New local shop pulls strings to help the community build custom instruments


Seth Gustin came to Fort Collins in 2001 in pursuit of a construction management degree at Colorado State University. After 3 years in the program and 10 more in the construction industry, he built his first guitar and realized his new passion was building and fixing instruments. Gustin took lutherie and fine woodworking classes at Red Rocks Community college, one of the country’s only accredited lutherie programs, and earned a certificate in lutherie. This was also when he conceived of Built to Last Guitars.

After spending over year working out of his garage, building and repairing instruments, the time came to open Built to Last Guitars. The first step towards opening was completing an internship at Victor Guitar in Denver, Colorado which ended in December of 2017. By this time the idea came into focus: open a shop that sells locally built instruments and offers classes to teach guitar building and repair.

“I want to teach people how to build guitars,” said Gustin. “There’s nothing like tuning up a newly built guitar and playing that first chord, it’s an incredible feeling every time.” said Gustin.

Several hand built instruments hang on display like works of art in his new shop at 426 Link Lane in Fort Collins. “It’s difficult for local builders to find a place to display their work, and then often they are hung on ‘the guitar wall’, where they blend in with the mass-produced instruments. Hand built instruments are made from top quality materials and are built with both sound and aesthetics in mind versus getting as many out the door as possible.” Said Gustin

Gustin has scheduled a weekly Ukulele building class that starts June 10th and a guitar building class to start August 22nd. Students start with pieces of wood; bend the sides, install rosettes and bindings, carve the neck, and finish the instruments. As one can imagine, building an instrument from scratch is not a small task, but Gustin has organized the classes into 8-hour sessions, once per week for 8 weeks. At the end his students walk out with a complete instrument.

For more information about Built to Last Guitars go to their website – or call 970-482-5742.

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