View Full Version : how did you end up a luthier?

10-29-2009, 05:27 AM
just curious as to how a lot of you ended up building instruments (and making money from it).what are your backgrounds?, i have no experience with wood work but would love to get into it and just don't really know where to start.

10-29-2009, 07:46 AM
I have no idea how it happened. Maybe I had too much cash around :rotfl:
Not long after I started playing guitar I thought it would be cool to build them. I thought about it for several years before I had a place where I could do it. Now its just a hobby for me. I build 2 or 3 per year.
I didn't have any wood working background or knowledge before I started. (maybe even less now lol)

10-29-2009, 08:11 AM
I made my first uke because I wanted something better. I could not afford to buy a top of the range uke, fifteen years ago (or now), but I had some experience making flying model aeroplanes (airplanes?). I looked inside a few good ukes and thought, "I can make one". So I did. The first was only a partial success, but I'm proud of all the subsequent ones, to a greater or lesser degree.

However, I don't consider myself to be a luthier. I'm a hobbyist.


10-29-2009, 09:35 AM
I was a custom knifemaker before taking up lutherie. I used koa to make display boxes for my knives. On a trip to Hawaii, I read a magazine on how Kamaka used koa to make their ukuleles. I thought that was cool and had played the uke a bit, so I built a few. Back then you could not give ukuleles away, but my wife wanted a mandolin, so I built her one. She showed it to an owner of a guitar store and he offered to sell them for me. I built one for him which he sold two weeks later. The rest is history, that was 24 years ago, and now I have come back to my roots making ukuleles again, which I love, because I don't play the mandolin.


10-29-2009, 10:43 AM
I had this guy in Portland work on my bass for me. His name is Fred Cole. Has a band called the Pierced Arrows, and used to be in Dead Moon. I brought it in to his shop, and he fixed on the spot for $5.00! And didn't give me any attitude. So I looked into doing repairs, because I thought there should be more people in guitar shops like that. I found a lutherie school in my home state of Minnesota with a good rep, and more importantly is a State school, so I could get financial aid. Still in school, but looking to go out and get a job doing repairs, and building on my own in May. And I've been taken by the ukulele. I'll probably build some guitars, but I think the ukulele is where it's at for me. By the way, I talked to Fred about that day at a show here in MN once and his comment was, "yeah, and I probably ripped you off!" 5 bucks, on the spot. You can't get that ANYWHERE! It's a week and 50 bucks, guaranteed. What a card.

10-29-2009, 11:33 AM
"I'll probably build some guitars, but I think the ukulele is where it's at for me."

Good move - make a coupla guitars, then move up to ukes.:cool:


10-30-2009, 05:08 AM
Well I've already built two guitars, so I guess it's time to move up! That archtop thread is where I'm going to start.