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Pete Howlett
09-11-2016, 06:50 PM
Just when you think you have the answer you get thrown a curve ball... mine was delivered by Noa Kitakis last week. I'm not going to tell you what it is but if you are just starting out, instead of wasting your time posting endless 'how to' requests here, give a luthier $500 to spend just a day watching, not asking any questions, what he does. YES! Pay for the privilege of just standing in the corner and watching. I can think of no other way of learning that adequately by-passes the endless torment of reading and re-reading the same old threads here!

Mutantmoose
09-11-2016, 07:04 PM
I paid to spend time with a luthier (Harrison Phipps here in Davis) over the summer, and learned a ton, especially how to make life much simpler when doing certain tasks. The training in fretting was, by itself, worth it.

DPO
09-11-2016, 07:39 PM
Just when you think you have the answer you get thrown a curve ball... mine was delivered by Noa Kitakis last week. I'm not going to tell you what it is but if you are just starting out, instead of wasting your time posting endless 'how to' requests here, give a luthier $500 to spend just a day watching, not asking any questions, what he does. YES! Pay for the privilege of just standing in the corner and watching. I can think of no other way of learning that adequately by-passes the endless torment of reading and re-reading the same old threads here!

As members of the human species, we learn by asking questions. Personally I won't stop until I die. No luthiers local to me unfortunately, and not sure they would want me standing in the corner silently for 8 hours. As far as the torment of reading endless threads, well we are free to ignore them if we so wish.

cml
09-11-2016, 08:01 PM
Well, as a new builder with questions I do try to search before posting, but keep in mind that without us new tormentors, this sub-forum would dwindle away and die. No new threads = no activity -> dead forum.

sequoia
09-11-2016, 08:15 PM
Personally, I could buy a lot of wood and tools for $500 dollars (US). True, I probably do things inefficiently and perhaps even wrongly, but I like the adventure. Onward! Into the fog!

PS: I would probably pay, at most, $50 bucks for a luthier to teach me something new and that is a bit of a stretch. If he was cool and brought his own beer and weed I might be willing to go to $65, but that is the absolute limit. We don't learn by watching, we learn by doing.

Pete Howlett
09-11-2016, 08:39 PM
It's obvious you place little or no value on experience. I have learned and am still learning by watching, assimilating and then doing. We live in a sad society where an attitude of entitlement produces lazy learners. Even if your comments were in jest I find them somewhat derisory and overly flippant. I only the other hand am deadly serious!

Dan Gleibitz
09-11-2016, 10:40 PM
I'm pretty sure that things can be learned by reading, watching, doing, or even just having a think and figgerin' it out in yer' head. And yes, most definitely by asking questions here, and reading other questions and the helpful (if often varied) advice from more experienced forum members.

I wouldn't pay $500 to watch somebody work though. I can do a fair bit of figgerin' out for $500.

Timbuck
09-11-2016, 10:56 PM
As I dont know anybody who I can watch living nearby, So I turn to the internet and watch countless videos to see if I can pick up any ideas how to do a job better easier and quicker..and its not just luthiery videos, any thing in engineering methods I'll watch also .. My Dad always said working with wood is just the same as working in metal only you make more progress..I some times just sit back for hours and day dream and visualise in my mind how a job can be done and what problems I have to overcome to get it to work...A good example of watching is in the video on the interet of the old Nunes silent film of building a uke in the early 1900's..I examined that video frame by frame and learned a lot from it, like fitting the back to the sides first, then the big lump of wood (actually an early form of solera) that was used to clamp on the sound board last which also set the neck angle at the same time...Yes! you can learn a lot just waching..I would pay good money, if I could go back in time and stand in the corner of that workshop for a week.:D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxapCiRm278

Dan Gleibitz
09-12-2016, 12:37 AM
I've watched that one a bunch of times Timbuck, but still haven't worked out if the sides are flat or shaped for the curve. I've learnt more from watching your videos and reading your build threads though... so thanks! (I guess I owe you a fair few quid by now!)

I'm sure it's no substitute for first hand learning from a professional, but I reckon YouTube is an amazing learning resource.

