Students learn music, technical skills in guitar build
The Eagles and Led Zeppelin are reaching into the Warren County Christian School.
But not in the way you might suspect.
A guitar made famous by those bands — the Gibson EDS-1275 — is under construction in the WCCS technology classroom of John Lewis.
It’s the senior class’ project and it’s coming together one period a day, five days each week.
“All of them are beginning guitar players at different levels,” Lewis said.
The students have learned the instruments made in Lewis’ class and then turn around and play those instruments during the school’s weekly chapel services.
“That’s the purpose behind all the instruments,” Lewis said. “Let’s praise God.”
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of work behind the scenes.
While all the pieces for the guitar came in a kit that cost around $250, there’s a fair amount of technical work needed to take the pieces of wood and all the wires and turn it into a real double-necked guitar.
Beyond that, they have to detail all aspects of the process.
“They have to document every step,” Lewis said, producing a PowerPoint at the end that, in the past, has resulted in successful grant applications for their work.
This guitar — with a maple neck and mahogany body — would cost $5,000 or more bought direct from Gibson, Lewis said, noting an original from the 1960s and 1970s can fetch $10,000.
And, yes, it’s a school project for this year’s senior class but Lewis is hopeful more will come from it.
“Speaking for myself, this type of involvement gave me a lifelong instrument in music, society, learning and engineering,” Lewis said.
“The research and construction builds ability in the use of the instrument by knowing what each part does and how it works. The use of precision measurement and construction tools gives practical experience with those tools that will last a lifetime.
“It inspires a musical interest which generates confidence and discipline, research shows, in all other areas of learning. And, once a student learns the instrument, it will be with them all their lives.”