By Jack Barnes
Was it your love for music or your flair for craftsmanship that got you roped into such an idea? Or maybe, it was both. Musicians are flocking by the herd everywhere, but the number of people who want to spend their lives curving guitars are fair few (comparatively speaking). It is interesting to know that you have thought of making a life-long career out of it. But the question is where should you begin? Where is it going to take you? Do you have what it takes?
There are a lot of those DIY tutorials flooding the internet but like all fine crafts, the art of Luthier also requires a mentor who can handhold you through it, at least in the beginning. It takes patience and perseverance to master your craft. Here are 4 basic steps to make meaning out of your career as a luthier.
Take deep breath and begin– In the beginning, everybody around you including your self-doubt will perhaps tell you that you can’t do it. You will have to muster enough passion and courage to ask them to shut up and you have to do it. You have to start somewhere, and what time can be better that today itself? Don’t wait for the world to come to you or do not invest too much right in the beginning. Start with basic materials and gradually build it up. You can acquire professional skills and a tool set on the way.
Give your craft the time it needs– Stick to it. Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged if the wheels are not spinning as fast as you expected them to. Devote the first two years to learning. Read up, research, make sense out of it and apply it to your work. Don’t get worked up if your work is not being immediately recognised or if it’s not fetching you a price.
Get yourself field exposure– The best way to do so is repair work. Get yourself as many guitar repair gigs as you can. It will fetch you some cash and an invaluable learning experience. Apart from exposure, this will earn you a reputation and a clientele. It is also a good way to understand client expectation and the know-how of running a business. And, this is also probably that stage where you can start building up your tool kit to further build your craft.
Sign-up for guitar making classes– True they say that trial and error is the best way to learn but having expert guidance to help you through can be a great boon. Do not expect to start learning there. Self-teaching is an important part of your craft as a luthier. However, going to a luthier school will help you chisel your craft further and take it to the next level.
So there you, this should give you good heads up as to where to begin your career as a luthier and how to take it through the stages: from a hobby to a business to being the best in the craft. The key is to keep at it!
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