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Kingston high school students create their own instruments in guitar-building class

Click to play video 'Students build trade skills while creating their own guitars' Students build trade skills while creating their own guitars
WATCH: A guitar-building class at a Kingston high school has wrapped up for the year after students put their skills to the test by making their own custom instruments – Jan 23, 2019

Rocking out on their very own handcrafted guitars is music to the ears of several students at Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute (KCVI), who created the instruments from scratch as part of a guitar-building focus program at the school.

Rebecca Amell is one of the students taking the course. Amell can’t believe she is finally strumming along on her new custom-made instrument.

“It’s honestly amazing because you just hold it and you’re like, ‘Wow, I made this,'” said Amell. “It just warms my heart.”

It took several months for these guitar builders to get everything right, from brainstorming an idea to building practice stencils to putting together the finished product.

String by string, students poured their blood, sweat and tears into what are now recognizable styles of the musical instrument.

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“It was a really fun build. It was time-consuming and stuff, and it costs a lot to do,” said Danny Vaughan, a student in the class. “It’s a fun program.”

Building guitars isn’t new for KCVI students. Gary Pattenden has been teaching the class for a number of years now, and it has evolved from building acoustic guitars to electric ones. He says when students realize what they’ve made, it’s a satisfying feeling.

“When they plug in and realize that this instrument plays as good as any in a store, it creates that specialness that we have within us,” said Pattenden.

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A total of 17 electric guitars were made in the class. Several models of guitars were designed and built, including Gibson SGs, Explorer Gibsons and Fender Telecasters. Some of them are quite unique, including a guitar made with wood and a blue resin that gives the instrument a glow as if a light is shining behind it.

If any of these instruments were sold in a store, they could be priced at hundreds or even thousands of dollars. When asked if he would trade in his hard work for cash, Vaughan said not a chance.

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“It’s just my guitar I built myself. I couldn’t put a price on it,” he said.