first guitar was indeed a bit of fun. And with Richards help I intend having more fun for many years to come.

Frank Filippone
More testimonials comming soon.

Course Information

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Attaching the heal block

Bending the sides

Guitar Construction

French Polishing