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View Full Version : Two skill tests for budding luthiers.



Pete Howlett
11-07-2015, 01:52 PM
If you read all the threads in this forum you will note I have addressed the one great challenge every budding luthier has to face and that is hand bending. Very few of my students immediately understand this process - I find it very hard to describe what is for me a now intuitive and completely natural task.

The other is neck carving. Now I know that Chuck and a few other mavericks here do an incredible thing with a belt sander and carve their necks with one of these. Us mere mortals have to be content with hand tools. Here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NurhUAYsU8I) is a link to something that might help you. It will be the beginning of the resurrection of my YouTube instructionals only done professionally now. I'm afraid a change in my personal circumstances means I cannot give it away but by the time I have finished the series it will certainly be cheaper than flying the pond to attend a course or serve an internship.

I know some are going to ask if we can stream content - this may be a way to teach a formal build with a weekly podcast that you can subscribe to but we are not yet there - setting up a functioning workshop in a studio, albeit one equipped for woodworking is quite an undertaking. What are your thoughts? What do you really want to see? A real time build in progress that takes you meticulously through the process in real time or a thorough but skilfully edited DVD that guides you through it? I have been researching this and have tried to watch a number of different 'craft' presentations done in real time, some of them full length tasters of a subscription service and after 10 minutes I am thinking, "Who would pay for this drivel..." All that I have seen are unplanned, unfocused, unprepared and a general waste of time... it's almost as if the presenters have been caught out and have forgotten they were filming that day!

gyosh
11-07-2015, 01:58 PM
If you read all the threads in this forum you will note I have addressed the one great challenge every budding luthier has to face and that is hand bending. Very few of my students immediately understand this process - I find it very hard to describe what is for me a now intuitive and completely natural task.

The other is neck carving. Now I know that Chuck and a few other mavericks here do an incredible thing with a belt sander and carve their necks with one of these. Us mere mortals have to be content with hand tools. Here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NurhUAYsU8I) is a link to something that might help you. It will be the beginning of the resurrection of my YouTube instructionals only done professionally now. I'm afraid a change in my personal circumstances means I cannot give it away but by the time I have finished the series it will certainly be cheaper than flying the pond to attend a course or serve an internship.

I know some are going to ask if we can stream content - this may be a way to teach a formal build with a weekly podcast that you can subscribe to but we are not yet there - setting up a functioning workshop in a studio, albeit one equipped for woodworking is quite an undertaking. What are your thoughts? What do you really want to see? A real time build in progress that takes you meticulously through the process in real time or a thorough but skilfully edited DVD that guides you through it? I have been researching this and have tried to watch a number of different 'craft' presentations done in real time, some of them full length tasters of a subscription service and after 10 minutes I am thinking, "Who would pay for this drivel..." All that I have seen are unplanned, unfocused, unprepared and a general waste of time... it's almost as if the presenters have been caught out and have forgotten they were filming that day!

I'm a teacher.

I start at the skills I want accomplished at the end of the lesson and plan backwards. I also used this approach when filming videos for my grad degree (Instructional Design w/an emphasis in video production).

By planning backwards you'll be sure to include all the elements you'll need to complete the task. You can also make note of the areas that need more emphasis and address possible difficulties that may arise during the learning process.

I would also suggest storyboarding your video before attempting to shoot, but you probably already do this.

Just a thought. Hope it's helpful.

-Gary

Pete Howlett
11-07-2015, 02:26 PM
Too late Gary - it's done. I did story board but it became a complete distraction. I thought I needed to because of my PD and it shows in the final cut where I stuck to a script and just went with the flow. I trained as a teacher of craft and have taught build courses for the past 5 years. I know the process. I'd just be interested to see how people wanted to get their content - oh and the next one will be unscripted but thoroughly planned around a task rather than a dialogue. Bit like Robbie Obrien's which are shot then voiced over. From a presentation point of view this gives a very presentable and slick piece. However it lacks presence and is staged in the editing suite - there is no sense of real time; something that I think makes an instructional video dynamic and watchable. I dunno? What do you think?

