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Elevating the Art of Guitar Repair and Design for the last 4 1/2 decades.

Does your guitar always seems to be out of tune ?
Does it seem to be too hard to play ?

Text For Repairs and Setups : ( 519 275 1008 )

Precision work / Fast turn-around / Best price \m/ !


Conestoga College 
Stratford Campus
Guitar Repair and Design

Level 2

This will be my last
 Level 2 offering,
before retiring.

Monday Class
( 1 Opening )
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
May 29th  - July 3rd

Registration Link:

Introduction to Guitar Repair and Design

Hi Mike,

First of all - thanks for the fantastic classes thus far.  I've learned more in 3 sessions than in 3 decades!!  - Played my acoustic tonight and it feels really great.

I just wanted to let you know I'm signing up for the 2nd level.  I'm really digging this!

- cheers! - Kim.

1916 was a very significant year for Gibson.

 This was the last year that Orville Gibson
was actively involved in the workshop, 
before the rapid decline of his health. 

The instrument is in remarkable shape and will be 100% 
functional after some very careful final tweaking!

The arching / neck angle and overall finish are quite good.

A demonstration of how to level a fingerboard and radius to 9".
These students had a front row seat as I radiused this fingerboard 
with the sanding blocks that I fabricate,
 and hand out to each class, in less than a minute
using the TechDeck / the sanding blocks,
a radius gauges that we made up in class ....
 a selection of straight edges ( that we also make up ).


We levelled + radiused  this fingerboard
in preparation for a complete refret in 
the following week's class.

Calculating and slotting the acoustic guitar bridge 
that Rob made from scratch, for
 PERFECT Intonation !

Jeff re-setting the neck angle on his 
Harmony acoustic.

Compensated nuts / bridge slotting / Bass re-fret
Neck splicing / Neck re-setting 

These guys are having a good time
 as they "cut to the quick" and get the job done!

  they have easily knocked off 
a couple of thousand dollars worth of 
repairs during their Level 1 / Level 2 training.

October 31, 2013

Dear Michael,
You have been delivering this training through Continuing Education at Conestoga College for over 15 years now.  The quality of your courses and the feedback from your students is nothing but exceptional.  Your passion is contagious.  Your students respect your knowledge and you inspire them to further develop their skills and allow them the opportunity to apply what they have learned.  Conestoga College is proud to have you as a Professor.  You are expert in your field, reliable, punctual and a pleasure to work with!

Sandra Schelling
Dean, Continuing Education and Corporate Training
Conestoga College

Les Paul Fret Dress

Paul drove in from North York 
 to drop off this Les Paul for a compensated nut,
2 new soap bar pickups, a fret dress and setup.
See "Michael's Roster" stand alone page ... for details

Paul's response ... the following day ..

Hi Michael, 

Just wanted to say the guitar sounds great! 
I'm really happy with the results.
 It was worth the extra driving and time. 
Thanks again for the compensated nut idea, 
I think it has helped a lot. 
I've been playing it for the last few hours
 and it sounds sweet. 


57' Gibson J-45 Restoration

This gathering of 5 minimum or 6 maximum students,
 each bringing guitars to the class; gives everyone
the chance to cover 
an amazing cross-section of instruments for
study and repair. 

The guitar family extrapolates in many directions ...

12 string / Arch top / solid body /
fretted and fretless basses / nylon string classicals
Strats / Tele / Les Paul / etc... etc ...

The opportunity to examine and work on so many 
different types of guitars, and to examine the 
idiosyncrasies and "rules of physics"
for each member of the guitar family,
 is what has made these courses so enduring,
and why many students have returned 
3 or 4 times, to expand their knowledge base 
and technique, on their own available

Many have taken these skills and developed them, 
opening their own small repair businesses;
others are simply having fun 
working on their own "personal brigades" of guitars.

 As a group, we continue to
 "Elevate the Art " 
of Guitar Repair and Design
one instrument at a time.

With Gratitude,

Michael McConville

If you wish to be contacted for registration,

you may submit your name and contact info; 

this will put you on the call list, for any of the upcoming courses

 Level 1 GRAD / Level 2 GRAD / Strat Build /  Tele Build

or Acoustic Guitar Build

Contact :

Conestoga College 

  " Hey Mike! Chris Van de Maele here. Former student. 
   just wanted to tell you again, thanks for all you have taught me. A new world for me has opened up thanks to you. I only get better and better as I go, and I keep my eyes and ears open to keep learning all the time. Almost all my life has been playing guitar, and having repair a part of it now is the best. You are on ongoing inspiration Mike. All the best. You rock buddy. Peace." 