Kekani
09-12-2016, 12:42 AM
We don't learn by watching, we learn by doing.
Gotta disagree with you there, and agree with Pete.

I have Larry Robinson's books, and video's. I've spent countless hours researching and developing inlay techniques. Then I had the opportunity to talk to Larry at NAMM. I dropped Rick's name (he suggested I do), and Larry asked, "You know Rick? He's a giant among men." Agreed. Anyway, 45 minutes of one on one time with Larry, at the end he asked, "Do you have my book?" Of course I said yes. He asked, "Which one?". I didn't have the new one, so I bought it off him. Got him to autograph it, and went upstairs right after to get Rick to autograph the forward (which he wrote). He (Rick) thought I was being ridiculous, but signed anyway.

By the way, that 45 minutes with Larry elevated my inlay artwork to a level I wouldn't have reached for another 5 or 10 years. I couldn't pay enough for that lesson, and all it cost me was a book, which I probably would've gotten anyway.

Of course, I'm fortunate that I don't have to pay to watch and learn. I have access to a couple of factories, and numerous builders who share their craft, especially at the UGH Exhibition (coming up in November).

On the opposite side, I've had the opportunity to pay a little forward, and have taken a builder under my wing (he does customs for a factory), at the urging of his boss. We don't necessarily build together, as much as we have conversations about building. Learning does occur. However, we're at the stage where the conversations make sense, and not an absolute beginner stage.

Andyk
09-12-2016, 01:11 AM
I am alway falling foul of making flippant remarks when I should keep my gob shut (really wondering what Noa is going to spend his $500 on ... d'oh! there I go again).
However I'm with Pete on this one. Yes you can get loads of information from kind people on the internet but sometimes just watching people who know what they are doing can give you information that even kind internet people may not have thought to post. I bet you'd see some steps/techniques that some builders would normally keep as their little secret too. I do wonder however how long I would last in a luthier's workshop before I get thrown out for asking "Why do you do it like that?" too many times.

cml
09-12-2016, 01:18 AM
I'm with Ken, there's such a wealth of knowledge here and on youtube that you can learn almost anything. You get the theory here, and then put it to practice by yourself. Problems? Iterate and learn from it. That's a good learning process.

To say that the way forward is to pay 500 quid to WATCH a luthier is frankly quite insulting. I value everyone on here and their experience highly, but there's no way I'd pay anything like that even if there was a luthier nearby. I'd buy you lunch though.
A workshop, working on techniques, Q&A, for a full day, maybe I'd go for 150, but then it better be well executed by the person hosting.

This forum exist to help each other out and share ideas, discuss ideas etc, does it not? That's SHARING experience. I greatly appreciate everyone contributing. But I'd be loathed if everyone had your attitude towards new members. This is a discussion board, not a bill board.

EDIT: I kind of regret replying, because surely you're just trolling Pete?

Kevs-the-name
09-12-2016, 01:31 AM
I agree in part to most of comments here. Everyone has the right to an opinion.
I have paid my money to learn (and build). I have stood in the corner to watch. I have 'worked' for/with a builder for a week. I have watched endless clips, flicked through many books and used trial and many errors, all to get close to building something that closely resembles an ukulele.

However, as a qualified teacher, (and continued learner) I recognise that people learn in many different ways. Watching is only one element, it doesn't always relate to 'understanding'. Questions need to be asked, information needs to be researched, mulled over, questioned, synthesised, torn apart.... call it what you want. And then it has to be practiced. requestioned (why did that happen etc?)
The luthier's way that you are watching may be the best way for 'them' to do it. It certainly doesn't mean it is right or the only way (hand bending vs machine bending? solera vs mold?)

Forums are there to be used, for information to be passed and learned. I recall certain people suggesting I "grab a cup of coffee and sit and read through the forums" most of the information is there! That is what 'I' did... then I sought help from a builder... (or 2!)
...I will also carry on reading, asking and watch.

Dan Gleibitz
09-12-2016, 02:09 AM
"The luthier's way that you are watching may be the best way for 'them' to do it. It certainly doesn't mean it is right or the only way (hand bending vs machine bending? solera vs mold?)"

