Built it yourself!
Over the years I had many people contacting me with the desire to build their own guitar. I have always enjoyed teaching trainees at my shop but I never had the capacity to provide individuals a guitar building course besides running our small production. However, in 2016 I started offering “The Build it Yourself” option for small groups of 3-4 people where you get a chance to be part of the whole building process of your own custom guitar with all the professional support and tooling you need to build an outstanding high-end instrument. You will get a nice glimpse into all the different steps of the guitar building process plus you will learn much about different woods, constructions and different working techniques. My main intention with this course is to let you have a unforgettable experience by building your guitar with your own hands!
The basic idea is, that you can order your custom guitar, but instead of me building it for you, you can come and build it all yourself! Once I got your application along with your guitar details I will prepare a kit for you so you can build your own guitar in 1-2 weeks, depending on electric or acoustic guitar. Within this time we bring the guitar to the stage where it’s ready for the spray booth. In an optional second or third week (again depending on electric or acoustic guitar) we will look into the lacquering process and end set-up of the instrument. Should 2 or 3 weeks be too much for you to spend a “working holiday” like that, you can also have me finish your guitar completely. It can then be shipped or picked up a few weeks later. Basically the whole Brunner Guitar range of acoustic and electric guitars with and without removable necks are offered to “built it yourself”, except the harp guitars.
More than just guitar building…
During our time together we will have a main focus on teaching you as much as possible about guitar building skills, but I also hope this workshop experience will become a refreshing “time out” and break from your regular routine at home and will give you a chance to discover new sides about yourself and to make new friends. The beautiful Engadin valley and the nicely renovated accommodation with its cozy, rustic and roomy feel will provide an ideal relaxed setting and will make you feel like spending a nice holiday at the same time! We’re surrounded by beautiful mountains and historical villages and there’s lots to see and do throughout the valley between Scuol and St.Moritz area. There are many hiking and biking trails and you can also get up and down the valley by train easily (1min walk from our house). I also run a little seasonal “on request” bike shop during the summer months and I offer nice mountain bikes for rent.
Who is this experience designed for?
The Build it Yourself Experience is suiting both, people who just want to do this as a “once in a life time” experience or for those, who are interested in getting more seriously into guitar building. In my shop I’m set up for building in batches of about 20 guitars in one go. So I usually work a lot with machines, templates and moulds to make things more efficient and precise, yet there is a lot of the old traditional craftsmanship required during the building process. You will get the chance to see and do both, some advanced machine work (even a CNC router) and some fine hand work with special guitar building tools. There is no experience in guitar building required in order to attend the course, however, some hand tool skills and a love for detail will sure help. Should you not feel confident enough doing some of the more challenging tasks while you’re here, I will always be there to help out. I want to make sure you will receive an excellent guitar in the end, pretty much just as if you would have ordered it! Workshop language will be german and english
What I don’t offer…
If you want to build a Martin, Fender or Gibson guitar copy we are definitely the wrong address, sorry! There are many courses and kits offered on the market for such guitars.
Thanks Luke for being such great teacher and host. The guitar looks and sounds absolutely great, it’s a joy each time I use it. I can highly recommend the “Build it yourself” course to anyone!
I am more than happy with the guitar, it rings beautifully, a half orchestra, endless sustain, fat bass and crystal clear highs! Everything is better than I had hoped for! And to be able to participate in the developmental process! Thank you very much for your patience and your entrustment, so much could have gone wrong, but all went well!
Looking back to the guitar building course makes me want to do it all over again. It was an incredible time in the beautiful mountain setting of Lavin. Lukas is such a kind and patient teacher and gives everything he has to make it a succsessful experience. I learned so much by watching and doing it myself. I loved the smell of wood in the workshop and all the tools that were available to do such finicky guitar building work. My guitar turned out amazing and I love playing it. It also was a privilege to get to know the Brunner family a bit and getting spoiled by Eva with coffee and treats everyday. I can highly recommend this course.
After such an incredible trip to Switzerland, and especially the time in Lavin, it took over a month to adjust to work and living back home again! The food, drink & warm hospitality across the pond certainly suited me well. It was the best trip I have ever taken, in no small way due to your great leadership, friendship and talent. Everyone loves the guitar built under your direction – without your help it would never have been created. I have many fabulous guitars – but this Swiss masterpiece makes the others pale in comparison!
