Steve Mason Luthiers
The Alferd Packer Memorial String Band

Questions and Answers

School Career Project
My name is Dylan. I am doing a project for my school on what we are wanting to do as a career. I am wanting to be a luthier. I was needing to ask some questions about your job. This would also really help me out for preparing to be a luthier. Please take just a moment and answer my questions. Thank you.

These are my questions.
1. What exactly does a luthier do besides building?

Steve: A Luthier repairs, improves and creates stringed musical instruments. I also do lots of paperwork, inventory management, tool maintenance, and cleaning. And tons of talking to customers. I spend at least an hour with a customer for every hour on the bench.

2. How long does it usually take to build a guitar?

Steve: It depends on how mechanized, skilled and focused you are. Martin can make a guitar in about 10 hours (not counting drying time). When I worked at the Mossman Guitar Factory, we could make a guitar in about 20 hours. I made one in two months once. My partner can make a batch of 3 or 4 guitars in about 6 months. My last guitar, with the distractions of making a living, took me 11 months.

3. Do luthiers repair more than build?

Steve: Repair jobs pay much better than building. Everyone finds their own balance between creation and income.

4. How hard is it to find a job as a luthier?

Steve: Like every other job, you have to have the right skills, on the right day, talking to the right potential employer. It is also possible to go into business for yourself. Then you have to impress customers instead of employers.

5. Where are a few places for this line of work?

Steve: All music Stores need a luthier. Very few have them. Some musical instrument factories hire luthiers.

6. What could I do to prepare to be a luthier?

Steve: Going to Lutherie school is a good idea. Redwing Votech is good, There are lots of others.

7. What classes would I need to be a luthier?

Steve: At this point there is no certification of luthiers. There is no minimum education required.

8. What could I do before college to prepare for this?

Steve: Study chemistry, physics, biology, math, art, music and wood shop. Anything that will coordinate your hands and eyes, and improve your understanding of how things work. Get cheap instruments and bend them to your will; wreck them and fix them. There are vast amounts of luthierie information on line. You should be able to play any instrument that you work on. 
Good Luck,
Steve Mason

3809 W 24th St
Lawrence, KS  66047

(785) 841-0277 or
(785) 331-6000



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