If I've learnt one thing from this forum, it's that there's a thousand ways to do each stage of a build wrong, and only three hundred or so ways to do each bit right.

Michael N.
09-12-2016, 03:16 AM
There are two ways to learn things: the quick way or the slow way. The slow way is to go in your workshop armed with tools and wood. Eventually you'll probably become proficient if you readily learn from your mistakes, are extremely dedicated and have an abundance of patience. It's a long road though.
The quick way is to directly learn from the folk who were either taught in the system or who have already trodden the path of endless mistakes and learnt from them. You avoid all the mistakes that they made. The lines have become somewhat blurred because of the amount of books and of course the internet. There's just so much information that is available, no comparison to what existed 20 or 30 years ago. Having said that there is little substitution of learning from an experienced maker. They do need to be someone who is good at communicating though.
The quick way used to be the apprentice system. There are precious few left, hardly any in instrument making. One of the few 2 or 3 year instrument making courses are a good substitute. I doubt you'll find many specifically on Uke making. That leaves the mini courses that seem to have sprung up over the last 15 years or so. They can be anything from a week to around 3 weeks. They cost but nowhere near as much as other courses in non crafty occupations, especially given the low ratio of teacher/pupil. Some can be one to one. You won't get that on your 'business course' unless you are paying the best part of 500+ per day.

cml
09-12-2016, 04:52 AM
Having said that there is little substitution of learning from an experienced maker. They do need to be someone who is good at communicating though.
Of course, but the suggestion was to pay 500 to stand and watch. I'd rather watch Rob O'brien's excellent videos and try for myself, and ask for feedback as necessary.

Pete's attitude is rather demeaning, we're not all incapable of learning niether are we stupid. If our questions are such a torment, and our posts bump advertising threads down, then perhaps the fault isnt at our end hmm?

Titchtheclown
09-12-2016, 04:55 AM
I find it best to learn from the mistakes of others, or at the very lest from how they don't make mistakes.

tobinsuke
09-12-2016, 05:42 AM
Lively discussion! I don't think it can be flatly stated that "we learn by this and not by that." I think different people have different brains and learn best in different ways. I do see the value, however, in observing an expert at work.

Besides, with my luck I'd pony up $500 and show up on the day the luthier had set aside to cut batches of neck blocks and bridge plates. :p

resoman
09-12-2016, 06:20 AM
I wish I had somewhere to go and watch but like Ken I'm miles from anywhere so it's youtubes and books and just the hard knocks of learning by myself.
CML, I don't believe Pete is trolling and I do not find his attitude demeaning.

Michael N.
09-12-2016, 06:40 AM
Of course, but the suggestion was to pay 500 to stand and watch. I'd rather watch Rob O'brien's excellent videos and try for myself, and ask for feedback as necessary.

Pete's attitude is rather demeaning, we're not all incapable of learning niether are we stupid. If our questions are such a torment, and our posts bump advertising threads down, then perhaps the fault isnt at our end hmm?

Of course it can be done. It's the slow way, excellent videos or not. Believe me, there's no substitution for real life one to one, even if you are stood watching. I'm not sure I'd pay $500 just to watch but I certainly did pay to learn French polishing from someone who had been doing it all his life. That's after I'd been to instrument making school. I wasn't only watching though. Sometimes there is a financial equation to take into account. You can pay someone to teach you and in the long run it can save you countless hours, way more than the money you've saved by not being taught. I suppose it all depends on how much money you have in the first place and whether or not you want to go professional. If you are just doing it for fun and not that interested in really fulfilling your potential then carry on as you are. Make no mistake though, it's the slower way. At least it is for 90%+ of folk. There's always the odd one who seems to take to it in a way that goes against the grain, if you'll pardon the expression.

cml
09-12-2016, 07:04 AM
I disagree Michael. Of course it will be very different for individuals, but most people learn better from a source that's enthusiastic, entertaining and knowledgeable, rather than demeaning, unpleasant and knowledgeable.

Of course I'd rather have someone show me in real life, letting me practice and then giving me feedback over watching videos on youtube. But again, I'd rather watch on youtube than standing behind someone if you couldn't ask questions, participate etc.