Also, it was pure joy to work with the three of you in the workshop – the trip of a lifetime!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Brunner work shop. Lukas is a great teacher; patient and precise with a seemingly endless knowledge of guitar construction, innovation, and tone. The guitars sound amazing and are as beautiful as the alpine valley they are built in!
I have had many teachers in my life. Some of them were experts in theirs fields, others had a special gift for passing on knowledge, again others simply loved being with the people whom they taught. In my opinion Lukas can intergrate all of this things in his teaching. He is very precise and careful, yet working fast. He is understanding and very creative. My stay in Lavin was crucial in my life. I recommend it to all interested!
Every time I look at my self-made acoustic guitar, I feel transported back into Lukas’ wonderful equipped workshop and I glance at the swiss Alps. I can still smell the sanding dust of Rosewood and Cocobolo, no kidding. From the beginning to the end Lukas guided the development of this instrument and explained each step. I never felt over-challenged and his patience and his confidence helped me with each new step in the process. And believe me, there are many! The fact that I as a complete layman succeeded in building such a professional instrument, according to my imagination, still appears to me as a small miracle. Lukas’ unconventional way of merging modern tools and machinery with traditional craftsmanship and his desire to explore new tone woods, constructions and forms helped me to build a unique instrument. The peace and remoteness of the swiss Alps in combination with family Brunners’ hospitality surely have done their part as well.
Die Zeit bei Brunner-Guitars in Lavin war für mich pure Gitarrenbau-Romantik;
Dabei sein, wenn das eigene Instrument entsteht, mit professioneller Unterstützung eine Idee Realität werden lassen, die Farben und Gerüche der verschiedenen Holzarten wahrnehmen, Fachgespräche führen und neue Ideen entwickeln, die unglaubliche Umgebung geniessen…
Course options and costs
The “Build it yourself” option will basically cost the same amount as if you would simply order the same Brunner Guitar (electric or acoustic) As a little bonus for “building it yourself” the accommodation is in that price included. Please be aware that if you want to do some fancy inlays, a high gloss finish or other more time consuming features you may have to plan on some extra days. Depending on your time you can either choose to do the full course including lacquering and finishing or only up to the stage where the guitar is ready for lacquering.
Since I have to prepare your “kit” in advance and may have to order some special material according to your order, I will send you the first invoice for a 1/3 deposit about 2 months before to the course starts. The remaining balance will be due just before we start.
For two weeks with an optional third week for the finishing process and including accommodation the price starts at Fr.1700.- (for a plain small body short short scale model for example). The price can vary a lot depending your choices. Most ordered full-size guitars end up between CHF3000-5000.-
For one week with an optional second week for the finishing process and including accommodation the price starts at Fr.1500.- (for a plain small body short short scale model for example). Also here the price can vary a lot depending your choices. Most electric guitars end up between CHF2000-3000.-
Accommodation and Food
All attendees will be able to stay at our nice group accommodation on the top floor. There are three bed rooms with 3-5 beds in each room for when we rent it out to larger groups. During our time you will only be 3-4 people in total staying in those rooms. So you may have your own room or share it with one more person. There are two bathrooms with toilet and shower plus a washing machine. Besides the fully equipped kitchen there is a spacy living room and dining area with Wifi and TV. The huge outside deck is also nice to hang out and enjoy the beautiful scenery. All meals are at your own expense and each group will arrange themselves if they want to cook together or individually. There is a little grocery store about 1min from our house and we also have two hotels and restaurant in Lavin.
- spring option is canceled for 2019 (too much on the go…)
- 2. – 20. September 2019
You choose for how long you can or want to work on your instrument from 1-3 weeks during those time frames. In order to be able to get your materials ready and the kit prepared I will need your application at least two month prior to the course start.
Ready to take on the adventure? If you hit the button below you get to choose the course date, all your details and materials for your dream guitar and you will see the total price at the bottom. Once you submitted the application form you will still be able to change some of your choices. If you’re not sure yet what you really want to build I’ll be happy to help you find the right choices.