Chris ( from London Ontario ) completed his Level 1 / Level 2 GRAD courses 

and picked up his TechDeck in the Spring of 2011. 

67' Tele re-fret

Hi Mike,

I just re-fretted a 1974 Gibson J-45 fretless wonder 
and installed a new nut and compensated saddle.

I would never have had the guts to take this job 
without your kind teaching.


Chris Knowles

CK Custom Guitars

Guitar Building & Repair

647 Glancaster Road

Mount Hope, ON L0R 1W0 

Adrian Jones, ( Kitchener ) an extremely talented 
multi-instrumentalist, teacher and performer. 
Adrian is leveraging his TechDeck, radiused disc sander 
and his Level 1 and Level 2 skills in the real world, 
working on numerous repairs and setups for his students
and customers. 
Guitar Repair and Design
Conestoga  College
 Stratford Campus

1967 D-28 Brazilian

Tony ( above ) is a talented Machinist / Rag time picker,
who completed his Level 1 and Level 2 training,
picked up a TechDeck and a radiused sander and 
plans on returning for one of the "Acoustic 
Guitar Build " Courses. 

Complete refrets / compensated saddles

12 string bone nut / 
partial refrets / edge dressing

Getting the low-down on
 professional fretting technique

Guitar Repair and Design – Level 1 is a prerequisite for Level 2.

Curriculum:Level 2


Building on the skills acquired in the Level 1 training, Level 2 studies will include a complete re-fret of the bound fingerboard and / or electric bass conversion: fretted to fretless (depending on the needs of the students); safe removal of acoustic guitar bridges and fabrication of a new bridge from a rosewood / ebony blank, calculating compensation for intonation and slotting the new bridge for saddle placement, compensated nuts / saddles fabricated from bone blank, acoustic guitar fingerboard / neck removal, broken head-stock ( splicing ) repair and touch-up; repair and replacement of loose braces; fabrication and installation of cross-grain quarter-sawn splices for repair of cracks and fractures, a study of hide glue and it's practical applications, french polish/lacquer-stick for fret repair touch up, installation of an on-board acoustic-electric system; basic practical soldering and wiring technique for pick-up replacement, input jacks, volume and tone controls. Workstations and hand tools will be supplied for the duration of the course.

A detailed step-by-step analysis of compensated nut fabrication is now also included in the Level 2 curriculum. Students will be shown how to calculate and fabricate a compensated nut for all of the various scale lengths and fingerboard radius choices; from a blank of bone or tusq to the finished / precisely calculated nut. 

The Level 2 will be influenced, to a degree, by the projects that each individual student brings to the table. This allows each group of students to steer the curriculum to address their own particular needs. 

As in the Level 1 training, we always cover material over and above the designated curriculum.

Paul Jones ( Toronto ) is a talented guitar builder
 who specializes in Resonator Style Guitars.

Level 1 

This introductory course will provide students with hands-on training in the set-up and repair of acoustic and electric guitars. A detailed study of fretwork technique, including safe fret removal, correcting the lay of the neck, fret levelling, re-crowning and polishing; the fabrication of hand-cut nuts and saddles and an overview of the basic physics and design of the various members of the guitar family. The elements that determine the instrument's ability to perform at it's optimum level of playability, will be covered. These 3 hour classes, run once a week, for 6 consecutive weeks. Workstations and hand tools will be supplied, for the duration of each class. The student will walk away with the ability to accurately set up guitars and to level / edge dress / and refret the fingerboard. There are several dedicated hand tools that are fabricated for the students to take home with them upon completion of the course. Discussion of the business aspect of guitar repairs is also covered for those that are interested in working on instruments to generate a part time or full time income. Support material such as updated price lists for the industry, will assist the student in evaluating the work and assessing the repair price for various common repairs / restorations and adjustments.    

Rob Fletcher ( Mr. 12-String )... London  ...  is a talented carpenter,
contracter and musician who has augmented his income
by leveraging his newly acquired skills / tools / TechDeck, 
radiused sander, while fuelling his passion for 12-string guitars.

 Study with Michael McConville
Luthier and Guitar Technician