The urge to build is a common feeling among many. Rather than spending their days in an office cubicle, there are people would prefer building things with their own hands in a shop. The freedom and creativity that this kind of job offers provides a satisfaction that is hard to match. Some might specialize in crafts involving ceramics, glass, textiles, leather, stone, metals, and so on. As for those who like working with wood and making music, a great sub-specialty is building a DIY guitar. Individuals who would like to know where to learn how to build a guitar have several options:
If you simply want to know more about the facts and processes around guitar-making, then hitting the books would be a great start. This can open your eyes to what is possible and how create people have been across the ages. You will learn about the types of wood generally used and why some are preferred more than others. You will get a firm grasp of the design basics so that you will know what to avoid and what to aim for given your preferred end results. Books will take you on a fascinating journey of discovery in the world of guitars. You won’t have to spend much money getting a book but you will need to commit time and effort in reading it. After this, you can decide whether or not this is the right path for you.
The books are usually written by master guitar builders called luthiers. Aside from the informative text, they are likely to pepper the book with several illustrations to help readers understand what they are trying to say. Drawings are particularly important when trying to explain processes step by step. However, some might still find this lacking. If you are a highly visual learner, then you might be more drawn with videos that demonstrate the hows and whys. You should be able to search for many of these online at video-sharing sites. They vary in their subject matter and level of detail. Most of them are more useful in gaining inspiration and clarity than getting a deeper knowledge about the craft.
3. Online Courses
If you would like to learn all there is to know about building a guitar, then you should enroll in more formal courses. These will have the structured content that you will need in order to progress gradually in knowledge, skills, and confidence. You can start anytime you want by searching for these courses online. Find one with excellent reviews. Check the syllabus to see whether it has the content that you are looking for. Many will be for beginners while a few may cater to intermediate and advanced learners. Some of these will be pre-recorded videos with no interaction at all. Others may provide contact details like email and forum membership for questions. There could be offers of live sessions for a livelier class.
4. Classroom Instructions
Online courses offer convenience and accessibility but they lack interaction, feedback, and practical workshop sessions that builders crave for. If you are serious about honing this craft, then you might want to starting seeking classroom-based instructions. Some organizations might offer workshops where experienced luthiers lead the class. They can share their experiences and guide the learners through a series of projects. Most of these have weekend schedules to accommodate workers and students. The catch is that they are few and far between. Most can be found in major cities where there are enough people to sustain the classes. They also tend to cost more because of the long workshop hours that provide use of advanced tools and materials. You need to plan for this ahead of time.
Another option is to find a luthier who might be willing to take you under his wing. Look for a local guitar shop and express your interest in learning. The exact details of this mentoring setup will be dependent on what the two of you can agree on. You can start by dropping by every week to observe as they repair broken guitars to see what the common issue are and what techniques work best in solving them. If they also build custom guitars, then you can watch as they make these from scratch. Ask them questions if they welcome these to add to your learning. There are a lot of practical lessons in the workshop. Once you feel confident enough, you might be able to try some of their work.
The traditional route to being a luthier is long-term apprenticeship. Young people would dedicate years into learning the craft under a master. They must demonstrate competence and discipline before they can be accepted since this is a major commitment for both parties. In most cases, sons follow after the footsteps of their fathers. It is possible for others to break into the system as long as they are passionate about the craft. Consider yourself lucky if you can find a master who is willing to accept you as an apprentice as there are only a few of them. The good news is that they are always on the lookout for great talent as well since they want to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.
Your decision on where to learn how to build a guitar will determine how far you will go on this journey. There is no need to limit yourself on just a single one of the options presented above. You can start small by reading a book to gauge your own appetite for information. If you find it fascinating and you wish to learn more, then you can take further steps to widen your knowledge. Make it a goal to build a guitar or at least some parts of it along the way so that you can apply your learnings into something tangible. This is a great way to hone your skills across time and boost your momentum.