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How Do I Choose the Best Luthier School?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Learning to make guitars and other stringed instruments can be a difficult process, so it may be a good idea to attend a luthier school to learn the skills you will need to be successful in the field. Unfortunately, luthier school can be expensive, and since these schools are not common, you may have to travel to get to one. If you do need to travel, try to find a school that is close enough to you that the traveling can be done in a reasonable amount of time and within your budget. Sometimes the school will consolidate the program into several weeks or months so you can get your education all at once; other schools will offer housing.

Most importantly, it is vital to choose a luthier school that offers a teaching staff of experienced and knowledgeable luthiers. Do some research into the teaching staff at the school before enrolling to ensure you will be getting the best education for your money. Aside from the teaching staff, you will also need to do some research into the luthier school facilities. Look for a school that offers all the most modern tools and technology, as well as older technology and tools. Find out how much access you will have to the school's facilities as well; this will impact how much practice you will be able to get during your tenure at the school.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

It is also sometimes possible to attend a luthier workshop rather than a full-time luthier school. This is appropriate for a person interested in building stringed instruments as a hobby rather than as a profession. Such workshops may last a few days or a few weeks, depending on the topics being covered. At the end of the workshop, you may be given a certificate of completion, though this is not a certification qualifying you as a professional luthier. It is a good way to build your knowledge and skills, but if you want to become a professional luthier, consider a more in-depth program.

The cost of attending such programs can vary significantly. Be sure to research application fees as well as tuition fees or enrollment charges. Be prepared to pay more for a longer, more in-depth program, but again, it is important to research the teaching staff and facilities to gauge whether the tuition rates are appropriate for what you will get from the program.

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