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>> Ukulele Info >> How does one land a job as a luthier?

Message started by matthewhable on Apr 30th, 2008 at 10:56am

Title: How does one land a job as a luthier?
Post by matthewhable on Apr 30th, 2008 at 10:56am
I may be getting way ahead of myself, considering I am still honing my craft as a luthier (specifically making ukuleles), but I would like to know how an amateur luthier without any relevant connections (like myself) can get his or her foot in the door. Perhaps as an apprentice or starting off as a personal assistant to a luthier? Is that how it works? Is it possible to make a living as a luthier? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Title: Re: How does one land a job as a luthier?
Post by Acabooe on Apr 30th, 2008 at 11:20am
I would like to know too.
My wife, son, and I are moving to Hawai'i very soon, and I am going to become a pro luthier after I take my Hana Lima class this year.
so, any tips that any one has, I wanna hear them too.

Title: Re: How does one land a job as a luthier?
Post by pumpkin on Jul 15th, 2008 at 4:20pm
Don't think that you can just take a building class and come out prepared to be a "professional luthier"....in other words, don't quit your day job right away!  It takes a lot of time and skill to produce great instruments. Attending a class is a great start tho! Once you do get started you could show up at uke conventions or guitar shows and show your wares. If you have a good product, you should be able to sell a couple. When you start selling them and people are pleased with your product,.. word of mouth (more so than ever these days 'cuz of the internet) is a great marketing tool! I am by no means a luthier, but i did  work in wholesale and retail musical instruments for about ten years. Now i am in a touring rock band so i still work with instrument companies with endorsements and such. I also plan on building instruments. I have been reading books, articles, been on online forums and have spoken with established makers. I have been doing this for about two years, and I am just now starting to get geared up to build something! I have talked to many people who have been to great guitar building schools who are still working in repair shops and building on the side. Have you checked out the "Music Instrument Makers' Forum" at: www.mimf.com, they have a TON of info!

Title: Re: How does one land a job as a luthier?
Post by jack on Feb 27th, 2009 at 6:45am
I have been a pro woodworker for many years, I made my first guitar from a Stewmac kit a few years ago.  Then I had the opportunity to go to Wayne Henderson's shop to see his process.  I went to the best bluegrass player in our area, and offered to make him a custom guitar.  I went to Wanye's and offered to help him work on some of his guitars (mostly hand sanding and scraping) in exchange for him helping me build the custom dreadnaught guitar.  That was #3 and I gave it to the local picker, who plays it on stage.  Mostly as referrals from him, I am now making #25.  I am now making about 4 guitars for every piece of furniture, as far as making a living, wood collectors disease has prevented me from showing a profit.  But I rent shop space, and have enough wood to build about 40 guitars.  Only 2 of my guitars have not been presold.  I have now sold 4 ukes and hope to grow to about 15 instruments a year.  In order to get an efficient shop, complete with all the specialty tools, froms and bending molds, it can be quite capital intensive.  I am making any style that is requested, which cuts back on profit.  A builder like Wayne, builds almost exclusively Martin models, and is very efficient. He builds about 40 a year and has a 10 year waiting list, he has even referred me a few customers.  Making a living as a luthier is kind of an oximoron But when you see one of your instruments on stage, it gives you a feeling that is hard to express.
Find a good metor, and a good player, and give it a shot.

Title: Re: How does one land a job as a luthier?
Post by obmissy- on Feb 27th, 2009 at 12:11pm
When I was teaching guitar making in high school woodshop I had a couple kids that wanted to continue with lutherie.  I sent them to Taylor Guitars to get a job working on the line.  One guy got hired but I haven't heard from him in a few years so i don't know if he is still there or not.  When he turned 18, his dad told him get a job or join the marines.  Hopefully he is still employed by Taylor because he REALLY did not want to join the marines.

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