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Question for all the luthiers out there...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by superbassman2000, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. hello all, i am just wondering...how many offers for internships (or offers to work for you) do you get?
    it seems to me that you would get a lot, since every luthier here is extremely good at bass making.
  2. Suck up!

    ;) :D
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Got to agree with the bone man :rolleyes:

  4. And do you mean people asking us to let them apprentice with us or pros asking us to apprentice with them? Well, the latter NEVER happens and I've only had 2 guys contact me with desires to work for/with me. Gotta say that both proved to be flaky by the time we exchanged 2 emails but that's to be expected.

    BTW TJ, SBM2000 sports the only bass I've built for a client. We have a "relationship" ;)
  5. hey i think this was probably directed at the list of guest luthiers. and if it was its a really good question, id be interested to know aswell

  6. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Very suprised I thought you built several for others.t
  7. Scott French

    Scott French Dude

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    Apprenticeships in the lutherie world are tough to get. To start there are not many in the smaller (one man) shops because the added insurance/liability costs are higher than the benefit for most builders (or maybe that's just in California). I have no idea how many requests the big guys get... I am just starting so I haven't heard from anyone on that level. I can tell you most of those offers most likely fall on deaf ears. There are a few lutherie schools across the country pumping out (semi) knowledgeable people looking for jobs or apprenticeships. Most companies know about these schools and go directly to them when they are looking for serious candidates. I'm not saying it's impossible to get a job at a stringed instrument shop without schooling but it seems like at the rate people are attending schools it will get harder. The apprenticeship I got was offered to everyone in my 36 student class. Of the 36 almost 30 applied and interviewed for the only two slots.
  8. Didn't Sheldon Dingwall post a thread sometime last year looking for apprentices in Canada? I may be wrong.
  9. its true!

    but i am saying this in a higher (than my usual) degree of seriousness. i am not looking or anything, but i am wondering, since i look at all the luthiers' (yes, all the luthiers here...Wish isn't on here right?) (sorry wish...) work, and to someone who has almost no woodworking ability (i.e. me) the basses you guys make appear to be of a good quality. i am saying do people jump at the chance to work for you? do people approach (or call, email...etc) you asking for work? I would think you'd get a lot of offers...

    also true, that bass has proved to be my dream bass over and over again! i love it!

  10. Come to think of it, I did have the opportunity to work with Greg Curbow a couple of years ago. He was looking for another hand in his shop in N.Georgia. Believe it or not, my wife said OK as long as we could maintain our insurance. That was one of the stumbling blocks as was having a home here in ATL for the family and a flop house 2 hours away in the mountains for me.

    Not very appealing from an economic view. I don't know why I didn't think of this before.

    This situation would be one of the MOST rare opportunities you would ever come across.

    TJ, I have several clients but they are modification/repair clients. I've also built one g****r for the lead player in our church's praise band. I'm sorry if that comes as a shock or disappointment. I have however built 5 other complete bass instruments and am working on 6, 7, & 8 as I write this. In 5 years, considering that I completely converted all of my tools from a race/fab/metal type shop to a wood working shop and that I design and build many of the tools that I use, I don't consider that a bad record. I AM after all still learning this discipline.
  11. phatcactus


    Apr 2, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    FWIW, I tried to get a job helping out at Lakland over the summer. They all seemed like very nice guys, but I don't think they'll be callin' any time soon. :'(
  12. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    You built one of those funny little six string things :eyebrow: I am shocked :D The first project I was ever involved with was an explorer guitar style I helped design and build about 20 years ago. I sold it about 2 years ago because I wanted to build basses and I wanted some startup cash. Now I have everything I need to build a strat copy so I can have a guitar around in case anybody wants to stop by and play. I just can't seem to get to that project. 4 projects at a time is a lot to keep track of. I can see how it can happen. I am working on #23 a 5 string but 24 and 25 are ratteling around in my head and the parts are appearing. The wife is thrilled :rollno: Speaking of auto body tools. I use a 4" grinder to do my belly and forearm contours. Scarry but it works :bag: ...........t
  13. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I must admit I have been one of those "flaky" people as I've contacted a guy local to me, here in Santa Cruz, Rick Turner, who's work speaks volumes. I must admit, I'm a bit intimidated to even go get a tour of his shop! I have no past woodworking exp., and have learned most of what little I know either here or at the MIMF.
    There's more acoustic guitar builders here anyway......
    If you have to work a day job 5 days a week to pay rent, it's hard to 'apprentice' anywhere, realistically. This is an artform which consumes ALL of your time if you want to get any good at it. That's why I'm still on the search for some retired, mellow guy who builds instruments in his garage, and doesn't mind showing me some stuff if I sweep his floor or comb his beard (????)
    SOmetimes I wish I was still fresh out of college without a developing "career" in a completely different field (psychology/mental health) and then I'd pursue this luthier bit to the fullest!!!! Who knows, maybe it'll happen one day.
  14. Though slightly different. I've got a pretty successful programming career, which I still enjoy a great deal. I'm probably only going to continue doing computers for another 5-10 years or so and then I'm going to move on to something else. Since I really enjoy building things and playing the bass I figure I'll probably do this when I retire.

