What kind of instruments can a student build?
Students can build any type of plucked string instrument with me. However, I encourage them to pick a project with a realistic scope. Keep in mind that the more similarities a student’s future instrument has with the type of instruments I build (guitars and lutes), the better teaching and counsel I can provide.
Can a student build their own design?
Yes. But building a new design comes with a tremendous amount of work – jigs and patterns need to be built, and technical drawings should be made. This scope of work is appropriate for apprentices who wish to pursue a career in lutherie.
How long does it take to become a luthier?
This question is hard to answer, since the definition of what constitutes to being a luthier varies tremendously between cultures. Here is an example:
Becoming a luthier journeyman in Europe takes between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 years, full time. The European lutherie trade has a rich and long history, which comes with some regulations and restrictions that do not allow someone with less training to carry the title of a luthier.
In North America however there is no regulation as to what type and amount of training is necessary, and many great luthiers have started their business even after short stint of attending guitar making seminars.
What are the hours of instruction?
The schedule is flexible and is adapted to each group of students. The 2 basic slots are usually weekday mornings from 8:30 to 11:30 am, and evenings from 6:30 to 9pm.
How long does it take to build a guitar?
Building time depends on the skill of a student, and how fast they learn and how much independent (homework) time they can contribute towards their instrument. Apprentices who work on their first instruments take about 120 hours before starting the French polish (or more). So if your skill set means you need to be instructed about 1/4 of the total time , and are comfortable and proficient independently completing the instrument within the remaing 3/4, you could finish a guitar within 3 to 4 months (intensive membership).
Please note that building your own instrument is not an economic way to obtain a high-quality guitar. Studying with me will provide you with a great learning experience first, and an instrument second.
Can I use the workshop outside of instruction time?
Students greatly benefit from completing some of their work outside of instruction time. Those who do not have a workshop and tools of their own can rent workbench & tool use -this puts a fully equipped luthier workshop at their fingertips. $8.50 per hour. Students can book the hours they desire to work on their own one week prior.
What will the cost for materials be?
Material costs for your project are not included. Expect to get decent materials for a beginner’s instrument for approximately $300 for a classical guitar. If you wish to use high quality materials and accessories, be prepared to spend $1000 or more.
Do I need to bring my own tools?
Students do not need to purchase any tools – the workshop is fully equipped with all tools needed to build their instruments. If a student wishes to use the workshop and tools outside of instruction time, there are workbenches available for an hourly fee. If a student however has a tool they are especially used to, I would encourage them to bring them in.
What if I miss a class?
Generally, missed classes are not reimbursable. If however you know well in advance that you will not be able to join the group on a certain day because of a long-planned vacation, there is the possibility you can trade your class time with another student. In some cases (unforeseen dire circumstances, etc.) we can discuss alternative class times so you can catch up on developing your skills.
I forgot to pay my monthly/quarterly dues on time. Is there a penalty?
Yes, you will be charged a late fee of $15 per month. If a fee still isn’t paid after one month, the students loses their spot.
For those who do not want to commit to a complete instrument build, there is the option to learn a bit of lutherie skills with smaller projects (e.g. building a rosette, French polishing, etc.). Availability for such projects is very limited – so please email me to find out whether there are currently any open slots in the schedule.