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Apprentenceships and internships

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bmaas, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Bmaas


    Jul 27, 2009
    How should one go about trying to get an internship or aprentenceship with a luthier making basses. I tried emailing people from this site all of them had changed their emailes. I tried contacting a few stores but no of them offered what I was looking for. I am willing to do it for free. I am specifically looking to do it in the tri-state area.
  2. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    No idea which "tri state" area you are talking about. Just a little info for you, where ever you are, any area where 3 states are coming together is usually referred to as the "tri state" area, so that could be 1 of 150 places in this country.

    You need to contact luthiers in your area. Do a google search and start making calls and sending e-mails.

    You MUST have something to offer, and the business must be willing to insure you to work on their premesis. If you have basic woodworking skills, or better. Some repair/build knowledge is also a plus, and any practical experience you can offer. It's tough to start if you know nothing. Good Luck.
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I have had several people contact me wanting to learn and work for free. But from my viewpoint there is no advantage to me having somebody else in my shop and several negatives. The liability of somebody getting hurt is scary, teaching somebody will slow me down and when people hire me to build them a bass they are hiring me not whoever happens to be in my shop. Just my take on the issue.......
  4. PaPaVB20


    Aug 19, 2008
    Hi Bmaas, just want to tell you about my peronal experience on that matter. I live in Costa Rica, so being a smll country, makes it very hard for someone like me that dream about becoming luthier. So from when i was 19 years old I investigate everyone in my country that builds any instrument (you should do the same, look in a close area from where you live for builders or woodworking sapces, any furniture factory, etc) Then when i have information, i ask luthiers if they know any builder that may teach, so that way if the one your talking is available, you have a direct option, if not, they might know about someone else that might help you. I really started on this a year ago at 24 years old (yeah 5 years just asking for help)

    Musiclogic is totally right you must have something to offer so:
    I basically have been looking at every youtube video on buidling, every book i can get, every thread here ( talk to all the builders here, great bunch of guys always open to help) and being a pro player here, that´s my experience
    Then 3 guys were willing to help, the first one for free( what I offered, as a professional bass player that knows lots of guitar and bass players, was to increase is amount of work, and that way he has publicity) so he let me work with him on weekends, mostly repairs, and give me advice on building so I can practice at home... I have 1 year exactly of working with him, and for me the most valuable knowledge is learning how an actual shop runs. The honsety on work, discipline, how customer-buider relationship should be.. At first he just did works on my basses, so i saw him doing it, then i bought used cheap instruments, and do it myself with him at side...My advantage was that from learning all the theory before, I ken the why of everything, so we focussed on the how (i had no woodworking practice before)
    So when he told me do this, I knew the theory, that helps a lot, until today I never made any mistake, so he has confidence of giving work to me. Lately we had a warwick that needs a new freboard and fret job, I was the one making the fret slots and giving the shape to the sides where fretboard meets the neck...

    The second guy is the best acoustic guitar builder here, i have been to his shop 2 times, he told me that in the second half of year, I´m his first option in apprentices, why? he knows I´m passionate, and what i hae to offer is that I have been looking for newer experimental ideas on building so he is excited on doing instruments never seen here in our country before.
    The other guy charges me money for "clases" but he is great on doing replicas of instruments you just show him on photos, so I have been learning that stuff too...
    Waht I try to tell you, is not easy, but try to make yourself someone that a luthier not see as a slowdown person at the shop (obviously he would do less when teaching you, but if you help later that would be even) but someone that has passion, his own ideas, try to be creative, try to think of other instruments or designs they might like, that way he knows you have something to offer as a builder not just make money out of this.
    If you know people needing instruments, try them to make contact with the luthier your working with.
    But the most important thing, never stop chasing your dream, I still try to get scolarships, I´m stillcalling every new buider I hear from in my country for maybe a masterclass on one aspect (example how to do set ups, how to make inlays,etc) and use the web! I chat a lot with great luthiers, some are really not open to talk, but others try to help, and give you advice on which tools to use, how to design an instrumet, etc... I can´t believe that I chat regularly with 5 of my top 10 luthiers in the world, you should try to make friends in the business....

    Sorry for such a long post, is just that this is so related to what I hae been linving this 6 years.... The best of luck to you Bmaas, if in near future you need help, and I might be better repared, drop me a mail or a pm, I will be glad to help. take care

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