That is my question for discussion.  I would like to call myself a luthier, but I hesitate.  I have built 21 instruments.   They all work.  I usually say I am an amateur luthier.  

I have built 3 string guitars, 4 string guitars and 11 ukes.  Do my own fretting, have built 5 boxes, albeit rectangular

Like most of us, I am self-taught, with a lot of help from you guys in the Nation.  I've made lots of jigs to compensate for lack of power tools.

I have been at this for 1 1/2 years and have sold about 8 instruments.  I am semiretired.

What do you think?.

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I'm on the fence here too. Whether or not our builds are highy refined necks in intricate handmade boxes or crude sticks in a cookie tin, it does take a certain amount of knowledge and skill to make one that functions.
I think the most amazing aspect of this craft is that I'm creating a device capable of creating beautiful music.
I wouldn't get hung up on this label. What we're making is bigger than our supposed credentials.

Some of the guys here that build factory style guitars, Ukes, Weissenborns. But me I glue or bolt a stick to a box string it and play.

I cannot build this.


When was the last time you tried to build this...?

I make saw dust in various textures and size and the odd thing is that a stick inna box with strings appears. 

Dammed right you are a Luthier. You are one who makes stringed musical instruments, therefore a Luthier. I retired a few years ago and became an amateur luthier as a hobby. I love it and when someone asks what I do to keep busy I tell them I am an amateur luthier. I then spend the next 20 minutes explaining to them what a luthier is and does. Great conversation starter.  

We're just goofier luthiers. I build box instruments because I haven't tried bending wood yet.


I've been playing around with this lately.  Tried soaking, steaming and swearing, none of which worked very well.  I bought a heat blanket from Keenovo and can bend wood like a whirl'n dervish.

Made some small bodied 4 string guitars.  One of which was for a nephew that I'd hand cut a lizard sound hole into it.  You can see it in the sound hole contest.  They are fun to make and a challenge to be sure.  Just thought you might like to try it some day...


  Thanks for your very encouraging and kind words.  That made my day.

Thanks for the heat blanket link. Very interesting....

I'm on my third build, and I have also put a new back back on a blown out martin acoustic guitar. I've refiished a bass and replaced the electronics.

These are all experimental and I'm learning as I go.

Do I consider myself a luthier? No, but by definition I could. Perhaps if I did it for a living, I would say I am, but for now my response would be, " I am not a luthier, but I play one on tv"


if you feel you need to put a name on what you like to do, Luthier is technically the name of WHAT you are doing. i have tools and like to work on old cars....does that make me a "Mechanic"? when people i know have car problems, i am usually one of the first people they go to, mostly because my advice for them is free. i rarely make money being a "Mechanic".

my profession is as a Computer Tech. that is how i make money, and i have a piece of paper proclaiming that i spent time and money gaining the education needed to be a computer tech....but oddly enough, a lot of the same people i know come to me for my help with their computers for the same great deal of i guess that makes me something else, entirely.

i know a guy who is a professional Luthier. that is how he earns his living. he even has a store front he works out of, and a list of clientele that reads like a who's who of musicians, some quite famous  . to stand in his workshop and look at all the stringed instrument stuff he has is awe-inspiring, and a bit intimidating. i go to him for advice all the time...and he gives it to me for FREE.....i still consider him a professional luthier.


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