What is a Luthier?

If you’ve ever been to a store selling musical instruments, you’ve probably wondered how they all got there. Something or someone had to make them.

Have you ever heard of a luthier? It’s someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments.

Luthier comes from the French word luth, which means lute in English. A lute is any stringed instrument with strings running in a plane parallel to the sound table, such as a guitar. A luthier today would be known for making or repairing guitars, lutes and/or violins, but not pianos and harps, which have strings secured to a frame.

Many people don’t even know that being a guitar maker– a luthier– can be a viable profession. For those interested in woodworking, becoming a luthier generally requires an apprenticeship to become a skilled craftsman and/or taking college courses. If you’re interested in becoming a luthier visit http://www.luth.org/index.html.

Being a luthier also involves learning and understanding guitar physics and tone optimization to make the stringed instrument function and sound as intended. Find out about “the art of lutherie” at this informative website: http://theartoflutherie.com/

Luthiers use several tools in their trade, including fret saws, router bits for binding, scraper blades and rod wrenches. They build and repair guitar tops, backs and sides, as well as bindings, purflings, bridges, pins and fingerboards. Just like a sick person would go to a medical doctor for help, someone with a damaged guitar would seek out a luthier to make the necessary repairs to get his or her instrument back in working shape.

As guitar makers, luthiers are also involved in making their creations look great, using abrasives, dyes, filler and polish to achieve the perfect look.

In many ways, a guitar or other stringed instrument becomes an extension of the person using it– their “baby.” The emotional attachment between an instrument and its owner can be very strong, and for this reason a luthier is a respected and in-demand profession.

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