Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Teaching guitar building

This spring I was approached by a local finish carpenter with an art school background in sculpture. He had built a guitar on his own from a kit and he did a fine job. He asked if I would teach him to build another. At first I said no, I did not feel I had time or space in my shop and was unsure how to go about organizing such an endeavor.
I did teach six students at our local high school woodshop several years ago through a grant from the county but that was over the course of an entire year and was a part time project for me. I did really enjoy teaching at that time and had seriously considered going back to school to get certified to teach shop during some years of financial strife (guitar building is a tough career choice) I stuck it out on my own and I am glad I did, but teaching still has appeal. After giving it more thought I agreed to teach Ernie & developed a three week program with some more follow up days to finish and set-up.
Ernie brings a lot of skill to the process and has been a pleasure to have around. I think he is building a fine guitar and has shown a lot of attention to detail. Being forced into a framework for the sake of instruction has also helped me to re-design some out dated jigs and fixtures, and refine my process. I decided the easiest way to teach was to build a guitar alongside his so I could demonstrate each step. I am happy to report that by the end of three weeks the guitar bodies were done and the necks roughed out. We have been continuing one day a week together with final carving and getting ready to go into the spray booth.
I will be shooting these guitars at the same time I spray the rest of my spring batch. This will bring my production for 09' so far up to 6 new guitars that should all be finished this month.
Here are some photo's of Ernie building his guitar.

1 comment:

John Hayes said...

I'd imagine teaching someone the luthier craft is similar in some ways to teaching guitar-- it does keep you on your toes & make you "review your own process." Good post!