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Education required?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Markdezy, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Markdezy


    Jan 24, 2004
    I was just pondering about becoming a luthier. Is there really a need for special education about instruments or any special colleges that I should be interested in? Or are there any sessions that anyone else has attended that I should consider?

    Thanks for any input.
  2. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    I certainly don't know for sure, but I would bet that you need some kind of training with woodworking equipment and simple electronics. Established luthiers may want to see proof before hired, as well would banks if you wanted to take out a loan to start your own place...
  3. You should post this is in the luthier forum as well...they should be able to tell you if they went anywhere to learn the craft or just taught themselves
  4. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Good idea Spike....moving to Luthiers.
  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    No. No need.
    You need intelligence, urge, patience and some basic knowledge in wood, woodwork and soldering. Any additional knowledge will come in handy, esp in electronics :crying:

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with education!!!

    Oh, did I mention TIME!! ? :help:
  6. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Having a good, solid, working knowledge of wood types, moisture content, sound qualities, how to work with them (some are more prone to splintering than others, like wenge) and good, solid, working knowledge of wood working skill and techniques are needed. Being able to make good, straight, clean cuts and joints, etc.

    There is a difference in the woods used for stringed instruments vs. making furniture, although all of the wood working skills are much the same.

    Other than the scarf joint and dovetail work for set in necks, there really isn't (I'm gonna catch heck, here..) any complicated jointery, but solid, straight joints and glue lines are needed.

    You will also need a solid understanding of the different finishes and techniques used, and if making electric instruments then good soldering techniques, and an understanding of basic electronics (Ohms law, etc.).

    All of this can be learned on your own, from reading books, hanging out in forums like this one, reading other luthier sites that have great information about woods and techniques (like the Warmoth site or Ken Smith's site....), or sites dedicated to Lutherie like www.luth.org, etc.

    There are schools dedicated to teaching lutherie, and the luth.org site lists many of them.

    There is a TON of info available to you to teach yourself, and if you don't have any wood working experience, I would check with some local community colleges for some adult education classes on basic wood working.

    Lastly and most importantly, I firmly believe that you need a PASSION for wood working and making instruments. Don't do it just because you think you can make a bunch of money at it. Yes, you can make a decent living at it, but do what you love and the money will follow. You have to love the work.


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