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  #1  
Old 10-06-2006, 12:57 PM
domovision domovision is offline
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Default Luthier training advice

Hello everyone. I was hoping to get some opinions from luthiers in the group. I have but decided to attend an 8 week workshop in the spring on guitar building and design, and repair. I know that after building one or two guitars there I will in no way be a seaoned builder. But I am wondering if the skills I can expect to gain will at least be sufficient to start a part time repair business, while building guitars in my spare time to perfect my product so I can start to sell custom builts. Any thoughts?

Also, I am looking at the Summit School of Luthiery on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Any thoughts on this school, or maybe other recommendations?? Thanks bunches!!
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:11 PM
martinedwards martinedwards is offline
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Lutherie is a tough biz to make a living.

an acoustic takes George Lowden 35 hours or so.

He is at the absolute peak of his trade, and his companys guitars go for $4000 and up. Factor in rent, heat, light, insurance, wear & tear on the tools & machinery and he isn't gonna be driving a ferrari.

It's EXTREMELY fulfilling to make a musical instrument and then hand it over to a customer who thinks even more of it than you do, but there are only a few full time luthiers around. most of us builders do it as a hobby or as a second income.
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:35 PM
drive-south drive-south is offline
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Agreed, At one time, Jimmy DiAquisto had an apprentace. The guy had to quit and go get a real job because he had a family to support and Jimmy couldn't afford to pay him +benefits. It's a crying shame that all of Jimmy's secrets have been lost when they could have been passed on to a new generation.

The Roberto Venn school of Luthiery is the best known school in USA and many prominant builders have studied there. Check fret.com for info on
luthier training. Also the Guild of American Luthiers also offers info. You can find their link at Frets.com as well.

I believe that a person with excellant luthier skills CAN make a good living from it, but they have to go above and beyond simply building excellant instruments. They have to come up with their own unique designs, apply for patents whenever possible and eventually enter into licensing agreements,
or expand their business into a larger operation. Guys like Bob Taylor, Bill Collings, etc. have all been very successful but they aren't just good luthiers. They are very smart businessmen as well and entrepeneurs.

drive-south
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:42 PM
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Cornerstone Guitars Cornerstone Guitars is offline
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35 hours to build a guitar?? takes me over a 100 hours... you sure about that?
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:43 PM
mishmannah mishmannah is offline
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Being a Luthier won't bring you the riches that other jobs may..

As a beginner with commission, the amount of hours you put into a guitar will not be reflected in the price. Even as a intermediate with a fledgling business you would be commanding as little as $14.00 an hour. Compare that with gardeners who can, in my country, claim up to $22 an hour!!!

It could well be that the little "cog in the machine" guy on the steam bender in the Taylor factory earns more than a freelancer!!!

I know someone who has had to give up full time guitarmaking to provide decent money for his family. His production is down to 4 guitars a year, plus a full-time day job...phew..mind you, this is in Britain. We don't part with our cash readily, you know....

I would like to make a career of luthiery, but with a part-time job as well. I'm currently looking into arts grants, etc...

In conclusion, if you want to make stringed instruments, it HAS to be out of the love of working with wood, and the pleasure of a completed commission.
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Old 10-06-2006, 04:32 PM
martinedwards martinedwards is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worshipguitar
35 hours to build a guitar?? takes me over a 100 hours... you sure about that?
yup, I was talking to him .....

oh......

6 hours ago?

obviously thats not 9 am monday morning to 6pm Friday, but he reckons theres 35 hours labour in a guitar.

According to George, Taylor take 12 1/2 hours.........
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Old 10-07-2006, 02:55 PM
domovision domovision is offline
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Anybody know anything about Summit School?
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'97 Taylor 414ce
03' Martin MC-16GTE
Breedlove AD20/SM=12 string
Breedlove Atlas Stage J350/EF
Breedlove Atlas Stage D25/SR
72' Fender Thinline Tele Reissue
03' Gibson Les Paul Standard
Cheap 6-Sting Banjo
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  #8  
Old 10-07-2006, 04:36 PM
ship of fools ship of fools is offline
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The school you mentioned on the Island is a great school to learn the basics they will cover all aspects of guitar building and doing repairs ie,neck resets and so forth.
I say you should go for it, you can never loose when you are learning something new especially when it comes to working with woods.
No you are definetly going to have to apprentice with someone to learn your skills,but you will have a ton of business as you know the West Coast is got a ton of musicians always looking for more in their guitars,so learn and enjoy the class and the location is beautiful area,you are in a win,win situation.best of luck my friend.louis
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