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.
My point exactly TN. Who cares what we're called, it's all about what we build.
i don't think anyone here is losing any sleep over what to call what we do. in fact, i think if pressed, most of the members here might not even come up with the word "luthier", but just tell people we like to build CBGs...plain and simple. i recently picked up a mandolin from a local, and when i asked if they had ever taken it in to a luthier to check it's state of tune and set-up, i got a blank stare and thought i could hear coyotes howl off in the distance...haha.
i got into this thread because i think the idea that there is an actual term for what we do is pretty cool. i would not be so pretentious as to demand to be referred to as a luthier, or that what i do is anything other than an interesting hobby.
i find myself drawn to it on several levels....the "mechanics" of it, knowing how to fret and set up the instrument so it actually plays in a manner recognizable to more experienced musicians appeals to the logical side of me, the pure artistry of working with the raw materials and fashioning them so as to make these instruments visually appealing to others makes this hobby very rewarding on that level. i can get into having people complement me on what i have created as a thing of beauty, beyond how it plays, all day long.
but unless i thought there was a way to benefit from putting what this hobby is into a category and making it much more "official" than i look at it now, i don't think it is a point to stress over. it just makes for semi-interesting conversation.....and yes, the few minutes i have taken out of the day to make this response could have been put to more constructive purposes...but i am not trying to save the world, here.haha.
there are chefs (Cordon bleu), and people who work in mcdonalds. Both provide meals.
There are cabinet makers (ebenistes) and there are men who work in the ikea facory, both provide furniture
I think a luthier (these all have French titles....hmmmmm....) is actually a highly skilled craftsman. There are not many people who will commit themselves to the time it takes to learn develop and fine tune the skills needed to create top class instruments (or gourmet food or fine furniture), particularly when its not the most ideal way to earn a living and get rich quick.
In my 65 years, I have been called a lot of things. What I am is not my title but the total of my skill, integrity, talent and presence. Not to be confused with my Feng sway. Ability to properly spell is for another topic.
I think like most here an 'official' title isn't something we are looking to pin to the chest.
I get personal satisfaction at taking a plain old cigar box and picking something out from it and then building a usable instrument from the bits'n pieces which does take a measure of skill. I try to make mine as unique as I can taking feature from the box or necks and pulling them out in the overall build.
I get as much pleasure at giving them away when I'm finished as I do building them. Its all about bringing a smile to someone elses face and the satisfaction I get building them. Heres one I completed recently just to show what I mean by different.
Well if I can call myself a songwriter because I write songs. I guess I can call myself a luthier cause I makes me some instruments...HAHAHA ;-)
Maybe we should start are own cigar box guitar guild. Then we could define ourself Luthers and none could say boo.
I came across this luthier, Boaz Elkayam, on youtube, I mean like up to $32,000 for an instrument....apparently he has a very good reputation!
he was asked
"Whats the difference between guitars made in a factory and handmade guitars"?
"Its like the difference between eating in a hospital and eating in a gourmet restaurant"