#1
Hey guys. Just wondering if anyone has been down these routes before?

I'm juggling between two options - going to a guitar building college in London or trying to find a luthier to become an apprentice under. I'm really not sure if there's anything I could learn at a college that I couldn't learn from a luthier. I love guitar building/repairs but I'm not at a professional standard at all yet and I'm very eager to start learning.

Any advice would be great, thanks.
#2
I wouldn't pay a school, only for the reason that guitar building isn't a big job market, find a luthier that will allow you to apprentice. best way to learn is hands on with someone who knows coaching you
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#3
Are there schools that form part of your accredited educational system? - Any links? From what I have looked at they seem to be non-vocational "build a guitar" courses.

Apprenticeship implies to me working for a qualified tradesman and doing part-time formal education, so that you end up with a trade qualification. Is that possible? It would be a great option if it exists and you can find someone to take you on.

Or you could simply try to find a job with a highly skilled but unqualified luthier. Again it would be a question of finding someone who would take you on. I'm guessing that demand would be fairly high.
#5
Basically that ^

I wouldn't go so far as saying the college is a waste of money, as I'm sure some good would come of it, but I would say the money it would cost would be better served elsewhere, like funding your own builds....which would still be necessary after the course.

As for apprenticeships...good luck with that. I would be very surprised if you manage to find anyone willing to take you on. The vast majority of luthiers will be mostly self taught and not too willing to give up secrets they have learnt from years of work. Add to that there are very few jobs an untrained apprentice could be let loose at without risking detriment to the build and it's even more unlikely.

So I apologise if that sounds very negative, but I think it's pretty accurate. If you have loads of cash, you may as well go to the college. if not you'll have to go the same route as 95% of other luthiers....practice, practice and practice! There aren't really any shortcuts unfortunately and it not something that should be rushed into. However let that be the positive rather than the negative side of things and enjoy the experience improving your skills and building for fun before progressing to a business
#6
i suggest books, research, and doing rather then schools and apprenticeships. it's actually not that hard especially with electrics.

whatever you do though, choose your "teacher" wisely. the internet is full of bullshit and bad advice and if you do find a luthier to latch onto you may be doing endless scutwork or slowly learning 30 years worth of somebodies bad habits.

btw, what are you interested in? electrics, acoustics, basses, or all?
Last edited by ad_works at Dec 28, 2015,
#7
I got extremely lucky and apprenticed for almost a year with Tom Doyle who was luthier, soundman and friend to Les Paul for more than 45+ years. I learned a great deal but I still wouldn't say I was a pro. I know what I am capable of but I also know there is so much more to learn to be able to do it as a full time professional lutier. Tom shared some of knowledge with me about how to do things that I could personally use on my own guitars like pro set ups, re-fretting, cutting nuts, replacing fret boards, and mostly anything to do with the neck itself. To be a real luthier would require a few years of study with someone like a Tom Doyle who designs and builds custom guitars from scratch both acoustic and electric and designs and makes his own pickups (Doyle's Coils). Good luck finding someone who will take you on. I also agree that I don't think there is a job market out there for this profession.

http://www.doylecoils.com/
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#8
The problem with learning from vids or books is that you would also have to invest in all the necessary workshop gear to get started, and that could be an expensive learning curve in itself.

You luthiers how did you acquire your gear? Financed from some other source of cash eg another job? Bank loans? Funded from the luthery work itself, a sort of bootstraps operation?
#9
Quote by Tony Done


You luthiers how did you acquire your gear? Financed from some other source of cash eg another job? Bank loans? Funded from the luthery work itself, a sort of bootstraps operation?


day job. bought some basic stuff and built the rest. i prefer not to live in a van down by the river and my family needs competent health insurance. a "self-employed luthier" is a hard life.
#10
Like I said above I tutored under another luthier so everything needed was there however I have spent a few hundred dollars on things (mostly from Stewart/McDonald) but I waited until I found out what it is I actually need and what I don't. I also discussed it with other people who gave me good info about alternatives to some of the really expensive stuff. Don't buy until you get into it and know exactly what you need. It can set you back quite a lot. One fret file alone could set you back $40-$60 and you will need a few in different sizes. That's just one of a dozen or so examples just to have basic tools.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Dec 28, 2015,