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Roberto-Venn Guitar School keeps it 'old school,' creates guitars by hand

Posted at 9:40 PM, Nov 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 01:43:01-05

In this golden age of technology, it seems everything is mass produced, but a Valley institution has decided to keep it "old school."

The Roberto-Venn School has created a rhythm so unique, students travel from around the world to learn the lost art of crafting guitars by hand.

Creating a silky sound isn't as straightforward as one might think.

Roberto-Venn is the longest running guitar-making school in North America and it just happens to be in the heart of Phoenix. 

"It's really hard. You learn a lot and it's really fast paced," said student Justin Yap. 

Every little thing affects the frame or sound of the guitar.

"If we carve too little, it will change the whole shape. If we screw up one thing, we basically have to restart the process," said Yap.

Becoming an excellent guitar maker is a tedious, painstaking process. 

"Our students make mistakes, as do us, who've made many guitars," said instructor Bart Applewhite.

Jose Morales is an Army bandsman, so the notes he plays impact the morale and success of our soldiers.

"I switched jobs to play guitar for the military," said Morales.

As fun as it can be, even passion requires a paycheck.

"We teach about starting your own business. We have students do resumes, cover letters, we do tests and quizzes."

The top guitar builders in the world have taken Roberto-Venn's core course - the five-month program costs nearly $11,000.

Some guitars go anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 per guitar.

A price that's right-on tune when you measure the beats it takes to produce that silky, smooth sound.