MI’s Guitar Craft Academy employs a hands-on teaching approach.

For players looking to start down a career path that never takes them away from their first love, the Guitar Craft Program offers a foundational education that can open a lot of doors—no previous experience required.

Musicians do what they do because of the invigorating and rewarding feeling that comes with creating something from scratch. For a guitarist, this may stem from a new idea for a riff, melody, or an entire song. But there’s also a sizable contingent of players who get the same fulfillment from selecting wood, combining it with some hardware and magnets, and building a complete guitar from the ground up. For many, though, there’s a more clear-cut path toward making a career playing music than there is for those who wish to make instruments for a living.

At the outset, most of us don’t have the skill set, the know-how, the experience, or the connections it takes to get our foot in the door of the guitar building and repair industry. But with more educational programs being established in recent years, you can actually attend schools like the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles to learn how to build guitars. “We want to break it all down and take the mystery out of it,” says Paul Roberts, chair of MI’s Guitar Craft Academy. “We want to give people the experience and a starting point for a career.”

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The life and techniques of Free’s legendary lead guitarist told through anecdotes from friends and fans, including Paul Rodgers and Joe Bonamassa.

In the 1960s, England was up to its eyeballs in white-boy blues bands. This was the golden age of the guitar player, when people like Clapton, Beck, and Page became recognized names the world over. But for every Cream, Yardbirds, or Led Zeppelin, there were scores of other groups working the same circuit, trying their damndest to break through. Free was such a band.

Between Paul Rodgers’ wailing, Simon Kirke’s tremendous backbeat, and the steady bass lines of Andy Fraser, Free had more than enough talent. And they had another weapon: Paul Kossoff, a player who brought it all together and elevated their music into the stratosphere.

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By using sustainably harvested, salvaged, and reclaimed tonewoods, this Colorado-based company is making guitars a greener way.

Sustainability has become a watchword of our times. Overfishing, excessive drilling, and mass deforestation have driven entire industries around the globe to scramble for alternative ways to produce high-grade products that consumers expect. The guitar industry is no stranger to depleting resources: That coveted Brazilian rosewood—a common fixture on fretboards for decades—is now a thing of the past. Just two years ago, industry juggernaut Gibson was raided for allegations of violating the Lacey Act, a law set up to regulate illegal trafficking of woods into the country. Gibson was eventually cleared of all charges, but just the fact that the U.S. Government investigated a guitar manufacturer should give us all pause.

As inhabitants of the beautiful foothills of the Colorado Rockies, the crew at Born Guitars doesn’t take their surroundings for granted. Owner Jonathan Miller, along with cofounders Campbell Davis and Dan Hehnke, are striving to walk the walk and are committed to doing little things every day in the goal of promoting a greener world.

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