Kekani
11-07-2015, 03:25 PM
I just did a series of three 5 minute videos for Shawn (Ukulele Friend). Not unlike Gary, I too am an instructor. Backwards planning is something I consciously do consistently.

The nice thing about Robbie's is that it works for him, as an instructor. When I was at the peak of teaching "The Army Instructor Training Course" with my team, there were 5 of us, each with different styles, but headed towards the same goal, and consistent evaluations. But different styles. The students could emulate any one of us, but was rather optioned to develop into their OWN style, which was great.

Getting back to the videos - the pain in the ass part doing it live, is what ended up with 15 minutes of video, took over 3 hours to shoot. And it STILL could've been edited. But it won't, because the priority of the vids are there.

Pete, I like your vids, and your style. You should do what YOU feel comfortable with, that way we get to learn from YOU, and not a fabricated one. Not that Robbie is fabricated, his vids are him, and that's cool too.

sequoia
11-07-2015, 06:02 PM
Very slick looking Pete. Very professional. Photography is first rate. I know nothing about producing craft videos, but as someone who watches them I can say that watching a talking head talk is not really what I want to see no matter how handsome the luthier. What I want to see is the the wood and the tools. Editing with a voice-over works for me and I would imagine is a lot easier to control than doing multiple takes. Just film the procedure (multiple angles please) and then explain off camera with a voice over. Just my thoughts. I do think the Mya-Moe videos are good though (very entertaining - why did Aaron just bring a giant cucumber into the shop?) and I find the O'Brian videos provide just the right amount of information in the shortest time and he has a wry sense of humor that is quite good. Humor is good in the uke shop otherwise things can get a little dry.

Michael Smith
11-07-2015, 07:06 PM
Very nice work Pete.

All the success.

greenscoe
11-07-2015, 10:10 PM
This looks very classy!

Pete Howlett
11-09-2015, 06:25 AM
The DVD (http://www.artisancoshop.com/products/Neck-Carving:-An-Artisan-Course-with-Pete-Howlett.html?tab=ProductReviews#ProductTabs) is now on release...

RPA_Ukuleles
11-09-2015, 09:25 AM
Congratulations Pete! Glad to see it out there. I know it's been a lot of work and a long time coming. Wish you lots of success with the series. I found your original YouTube vids very helpful when I started building. I can see your series becoming the de facto standard someday in learning the trade.

Pete Howlett
11-09-2015, 10:09 AM
Cheers Rod. It is the start of a beautiful thing.....

taylordb
11-09-2015, 10:23 AM
Just ordered mine. They emailed me and said this was so hot off the press that they have not had a chance to get it to their New York distribution center for the US just yet. So they are sending it to me direct from the UK at no additional charge. That's good customer service.

DazW
11-09-2015, 10:25 AM
Just ordered mine. They emailed me and said this was so hot off the press that they have not had a chance to get it to their New York distribution center for the US just yet. So they are sending it to me direct from the UK at no additional charge. That's good customer service.

Great, Im in the UK and ordered mine from the U.S. (doh!) So hopefully mine will come straight from the UK anyway.

Edit - Yep, just had e-mail confirmation it's coming from UK tomorrow. Can't wait!!!

Pete Howlett
11-09-2015, 12:58 PM
When you get your copies please review and spread the word. We have an initial pressing of 1000 to sell and to help fund the tenor uke build project - an on-line masterclass course that will take you from start to finish using a few specialist tools and basic workshop equipment. This work is time consuming and takes a huge amount of time to set up and shoot. Artisan are giving me the general studio workshop to set dress for a luthier's shop so the next DVD will look even more spectacular. What we are in discussion about is to stream or not to stream and your views would be most welcome.

DazW
11-09-2015, 08:53 PM
It's a tough one and I can understand the deliberation. Personally this is the first DVD I have bought in the last few years, everything I watch is usually online through my TV or iPad. Would I find streaming more convenient? Probably, but I bought this DVD without hesitation and will continue to do so with the following releases should streaming not be available.