Art of the Archtop

A Unique opportunity to work one-on-one with a world-class luthier, Wyatt Wilkie
Sign up today

Art of the Archtop

A Unique opportunity to work one-on-one with a world-class luthier, Wyatt Wilkie
Sign up todayView Testimonials

About The Course

If you have dreamed of building an archtop guitar but were afraid you lacked the tools or skill, now is your chance to learn from a master. With Wyatt’s Art of the Archtop course, you will have the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with a world-class luthier.

Wyatt will guide you as you plane, chisel, rout and feel your way through the process of building your very own archtop.

About the Comox Valley

Wyatt’s shop is set in the heart of the Comox Valley, close to the sea and mountains of mid-Vancouver Island. In nearby Courtenay, Cumberland, and Comox, you will find a variety of shops and restaurants catering to every taste.

The Valley is home to many wineries and plays host to musical and cultural festivals throughout the year. Students are responsible for finding their own transportation and accommodation.

Please contact us for more information on how to get to the Comox Valley and how to locate accommodation.

Contact Us 

The cost of the course is USD $5,500 and includes all of your wood and basic hardware. Students are responsible for procuring their own case.

We look forward to working with you, contact us today to arrange a time to get started.

Jakes Booth Journey through the Master Class

View this detailed journey from start to finish via his blog.

Day 1

  • Cut sides to size and sand to thickness
  • Make end blocks
  • Bend sides and clamp in form
  • Make kerfed lining strips

Day 2

  • Glue linings to rim
  • Make neck blank
  • Rout groove for truss rod

Day 3

  • Continue work on neck blank
  • Rout dovetail in neck
  • Rout ledge for fingerboard extension
  • Glue ears to headstock
  • Install truss rod and cover with wood gusset

Day 4

  • Initial carving of outside shape of top and back plates

Day 5

  • Carve inside surfaces of top and back plates
  • Drill depth reference holes
  • Carve, plane and scrape to shape
  • Cut soundhole in top plate

Day 6

  • Carving/scraping to refine contours of both plates

 

Day 7

  • Prepare material for bindings and X-brace
  • Bend binding for guitar rim and sound hole
  • Mark and cut braces to conform to top plate contour
  • Sand braces to final fit then cut X-joint and glue in place

Day 8

  • Glue back plate to rim
  • Shape braces on top plate
  • Coat inside surfaces with shellac
  • Glue top to rim
  • Slot fretboard
  • Rout plate edges flush with rim
  • Sand and scrape sides
  • Rout grove for binding
  • Install, tape and glue binding
  • This was a long day but with good progress as the component parts are assembled. The back plate is glued to the rim and while the glue is drying on that the X-brace is shaped

Day 9

  • Remove binding tape
  • Wipe top and back with damp paper towel to relieve compression dimples
  • Scrape bindings and blend into recurves on plates
  • Cut taper dovetail mortise in body
  • Plane fretboard to 12 in. radius

Day 10

  • Thickness and taper back of headstock
  • Make tailpiece
  • Shape neck dovetail
  • First fit neck to body
  • Carve neck
  • Scrape sand body and binding
  • Refine neck/body fit
  • Install frets
  • Drill holes for tuners
  • Glue neck to body
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If I were young and wanted to learn how to make archtops, I would sign up for this course. Wyatt is a no-nonsense maker. He’s creative, knowledgeable and never runs out of steam. He is the consummate role model for anyone who wants to learn how to make archtops.

 

– Bob Benedetto

If you really want to learn how to make archtops, Wyatt is your guy. Everything about this class is great: the teacher, the shop, Vancouver Island…man, what an experience.

 

– Pablo Valle

I got so much out of that build. You’re a great teacher, Wyatt, and I hope you continue to give others what you gave me.

 

– Matt Joyce

I’ve learnt so much from Wyatt. I had an amazing time and will cherish it always.

 

– Tim Starr

The work was challenging at times. Wyatt was always available when needed and always forthcoming with advice and help. I had the rare opportunity to work one-on-one with a master archtop builder!

 

– Jake Booth

Wyatt Wilkie hand-builds around a dozen archtop guitars and mandolins per year in his small workshop on the coast of Vancouver Island where he has lived for several years with his wife, Emily and two children Jasper and Linnea. He considers himself lucky to have finally arrived at such a beautiful place to live and work after a lengthy and unpredictable journey.

