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How does one become a luthier?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mac_the_sac, Jun 20, 2003.

  1. What kind of training did you get to get started, did you go to a trade school, if so what was it called.
  2. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    There are several Schools of Lutherie in the United States. Sites like the Guild of American Luthiers and others will have lists of schools.

    Myself? I grew up in a family of carpenters and musicians, and have been tearing apart and repairing and modifying basses and guitars for as long as I can remember, asking questions of other guitar techs and luthiers as I went. I recently decided to start building customs as well. I did a few a few years back, but just for myself and a few close friends.

    Some also apprentice in a Luthiers shop for a few years, although this might not be a financially viable option for you depending on your current work/money situation (ie: if your making $60k a year in corporate america with a spouse and two kids, you might not be able to quite your job and become an apprentice.....).

  3. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    Here in America there is no offical way to become a luthier. You can go to schools like Roberto Venn School of Lutherie, or you can just do what Bass Kahuna did, and pick things up as you go. That is probably the most common thing that local luthiers do anyway.
  4. Skerik1


    Sep 21, 2002
    Saint Paul, MN
    Someone asked this question of Darrin Huff's Yahoo Group. Here's what I said:

    Basically what I was saying is that you almost have to earn your title as a Luthier. You can't just go to some fancy school, make a stringed instrument and be called a Luthier.

  5. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Just work on guitars and basses. I have recently worked on a 1928 gibson archtop. Now that's lutherie.
  6. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Sigur Ros is an amazing band.
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It's an official craft[?] in Germany, complete with apprenticeship, and usually you need to be a master (Meister) to set up your own shop, but this is mostly for classical instruments etc.
    This makes it quite difficult for most bass makers, who are usually more self-taught.
    Most have to use "workarounds" in order to be able to legally run a business.

    Skerik, you make it sound like it's more than it is. It's a craft - that's all, not rocket-science, especially with solid-bodies.

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