Apprentice this Menace

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ilikethebass, May 26, 2005.

  1. ilikethebass


    Feb 3, 2005
    hey guys, I am of the age where I need to start thinking about what I want to do for the rest of my life... :rolleyes: and I think I have decided (bieng a handyman and a bass player) to become a luthier, and making what I love. I am pretty excited to think I may one day be doing this for a living, so I wanted to ask what might be a first step to take in this direction? School for carpentry? Who could I ask, a local guitar making factory? I suppose I will make some calls to some company's headquarters....hmmmmmmmmmm

    thanks to all who reply! :hyper:
  2. I would check out some luthiery schools and maybe cabinet making school.
  3. parttimeluthier


    May 7, 2005
    I would caution you to keep in mind that only probably a handful of luthiers ever make a real high income building instruments. There are lots of really exceptional bass and guitar builders out there who do It as a hobby or a side business. For most its more of a "labor of love" rather than making a substantial living. Some right here at TB as examples.
    People like Paul Reed Smith, Sadowsky, Tobias, Curbow,Taylor etc. owe much of their comercial success to things such as production methods, Marketing, artists endorsements and probably just being in the right place at the right time more than thier actual skills as luthiers.
    Even the much respected and legendary Carl Thompson made basses out of his small NY apartment/shop for YEARS before he was able to move to a larger location. A completely handbuilt custom bass with exotic woods, quality hardware and good electronics takes a lot ot time and effort as well as $$$.
    Think about if you were only to complete around three basses a month(which would be great for a startup builder)that sold for around say $4000 dollars but materials, hardware, and electronics for each cost say $1000. That is modest considering the cost of exotic woods, pickups, Bridges, tuners, preamps etc. Now you are down to $3000 , then start subtracting costs for router bits ,saw blades, shop utilities, rent, groceries, gas,advertising, etc. now you are down well under $1000 profit each for those three basses. So $36,000 a year in a best case senario. Now also remember a custom handmade instrument does'nt allways sell right off the bat. It may sit for months or even years before someone likes it enough to buy it.
    I am not tring to be a killjoy, just giving you some realistic things to consider, Lutherie is very romantic but start slow as a hobby and make instruments for YOU to enjoy first.
  4. ilikethebass


    Feb 3, 2005
    well put my man. I understand fully what you mean, but I was really thinking of working for a company you know. I dont know if say, the upper scale Cirruses, Spectors, or Modulus are made by machines or not, but theres where my detective work is needed. Just assembling them would be enjoyable, yet as anything else it would get repetitive and old quickly. I suppose I should make some calls and ask owner/managers who they look for and with what kind of experience. Thanks for your help
  5. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    If the Brighton you're from is in the one in the UK you might want to check out this company, You can build your own bass with the help of some experienced personel. Looks like a great place to get your feet wet. I actually contacted them when I lived there, but wasn't able set anything up.