Full potential, well, I doubt someone who find new builders tormenting could help me get there anywayb regardless how knowledgeable and experienced such an individual is.

Pete Howlett
09-12-2016, 08:03 AM
No I am not trolling - a training seminar where you get to sit and be told can cost from $500 upward. What I am trying to do is see how much ;value' we place on knowledge and peoples' attitude towards that. Clearly there is divided opinion on this with most people averse to paying anything for the 'secrets of a luthier'...

I have many stories I can tell you. Here's one.:

Back in the so-called 'good old days' my college technician was a bench saw machinist producing cutlery handle knife blanks - piece work. To get a new saw blade for his machine he had to pass his old one through a crack in the door of the resident saw doctor and receive his sharpened one through said crack. The saw doctor got sick and so the factory was grinding to a halt, all except for Earnest who was cheerfully sawing away... he had learned to sharpen his saw blade because his work area was above the sea doctors room and a loose know in the floorboards, directly above his bench. Earnest would finish early and watch through the loose know and thus learned how to sharpen his saw. The bosses discovered Earnest's 'hack' put him in the sea doctors place until he returned and instructed the old boy to pass on his trade.

Now this may be a 'story', Earnest had plenty of those but it does illustrate a point. Now lets get back to my original premise. $500/8= $62.50 and hour. This is probably less than the call out charge for any tradesman or service charge for your car. Is $500 really too much to pay for information that is going to save you $1000's in wasted time, effort and materials? Yes watch all those free videos and read every thread here. nevertheless, seriously consider next time you visit a luthier for advice, paying him for it or at least offering something in return. It's not your right to get anything free. It is your opportunity to put some reciprocity into the process...

This thread has also revealed much in the way people have kicked the ball into my face rather than the net, but hey, I'm used to it :)

cml
09-12-2016, 08:10 AM
I'm not in anyway saying a luthier's time isnt worth anything, nor do I claim any right to free knowledge. But, it is there, and I wouldn't pay 500 to just stand and watch, that's simply a very bad premise for learning. I doubt you'd learn much or anything on my job from merely observing.

Face vs net? You get answered the way you ask. Simple truth of life.

Pete Howlett
09-12-2016, 08:34 AM
You are not a luthier. When I am at maker's shop I learn so many things. Two weeks ago I spent a morning watching Les Stansell execute a slipper heel joint. I didn't ask any questions but just stood and respectfully watched a fellow master craftsman teach me something I did not know. I even acted as his assistant holding the shop vac for dust extraction - yes, I stood there like the Saturday Boy sucking dust for the master! If I can do it, so can you is how I feel about this....

philrab66
09-12-2016, 10:09 AM
You are not a luthier. When I am at maker's shop I learn so many things. Two weeks ago I spent a morning watching Les Stansell execute a slipper heel joint. I didn't ask any questions but just stood and respectfully watched a fellow master craftsman teach me something I did not know. I even acted as his assistant holding the shop vac for dust extraction - yes, I stood there like the Saturday Boy sucking dust for the master! If I can do it, so can you is how I feel about this....

Then you slipped said master $500

Timbuck
09-12-2016, 11:38 AM
I wouldn't mind a top pro luthier standing behind me and watching me turning some necks in the lathe two at a time and cutting dovetails on the bandsaw and making kerfed linings at 110 kerfs per minute..I'm not a pro builder either..and if they want to pay me and afford to pay me :shaka: then these pro luthiers earn a lot more money than they make out;)

DPO
09-12-2016, 11:38 AM
Then you slipped said master $500

ROTFL:biglaugh::biglaugh:

lauburu
09-12-2016, 01:45 PM
I used to be a teacher, then I saw the light. One thing I did learn as a teacher was that people learn at different rates and in different ways. It depends upon a whole bunch of variables such as: their entry level when coming up against a new idea (what they already know), the applicability of what they've just seen (or been told) ......etc... and their personal learning style. Some people need to see things in small chunks then go away and practise; others can immediately understand a whole process and apply it with no mistakes. Everyone's different - and we should be thankful for that fact.

