Guitar Building School


Thank you for hosting the ‘Instrument Set up Workshop’! It was most informative and enlightening . Hopefully I can remember all of the information presented!
Being a true beginner, I don’t know what a I don’t know if that makes sense. When I bought my new Stratocaster from a well known Music store and they said their in house technicians do a great job at setting up new instruments. I just assumed that was how they were supposed to be set up. I didn’t realize that some of my troubles learning as a beginner where actually coming from the default set up, even though it was brand new!
If you would have told me that I would be removing the neck of my new Statocaster, sanding/filing down the frets with metal dust and shavings all over I would have called you crazy! As a matter of fact I did and resisted doing this to my new guitar. However I did do this work because in my mind I knew I was not leaving with a non functioning guitar. Especially with Greg, Dale and you there...haha.
Even at my beginner stage, I know what a properly set up guitar should feel and play like. Before the new setup I had a death grip trying to play E shaped barre chords and especially the E minor shaped barre chords. I could not get the G string of E shaped minor barre chords to ring true. Now I can with minimal effort!
Listening to Greg and you play my Strat through your custom built amplifier was amazing and motivating!
I know that I have a solid foundation/baseline with my new guitar and setup. I will know better in the future when looking at or buying guitars.
Thanks again and I look forward to future workshops!
- Scott -
This was the best week of legal fun I think I have ever had. Always wanted to build a guitar. Here I find a workshop in by backyard. 
You guys are great! Thanks for a fantastic experience! 
- Dave -


Wow! One year ago... 

I've learned so much about building instruments on my own since then, but Dale Unger inspired the confidence in me to fully pursue my dream. 
In Nazareth Pennsylvania gained a wealth of knowledge, and had one heck of an adventure! 
Thank you, Dale & Tyler
- Brandon -
"I can’t begin to tell you how great everything was.  
My experience in the one on one training class was a vital step in my luthier training.  The time was well spent mastering fundamentals while learning in a really neat environment with top quality materials. The one on one class is definitely a ‘must’ if you want to learn first hand from a master luthier.  Do yourself a favor and put this class on your bucket list!!!!!”
Let me know if that is ok or you need me to say anything else.  Notice I am plugging the solo class!!!
Also, please stay in touch.  I am sure as will have questions because there is no way to remember all of this.  
I also look forward to our next class together."
- Sam -


"Dale and Tyler, I would like to thank you both for a great week during my Solo Archtop class. I enjoyed the camaraderie and the overall atmosphere of the shop. It is awesome to see a father and son team work so closely and have such a great relationship. I cant put into words the education I gained. I appreciate the opportunity to build such a work of art. The quality of woods used in my build are certainly not run of the mill. Thank you for some needed direction and suggestions to move me closer to more builds on my own. We enjoyed the laughs also. Your friends from Maine...

- Andy, Stephanie & Tucker -

 "I took the amazing electric guitar building workshop in January '17, and was delighted by both the fantastic instruction by Dale and Tyler and, of course, my new strat-style guitar.

The atmosphere of the class is casual but hyper-informative. Dale and Tyler are very patient and laid back--but they pack a lot of stuff into a short amount of time. I was probably the most beginner-level of the class, with 0 woodworking experience, and got a lot out of each part.
Highly recommended, especially for entry-level guitar builders/craftspeople. Thanks, guys!"

- Brett Renfer -


"I participated in the 3 day Electric Guitar Building course under the direction of Dale and Tyler Unger. It was a fantastic experience for me . Both Dale and Tyler were very knowledgeable and patient in their teaching. There was a lot of great information generously given out by the Unger's. Although I have over thirty years as a carpenter / woodworker under my belt, I found that it was not necessary to possess these skills in order to work your way through the class. Everyday we spent time in the morning talking before heading down to the shop. At lunchtime we all sat down together at a local restaurant to eat. I had a lot of fun and many good laughs with the Dale and Tyler as well as the others in our class. It felt like family to me. It is my feeling that the others in the class felt this way as well. It was a very nice atmosphere there. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning about guitar building or set up. You will not be disappointed. I look forward to getting back there to build Archtops and acoustics with the boys! By the way I went home with a fantastic telecaster style guitar that I made that plays and sounds fantastic. Thanks for everything"

- Michael Catalanotti -

 "I took the arch top building class with Dale and his son, Tyler in March 2016. Dale and Tyler are free and open with information and support. The atmosphere in class was congenial. Work flow was well planned and the pace felt natural. Plenty of space and tools for everyone. 

I have over 30 years experience as a professional woodworker. One other gentleman in the class had no experience at all. Dale and Tyler were able to differentiate instruction so that all of us received the information, guidance and oversight we needed to successfully complete our guitars. I think the class represents a great value and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to friends interested in making a guitar, no matter what their level of prior woodworking experience has been."

