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I wanna be guitar builder.


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Hi Dear Project Guitar, and anyone who is reading this.

This is my story about music, and why I want to become guitar builder. I will ask some questions at the end of the text.

I come from one small Balkan country where guitar building isn't a job with high sallary. A lot of musicians prefer Gibsons/Fenders even if I know a lot of talented guys with amazing instruments. And they do get only peanuts for them. :( We have like local comunitty with 20ish builders, but only 2 of them with international dealers. And only 2 of them as guitar building as full time job.

My story about music is very long .. but to make it short: I was always surrounded by music, and didn't quiet get it until some age. I did play music but I $ucked at it. After some time, I did meet one custom amp builder, and I was like: I wanna that too. So I was on electrical engeneering collage a short after it.

I was never into amps. And there is no guitar building collage or even wood processing collage in my country. Like I said: I was never into amps ... but guitars are different story: guitars spoke to me. I was always interested in guitars. In every part of it. I even talk with musicians after shows, and we talk about gear .. guitar players especially. :D Usually kids get drunk on show... I talk about gear. xD

Some time ago I was thinking about going back to school, and we have like on school for adoults with a lots of class. And as a "joke" I send email to that school with: "Do you have like wood processing class? Like fernature class, or wood-building class?". And I did get positive answer on email.

Now; I'm really close to sign into that class. But now when it's that close. I'm not sure if I wanna do it, or that I should choose something more money affecient class. Don't know the english word, but I hope U got it.

My questions are: are you happy with your call? Did you ever wanted to do something else, and now U feel sorry for it? Can anyone learn how to build guitar? Do I need diploma for it? How much did U pay for tools? Talk anything really. :)

Tnx for your replies. :)

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Hi Brian,

I would say anyone with some woodworking skills and the ability to learn and follow directions can learn how to build a guitar. Most of us on this forum learned woodworking from a family member or a shop class in school, and a lot of hands on and learn as you go practice. You can learn a lot of skills useful in guitar building in a furniture building class. There also are trade school course and college classes offered in the US and the UK, so I would imagine elsewhere as well. Mind you, they are not common, but there are some around. 

I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of us on this forum are self taught. We bought books and read the build threads here, and ask questions and just jump in and try it. We practiced with cheap wood till we figured how we wanted to build our designs and then built our first guitar. Also, the vast majority of us build a few and sell a few and keep a lot. Very very few members make their living completely from building and selling guitars. And we don't hear much from those few, because they are too busy trying to make a living building and selling guitars. To make a living at it you need to be as good at selling as you are at building guitars.


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We have collage for "forestry", there is only one subject where you can learn to process wood, but it last only 3-4 months. So U need to go to collage for 5 years, just to get that 1 subject on collage. And with school for adaults, it's little bit more simple then collage. And we have high school for intrument makers, but not collages for that. And with law in my state, you can't go again in high school at some age. And you can finish high school with maximum age of 21, and if U don't finish it when you are 21, then U are "drop out". In terms of schools but art stuff and make your own stuff, we $uck. But we have like economy collages, medicine, and other "non-art" stuff, art do $uck on Balkan. ;)

Thank you really for your reply. It helped. :)

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On 8/11/2017 at 5:02 PM, ScottR said:

To make a living at it you need to be as good at selling as you are at building guitars.


This. You should take classes in business as well as anything wood building. But the business knowledge is far more important. 

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  • 6 months later...

You mentioned there is a local community with 20 builders - would you be able to perhaps observe those builders. Or perhaps do your learning from books and practice and when you get stuck at a difficult part, go round to a builder with a crate of beer or bottle of whisky and say “Hey buddy can I borrow you to help me with.....”

There are some very talented builders in the Balkans. I have an early custom made Wreck 7 string which is incredible. 

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