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icedfirefly

Luthier course or self learning

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Hello guys, new guy here, my name is Ivan.

A bit about me, i always liked to fix and build things, i play guitar and i like the idea of making guitars, i would like to do it profesionally in the future.

I found this forum and it´s incredible the skills you guys have... there is so much to learn.

Now, how to start... a few months ago i started asking different luthiers around my city about courses, they go from 2.000 to 3.000 Euros and take around 6 months.

Sadly wages are not what they were, and after paying the bills i only have a few hundreds left, I need to save like a year to get 3.000 Euros so it would take me year and half until i finish the course and can start building on my own and start getting experience.

There is a lot of info on the internet and also i saw a few books people recommend, like the Melvyn Hiscock one.

So i could use the money instead of saving it each month, and buy a couple books, learn on the internet, buy the tools and start with some cheap woods in the beggining and learn "by myself". (Don´t know if it is really is "by myself" if i´m reading books and asking in forums, in reality i´m still learning from others but...)

I would love to hear the opinions of experienced people.

Thanks!

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Welcome aboard.

I'd wager most of the forum regulars here are self-taught, or at least picked up the bulk of their initial knowledge from internet or printed resources, myself included.

If you're a practical, hands-on kind of person, you may find it logical in the short term to just dive in and have a go. I'd suggest taking on a smaller project for starters and build up from there - say put a cheap kit guitar together, or construct a body for a premade neck you may have lying around. Once you have some basic experience, you can progressively up the ante with your builds - make a neck from scratch, buy a kit guitar and pimp it up, experiment with different materials. As you start to build more you'll probably find that the increase in difficulty will necessitate the inevitable increase in expenditure on tools, so if you're keen to stick at it expect to invest a sizeable chunk of cash into the equipment required to machine and assemble your projects.

A generous work area to spread yourself out in is always handy, but not essential. Some of the guys here have built amazing instruments on the balconies of their apartments.

Buy lots of clamps.

Building guitars can be dusty, noisy work. If you're using power tools make sure you have all the right safety gear (safety specs, ear muffs, dust masks). Learn the correct and safe usage of high-powered cutting tools to prevent any messy accidents.

Clean up after yourself frequently.

Be prepared to make mistakes. Look for ways to turn mistakes into an interesting feature.

You may even find that you get more out a luthier's course after having spent some time building under your own steam.

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That was an outstanding bit of advice there.

I recommend doing just as curtisa recommends and sharing with us as you go. We'll be a sounding board and happy to help out as needed.

Cheers and good luck!

SR

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Thanks guys!!

Very encouraging words!!!

I already startet my first proyect, i`m building a workbench, i think in a 3 or 4 days it should be ready and from there i will start a thread to keep going with my guitar building evolution.

And i`m pretty sure i will be reading and posting in the Tools and shop chat area too!!

I`m almost beggining from the ground equipment wise and have so many doubts about tools, what to get.. which quality, new or used, etc...

Cheers!

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Start looking at routers get a 1/2 collet and get a good one.

If you can find used tools go for it use common sence if its beat up and wore out looking it probably is.

Curtis has some good advise take it step by step. Its a learning process the biuld section is full if failed builds because guys wanted to start off building a lp from the ground up.

Also start with cheaper woods learn to build a body befor you spend a bunch on exotic woods that end up in the trash.

Learn from your failures let them motivate you to be better not give up.

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Start looking at routers get a 1/2 collet and get a good one.

If you can find used tools go for it use common sence if its beat up and wore out looking it probably is.

Curtis has some good advise take it step by step. Its a learning process the biuld section is full if failed builds because guys wanted to start off building a lp from the ground up.

Also start with cheaper woods learn to build a body befor you spend a bunch on exotic woods that end up in the trash.

Learn from your failures let them motivate you to be better not give up.

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best advice i can give to somebody who wants to start building, its best to buy slow and not get crappy tools due to budget concerns. Some of the things I've bought just because I didn't have the money ended up making my work harder.

Two main examples of this is.

1) Router bits, if you buy harbor freight / chinese cheapos your going to end up burning the wood or tearing and splinting.

2) Orbital Sander .- this is like my go to tool, i use it so much it needs to be able to put up with the punishment. A cheap one will burn out out quick 

So its best to buy slow, do a lot of things by hand until you can buy better tools but when you do buy power tools don't go cheap.

 

 

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+1 on all of the above.

It might even be worthwhile seeking out an apprenticeship. That's far more hands-on than a course plus you get to do the same thing...forever...until you are perfect at it. A course generally tends to see you doing everything only once on one item.

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The "course" I am doing is more of a night school "club". basically keep paying your subs every term & build whatever you like. Some of the members have been going for years. They have built everything from intricately inlaid mandolins, through acoustic guitars, into rawking rock beasts of doom :D

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Hey guys.

I tried to start learning by myself, from here, books, internet, etc, but last month i had a call from a luthier near home, to tell me that one of his student has finished so there would be a open spot, i asked him for a spot like a 8 or 9 month ago i think... i`m more comfortable doing the course than learning by myself, at least until i have a good foundation of the basics.

Well, tomorrow will be my third class, so far is good, my plan is to replicate at home the things i learn, so when i finish the course, instead of one guitar i should have built 2 or 3, and after the course there is the possibility of keep going as an apprentice, i will do the work i`m capable of, the luthier will guide me, i will not get paid in money, but i will be learning.

I will try to update here from time to time!!

 

Cheers!

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