Online Courses
Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work at my own pace?

Yes, There is no time limit. Take as long as you need to complete the project. You can also start the course at any place. No need to start at the beginning. However, I recommend you start at the beginning unless you have previous lutherie experience.

Can I purchase the video lessons individually?

No. however, some courses have chapters that can be purchased separately. It is cheaper to purchase the entire course rather than individual chapters.

If I purchase a chapter and then decide to purchase the entire course will I get a discount?

Yes, the price of the chapter you purchased can be applied to the total price of the course.

Can I download the videos?

No. In the past, I used to allow downloads but no longer allow this due to copyright abuses that have come to my attention.

Also, as technology progresses, the video file sizes are getting larger and larger and this complicates download and storage of the video content.

If you purchased a course from that was downloadable, your right to download is maintained.

How many times can I watch the videos?

When you purchase the videos you have unlimited views and lifetime access on multiple devices from anywhere in the world.

How do I pay for the course?

With PayPal or a credit card. If you do not have a PayPal account or credit card, or you prefer another method of payment, contact me.

How can I watch the videos from the Lutherie Academy website?

On the Online Courses main page, the video lessons from the chapters you purchased will become links to the page where you can view them.

Are any special tools or jigs required for the course?

I get this question a lot. I have purposely not included a tool list, as I didn’t want others to feel they had to buy the tools I use in order to build. I recommend that you first watch the video courses from beginning to end before purchasing anything. This allows you to see which tools or jigs you may already have, which ones you can make and which ones you may want to purchase. You may even come up with alternative methods or tools to do the same step I do in the videos.

In most courses the focus is on the use of hand tools, not power tools. If power tools are used, an explanation and sometimes even a demonstration shows how to do the same step with a hand tool. I use minimal jigs and the ones I do use are simple and you can easily make them yourself by watching the video. There are some specialty tools that you will need. A good example is nut files and fretting tools. If you are going to do it right then just bite the bullet and get the right tools for the job. You will be happy you did.

As I invite other instructors to teach courses, perhaps they have opted to include tool lists. I personally have not done that yet for the reasons mentioned above but perhaps will do so in the future. The best advice I can give is to watch the videos and create your own list based on your individual needs.

What kind of finish is used on the instruments in the courses?

A variety of finishes are taught in the courses offered. Lacquer, catalyzed urethane, Waterbourne, shellac and even UV cured finishes are presented. You don’t necessarily have to use the finish presented in the particular course you are using. You may opt to apply another type of finish and there are individual finishing courses available that you can choose from.

Why do I have to register to watch the videos?

It is my way of controlling who is viewing my videos. Don't worry. I will not sell your information.

Can I join your chat group?

Yes, when you purchase the course you are eligible to become a member of my invitation only chat group. This is a great way to get answers to your questions from me and others that are going through the same experience as you. I need to manually add you to the group so, send me an email with the address you want to use for my chat group. Since it is a Google Chat group, I find that a Gmail address works best but you can use any address as long as you use that address to sign into the group page. My chat group is a great resource with over 15 years of searchable archives. Take advantage of it.

Can one really learn lutherie online?

Absolutely! I am telling you, the video lessons are just like being with me and the other instructors in our shops. They really are that good and I routinely get emails with pictures of projects from people all over the world that are using the video courses!

What’s the difference between and

My online video course offerings have increased to the point that I thought it was time to create and new site to host them.

Do I get access to my purchased material from

Yes, during the transitional phase, all courses can be accessed on both sites.

Is the login the same?


Why the change?

I wanted to separate the O’Brien Guitars brand from the online video courses.

Will still be available?

Yes, during the transitional phase, the site will still host the video courses and you can access them as you have always done. Eventually I will slowly fade out the Online Video Courses and host them exclusively on the Lutherie Academy website. The site will focus on my personal work of making custom guitars and teaching private classes.

Will my content purchased here appear on

Any courses you purchased on the website will still be accessible via that site during the transitional phase. The ywill also be accessible via the Lutherie Academy website. Any new courses you purchase will only be accessible via the Lutherie Academy website. I highly recommend accessing the new Lutherie Academy website as all of the exciting new content created will appear there.

Can I sell a course here?

I am always looking for artisans willing to pass on their crafts in the way of online courses. If you are interested in creating and teaching an online course please via Lutherie Academy, contact me for more information.

Can I watch the course on mobile devices?

Yes, all courses can be viewed on desktop computers and mobile devices.

How can I gift a course?

Yes, Just select the purchase as a gift option at checkout.

Who creates the courses sold on LA?

All courses are created by outstanding artisans and expert instructors in conjunction with luthier and instructor, Robert O’Brien

What kind of courses do you have (or instruments)?

The courses offerings are continually growing. The best way to learn what is currently available is to visit the Online Course page. Check back often as courses are being added on an ongoing basis. You might also consider subscribing to the my newsletter to learn about the latest and future courses.

I have a question about the course. Who can I contact?

You can contact Robert O’Brien or the instructor of that particular course you have the question about.

What should I do if I forgot my password?

Click on the forgot my password option.

Can I get a refund?

All digital media sales are final. No refunds are allowed once you have made the purchase.

I once had a person in Europe that bought a course and then asked for a refund. The reason? “I really didn’t learn anything because I already knew all of the information presented.” REALLY?!!

Are all courses in English only?

Yes. Currently all courses are presented in English. However, there are plans to expand the course offerings into other languages in the way of subtitles or even courses presented in other languages in the future.

Do you have free courses?

No, but free “sample” videos are available on each course.

What information is required to sign-up?

Just a username (email address) and a password. My site will not record your password so write it down.