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Becoming a Luthier

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Clydesauce, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. Clydesauce


    May 12, 2012
    I have been recently reading about becoming a luthier and school needed. I have also came to the point when I wonder is it better to become a full time luthier or have as a second profession. Out of all curious can anyone shine light on how they decided this and what schooling they did. As well if I did pick building as a second profession, what primary job would best fit with it?

  2. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    Hello Clydesauce,

    I would suggest visiting a few Luthier schools to see how they fit you. How old are you? It is relatively easy to become a full time luthier when you have training. Many if not most go the repair route that is a job and training at the same time. I visited Roberto Venn, Summit School Of guitar Building and Repair, Galloup, M I guitar building courses and I chose Summit up in Qualicum Beach, BC.

    As far as a second job, try not to. You should have more sanding to do than you have time for :) But finishing carpentry or furniture making shops are good places to start looking. You will also have most of the tools needed to do guitar repair.
  3. Clydesauce


    May 12, 2012
    I am 17 currently and about to age to 18 and I am trying to determine what I want to do in life. I find music as a calling mainly and love hands on building and fixing guitars. Thanks for showing me that school. Very interesting with international work experience as well.
  4. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    Its on the coast of Vancouver Island, that's where all the hippies moved to and aged terribly. Its a gorgeous land scape with many distractions removed from the mix the grocery store is about 30 away on the highway, canadian TV, etc. Its also where most of our Maple comes from and the benefit of visiting saw mills teaches you a lot about wood.

    Guitar building Schools are expensive and mostly run on your ability to learn and stay focused. You need to seriously determine if you can manage your time well and your personal habits (lots of hippy activity floating through the air in BC). Also know going in that you should be in over the top love with guitar building, its not about the money when building.

    Based on the students your age: It sounds really cool right now but really you wanted to do it but as a hobby. Its a lot of work to build guitars. The manufactured guitar building isn't luthier work. Goto college and get your associates degree and work part time in a local wood shop or repair shop. Be a sanding monkey, learn your hand tools, and learn the hard way of doing stuff by hand. once you find utter joy in a perfectly sanded piece of wood, that is truely flat where it is supposed to be then get into guitar building schools.
  5. Clydesauce


    May 12, 2012
    So you would suggest community college first?
  6. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    Yes. Get into guitar building while at school but get your kinks out at college. Learn about your self and see what makes you learn the best. Get your time management to level where you can be comfortable with knowing exactly what you are doing for the next 3 months. Hand building an acoustic, building the jigs, parts, glue up, ass load of sanding, and more ass loads of sanding then fitting and finishing and setup. your first time will take about 3 months less if you can manage your time but its just that simple.
  7. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Can I just say that I've visited Summit as I live on the island just a couple of hours away and not only is it a pretty good school, but its in a stunningly beautiful location. Oh, and we have 200 channels of TV now. Except 85% are in French... :p
  8. Clydesauce


    May 12, 2012
    To Hapa.. First off thanks for all the information. I have already made one guitar but that was a premade body and neck but I did fretting and stuff just to learn basics. From there I want make a new one later maybe closer to December and go from the ground up. I am already totally in love and really all I think of other than girls and cars. I as well have been building cars for a couple years now so it isn't the best experience but it taught me a lot of tools and basic planning and building.

    To beej... Luckily for me I can understand french. Grandma was from France and moved to Canada and she taught me at a young age.
  9. webelo


    Jun 7, 2011
    Douglas, MA
    Hi Clydesauce,
    I agree with Hapa on this. To to college first and have a degree to fall back on... Or even use. If you want to be a luthier and make money at it, you might consider getting a degree in business. Once you have a degree it opens up more opportunities. You can still build guitars, but if you decide that isn't working or isn't fruitful, you've always got a degree to fall back on.

    Best of luck!
  10. Finish school and buy a bunch of cheap, but decent wood, if you look on Ebay or simular sites, you'll find it, and start building in your spare time.

    I very much regret not doing an education for ship interieur building.

    I took on a whole different one, IT related.
    Wasn't into building at that time.
    Boy could I have used that experience for building basses.
    So,..you could try and go for a furniture making school or something , so you have a change on a decent job when every thing else fails.
    AND gain alot off woodworking experience.

    That wood have been my favorite carreer if I had to do it alover again...
  11. Clydesauce


    May 12, 2012
    Thanks for all the information. I totally understand and this makes more sense. I am now in the process of buying books on building and design just to educate myself as of now. Looking at the local CC what they offer as well as the state university up the street.
  12. basschase65

    basschase65 Banned

    Aug 15, 2012
    yes, ebay would be the right place to go for some experimental parts. i got a lot of good deals on there.
  13. Clydesauce


    May 12, 2012
    Was just looking at ebay and wood prices are almost half the price. I did notice though it was grade aaa but still great price.
  14. superquick


    Dec 6, 2011
    west ga
    I'm in the same exact boat that you are, man. I'm 17 going on 18, been working on and building cars with my dad for the past 6 years, got into bass about 3 years ago, and started building about one year ago. i got one under my belt going on number two now and also plan on going to tech school as well as luthier school to try and make a career as being a builder/repair guy. And all of the wood for my current project came from ebay along with a good chunk of the hardware
  15. Macca Paul

    Macca Paul

    Nov 4, 2011
    Galloup isn't far from where I live, has anyone been there? I built a Strat and am starting a Tele and I've worked on a lot of guitars. I want to build electric guitars and basses and maybe acoustics.
  16. Clydesauce


    May 12, 2012
    Good to know I am not the only one out there in the same boat.
  17. Nidan


    Oct 31, 2008
    Duluth , Ga
    Lutherie is a tough business to make a full time living at , as you are subject to the whims of the economy .

    Musicians (having been one for over 50 yrs) are notoriously short of free capital unless they are very successful.

    I'd agree with getting a degree to fall back on. Attending a lutherie school is great if you can afford it.
    Working in guitar repair is a valuable asset to learn the ropes and make contacts.

    Caninet /furniture making shops are also a wonderful place to learn the craft of woodworking.

    Best of luck with the adventure
  18. cstar


    Dec 21, 2011
    Nah man you definitely aren't the only one.

    I'm 18 now and was studying engineering at a university while in high school and it just wasn't for me. I picked up bass about a year ago and I would also really like to make a name for myself building and repairing. It's good to know that there are a bunch of us in the same place. Right now I'm studying business for the reasons mentioned by others above, but I'll be done in two years and then I'm hoping to get into some kind of luthier school.
  19. superquick


    Dec 6, 2011
    west ga
    That's what I said. It feels lonesome at times wanting to make an attempt at going down this road.
  20. Clydesauce


    May 12, 2012
    Recently I have been looking into schooling before luthier school. What is best degree to get though if anyone knows? Business is one I have read a lot over the past couple days.

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