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Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by PollyBass, Dec 9, 2002.
???Like, is there a school i don't know about or something? do you have to learn from another?
I think its kind of like witchcraft. You have to have someone teach you the ways of old.
Really I would suggest starting with some instrument building books (check your local library). Musical Instrument Makers Forum (see link) is a great tool. They have some online building classes.
There are a lot of aspects to the art, I am at best an amature with a strong background in electronics and mechanical assembly, But the balance of mechanical, electronic, wood, tone, paint, feel , playability, and astehics is a bit more involved.
I would also suggest working on as many instruments as you can get your hands on. Take them apart, rebuild them, repair pieces, and during all of that look closely at the details, how the wood is cut, how the pieces are assembled, how the feel, etc.
Also keep looking and asking questions on this site. In the past year I have learned more from the pros on this board then I would have learned in 10 years messing around by myself.
The advice I have received in the past year has saved me a few hundred dollars in repair and upgrade work that I have been able to do by myself including
Fixing a cracked neck joint.
Replacing a switch
proper wiring of a humbucker
Tons of advice and opinions on refinishing.
And everything you could ever want to know about setting up an instrument.
I think you have to start out as a Catholic and then branch off.
One makes stringed instruments.
Now, wasn't that a dry enough answer?!!?
There are schools scattered around if you look for them. There's one next door to my shop in Northampton, as a matter of fact.
Check out www.roberto-venn.com
In the mid 70's I went to The Guitar Center for Research and Design located in South Stratford Vermont. This was school that specialized in acoustic guitars and run by a guy named Charles Fox. We used the classical Spanish method (neck through body) and built steel strings flat tops. We did not build basses but as soon as I graduated I used my new found techniques and built my first real bass.
Before that experience I built quite a few home-made instruments, speaker cabs, did a few repairs and was a general handy guy with good eye-hand coordination and a very good understanding of using tools.
In my opinion I learned more at that 6 week school about musical instrument making then if I worked 10 years on my own.
My opinion is if you are really serious and can afford it
.Apprentice a master or go to a good school. What you learn not to do will be just as important as what you learn to do. Many of the skills you learn will be transferable to any instrument you want to build.
isnt there alot of people who just started by learning as they go. like u get a book and neck then you make a bass .next you try to make a neck and a bass.