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SeattleSean
10-15-2013, 06:32 AM
Hi all - i was just curious if anyone knows why/how the term 'luthier' came to describe one who makes ukeuleles, guitars, violins, etc., even though few people are actually making lutes these days.

Is it as simple as the fact that 'luthier' sounds better than ukeleleier or some other tortured name?

Thank you in advance for satiating my curiosity!

Timbuck
10-15-2013, 07:14 AM
I sometimes wonder why they ever bothered inventing search engines:rolleyes:
See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luthier

ksquine
10-15-2013, 07:31 AM
Gotta love Wikepedia...
I guess the name just has some panache so it stuck

grendel1972
10-15-2013, 07:46 AM
In all fairness to the OP, I don't think the question was "where does the term 'luthier' come from" it was more, why has it stuck when most luthiers are not making lutes anymore? I think it's an interesting question, although I suspect it's along the lines of what ksquine said, it stuck because it sounds cool.

David Newton
10-15-2013, 08:28 AM
I don't know why the term was ever applied to anyone but a Lute maker.
Back in the early 70's, all the guitar builders I knew hated the term, we just wanted to be called "guitar builder". At least that is how I remember it.
The Guild of American Luthiers, the org. established to help builders organize meetings and such, promoted the term, hoping to raise guitar building up the pay-scale. I can't fault that.
Now it applies to anyone making any string instrument. Even people who want to maybe someday build their first masterpiece call themselves a Luthier.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-15-2013, 08:39 AM
Tell people you build "ooks" and they say "Huh?"

Clarify by telling them you are a luthier and they say "What?"

And that's why I call myself a wood worker.

SeattleSean
10-15-2013, 08:57 AM
I sometimes wonder why they ever bothered inventing search engines:rolleyes:
See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luthier

Sorry if i offended your sensibilities with this question, but I actually did read the wikipedia entry, which didn't answer my question. So, i posed it here. Next time I guess I should check with you first so I can avoid the shame of receiving another eye-roll from you.

To others, thanks for your responses, which tend to corroborate my hypothesis. Thanks!

Wicked
10-15-2013, 09:16 AM
I don't know why the term was ever applied to anyone but a Lute maker.
Back in the early 70's, all the guitar builders I knew hated the term, we just wanted to be called "guitar builder". At least that is how I remember it.
The Guild of American Luthiers, the org. established to help builders organize meetings and such, promoted the term, hoping to raise guitar building up the pay-scale. I can't fault that.
Now it applies to anyone making any string instrument. Even people who want to maybe someday build their first masterpiece call themselves a Luthier.

The truth is, most "luthiers" pretty much stick in a single lane - so it is more precise to refer to themselves as Guitar Builder, Violin Maker or what have you. (Diddley Bow Diddler, anyone?), but I can also understand the Guild's use of the name as a sort of all-encompassing term to cover builders of all stringed instruments. Personally, I have never actually met a successful guitar builder or violin maker who referred to themselves as a luthier.

BlackBearUkes
10-15-2013, 09:31 AM
I know a lot of builders who specialize in one string instrument and have for most of their career. I guess you could call them guitar luthiers, etc. I tend to think of someone, like myself, who build and repair all manner of string instruments as more of a general luthier, and that includes lutes.


The truth is, most "luthiers" pretty much stick in a single lane - so it is more precise to refer to themselves as Guitar Builder, Violin Maker or what have you. (Diddley Bow Diddler, anyone?), but I can also understand the Guild's use of the name as a sort of all-encompassing term to cover builders of all stringed instruments. Personally, I have never actually met a successful guitar builder or violin maker who referred to themselves as a luthier.

Liam Ryan
10-15-2013, 09:41 AM
Plumbers are still called plumbers...............

Wicked
10-15-2013, 10:59 AM
I know a lot of builders who specialize in one string instrument and have for most of their career. I guess you could call them guitar luthiers, etc. I tend to think of someone, like myself, who build and repair all manner of string instruments as more of a general luthier, and that includes lutes.

Then luthier you are, my friend.

People can call themselves what they want. (I refer to myself as the Grand High Poobah, as an example.) Violin Maker is far more precise, if you predominantly make violins, though.

Oddly, in my experience, guitar builders tend to dislike the term luthier because many think it sounds pretentious... but violin makers consider the term beneath them.

SeattleSean
10-15-2013, 11:32 AM
Oddly, in my experience, guitar builders tend to dislike the term luthier because many think it sounds pretentious... but violin makers consider the term beneath them.

Ha ha, I love learning about the intricacies and oddities of new communities/sub-cultures. That observation reminds me of the old phrase, Horses sweat, men perspire, but ladies merely glow.

Titchtheclown
10-16-2013, 09:34 AM
I think the term luthier exists purely so people can do the no I'm not, I'm a -insert your religion here joke.

Ken W
10-16-2013, 04:35 PM
Tell people you build "ooks" and they say "Huh?"

Clarify by telling them you are a luthier and they say "What?"

And that's why I call myself a wood worker.

I guess I'm with Chuck on this one. I spend as much time as I can at my workbench tackling a number of projects. I guess I've never thought about calling myself a table-ier, cabinet-ier, dulcimer-ier, etc. But "wood-hacker" ???....now we're talking.