    It's rather an amazing thing really. When I was first starting out programming, about 25+ years ago, it all looked like this enormous hill to climb to achieve success. I had no idea that, in reality, that it was an enormous freedom to pick and choose what career paths I wanted. Now I'm pretty much set in my career and at a point where I really cannot justify moving into anything different. I can't even justify going to college because a degree wouldn't add anything to my career and the cost, mostly loss of income, wouldn't be worth it.

    Strange how the view changes as you climb the hill of success.

    *shrug* oh well. I'm having a lot of fun learning how to manufacture custom pickups and rewind dead ones. I'll move on to manufacturing custom parts with a new milling machine I've got coming in. Then it'll be on to doing custom necks and bodies. When I'm done with my computer career, in 10 years or so, I'll be ready to do custom building.

    heh. Even if I'm the only customer. :)
  15. Man, if it had been you that called, I would have said "come on over!" - you ain't no flaky biscuit like those others. :D

    That idea of the time involved with learning this is a good point to consider. It can be a lot, even if you're a genius like me. :rollno: I imagine that's one reason why Ken only hires from a reputable school or by review of acceptable work. Time is money. I would estimate that I spend over 40 hours a week in my shop consistently. Not all of that is making sawdust but it all adds up. The one way that I could see a school having an advantage over me and my self-instruction is the structured, focused study that the school would provide. In my situation, there are many distractions - from keeping the shop clean enough to work in to repairing broken tools and equipment to making sure the foundation doesn't wash away in hurricane rains.

    But this is my place, my haven, and my playground and I have an absolute blast - no matter if I'm cleaning or putting the finish on a new construction. It's ALL good.
  16. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    "But this is my place, my haven, and my playground and I have an absolute blast - no matter if I'm cleaning or putting the finish on a new construction. It's ALL good."

    I know what you mean it gives me a sense of peace I don't get with my day job.Except when the router slips or I realized I made the hole in the wrong spot :crying: etc.etc....T
  17. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    A local luthier who builds acoustic guitars, John Mcquarrie of Northwood Guitars, said how he gets lots of people wanting to work for him, mostly people with no experience, even wanting to work for free.

    When I was just starting out building me and my dad got a tour of his shop and later my dad asked if I could just sweep his floors and observe, he said no. Eventually I was putting out quality instruments and was offered a job while still in my senior year of highschool. It was a real job, not an apprenticeship, as I already had the skills to be of use in his shop, as was the same with another guy working there. He said out of all the people who have wanted to work with him I was most like him, experimenting and building instruments in the highschool workshop, which is why he offered me a job with him.

    It is the all time COOLEST job I've had so far. :cool:
  18. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Ahhhhhhhh..........to be young again............if only
  19. GregBreshears

    GregBreshears Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2002
    Independence, MO
    Owner: Greg Breshears Guitarworks
    I was actually one of those guys that attended Roberto-Venn and gave alot of thought about working for someone else. I instead decided that I would rather do my own thing. I could have prob. made more in the long run working for someone else, but I don't think people get into guitar making for the money......if they do.....boy are they in for a surprise. I have finally got my tools and shop in order and have started making.
    Back to my point, basically I would say if you really want to get into making guitars, I would attend a school like Roberto-Venn and then afterwards if you want to go into an apprenticeship program you have alot better odds of getting in. I know alot of guys that I went to school with who did that and are doing pretty well for themselves now with some bigger companies.

  20. Hambone, I'd love to see some of your work. You obviously know your s**t. Do you have any pics you could post?