Get In Touch

Call Us

(250) 871-4329

A new custom guitar coming together for @maximcormier. An unfigured Redwood top with quilted Sapele back and sides. Will have a 3-piece Spanish Cedar neck.
#artofthearchtop #archtopguitar #customguitar #jazz #guitars #acousticguitar #jazzguitar #handcarved #lutherie
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There's a bit of blending to be done after fitting a neck.
#artofthearchtop #handcarved #guitarneck #archtopguitars #jazz #guitars #lutherie #curlymaple #guitarbinding #guitarmaking #jazzguitar #acousticguitar
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Getting started on a few new projects.
#artofthearchtop #artanddesign #archtopguitars #jazz #guitars #intheshop #eveningsun #jazzguitar #workshops #luthierworkshop #lutherie #handcarved #guitarneck
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I look forward to using this big slab of curly Hawaiian koa with matching sides for an archtop guitar. Big enough for an 18"!
#artofthearchtop #koa #curlykoa #archtopguitars #jazz #guitars #acousticguitar #jazzguitar #lutherie #handcarved
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Really enjoying making these oval hole archtops.
Working on a couple more too.
#artofthearchtop #oval #soundhole #lutherie #jazz #guitars #archtopguitars #acousticguitars #customguitar #handcarved #curlyredwood #intheworkshop
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I've got a lot of sanding to do but thankfully I have other projects that need to get started so I'm just going to attend to some of those for a couple days.
Finishing up the garland for a custom 15" archtop/flat back with oval soundhole in a Redwood top. Quilted sapele back and sides and a beautiful 3-piece Spanish cedar neck.
#artofthearchtop #archtopguitars #jazz #guitars #acousticguitars #customguitarbuild #customguitar #guitars #sapele #jazzguitar #honduranmahogany #lutherie
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A very pointy, aka Florentine, cutaway.
#artofthearchtop #florentine #cutaway #archtopguitar #acousticguitar #jazz #guitars #jazzguitar #lutherie #mapke #quiltedmaple #curlymaple #guitarbinding #purfling
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Getting dangerously close to finishing this.
#artofthearchtop #oval #soundhole #curlyredwood #archtopguitar #jazz #jazzguitar #handcarved #lutherie #guitars #acousticguitar #customguitar
#klaatubaradanikto
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First time bending quilted Sapele. It went well!
This will be a one-of-a-kind custom archtop/flat back guitar.
#artofthearchtop #artoftheflatback #customguitar #jazz #guitars #sapele #quiltedsapele #steambending #archtopguitars #jazzguitar #lutherie #lutherietools #guitarmaking
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Nearly completed 17" archtop guitar companion to the mandocello I posted earlier.
#artofthearchtop #handcarved #arches #archtopguitar #jazz #guitars #acousticguitar #elipse #ovalhole #lutherie #artdeco #amboynaburl #jazzguitar #midnightworkshop #customguitar
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A scraper is a very useful thing! It scrapes away all the fuzziness leaving clean, sharp lines.
#artofthearchtop #purfling #guitarbinding #quiltedmaple #curlymaple #jazzguitar #honduranmahogany #archtopguitars #jazz #guitars #customguitar #handcarved #lutherie #luthier #luthiertools #scraper #acousticguitar
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Lucky me Father's Day 2021 ...

Some inlays seem to generate their own light.
#inlayart #artofthearchtop #jazz #guitars #jazzguitar #acousticguitar #motherofpearl #turquoisejewelry #artdeco #gotoh #lutherie
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I get lots of good natural light in the shop.
#artofthearchtop #handcarved #jazz #guitars #jazzguitar #acousticguitars #workshop #intheshop #whatsonyourbench #mandocello
#ovalhole #lutherie
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Fret slots, inlay, radius, frets.
#artofthearchtop #guitars #guitarnecks #handcarved #acousticguitars #jazzguitar #jazz #inlayart #artdeco #lutherie #headstock #burl #amboynaburl #ebony #fretboard #fretboardinlay
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Shipping out in a Mainstage case.
I'm not sure what the story is behind these cases but this is exactly the type of case I was making 25-30 years ago at Calton Cases of Canada. I actually made the very first one using this pattern for my old '38 Gibson A50.
#artofthearchtop #mandolins #mainstagecases #custommandolin #lutherie #handcarved #jazzmandolin #celticmandolin
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Not often you see a curly Redwood top like this on a jazz guitar.
#artofthearchtop #archtopguitars #handcarved #curlyredwood #ovalhole #jazzguitar #jazz #lutherie #acousticguitar #guitars #amboynaburl #artdeco #inlayart
...

Starting to fit the neck on this custom 5-course mandocello.
#artofthearchtop #artanddesign #artdeco #archtopguitar #mandocello #handcarved #ovalhole #mandolins #mandolin #mandolinplayer #jazzmandolin
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