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Build Your Own Electric Guitar In A DCC Class This Fall


Daniel Wolfe with electric guitar Sam Knapp building custom guitar

Instructor Daniel Wolfe builds his custom guitar.

Sam Knapp, another class instructor, takes measurements for his custom guitar.

DANVILLE, VA, July 30, 2015 – Have you ever been to a concert and wished you owned an electric guitar similar to the one used by the band’s lead guitarist? Or better yet, have you wanted to build a custom guitar unlike one owned by anyone else? This fall, you can build your own electric guitar in a Danville Community College class being offered at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) in South Boston.

The guitar building project can be completed as part of the Product Design and Development course (IND 161-70 Product Design and Development I), which meets August 24-December 11, on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the SVHEC. Clint Johnson is the instructor for this five-credit course, which also is being offered in the fall as a dual enrollment option for high school students in partnership with Halifax County High School. The course is part of the curriculum for the Career Studies Certificate in Product Design and Development. DCC also offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Wood Science Technology, Product Design and Development Specialization.

“This is a hands-on, experiential learning class,�? Johnson says. “The guitar will serve as the product around which instructional activities will center.�?

In addition, Sam Knapp, Coordinator of the Business of Technology and Design Program, and adjunct instructor Daniel Wolfe are teaching a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Guitar Building class where students will walk away with an electric guitar that they have custom built. The new class begins Sept. 14 and ends Oct. 19, meeting Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the SVHEC. Students have the option of taking the class as a non-credit (MANF 9020, #66193) or in a two-credit (MUS 195-90, #66160) format.

“There’s something uniquely American about an electric guitar. It’s iconic,�? Knapp says.

Wolfe and Knapp recently attended a guitar building training session at Butler County (PA) Community College that was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The training, provided as part of the National STEM Guitar Project, equipped the instructors with the knowledge they need to teach the course.

“The idea is to teach STEM skills is a way that provides training in a practical, rather than a purely theoretical way,�? Knapp says. He explains students will learn about science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on activities, such as measuring the stiffness of wood samples for guitar building, calculating the cost of components necessary to build a guitar, using computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing, and determining scale length, frequency and string tension. Students also will work with woodshop tools, and paint and customize their guitar. Knapp adds that experience in woodworking is not necessary to be successful in the class.

For more information, call 434.572.5441, 434.572.5505, or click here.

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