Building guitars and basses, and schooling

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by skit_skittson, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. I am interested in becoming a luthier and working at or owning a guitar shop. After I finish my senior year of high school next year, I am thinking of going to The Roberto Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, Arizona. Has anyone every been to this school or heard of it. I found out about it from an ad in the back of Bass Player magazine. Also, after that I am thinking of attending Jeff Berlin's school in Clearwater, Florida. Has anyone heard of this place, it's called The Players School of Music. I want to eventually own my own shop near Chicago. I want to be able to sell and repair guitars, and have a studio to run in it too. If anyone has any information on any of these schools or information on this occupation, please let me know. It would be greatly appreciated. Long live the bass.
  2. Bassmouse3


    Nov 12, 2001
    Valby, Denmark
    Always nice to meet a fellow "want to be fulltime luthier"! As of me, I am currently running a repair/custom shop, where I build and repair instruments in a small scale. I am entirely self taught, and although I don't expect everyone to build instruments without any education, I think that the best advice I can give to you is to just have a go at it, and try building a couple of instruments to see if it is really something you want to do fulltime. It is, atleast for me, an extremely rewarding experience to watch an instrument being born, and I was hooked with my first instrument (I build mainly basses). I am currently looking for an apprenticeship with Celinder basses, if the name is familiar, which I thoroughly respect, and who I think is a very friendly and kind man. I have spoken with him quite a few times, and he seems interested in taking me as an apprentice after seing my instruments. My second advice would be to try and find someone who wants to take you as an apprentice, that way you would get paid AND get educated:D
    Best of luck with your dream,
  3. Pea-NUT


    Jul 1, 2001
    Jerseyville, IL
    Im gonna start building my first bass soon(fretless). Im gonna have my uncle(luthier) set in the neck, but im gonna do the body. I have a drawing of what i want to do. Im pshyced, i need to find a body plank. Any good places to order from or, what should i do?
  4. Here are the sites to both of the schools.

    Roberto Venn is supposed to have good placement and I figure if I get the experience and certification from there then people would respect and trust me more as a luthier. I want the experience at Jeff Berlin's school too so that I can still continue with my musical aspect of instruments. If anyone could help out with finding information or if you already know information, PLEASE HELP. This is what I want to do with my life.
  5. Bassmouse3


    Nov 12, 2001
    Valby, Denmark
    Dang, I almost forgot to give you the link to this amazing homepage: . It is the musical instrument makers forum, and you'd have to look hard to find more helpful folks than there. There is lots of great info about building and repair!
    Best Regards,
  6. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    im one of the many who have read, and posted no reply. i cant give you information as far as schooling or building techniques go, but i wish you well. its really an admirable profession IMO.

  7. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Maybe that is because some of us don't have much information to offer about your topic. Ever consider that??:rolleyes: Lots of people read lots of posts, and only reply to the ones that they have something to add to/offer to. (no sarcasm)

    Oh yeah, wrong forum.

  8. Skit

    While working for Lakland Basses, I worked with a couple of R-V Alumni. It seemed that the knowledge they obtained at the school was pretty thorough. I saw (and played) the guitars they made at the end of the course. They both had a good understanding of woodworking going into the classes (which helps a great deal).

    I hope this helps:cool:
  9. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    If i owned a guitar shop i would have signs like, "If you use too much distortion, you will be banned. If you untastefully slap, you will be banned. The better your tone, the less you will have to pay. No one will play a fancy bass line until they will play a basic groove in time."

    Then i wouldn't get any business. I'd be a pretty ****ty guitar shop owner.
  10. Um no offense but if LOTS of people had answered that would mean U would have LOTS of competitors when U got out of school. I think this is one time when a limited response is good.
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I think this actually should go to Setup, not General Instruction.

    So, Skit, if I don't know anything about building a bass, I shouldn't even look at you thread, huh?
  12. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Yeah, let's go to Setup,.......

    Sorry, I was gone all day yesterday........

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  13. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Cool! Learning about building and repairs is also something I want to get into!

    Currently, I'm trying to save some money so that I can check out a luthier school. I was thinking of the Summit School on Vancouver Island, but it's expensive and far... I'm going to try putting together a "parts" bass sometime, just to see if I suck at this or not.

    I was also considering trying to become an apprentice with a local repair guy... Bassmouse and others, are established repair guys usually willing to take on apprentices?

    By the way, you could also check out the Stewart-Macdonald website ( They have all kinds of books, videos, free info, and links to other luthier schools.
  14. The best advice in this thread came from up top -

    Just dive in a make an attempt. This isn't rocket science and with just a few hard rules, the rest pretty much falls into place. And THAT is what makes it so much fun. Over on the MIMF you can see dozens of interpretations of guitars. Each is built from a different point of view, with different tools, and with different results in the mind of the builder. Remember too that, although you want to be formerly trained, there isn't anything wrong with bringing some skills and preconceptions to your education.

    Nike may only sell shoes but their slogan applies here:

  15. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND

    I moved it to G I because he was talking about attending a music school, too.

    (actually, I didn't know where to move it to, so I just closed my eyes and picked one and that is where it went;) )
  16. Even if people don't know a lot about the subject they could still offer some advice. And this thread has nothing to do with set up at all. THANKS GUYS!!!
  17. Bassmouse3


    Nov 12, 2001
    Valby, Denmark
    Actually, I believe that most building and repairing related threads are located at the Setup forum...
    Did you check out the mimf page? If not you really should... It's better than any book on instrument building you can read!
    To trash_jazz:
    Yes, in my experience most luthiers (not that I know of more than 3 or 4 in Denmark!) are very helpful and usually would consider having an apprentice with some basic skills( meaning that they don't want to teach how to use a saw:D )
    If you haven't got any woodworking experience, I highly recommend that you take a cabinet makers class, which will give you very good woodworking and wood finishing skills, both very handy in luthiery!
    Hambone, thanks for finding my point in my huge post, I have a tendency to blabber, building a bass really isn't rocket science, just have a go!
    Just remember that you won't become Michael Tobias overnight!
    BTW, Hambone, what is your screen name over at mimf?
    Best Regards,
  18. Bassmouse3


    Nov 12, 2001
    Valby, Denmark
    Dang, I have a poor shortspan memory!:D
    I just wanted to point out that your apprenticeship doesn't have to be with a luthier, a repairshop would give you an excellent education on instruments in general. Besides most of the big boys in the industry started out as repairmen, or are self taught. And face it, most of us have to repair too, in order to make a living... I personally rather enjoy repairing, there's nothing like the joy in the eyes of a client who has just gotten his "baby" back. Or in the eyes of someone handed a brand new bass or guitar, for that matter! I just love giving fine musicians fine tools!
    I can't imagine a more rewarding way to make a living! Life is good!:D
    Best Regards,
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Aren't building guitars/basses and "setup" two completely different things? I mean to me, a setup is what you do after you have built the thing and is part of ongoing maintenance.

    It's like the difference between the person who works in a car factory building the things and the person who services your car at the garage.

    I think John Turner has said (suggested) in the past that we need a "Luthier" forum. At the moment I would have said that "Basses" is more appropriate to building and luthiery than setup, which to me is something you can do like changing the oil on your car - even if you wouldn't know where to start with building a car! ;)
  20. Aww Geez guys :rolleyes:

    Luthiery and general building have been a part of this forum from it's inception. These question and topics are and ALWAYS will be welcome here. I've posted several edicts that define what we do here and they still stand. Consider this: issues arising when building an instrument are the "ultimate" setup questions.

    If you don't want to read building threads in this forum don't click on topics like "Building Guitars and Basses and Schooling"