The fumbles and celebrations of an amateur luthier.
I’ve played the guitar for going on forty years and my love of stringed instruments is a deep and abiding one. I have labored over the writing, recording, and performing a wide swath music over the years, and this has led me to recognize the personality of each and every instrument that I have been able to create with. I also grew to recognize that the personality of these instruments was not just due to assembly of particular parts, but actually came from the hand and spirit of the craftspeople who labored to build them.
And that’s why I decided that I would try my hand at this thing called luthiery.
So, this blog is about my experience learning of a craft. It will NOT be an instructional platform. I am not a professional luthier, and I don’t intend to represent myself as one. This is about a journey of self-iteration rather than a declaration of ability. While there will be prideful moments as I show off successes, I imagine there will be an equal (if not greater) number of shortcomings and out and out failures that I share here. I see this as an opportunity to communicate some of my steps and missteps to other fledgling luthiers, but also to represent my relationship with my instruments for other players to spark consideration and possible discussion. Lastly, I’d like to give my musical audience (those folks who enjoy the music I make) another perspective on my creative process and inspirations. The song often comes from the instrument and how I physically relate to it.
Lastly I’ll be mixing in yet another passion of mine – philanthropy… My need to give back.
To date, I have built seventeen wooden stringed instruments and other than two guitars that I have kept for myself to play and record with, I have given the instruments away… first as sheepish gifts to nieces and nephews, then – as the instruments became more admirable – to family and friends at important landmark occasions – a new son-in-law, a graduation, or the birth of a new addition – and more recently as opportunities to fund raise for good causes. I would like to do more of the latter, and so perhaps this blog will be a steppingstone to that kind of work as well.
Let’s see where it goes. I hope you enjoy coming along for the ride….