How do Luthiers learn?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by macmax77, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    I mean, where do they go to?
    Is it a family tradition?

    I would love to have learnt and work on this field, it is a beautiful craft!
     
  2. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    There are many good schools of lutherie.
     
  3. JamesNylen

    JamesNylen Member

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    1. Schools you pay for.

    2. School of hard knocks.

    Choose your option.

    But really, anyone can build a guitar. It just takes time and lumber.
     
  4. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    I'd call this a bit of a slap in the face to the really good builders out there. It requires a hell of a lot more than time and lumber.
    That's like saying anyone can play guitar well it just requires time and a guitar.
     
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  5. JamesNylen

    JamesNylen Member

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    It wasn't meant to be a slap in the face.... The original poster said he wishes he had learned how to. My response was meant to be more motivational to the original poster than it was a diss to anyone.

    And the truth is anyone can build a guitar.... but what may take a trained luthier a week, could take someone without any knowledge a year or more. Along with many ruined pieces of timber .

    If you have the drive and motivation you can do just about anything within reason. :)

    Again, purely motivational to the original poster and sorry if I stepped on your toes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  6. Rich b in tempe

    Rich b in tempe Member

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    Learning luthiere is a lifetime ordeal. I started repairing on my owne in the early 70's, after totally digesting Don Teeters book. There were no schools, no books, no guitar related houses that sold tools. Everthing i learned came thru violin makers. After about 20 years full time repairing,& taking a lot of acoustics apart, i started prepairing the jigs & fixtures i would need for building. That in itself was a big challange!! For every body style i wanted to build, came the need to fabricate a body 2 piece outter body mold. I had already been collecting spruce,cedar, flame & quilt maple,?rosewood,walnut,etc. Then i just started taking Gibsons & Martins apart & started copying thoes suckers!! School of hard Knocks!!where were you (ol' Stu-Mac), in 1976??
     
  7. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

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    Seems sorta simple to do ... you know, like building a car from scratch. Yuh just gather a few nuts and bolts, a couple hoses, a sparkplug or two, a radiator and water pump, maybe a little metal; throw in some glass, rubber and plastic and get to buildin'..... oh yeah, you need to find some nice rims and 4 tires that are the same size. Can't forget the tires. Better have at least two good screwdrivers, a hammer and one of those socket wrench thingees. 2-3 weeks later .... BAM!!!! You've got yourself a car.

    Guitar is no different....

    :facepalm
     
  8. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Member

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    It seems as though the common path is to teach yourself some of the fundamentals at an early age, and then try to apprentice with someone who knows what they are doing. But like auto repair or cooking, there are now plenty of places that will accept your money to teach you.
     
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  9. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    Just remember, always practice on other people’s guitars. :)
     
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  10. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    There are (almost) as many paths as there are guitar builders. Most include quite a bit of repair work, which is how you learn what works and what doesn't.

    But there are some non-obvious stops along the path as well. For example: Matt Artinger apprenticed with a custom cabinet/furniture maker because he knew serious woodworking chops were necessary for what he wanted to do and he didn't know any guitar makers who had that level of those chops. Ken Parker worked for a custom clock maker, where he developed his machining chops to a degree that you don't often see in a guitar builder.
     
  11. dougk

    dougk Silver Supporting Member

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    Same way you get to Carnegie Hall... practice practice practice
     
  12. Malinoski

    Malinoski everything wrong possible

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    I went to college to use the shops because it was affordable back then (probably not now), I could do what I wanted and learn faster and was surrounded by like minded and encouraging / inspirational people- people who like to make things, all sorts of things. I am not a luthier, but rather just a guitar maker, and tho I stray far from the boundaries of tradition I dare say it is not as complex or magical as many might like to believe. It is just making things with a lot of specialized woodworking, and a bunch of mechanical jiggering in there too.

    I always recommend woodworking skills first- learn how to use a woodshop and not cut your fingers off. Don't think there is any single "correct" way to build guitars, there is only your way... get in there and figure it out- there is only one Law of Art: it won't make itself.

    You just gotta want to do it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. JamesNylen

    JamesNylen Member

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    You said what I meant to get across far more eloquently. Takes practice.

    I recommend anyone here go to the mimf.com forums. You will see plenty of people making great first guitars. You will see and most will admit where they flubbed something.

    I would be willing to bet that most buiders on this board would say the first guitar they built didn't live up to the current standard they have set. Its all in your drive to "get it done" and your ability to fix the mess ups you are bound to make starting. It will only get easier from then on.

    Original poster if it's something you want to do... let nothing stop you. I'm rooting for you!:)
     
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  14. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    I saw that comic on FB the other day. My response was, Maybe the gift from god is the drive to keep practicing. :)
     
  15. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    I used to hang out with Don at his shop in OKC.

    He always had some country star's Martin laying around his shop. He did a neck reset on a 70 D-28 and some other work for me. Guy could talk up a storm.

    What a treasure he was.
     
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  16. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Pete, you are selling yourself short, my friend.

    Don't you have an MFA in design or some such? Didn't you used to design and build custom furniture prior to your turn as mad scientist guitar maker?
     
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  17. ldizzle

    ldizzle Supporting Member

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    PRACTICE. The best guys I know at it.. have a closet full of mess ups.
     
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  18. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    LOL!!!!!!!!
     
  19. burningyen

    burningyen Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep, something I always think of when I hear that someone was "self-made."
     
  20. lespauled

    lespauled Member

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