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2nd Career as a Luthier

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Arlo Kalon 2.0, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Arlo Kalon 2.0

    Arlo Kalon 2.0 Very Active Member

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    I took the luthier built guitar I acquired this past week over to a luthier to examine for me this weekend (he pronounced it healthy as did its original builder recently). While there, I inquired as to whether he had ever trained anyone in his field, and he said a number of people have come and gone over the years. I never saw a shop so FULL of violins and cellos, interspersed with a number of guitars. I told him of my transferable skills as a sign painter for 40 years and hand pinstriper in a major motorcycle factory for 5 years. He didn't seem to get it. I told him my life has been devoted to eye/hand coordination type work. That seemed to resonate. I told him I retired last year at the age of 58 and since my income is adequately in place I would love to work for him for free. I told him too I had run my own business all my life and knew how to handle customers and could eventually run his shop when he needed to be away. He became much more friendly at this point and said he'd consider it and get back with me the first of this week.

    I'm really anxious to hear from him. It would be the second time in my life I learned something the old school way of working for free for a master. I started at age 19 sweeping the floor of a one armed sign painter and lifting boards onto his easel for him and eventually getting to learn brush control from him. It launched me on a highly successful, financially rewarding career. I'm not looking for that outcome again obviously as I can only make a maximum of $600 a month without loosing my benefits and I'll be lucky to have ten years left as it is with my surgical history. But still, I'd love to someday be able to build a guitar to leave to each of my sons who have learned to play. Man, I am waiting for that call!
     
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  2. SqueeGee

    SqueeGee Active Member

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  3. Moze

    Moze Very Active Member

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    Arlo, who is the luthier if you don't mind me asking? A good friend of mine Ida luthier and does amazing work. Might be a good person for you to meet for any future needs. Just a thought...
     
  4. Arlo Kalon 2.0

    Arlo Kalon 2.0 Very Active Member

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    Well Moze it no longer matters. This was indeed a very short lived opportunity. I just heard from him and he told me he has finally decided to retire himself after over 30 years. I just remember his name was Jack and his shop was in east Ft. Worth. he said he didn't even get in the last phone book as he just wanted everything to wind down. I am interested in contact info for Ida however as this guitar needs some very minor setup work.
     
  5. Marlene

    Marlene Major Contributor

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    sorry to hear that as it sounded like a cool thing to do.
     
  6. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Ha, maybe you should count your blessings before you got into it.

    Many years ago a friend of mine got into that and started it on the side to supplement his band-pay. Back then, we made some good money playing 6 nighters, but he was getting married and his new daddy-in-law footed the bill for his training and even gave him a converted one-roomed schoolhouse for his workshop. Craig was always lucky and had a lot given to him. Now, that's not to say, he was any good. He looked and sounded like he was good and in no time from fixing small projects and whatnot, he started getting some real challenges and he should've said no, but he didn't. He got in over his head and not only ruined and warped some necks, but he broke a very old expensive violin, not to mention changed the resonance on many violins by doing what he thought instead of what should be done. He managed to p!ss quite a few people off and was kinda disliked by many. It didn't take long for word to get around and like anything else, your reputation can make or break you. That was over 30 years ago and Craig is still doing music, seldom, but still doing it, long time divorced from her and not only lost his shop, but the business to boot. Most have forgotten his hair-brained scheme, but if it's brought up.... he'll quickly change the subject.

    Better stick to playing and just try collecting them or playing, but fixing some super expensive ax for someone can really get hairy. :covereyes:
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  7. Arlo Kalon 2.0

    Arlo Kalon 2.0 Very Active Member

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    Exactly. precisely why I was willing to work for free to learn it from an accomplished master. I believe it's the same advice we give people in here time after time, learn at a shop first from people who know the trade. Sounds like your buddy turned out the way people typically do who have everything handed to them.
     
  8. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    At forty I became a Presbyopian and I'm practically blind now.
     
  9. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    And I thought you were an atheist............... :peace!:


    So, you didn't stop when your Mom said you'll go blind doing that, huh ?? You just waited til ya needed glasses........ :Big Laugh​
     
  10. SD&F

    SD&F Very Active Member

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    YUK, YUK.....once again going down that path...
     
  11. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    ............... without paddles, nonetheless. Rim shot twang-g-g-g-g.
     
  12. thesignexpert

    thesignexpert Active Member

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    Wow, that would have been an awesome opportunity. Just had a luthier (Bill Foley) do some work on my Yamaha FG-401. He runs a great shop here in Columbus called the German Village Music Haus... Lotsa history and talent. By the time he was thru he had put in a bone bridge, filed down the frets, lowered the action and changed the strings out to an Elixir series with some sort of micro covering. Literally like playing a whole different guitar. I'm pretty much a hack but even I could tell the difference.

    How cool would it be to learn from a master?
     
  13. Arlo Kalon 2.0

    Arlo Kalon 2.0 Very Active Member

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    I'm sure a setup an that guitar was a noticeable improvement. That's considered a low end student instrument. I would guess you aren't as motivated to play it as you'd like to be. I would recommend looking into a better one you'll WANT to play more. Also, check out http://acousticguitarforum.com. It's the best guitar site on the web and you can find the answer to virtually any guitar question there. As to those Elixir strings, they have a nano coating that prolongs their life. You either love 'em or hate 'em. I always liked them a lot but not their price, but when you consider they last three times longer than uncoated strings it might be a good deal. Especially if ya change strings every two weeks like I do!
     
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