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Looking for a local luthier to study under

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Aren, Oct 1, 2003.


  1. Aren

    Aren

    Jul 18, 2003
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    I would love to find a luthier in the Northeast Indiana area who would be willing to bring someone into their shop to teach and work with. If anyone here knows of any luthiers in the area or has any advice for me, the info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks alot.
     
  2. Shornick

    Shornick Scot Hornick

    Dec 18, 2001
    NJ
    I know this isn't northeast Indiana, but if you are willing to travel, Red Wing, MN has a 9 month program on string repair. Also a construction course. It covers a lot of the basics and gets you used to using the tools. I have been able to get some work after going there, and am now getting paid to learn. Just a thought.
     
  3. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    David Griebel is in Fort Wayne, and I'd give a very high recommendation to Alex Leyvand-(317) 818-2326- in Carmel, IN outside of Indy.
     
  4. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    [ Red Wing, MN has a 9 month program on string repair.

    Details please.
     
  5. Aren

    Aren

    Jul 18, 2003
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    I really appreciate the info. Unfortunately leaving the state is not an option for me, (I have two children in school) because I would love get some formal training. But I will follow up on your lead John. Thanks for all of your help, and if anyone has any other ideas--- keep them coming. This is, hands down, the best resource for double bass that I have found. I'm glad to be a part of it.
     
  6. Shornick

    Shornick Scot Hornick

    Dec 18, 2001
    NJ
    Red Wing Program
    http://www.southeastmn.edu/Programs/stringinstrument/index.asp?drwID=10&dwinID=0
    This should take you to the page. I went through the program last year, what's good is it is okay to not know how to do anything except play before you go. Having knowledge of handtools and wood word would be a very helpfull thing though. The program puts you through a course on hand and power tools before moving on. You will get to learn the basics of, ebony work-fingerboards,nuts,saddles,etc., Bow Rehairs and repairs, history of violin makers,varnish,soundposts and bridges, repair work-cracked pegbox, cracks repairs, soundpost patch and regluing the top back-ugh!!!, and some other stuff. You do get to touch on a lot of things. Some things are only demonstrated and you have to hang on later. The program is 95% violin based, the instructor doesn't seem to care much about other instruments but you do get to do bridges and posts on cellos and bass. There is only one teacher for the course and you are there 8-3 everyday, so hang on. After going through it though I am glad I did. I have been doing some set up work on student instruments and fixing some of my own students. I have a whole new respect for Luthiers and am glad that I am mainly a performer! After going there I will never doubt my Luthier's bill, it is well deserved and than some.
     
  7. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I'd like to hear Bob, Arnold et al comment on this from their experience.
    Personally, I've been more impressed by the graduates of Redwing than those from the violin making schools. It seems to be a more practical course. I have however heard other negative comments that the teacher has a rather low(excuse me)view of basses.
    The violin making schools have produced a lot of good makers, but they don't seem to learn a lot about repair, and for that matter they don't seem to know much about basses either.
     
  8. What options would a person have if they were interested in learning as much as they possibly could about making and repairing basses, with not so much emphasis on the other instruments? Because obviously basses are a whole other ballgame... or is it pretty much expected to learn about violins and then apply that to basses later on? I ask because I plan on attending some sort of formal education in the near future but I notice that the big schools focus mostly on violin, which not only am I not all that interested in but I can't play at all. And I don't plan on giving up any of my bass focus to learn a little bit of violin at this point either...
     
  9. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    (I'd like to see Martin post something other than "I'd like to see discussion on this et al")


    Welcome to Talkbass, Largemouth. During my Utah stint, I met a couple of guys in Salt Lake that had been through the Red Wing program. After their experience with the Violin Making School of America, they really appreciated the information and general organization of the Red Wing school. Generally more bang for your buck...
     
  10. Realistically, about the only way to do that would be to try to get an entry level job at one of the hand full of big bass shops like Kolstein, Gage, Hammond Ashley, KC Strings, etc. The problem is that you would be competing for those jobs with people that have already graduated from from Violin Making School of America. The question you have to ask yourself is what do you plan on doing with that training if you were able to get it?
     
  11. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    Nick, when your brain operates at about half the wave length of a bass E like mine does, it's kind of hard to come up with anything original.

