PDA

View Full Version : 2017 Guild of American luthiers convention



ChuckBarnett
06-09-2017, 02:43 PM
Curious, do many of you folks attend this? I heard about it recently. I don't believe that I'm anywhere near worth the money that they want to go to it but people say it's a great convention.
I live on a good day about an hour and a half away well within driving time.

jcalkin
06-10-2017, 09:57 AM
I work for the Guild, so if you suspect I might be prejudiced that's fine. Aside from seeing some of the most amazing instrument work there is, you'll likely see luthiers working at a lesser degree of perfection who are just as proud of their work as the top shelf guys (and girls). This confused me during my first couple of conventions. During this "golden age" the bar has been set very high and climbs higher each year. The "lesser talents" may be just as skilled as the others but have decided for their own reasons not to compete in the chase. This was pretty mind-opening for me. After decades of working in the high end field I had already decided that musical equipment just isn't worth big money or great effort. If I won the lottery I wouldn't buy collectable instruments or high-end one-offs. I just wouldn't. Sorry.

The pressure to do immaculate repair work finally made me quit that field, too. Instruments are just artifacts that travel the same time line as humans, and if they suffer and finally die like humans its fine with me. Also, I am solitary, untalkative, and like to read in my room after the convention day ceases.

HOWEVER, if you are gregarious, talkative, enjoy some night life with kindred souls, and have a wide interest in lutherie in general, you may find that the convention is a life changing experience. You will likely return home with renewed enthusiasm, a brain full of new ideas, and the confidence that you can accomplish whatever it is you wish to do in the field of making stringed instruments. Its that powerful. But you'll have to hang out awhile to pick up all that. Just gazing the tables and leaving won't work. At least, I don't think so.

Pete Howlett
06-10-2017, 01:55 PM
That's a confusing reply John :)

Just to piggy back - I am organising a ukulele makers' festival here in the UK next year. Details at mumf.co.uk Content will be loaded onto the site this month with it becoming active very soon...

jcalkin
06-10-2017, 02:53 PM
That's a confusing reply John :)

Just to piggy back - I am organising a ukulele makers' festival here in the UK next year. Details at mumf.co.uk Content will be loaded onto the site this month with it becoming active very soon...

How so, Pete? I'll fix it.
Nobody up to their eyeballs in lutherie should miss their first convention if they can swing it. Then you'll know for yourself.

I attended and displayed at a number of ASIA symposiums as well as a number of GAL conventions. As an earnest member of a growing scene I felt that it was important to be there. If I was a gregarious person I would have gotten a lot more out of them and they would have been far more memorable. Given my druthers, I'd spend three days in some remote place camping with my wife instead. In either case you have to earn what you get back. Wonderful things don't fall in your lap just because you are there.

Pete Howlett
06-10-2017, 03:47 PM
That's better!