I'm new to Frets.net, and I'd like to introduce myself. I'm a 28 year-old student at the Guitar Repair and Construction Program at SE Technical College in Red Wing, MN. I'm also a California Kid, most recently living in Oregon.
As a fiddler, banjo player, and otherwise old time/bluegrass music obsessee, I've been fooling around with setup and repair ever since I knocked together a walnut fretless banjo in college four years ago. In August, I packed my truck and moved to the Midwest for the chance to make the career jump.
I'm now just finished with the Fall Semester classes, and and gearing up for lots of building, repair, and finishing work this spring. I'll be building a Gibson AJ style dreadnaught in Claro Walnut and Red Spruce, an O-18 variant out of same woods, and trying out a new-to-market F5 mandolin kit from Arches Mandolin Co. as well. The AJ will be made at school, the other two at home in my little country cottage. I'm very excited!
Anyhow, I appreciate the openness and sharing emphasis of the lutherie community, so thanks! While home for the holidays, I'll be making the rounds of favorite music shops in the SF Bay Area (Gryphon, of course!), as well as in Portland, OR. I'd love suggestions, advice, or sage wisdoms (yeah, I know: "go into nursing").
I have a blog, intended both for friends and family and as a resource for others interested in following the same path. I try to offer good eye candy, if you like instrument photos, sunsets, and food. If you have a minute, check it out:
Welcome to the form Chris I hope you enjoy your time with all of us guys and girls good luck with your builds. Bill.............
Tell us about the fretless banjo. I have been thinking about making one myself. How about a picture.
And also welcome. Good guys here.
My shop is in Davis, about an hour from SF. You are welcome to come by. Best to you.
The 'going into nursing' thing was exACTLY what I did after trying to make a living (and starving) for over 20 years. I am now comfortable for the first time in my life, have a ton of RRSPs, my bills are all paid and get 7 weeks paid holidays a year.
It was worth the two years at school.
There is little money in Luthierie, as you already know. Find a shop and apprentice under someone like Frank Ford for a few years, and you should come out all right, AS LONG as your partner is supporting you in the first few years, otherwise........
And Welcome to the Forum too. It is a great place to learn......
Welcome aboard Chris and the best of luck to you with your studies of Lutherie AND the very cool builds that you have planned as well.
As Kerry said very well there is not, usually..., much money in this profession but some do make a go at it and perhaps more importantly end up loving their work. That's important too if you don't mind living in a Sears washing machine box at least some of the time. Please note that I am kidding with you (to a degree...).
For me though one of the greatest kicks that I personally get from this pursuit, Lutherie, is going out to listen to some of my clients at times playing an instrument that I either built or repaired. As someone with NO.... natural musical ability it seems adequate compensation ( in the psychological sense) for no musical ability on my part to see the smile on the face of a famous player when one helps get them unstuck from the CA glue that they managed to get themselves stuck to their one-of-a-kind Martin signature model with. ;) CA is evil....
Most of us in time find our niche though, what we love to do and what will permit us to afford moving on up to that icon of Lutherie success - a brand new Maytag washing machine box....