- John Miller -

"I attended the archtop building class on June 11-18, 2016, and it was an awesome experience. Dale and his son Tyler are friendly and very knowledgeable in their craft. We had a particularly good class with only four students that all had some woodworking and guitar playing experience. We spent about 6 hours per day (not including lunch) working on our guitars. I was surprised at how quickly the guitars came together, and the group built up a great rapport in the process. As one of the better players in the class, I got to play all the guitars as we compared the differences. My guitar had a bone nut with a wood tailpiece and flat wound strings, so it sounded different than the guitar with an ebony nut, a wood tailpiece and round wound strings. One guitar had a metal tailpiece with round wound strings. All of the guitars sounded great with a lot more volume than expected for an archtop with F holes. I played tunes that I usually play on nylon strings or an acoustic flat top, and they played easily and sounded wonderful. I used a variety of altered tunings, and all the guitars were extremely responsive. One tune makes extensive use of harmonics, and all of the harmonics had a beautiful bell-like tone. I finally have one guitar that can handle my entire repertoire! My intent was to learn enough to begin building my own guitars, and I definitely accomplished that goal this week. I would definitely recommend this workshop to anyone interested in building a guitar."

- Ron Hackett - 

"Just completed the archtop class and it was the most amazing experience. The atmosphere was encouraging and friendly. Dale and Tyler were superb. I made great new friends and came away with a great guitar and lots of new knowledge. The ultimate guitar experience. I'll be coming back for more."

- Alan Nichols -

"An excellent course! Dales experience as a luthier is hard to match . The individual attention I received was amazing. I was thoroughly satisfied with every aspect of the course. I strongly recommend the Nazareth Guitar Institute to anyone interested in building and servicing guitars"

- William Mattson -

"I will start by saying I had a some trepidation about committing to the archtop class. At the end I wound up  being disappointed that it was over! Class ends at 4:30 but could have happily gone till 8pm for me! Having built two flattops on my own prior to this, I knew a little about building but your class took all the stress out of it. Dale & Tyler will not let you go home with a piece of “wall art”! It is a gorgeous guitar and can’t wait to put a sunburst finish on it.  They have the pace of the class down to an art. And to my class mates: Chris, Bill & Ed, you guys are great and look forward to keeping in touch for life. Without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life. To anyone considering it: It’s awesome, just do it!" 
- Brian K. -
"I attended the archtop building course, which resulted in an awesome playing and sounding guitar. I had zero experience in woodworking much less being a luthier and was very intimidated. I used a band saw, router, sander, drill press etc… for the first time; however, Tyler and Dale put me at ease.  This course was more than just building a guitar.  It had a spiritual quality, and ironically, we built in an old church. Finally, I made friends for life with my fellow classmates.  I love you guys (Bill, Brian, and Chris)!  For the faint of heart, jump in and you will be changed forever."
- Ed Gardo -
"Hi Dale…  I just want to drop you a note and thank you for the recent workshop.  It’s really one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of.  I had such a great time and I’m very turned on by the whole process and will continue to pursue this as a hobby.  Like I said – you haven’t seen the last of
- JZ -

"Thanks for including me in the flattop guitar workshop. Building a guitar(s) was on the top of my bucket list. It is a wonderful thing for someone to have the talent to create works of art and an even greater thing to be willing to share that talent and take the time to teach others. I will always be grateful to you for doing that.

Thanks again!"

- Greg -

"What a wonderful week I just finished at Nazareth Guitar Institute building my archtop.  I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for this class.  You know my big fear was I would create an “art project” rather than a guitar.  That fear was gone after the first day.  You and Tyler made me very comfortable with the process and I learned more than I expected about guitar building.  And what a guitar!  The experience of building was tremendous, but the guitar is truly exceptional.  To think I had a hand in building such a quality instrument is unbelievable.  To anyone unsure of what you will take home, put your worries away.  You won’t be able to find an instrument of this quality in any guitar store for the price of this class.
What you learn and the people you will meet at Nazareth Guitar Institute are the icing on the cake!  You won’t meet any finer individuals than Dale and Tyler.  Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad) dropped in to say hello to Dale and our class, know telling who will show up at yours!
I truly had a fantastic time building the guitar.  I was very  blessed to have met you and Tyler"

- Steve -

 "Since the first time I picked up a guitar I have always had the secret desire to build one.  I did not want to become a guitar builder. I just wanted to understand the instrument that has always fascinated me. At first what seemed to be a daunting task soon became a possible reality when I found the GUITAR INSTITUTE OF NAZARETH. The length of the course fit my busy schedule and the price was right.  I imagined and resolved myself to the idea that  I would build a conversation piece that really would not be much of a guitar.

