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Luthiery/Apprenticing

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by funkopotimus, Nov 9, 2004.


  1. Hello everybody, first time i've posted in two or three years.

    I've been very curious lately, if one were to look into double bass luthiery as a profession would he look into doing an apprenticeship, or would he look into doing some kind of courses or training? Any information would be great, i'm interested in looking into this as a career, i love the instrument, i love creating and i love to work with my hands. Very curious.

    thank you,steve
     
  2. I too am hoping to become a luthier someday. From what I've seen the most practical way to go about it is probably to go to one of the violin making schools, then find work in a shop or something and go from there into speciallizing in making and repairing basses. Seems like being able to make a living doing common repair work and maybe making a few violins here and there is a good way to keep things afloat on the way to doing just bass work, if that's what you want to do. Post whatever info you find out here, I know I'm interested and some others probably are too...
     
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    There are quite a few old threads discussing this topic. I don't want to seem stand-off-ish, but you will find a lot of information about apprenticeships from previous posts...

    As a rule of thumb, most shops won't take on apprenticeships/employees without experience. The schools give you some experience with hand tools and such. Have you built anything out of wood? Furniture? Slabs?
     
  4. Well funkopotimus, you are in the right forum. I can't say much that Nick hasn't already said except with less brevity. I'm studying violin family luthiery (is that even a word?) now and I think there is a lot to be gained by reading as much as possible as well as "doing". It is safe to say that the more research you do, the less trouble you will have. I'm not exactly new to wood craft, having built things most of my life, but musical instruments are a special case and require special knowledge and methods. On this forum there are many bass luthiers. I also found the web pages of English luthier Bob Hitchings to be quite informative. http://homepages.enterprise.net/gwyllum/bass/doublebassmaking.html

    Bob Branstetter, Ken McKay, Aaron Noguer, Arnold Schnitzer (please don't be offended if I left anyone out;- there are others, too) as well as Nick are a few whose posts you should read and research. I have started a project DB with the guidance of this forum as well as having a local luthier who specializes in lutes act as tutor (he was a student of Robert Lundberg). While I don't have a formal apprenticeship with him, he is in constant consultation on this project. I don't think I would attempt so bold a project without similar guidance. Keep in mind that he has made only a few vilolin family instruments, so he is not my only resource. I have also found the books by Henry Strobel (recommended by Bob Branstetter) to be most informative, even though none is a bass building book.

    You might try a few easy projects to get your feet wet with stringed things before going to the more demanding instruments. One fellow here posting as Jomamma has built a pretty impressive 4 string washtub. That doesn't require as much skill but it does require you to understand what you are building musically and might be a good first exercise. Or you could just dive in if you have the confidence. My past experience tells me that there is no substitute for experience, and if you don't have it, find a teacher who does.

    Of course whether this could be a possible profession depends on whether I (or you) can make something as exquisitely beautiful as Nick's recent creation! Looking at that is either deeply inspiring, deeply intimidating, or both.

    Best of luck to you. :)
     
  5. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Reading youse guys posts is making me want to strip that lacquer finish off of my bass just for kicks. If only I had time, a garage, and an extra bass to play on while it's being worked on. :)