Build and repair stringed instruments by hand.
What does a Luthier do?
Musicians play music. Luthiers, however, make it – literally – as it’s their job to build and repair stringed instruments. That includes both plucked or strummed instruments – such as acoustic guitars, dulcimers, banjos, ukuleles, and mandolins – and instruments that are played with a bow, such as violins, violas, and cellos.
Many modern musical instruments are mass-produced in factories on automated assembly lines. But as a Luthier, you’re a Craftsman who’s committed to continuing the age-old art of making handmade stringed instruments. You might do it as a part-time hobby or as a full-time profession, but either way, you’re equal parts Artist and Technician, paid by your clients to create one-of-a-kind products that look amazing and sound beautiful.
To do exactly that, you’ve got to be a master Woodworker, as the process of building a stringed instrument includes – as it did in the 16th century – carving, assembling, staining, and stringing pieces of wood, which are adorned with metal and plastic pieces. Many of those pieces are similarly molded and fabricated by hand in order to create headstocks, fingerboards, bodies, frets, and all the other components of a stringed instrument.
In addition to making new instruments, Luthiers are often hired to repair or revitalize old ones. For instance, you might repair a smashed guitar by cleaning, sealing, patching, and refinishing a hole in the back of it. Similarly, you might adjust or replace the parts of an instrument – a violin, for instance, or a cello – that have been worn out due to age or environmental factors. The result: an antique instrument that looks and plays like it’s brand new.