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luthier school

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by 60's Bluesman, Mar 13, 2010.


  1. 60's Bluesman

    60's Bluesman

    Feb 7, 2010
    Michigan
    i gonna graduate high school here in a few months and theres a luthier school im considering going to up on vancouver island in canada for the 2 or 3 month building program. my question is a formal school nessicary to become a quality luthier and is 2 months enough time to learn the basics so i can start making some money when i get back home? by chance has anybody attended this school? (which will remain nameless so this dont seem like a advertisment for the school) if so wats it like?
     
  2. greekorican

    greekorican

    Mar 12, 2009
    I've talked to some luthiers about how they learned all this. They said that you can either do an apprenticeship, or there are trade schools that you can attend. I have no clue what the best route to take is, but from what I've heard, its a hard way to make a living. It depends on where you live too, some places must have more of a demand than others. For example, Lakland is located in Chicago, and my teacher says he knows quite a few luthiers that work for them.

    I'm in the same boat as you, can't wait to graduate this spring. I don't really know what I want to do. I'm far more interested in a trade school (carpentry, mechanic, etc) than college. But you have to keep the parents happy, so as of now I'm off to college in the fall.

    CLASS OF 2010!
     
  3. 60's Bluesman

    60's Bluesman

    Feb 7, 2010
    Michigan
    we got alot in common man lol i know here in bfe where i live there isnt one luthier who builds guitars and there isnt many who even repair guitars around here. i could find a nitche (if i could only spell it right haha)
     
  4. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Your reputation is key to making a living as a luthier. A school is a shortcut to working for another guy. It is not needed if you are already making instruments and growing your customer base.
     
  5. greekorican

    greekorican

    Mar 12, 2009
    That's the cool thing about trades. You can go to formal schooling, or you can pick it up through experience. I like the idea of your reputation and the quality of your work mattering more than what your level of education is. That makes more sense to me, but unfortunately a college degree is important. I would argue it's completely overrated, but you gotta play their game.

    Do you have experience with using tools and building/fixing things? My father is a carpenter, so I've absorbed quite alot. I love to tinker with things, and I love a project to work on. All of my dad's friend are tradesmen, and while some tradesmen are morons, the guys who are really good at what they do are smarter than most people with a college degree.

    I'm sure this depends on the situation, but from what I've heard you make a very meager wage as a luthier. Does anyone know what these guys make? I'd love to get into a trade, but unfortunately the money isn't there anymore in most trades.
     
  6. Phil Mailloux

    Phil Mailloux

    Mar 25, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Builder: Mailloux Basses
    I can’t talk for everyone else but I wouldn’t be living much of a life at all if my only income was my bass business. I sell about 10 per year, granted Australia is a much smaller market than the US but still... and this is why I work in engineering as a day job and keep bass building as a hobby business. With the decent day job I can pay myself a nice house and afford to buy nice things once in a while and I can also afford to refuse bass builds If I don’t like the customer’s ideas.
     
  7. Stay in school and get an engineering degree. You may have hope of retirement one day
     
  8. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    I can assure you that morons exist in every field. Even at the "top" of the chemistry field. :(

    +1 On everything the gentleman form Down Under has said.


    +1

    Also, as a hobby it is fun. As work - only the "f" and "u" stay true.
     
  9. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Where in Michigan??? Bryan Galloup has a Luthierie school in Grand Rapids, and there are many qualified and talented Luthiers in Michigan. Abe Wechter included just down the road from me in Paw Paw.
     
  10. 60's Bluesman

    60's Bluesman

    Feb 7, 2010
    Michigan
    grand rapids is 4 hours from me though. its in the state but its a long ways to go for your average bass player
     
  11. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    as opposed to Vancouver?
     
  12. 60's Bluesman

    60's Bluesman

    Feb 7, 2010
    Michigan
    well yes but your misunderstanding me, what im saying is theres no luthier's near me so if i became one i would be the only true luthier in a few counties
     
  13. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I was talking about luthier school, I did understand that, and having an open market is a beautiful thing, it's something you should appreciate, most of us aren't that lucky...LOL

    As for school, yes you need to learn the basics before ripping into someones $1500 guitar, or spending a bunch of money trying to build what you are just learning to understand. If you are looking at just assembly of premade parts, I'd say go for it, it's a good learning experience. But if you really want to be a true luthier(beyond just bass building/guitar) a school will be your best place to get a step ahead. Good Luck to you.
     
  14. 60's Bluesman

    60's Bluesman

    Feb 7, 2010
    Michigan
    im the one who misunderstood u lol thtaks for the info you may very well have saved me a 2000 mile trip
     
  15. mmjazzbass

    mmjazzbass

    Jan 24, 2010
    from what I've heard and through my own speculation, going to a special luthier school to learn how to build is a lot like going to a conservatory to be a professional musician. In both professions your skills are vastly more important than your credentials, but going to a school and training with working (and well-known) faculty will help you get connections in order to get gigs/customers.
     
  16. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    60's Bluesman, I live on Vancouver Island (no, we're not in Vancouver). If its Rufus you're thinking of working with, make sure you contact him and speak with him before planning coming here, he's been on and off in the last three years and I last heard he would not be taking students for this and next year. If its the Summit School in Qualicum/Parksville, I highly recommend them. Their programs are well established, top notch and very thorough. I know two luthiers who trained there who have done reasonably well. Plus the school is located in one of the most stunningly pristine areas of the earth to ever be discovered.

    Although I don't make a living doing repairs or builds, I would not stop either. You probably could make a living at it, but I'd rather do my paid job, its much easier and has more consistent satisfaction and pay than working on guitars. That said, I'm usually happiest when I'm doing my "hobby", and I imagine that would change if I was forced to rely on it for my living...

    And x2 on Mikey's thoughts on reputation. I've never once had to advertise; word of mouth always keeps me turning away work. I pretty much only work for myself and my friends and close friends of friends. I charge enough that I'm not terribly attractive, but I turn away much more than I do. I believe its because I only say what I can actually do and I always do exactly what I say I'm going to do. Having been in the position of needing work done and having poor choices to turn to, I'm pretty sure being reliable and timely is what keeps the referrals coming in...
     
  17. 60's Bluesman

    60's Bluesman

    Feb 7, 2010
    Michigan
    i was refering to summit yes
     
  18. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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