My personal learning style for new uke building skills is based around reading and re-reading and re-reading, then watching videos on YouTube then eventually plucking up the courage to do the new task. Then I figure out what went wrong and repeat it until I can do it better. I am accepting of my current inadequacies as a luthier but have a determination to keep improving.

Even though I am capable of making a uke by myself, I have also paid for uke making courses and have learned vast amounts each time and improved my skills somewhat. To me, these have been far more valuable than the cost of the course.

However, that's just me and everybody is different. At my stage of learning I couldn't stand quietly for half an hour and watch someone without asking questions. The gaps in my knowledge are so large that I probably couldn't assimilate the new ideas I was seeing into what I already understand and would feel compelled to ask questions every 30 seconds. Someone with a better repository of existing knowledge would be far better able to stand quietly, see, evaluate and incorporate new ideas because they have a higher level of understanding of the entire process and the skills to be able to execute what they know.

I am not at that advanced stage and may never be. As a result, I am not sure that Pete's suggestion would work for me. However, I am intent upon building my knowledge, improving my understanding and honing my skills. I am grateful to the people who write the books, the people that make the videos and the informed comment and advice of all contributors to this forum. Maybe, in the not too distant future, I will know enough to be able to learn by standing and watching. Maybe, by that stage, I will be prepared to pay a master luthier so I can learn by standing and watching.
Miguel

BlackBearUkes
09-12-2016, 03:45 PM
Being a full time luthier for many years, the idea of having someone pay me $500 a day to stand there and watch as I work on various string instruments without asking any questions is ......... well....... a fantasy. First of all, I don't know anyone with that kind of money, and second, the luthiers that I know are lucky to pay all the bills, insurance, utilities and on and on. However, if any one wants to approach me and pay me that kind of money to watch for one day or more, just let me know. I'll supply the coffee!

sequoia
09-12-2016, 07:21 PM
I only the other hand am deadly serious!

Pete, you are always deadly serious. Maybe that is why I like being flippant!... How about this: Maybe we learn by doing, assimilating and watching? My point was that people do things differently. I'm not sure where an "attitude of entitlement" comes in here? Or where building by doing is lazy. People do things in different ways. And I think it is all ok.

The comments were in no way meant to be derisory Pete. Perhaps we have a cultural communication problem here. After all, we do all come from different cultures, countries and backgrounds. I thought the spirit of this forum was a free exchange of ideas on building ukuleles across the world. Aloha Pete.

DPO
09-12-2016, 07:21 PM
I watch as many woodworking videos that I can, after almost fifty years of on and off woodworking I "found" Paul Sellers and never ever tire of watching a true craftsman explaining and sharing his skills. He would be one of the most talented hand woodworkers in the world. And HE never seems to tire of freely sharing his skills so that others may learn. I have learned so much from him that It is scary how little I actually knew.

Pete Howlett
09-12-2016, 09:11 PM
Paul is just down the road from me. He puts on a good show tho I suspect there are many traditionalists who balk at his methods

Dan Gleibitz
09-12-2016, 09:49 PM
You are not a luthier.

He is actually, according to my dictionary.


When I am at maker's shop I learn so many things.

Out of curiosity... I understand you are currently travelling the world to visit uke builders. Are you paying each of them $500, or just pro-rata based on your $62.50/hr calculation?

gerardg
09-12-2016, 10:29 PM
Totaly agree to each word from you here, Sequoia.
Totaly.


Pete, you are always deadly serious. Maybe that is why I like being flippant!... How about this: Maybe we learn by doing, assimilating and watching? My point was that people do things differently. I'm not sure where an "attitude of entitlement" comes in here? Or where building by doing is lazy. People do things in different ways. And I think it is all ok.

The comments were in no way meant to be derisory Pete. Perhaps we have a cultural communication problem here. After all, we do all come from different cultures, countries and backgrounds. I thought the spirit of this forum was a free exchange of ideas on building ukuleles across the world. Aloha Pete.

DPO
09-13-2016, 12:31 AM
Paul is just down the road from me. He puts on a good show tho I suspect there are many traditionalists who balk at his methods

I suspect he is more a traditionalist than most.

