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Apprenticeship?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Baconator, Jan 18, 2006.


  1. I have a question for the experienced luthiers out there. I've always been interested in instrument repair and have always had a dream that somehow, someday I'd be able to apprentice to become a luthier. This is still somewhat of a pipe dream as I have young kids and a mortgage and am afraid to imagine what (if any) money I'd earn as an apprentice. I'm just genuinely interested in what your experiences were in terms of how long you apprenticed and how your careers developed. Any stories would be of great interest to me.
     
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    A formal apprenticeship is hard to come by. Set aside 4 years and tuition/fee between $400+ a month. You might be able to earn some money as an employee/apprentice in an instrument shop, but it probably wouldn't be enough to support a family.

    However, if you want to learn, there are other ways. Establishing a respectful relationship with a luthier near you is one. Get plans to make something (violin, bass, whatever) in your own home/shop, then go at it. Ask questions, take notes, do online research, go to conventions, and keep your day job. You need to start somewhere, and learning luthiery is like learning to play. You just have to do it everyday, or at least steadily week in and week out.

    This hunt-and-pic method is a bit messier than formal training, but you've got previous bills and responsibilites. Being resourceful and thinking on your feet are strong characteristics of great luthiers.
     
  3. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    It happens. You have to keep your eyes open.

    My friend Rob Wilson was going to college, and working a job he didn't like, when someone who knew both him and Dennis Lake told him that Dennis was looking for some help in his shop.

    Rob started working for Dennis, learning bits and piece of the trade from Dennis, becoming increasingly skilled, and eventually attending some classes in Italy. After a few years Dennis took Rob in as a partner, and after a few more years, Rob bought out Dennis, and Dennis retired to Hawaii.