    Bob,
    You've got a point. A lot of shops like to hire people with no experience so that they can train them how to do the job the way they want it done.
    One of the problems I've encountered with the violin making graduates is that they just won't do anything any different than the way their teacher showed them. I had to let two students go from another shop because it cost me more to pay them to cut a bridge than I got from the customer!
    Anton Krutz who is a great maker(my boss!) and a graduate of the Violin Making School of America once commented to me that the most useful thing taught at the school was how to use tools.
    I've tried to convice a couple of students to go long enough to learn to sharpen their tools and make an instrument and then get out. But I can understand that inner need to graduate. I'm mostly self taught, and I'd still like to take a sabbatical and go to one of the schools. I've heard there's a new violin making school in Quereterro, Mexico. Maybe it's affordable?
    That's another thing to say for Redwing; it's affordable. The violin making school's tuition looks like Harvard Medical School!
     
  12. Here's the one I've always thought would be fun to attend since it is aimed at improving skills rather than teaching the basics. Violin Craftsmanship Institute
     
  13. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I've heard a lot of good things about it. I've met George and he's a great guy, a bass player, and well known for his bass bows (as is his former wife, Lynn Hannings). I've also talked with Karl Roy and he's very approacable.
    I was going to go there one summer but it was so expensive, it was cheaper to fly to Ireland and stay two months with Bill Patterson, a graduate of the Cremona school (also the Guinness is better there!). I'd still like to go sometime though, it looks like a good program, and you don't have to take 4 years out of your life in one chunk to do it.
    I think you can start the violin making program with no experience at all and if you attend them in sequence, over a period of years, you will learn to make a complete violin. The same with the bow making as I recall?
     
  14. I don't have the tuition costs for the Violin Craftsman Institute, but I did check on the tuition for the Violin Making School of America. According to their website, tuition is $2,400 per quarter ($7,200 per year). I don't find this to be a particularly high tuition cost if you campare it to a well known university or college. It is certainly a lot cheaper than the Harvard Medical School tuition of $50,150 for a first year student.

    Another option to consider is the The Chimneys Workshop For Violin Makers held for four weeks each spring in Tucson, Arizona. Cost for each week is $675, which includes tuition, hotel room (single or double occupancy) Monday throught Thursday and breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday. Registration for each session will be limited to 20 so that participants can receive individual attention and guidance.
     
  15. the Red Wing program sounds pretty interesting; the only problem I can think of is what the heck is there in southeastern Minnisota? I realize it's only a year, but man... :bawl:
     
  16. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    My sister Trudy Egan and her husband Tom Egan are both VSA grads. Here's a link to the VSA: http://www.prierviolins.com/violin.htm

    My sister apprenticed to makers and repairers for several years before attending. Trudy and Tom got a lot out of school, to the point where she proclaims that today school is an essential step for becoming a first-class luthier. (Ease up there, fellas, I'm only saying she thinks so.)

    T&T's experience in Salt Lake City opened a door which has led them to a satisfying repair-and-building practice in Los Angeles. You can scope their shop at www.VitaDolceViolins.com If you want to talk about the VSA, I'm sure they'd be happy to chat with you.
     
  17. Shornick

    Shornick Scot Hornick

    Dec 18, 2001
    NJ
    the Red Wing program sounds pretty interesting; the only problem I can think of is what the heck is there in southeastern Minnisota? I realize it's only a year, but man...
    You have hit the nail on the head about southeastern mn. it is very pretty and scenic but their isnt much else going on. the housing around the school is pretty cheap, so you save money to drive up to the twin cities on the weekends. it's about 50 miles. when i went we drove down and back every day, fun, but we weren't in red wing at night!
     
  18. I have no trouble with that statement. Education is education. Anyone who thinks that they are going to learn all they need to know in 6 months or a year is in for a big surprise when they get into the real world of luthiery. My initial education came as apprentise to a nationally known local violin maker over a period of 5 years. Even though I worked in my mentors shop, it did not prepare me for what was to come when I opened my first shop. Over the years, I've read every book I can get my hands on about violin family luthiery, attended related conferences whenever possible, and I'm still learning something new all the time. The more education you can get, weather it is in formal schooling like VSA or learning while working in a active shop, the better luthier you will be. There are a lot of instrument butchers out there who know just enough to be dangerous. Learning to be a good luthier is going to take time. Accept that as a fact or find something else to do for a living.
     
  19. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    My sister said that the class she under-valued most at VSA was "Talking About Instrument-Tone." Imagine that -- a class about relating to and interacting with customers so that you can try to do what they want and vice-versa!

    I can tell you that there wasn't any class like that at law school!
     
  20. Anybody here have experience with the North Bennet Street school's making and repair program in Boston? It seems pretty interesting, but it's definately not cheap. I wonder how it compares to VSA... http://www.nbss.org/programs/violinMaking.html