Visiting NCAT Guitar Making Graduates at Maton

End of Year Visit to Maton to Visit Course Graduates

Our NCAT Guitar Making Course trainer Bon Nardella, regularly visits our two main industry partners. Recently Bon visited Maton Guitars to have chat with our ex Guitar Making graduates.

NCAT Guitar Making Course Graduates at Maton

Atsu came from Japan where he worked in the retail guitar industry. In Australia, he started to design his own guitars. He met luthier David Searle from DJS Guitars  and began making electric guitars with him.

Because Atsu wanted to learn how to design guitars, make templates, choose materials and about current design software David recommended the NCAT Guitar Making course.

After his work placement at Maton he asked the head of painting and finishing if he could be trained in this area. He completed the NCAT course and went to work at Maton. Atsu worked across all of the factory work stations and then worked in the painting area.  Atsu now oversees Maton’s paint shop and the final finishing. On Bon’s recent visit  Atsu said “My dream has come true.”

certificate IV instrument making and repair course guitar luthier maton cole clark
certificate IV instrument making and repair course guitar luthier maton cole clark

Many Maton and Cole Clark Workers Complete the Certificate IV in Musical Instrument Making

Ex NCAT Guitar Making Course student Jordan, had tried a few different work industries. He didn’t want to work at Maton. He thought working in the factory and being around guitars all day would kill his passion for guitars.

Thank goodness Jordan did his work experience at Maton. He discovered Maton was the place he did want to be. Jordan found his tribe – people passionate about guitars. The workers talk guitars, make guitars and then play guitars on the weekend.

Many of the workers at both factories, Maton and Cole Clark are graduates from the nationally accredited  Certificate IV Musical Instrument Making and Repair course at NCAT.

Hayley works in the guitar set up room. Here she is finishes off guitars. She installs the final components, tunes machine heads and strings and adjusts the playing action. Then the guitars are shipped to Australian retailers and overseas distributors. When we interviewed Hayley before she enrolled in the NCAT Guitar Making Course she had already identified that she wanted to do this.

Although Hayley wanted to work in a particular department, in the NCAT course she learnt how to make an electric and acoustic guitars, and guitar set up and repair guitars as all NCAT Certificate IV in Musical Instrument Making and Repair students do.

certificate IV instrument making and repair course student guitar luthier maton cole clark
certificate IV instrument making and repair course guitar luthier maton cole clark

Structured Work Placement at Maton and Cole Clark Factories

Both Adam and Toby pictured, were 2022 students at NCAT in Preston and are now NCAT Guitar Making Course Graduates. They did work placement for one week at Maton and one week at Cole Clark as do all our students.

The Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) Program ran as part of the NCAT course. This experience helps NCAT students and the guitar making factories Maton and Cole Clark. NCAT is grateful for the Certificate IV Musical Instrument making students opportunity to learn from the factory experience. The time at the factories helps students decide their next step after the course.

For NCAT Guitar Making students coming straight from school the SWL helps them understand the factory workplace. What students learn in the NCAT Guitar Making workshops reinforces what students learn in the work place and vice versa.

Victoria has Australia’s two premium instrument making factories. There are opportunities for direct employment from our NCAT Guitar Making Course into Cole Clark and Maton. The course was designed for this purpose with both factories represented on the steering committee for the 22564VIC Certificate IV in Musical Instrument Making and Repair.  With this end in mind the students tour both Melbourne guitar making factories in term one of the NCAT course. The Structured Workplace Learning program is organised during term holiday breaks.



Musical Instrument Making & Repair

There are opportunities in the guitar making industry in Victoria and with independent makers nationally. NCAT consults with industry and has established relationships with Maton Guitars, Cole Clark Guitars & many independent instrument makers. The college also has a relationship the Australian Music Association (the National Retailer’s Association).

The Certificate IV in Musical Instrument Making and Repair students learn to make a bolt-on electric guitar and a dreadnaught style acoustic guitar. Upon successful completion of these instruments, students design and may construct a custom made instrument of their choice. The college will provide the materials to build your own custom built instrument. The hardware must be supplied by the student. The course covers an introduction to the computer controlled cutting and milling machines and laser cutters. Students are instructed in the use and maintenance of hand and power tools necessary for construction and gain vital hands-on experience.

Musical Instrument Making & Repair enables you to:


Generate and transfer complex computer-aided drawings and specifications.


Implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices.


Develop, trial and evaluate prototypes.


Learn how to manufacture and repair acoustic and electric guitars.

Certificate IV Musical Instrument Making and Repair student making acoustic guitar

A career in guitar making is possible by studying Musical Instrument Making and Repair. We offer the only qualification of its kind in Australia.

TestimonialsMark Russel (Folio Preparation & Guitar Making Teacher)

“NCAT is known for its equality and giving everybody a fair chance at succeeding at what their love is. If you give people the chance to pursue a passion they're going to naturally succeed in it.”

(1 / 5)

Course Structure

Students begin by completing an extensive OH&S program, incorporating theory and workshop induction. Over the year, students learn to make a bolt-on neck electric guitar, a dreadnaught style acoustic guitar and design a custom instrument of their choice. The course covers hand carving and the use and maintenance of hand and power tools necessary for construction, and gives vital hands-on experience.

You can read more about our Online Service Standards, relating to the Online and Remote Delivery of Training and Assessment.

This training is delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth Government funding.

Activities & Tasks

The Certificate IV in Music Instrument Making and Repair program is delivered over four days a week by a team of highly experienced teaching staff. A variety of guest speakers present to students throughout the year on specialist topics. In recent years this has included professionals such as, Ian NoyceJack SpiraRuben BeckerAndy Thomson (T Guitars), Jeremy Clingan, Benedict Stewart and David Searle. Tours to industry locations, including Maton Guitars Australia and Cole Clark Guitars are an integral part of the course. As a professional component of the program, students are given the opportunity to complete a five day work placement with one of our industry partners. This is organised by NCAT. This training is delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth government funding.

The program is delivered as a “hands on” model, with an emphasis on experiential learning.

Subjects include: Instrument Construction, Repair & Setup, Design & Documentation, 3D Modelling Technology, Business Planning and Occupational Health & Safety


Successful completion of the course requires 95% attendance. Students will be required to complete two instruments and all set work as well as the work placement. The assessment of overall competence at this certificate level will be undertaken by a qualified assessor and your competence judged using all of these criteria. All training resources will be provided upon payment and enrolment.

Eligibility & Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites but completion of 22563VIC Certificate III in Musical Instrument Making & Maintenance would be an advantage.


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