Michael N.
09-13-2016, 02:02 AM
He is but like virtually all woodworkers he has his limitations. I think his strong point seems to be in traditional cabinet making skills, probably what he was trained in. He is very good at making woodwork seem accessible. He tends to simplify things rather than try to make them complicated. I have a lot of time for that approach.

Timbuck
09-13-2016, 02:06 AM
All this studying of vids of factory tours and searching the Internet for clues on how it's done..and sneaking into each other's workshops and having a good look round for ideas....this is industrial espionage ain't it;)

Andyk
09-13-2016, 03:57 AM
espionage ... what espionage?

94175

:)

Pete Howlett
09-13-2016, 08:07 AM
And now we have fully drifted off the point like the proverbial flotsam on the sea... peace at last :)

Timbuck
09-13-2016, 08:49 AM
And now we have fully drifted off the point like the proverbial flotsam on the sea... peace at last :)
Have a nice time over there Pete...Just to let you know what you are missing in the UK..Today was the hottest day of the year & the hottest September day for over a hundred years..It was boiling hot in the workshop so I packed in woodworking for the day and Mrs Timbuck and I had lemonade and doughnuts on the lawn .. later on a nice "pot of tea" and "Red Leicester cheese and lettuce and tomato sandwiches" ;) and more of the same tomorrow forcast :cheers:

Matt Clara
09-13-2016, 08:57 AM
Mrs Timbuck and I had lemonade and doughnuts on the lawn .. later on a nice "pot of tea" and "Red Leicester cheese and lettuce and tomato sandwiches" ;) and more of the same tomorrow forcast :cheers:

Sounds fantastic Ken, something to aspire to. If only I could find a decent cheese around here!

Andyk
09-13-2016, 10:11 AM
And now we have fully drifted off the point like the proverbial flotsam on the sea... peace at last :)


Sorry Pete but the thread had turned from discussion into full blown argument ... And let's face it life is far to short for that. Happy travels!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-13-2016, 12:00 PM
Have a nice time over there Pete...Just to let you know what you are missing in the UK..Today was the hottest day of the year & the hottest September day for over a hundred years..It was boiling hot in the workshop so I packed in woodworking for the day and Mrs Timbuck and I had lemonade and doughnuts on the lawn .. later on a nice "pot of tea" and "Red Leicester cheese and lettuce and tomato sandwiches" ;) and more of the same tomorrow forcast :cheers:

Ah, thinly sliced muenster cheese on whole grain bread with a garden grown tomato, some bib lettuce, and bit of mayo and some fresh ground pepper.....it really doesn't get better than that. :) And it's been unusually hot and muggy here too. Temps in the high 80s with humidity to match.
Thread thoroughly derailed now.

Timbuck
09-13-2016, 12:08 PM
Ah, thinly sliced muenster cheese on whole grain bread with a garden grown tomato, some bib lettuce, and bit of mayo and some fresh ground pepper.....it really doesn't get better than that. :) And it's been unusually hot and muggy here too. Temps in the high 80s with humidity to match.
Thread thoroughly derailed now. my thermometer / humidity device in the workshop said it was 85 F and 28% Humidity...not very comfortable for me..I expect that's ideal working conditions for you Chuck.:)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-13-2016, 12:55 PM
my thermometer / humidity device in the workshop said it was 85 F and 28% Humidity...not very comfortable for me..I expect that's ideal working conditions for you Chuck.:)

85 degrees F is the norm for me. But I like to build at around 40% RH. On an especially humid day I probably pull 5 gallons of water out of my 10' X 15" build room. Much of that moisture is due to my sweat! Good for growing tomatoes though.

Wildestcat
09-15-2016, 09:56 AM
my thermometer / humidity device in the workshop said it was 85 F and 28% Humidity...not very comfortable for me..I expect that's ideal working conditions for you Chuck.:)

I'd get that humidity device checked Ken - it was 82% in Shropshire :D

philrab66
09-15-2016, 10:54 AM
As members of the human species, we learn by asking questions. Personally I won't stop until I die. No luthiers local to me unfortunately, and not sure they would want me standing in the corner silently for 8 hours. As far as the torment of reading endless threads, well we are free to ignore them if we so wish.

Nice compliment at 47.35 minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiDabFoa0uk