I am safe to say that it was one of the best weeks of my life.  I left the stressful life of a surgeon behind and dug into building a guitar. The days went by like minutes.  Dale and Tyler Unger run the course with enthusiasm, passion, and a mission to help us build a real guitar. Every day ended with an inspiring little jam session with various guitar players and guests. I stole a few awesome licks off Tyler Unger. ( incredible picker for sure )
By the end of the week my experience resulted in much needed down time, I met  some great new friends for life, and I have an awesome Archtop guitar that actually works. This will no doubt be my favorite AXE until I build another guitar at the INSTITUTE.
 Thank you Dale and Tyler for a wonderful experience I will never forget."
 - Freddie B -
"First, allow me to say how much I appreciated attending the Flat Top workshop offered at the Nazareth Guitar Institute. It was great to meet you, Tracy and Tyler - each of you offered so much to the attendees. It was also great to meet the others in the class – Jim, Bud and Fred. It is very cool to have people from seemingly vast backgrounds assemble together for a common purpose – guitar building. 
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to coordinate & facilitate such a fine learning experience."
- Steve -
"I can’t thank you guys enough for the outstanding week in the acoustic flat-top guitar class.  I had a blast and I learned so much more than I envisioned when I signed up.  You guys have the perfect combination of incredible guitar-knowledge, humility, teaching skills …. and patience!  To walk out of that class with a top quality, custom acoustic guitar that I got to build (and a little help from master luthiers!) … well, it was amazing.  Once I get my head out of the clouds, I’m signing up for the arch-top class!"
 - Jim Thomsen -
“Hi Dale! I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for the training and amazing week spent in your shop! This has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had and I now feel I can can continue building and hopefully build on the solid foundation you gave to us all! The guitar is just simply beautiful. Family members who have seen it today just say one word when I show it to them, "WOW!"  It was also great spending time with the other builders and of course Pat was an incredible help, to which I will always be grateful. Not to mention his astonishing  playing ability!
 Heading up to Niagra Falls in the morning, then preparing for the somewhat long drive home... I've driven 2,650 miles so far and now that I know where the Allentown airport is, maybe I'll fly in next time! It seemed easier when I was 30 years old for some reason... just wanted to get something off to you, and again Dale, thank you so much!”
 - Robert -
“I just had the greatest experience building an archtop guitar in Nazareth, PA (the home of Martin guitars) with Dale Unger who owns The Guitar Institute of Nazareth. Dale Unger was a protégé of Bob Benedetto and worked on building many of the Benedetto archtops. He makes the American Archtop series and designed the ones Martin produces.  Dale offers a class with 4-5 students and will take you step by step in producing a beautiful all solid wood archtop guitar. One that you keep and take home. This was my chance to build an archtop complete in 7 days. It turned out perfect.
We also met with Chris Martin at the class and later got a private tour through the Martin factory to see how they do it. Martin’s Inlay master Tracy Cox came down to the class and gave us instruction on how to do inlays perfectly. We were treated to jazz in the Poconos at a 200 year old building watching and talking to 82 year old jazz great Bucky Pizzarelli. Like many others who get involved building from a kit or scratch, mine was setting on my bench untouched for a few months. I was making excuses why I hadn’t finished it. Dale Unger’s class was just the jump-start in building I needed. 
My children and wife aside, this was one of the greatest experiences of my life!”
- Don -
"I just wanted to extend another, very sincere, thank you to you and Tyler for taking the time and effort to give me all of the one on one time and attention that I asked for in order to complete my guitar. Even though there were three other guys building guitars, I never felt ignored or forgotten about at all. I really enjoyed the entire experience and you both were outstanding teachers and helpers in the process. 
I am grateful for all of the new knowledge and skill that I learned this weekend and can't wait to put it all to use on my current instruments, as well as maybe even those of friends and family who need help! I'm going to try and take those lessons and not forget them.
Thanks again and I'll let you know when I get the old archtop working again!"
Take care,
- Dan O'Donnell -

"It's a really great guitar you made. I've had so many nice moments with it. It's like a really great violin in some ways, only bigger! It's an inspiration to play and really gets my attention. Really, really a fine instrument. I've been playing the American Legend  and what a beauty! I'm really taken by the sound of it. The sound through my Henriksen amp is superb. The notes are full-bodied and distinct and the sound is incredibly even in every area of the neck.  I don't think I'll ever stop being surprised by how good I sound when I play it! Honestly. It has an ethereal lightness to it. Doesn't weigh nearly as much as any of my others. The design is simple to behold and it works wonders when plugged in. So simple! Just plug in and play!"

- Nick -