Thank you for your interest in our one-week Cigar Box Guitar Building Course. If you’ve ever dreamt about building your very own cigar box guitar from the ground-up, this one-week, on-site course will give you an amazing one-on-one, hands-on experience and have you completing the course with a cigar box guitar that you’ve completed by hand! *All materials and hardware are included.

This course is a perfect introduction to guitar building for either the hobbyist or aspiring luthier.

For course details and answers to common questions, continue reading...

Michael Whitney | Luthier, Instructor

$2250 CDN | Now Accepting Applications for 2024 -  CLICK HERE TO APPLY!

We ask that you review our School Policies before registering.


My own journey as a luthier actually began with a cigar box guitar that I built years ago. I’ll never forget the excitement I felt when I plugged that guitar in for the first time after spending several months researching and finally building my very first instrument.

What it taught me was the basics of instrument construction: scale length, fretting, wiring, carving of bone for the nut and saddle, and finally bringing an otherwise random collection of hardware and up-cycled materials into musical form! It was that very fire that inspired me to continue to evolve as a guitar maker and to create the instruments that I’m making today.


Cigar Box Guitars harken back to the depression era when necessity drove invention and musical instruments were often fashioned from the most basic and common materials.

Typically, cigar box guitars were made from pretty much anything that was available; old oil cans, shoeboxes, cigar boxes, fence wire for strings, old keys and bolts for bridges and saddles — people became very resourceful!

Inherent to these guitars was an unmistakable tone and ‘rawness’ that is now reminiscent of ‘Delta Blues’ or ‘Porch Blues’ as commonly referred.


Cigar Box Guitars are typically setup with the 3 or 4 middle strings from a standard guitar (one-stringed guitars are referred to as ‘Diddley Bows’), and are tuned to an open chord, such as ‘D’ or ‘G’, perfect for that old-time bluesy sound.

For beginners, cigar box guitars are easier to play and for seasoned players, they add a very unique compliment to one’s musical instrument ‘arsenal’.


Our 5-day Cigar Box Guitar Building Workshop will have you creating a refined version of its depression-era counterpart, complete with modern tuners, scarf-joint headstock, complete fret-job, an electronics package, professional setup, and everything you need to let those blues out!

Don’t forget your slide!

PAST PROJECT - 'Le Bijou' Guitar

Cigar Box Guitar Building Course - Canada
Sam Pethers, Australia

What an Incredible Experience!

Mike is a great teacher and a highly skilled luthier. He has a very creative eye and is able to bring out the best in his students. I had minimal experience working in a wood shop but Mike walked me through everything I needed to know and I was very comfortable with all of the tools by the end of the week. I was expecting to come home with some very basic knowledge of how to build a Cigar Box Guitar but the course takes the experience much further. The design and concept of the guitar is totally up to the student with guidance from Mike. The process included: selecting the cigar box from a wide range provided by Mike, blueprinting / designing the guitar and selecting the woods to use, carving out the neck of the guitar, staining the woods used and selecting and installing the hardware. The guitar sounds great plugged into an amp and I would highly recommend the course to anyone interested in woodworking, music, guitar playing or just looking for a different experience. The only downside was the come down of returning to my day job after the course finished...



We ask that you review our School Policies before registering.




The next available course date will always be listed as the last item in the chart above. If you are interested in securing a date not listed, feel free to contact me and we can discuss availability. All courses require a $500, deposit as well as a registration fee. Please see our ‘Registration and Payment Policies‘ before registering.

If you have a specific start-date in mind, please contact me to discuss. It may mean that we double you up with another student, but class sizes will never exceed two students at any one time so that I can provide you with the dedicated attention required to make your building experience a great one. Please note that apart from the weekends or statutory holidays, I will not further break up a given course time-frame.

The button above will process your $500 deposit as well as your $100 registration fee via PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account, you can send your deposit via eTransfer to mike [@] whitneyguitars [dot] com or as a bank draft made payable to ‘Michael Whitney’.

Once payment has been received, I will message you directly to welcome you to the course and answer any additional questions you may have.

NOTE: The remainder of the course fee is due on the first day of class for our 7-day and 14 day courses. Longer 3-month, 6-month and 1-year course fees may be made in monthly instalments or paid in full on the first day of class. Please see our ‘Registration and Payment Policies‘ for more information.

We do not offer accommodations on site. However, most of our students stay at local AirBnBs. The Okanagan valley is a tourist mecca boasting endless wine-tasting, stunning scenery and tons of outdoor activities. You’ll definitely love the quaint town of Summerland and the surrounding area.

While there are many AirBnB locations in Summerland and the surrounding area, one of our recommended AirBnB locations is:

Yes. All courses require a $500 deposit as well as a $100, non-refundable registration fee to secure your spot.

For our 2-week and 1-month courses, the balance of the course fees are due upon the first day of class. Four our longer 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year programs, a monthly payment schedule will be emailed to you upon registration, or you are welcome to pay your course fees in full on the first day of class. For more information, please review our ‘Registration and Payment Policies‘.

Your deposit can be submitted via PayPal by using the button above, via eTransfer to: mike [@] whitneyguitars [dot] com., or by way of a bank draft made payable to ‘Michael Whitney’. Upon receipt of your deposit, I will reach out to welcome you to the course and answer any additional questions you may have.

Yes. Students requesting a specific start date or those wanting to pre-register are encouraged to register as far in advance as possible.

If you have questions about coming course availability, feel free to contact me to discuss.

As you’ll be in a working shop, hearing protection, safety glasses, a dust-mask, and appropriate footwear is recommended. If you’d like a specific list of items, I can message that to you with links.

Notebooks, binders and pens / pencils are recommended as well.

Some students like to work with their own luthiery tools. If you have a small kit you’d like to bring, that is encouraged, although not necessary.

Yes. As the cigar box itself is already complete, you are encouraged to apply a hand-rubbed oil finish such as ‘TruOil’ to the guitar neck and headstock. This can be brought up to a gloss or taken down to a satin finish depending on your personal preference.

Our pricing does include all parts to complete your cigar box guitar build. However, if you have your own eclectic mix hardware such as bolts, brass rod, antique items such as drawer pulls and so forth that we’re able to incorporate into your build, you are welcome to bring those along for consideration.

Additionally, if you have your own cigar box that you’d like to use, we can consider that as well if the sizing will work.

Please review our ‘Registration and Payment Policies’, here.

Of course. For all other inquiries, feel check our ‘General FAQs‘ or free to send me a note through the contact form.