How Do I Become a Bass Luthier?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Stringed instruments such as guitars, basses, and violins are all made by luthiers, professionals who deal with the construction, refurbishing, or maintenance of various stringed instruments. This means if you want to become a bass luthier, you will essentially become a luthier who is prepared to construct or maintain any variety of stringed instruments rather than just basses. You can then make the choice, after you are trained, to simply focus exclusively on various types of bass instruments, thereby allowing you to become a bass luthier.

You will need to take part in a training program if you want to become a bass luthier, though some professionals learn the craft simply by becoming an apprentice with an existing luthier. Training programs are great for people with little or no previous experience who want to get a sense of what the job is like and whether it is the right career choice for them. A luthiery training course is also advantageous if you intend to seek out employment from guitar or bass manufacturers. If you want to work for a smaller business or open your own business, you can get an apprenticeship and learn the trade through observation and practice.

Of course, you will need to develop a passion for the bass and learn how to play one if you want to become a bass luthier. This will help you learn as much as possible about the instrument, and effectively take part in a key aspect of bass luthiery: intonation. This is essentially the process of ensuring the bass is producing accurate tones and the instrument itself is efficient and well suited to regular use. Various types of bass instruments exist, so it is best to learn as much as possible about the various options so you can develop your skills and knowledge appropriately.

Once you complete training, it is a good idea to seek out employment with guitar and bass stores that may allow you to become a bass luthier on site. You may have to be more flexible at this stage in your career and work on more than just bass instruments; this is a good way to gain valuable work experience and broaden your skills and talents to make yourself a more marketable job candidate in the future. Be prepared to start with an entry level position under the guidance and supervision of a more experienced luthier, even if you have undergone extensive training.

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