A Guitar Maker in the Making

Greetings reader.

I am writing to you from behind the counter in Leigh Music Co, and it is positively dismal outside. The heavens have opened and the sun goes down at 4 - what more could one expect from January? In other news, I am delighted to announce that I managed to traverse through the festive season, having only OD’ed on Quality Street’s “Green Triangle” and pigs in blankets 3 times.

But here we are in January - the new year is upon us; David Lloyd’s is rammed; Slimming World has seen a dramatic spike in applicants, whilst Leigh Music Co. have booked many budding new year musicians in for lessons. I, personally, don’t subscribe to the idea of "new year, new me”, but this year I am forging into 2018 with many a good intention for the year ahead (albeit, none are related to superfoods or exercise. That’s not really my scene).

Anybody who has read my previous blog post might recall that one day, I would simply adore to become a professional luthier.

luthier

/ˈluːtɪə/

noun

a maker of stringed instruments such as violins or guitars. 

I sometimes like to picture myself in my workshop, building, repairing and rejuvenating guitars to my hearts content. I also like to imagine I will have grown an immense beard by this point - but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Therefore, my new year’s resolution is to have built my own acoustic guitar by the end of the year. What better way to learn something inside out, than to create one from the ground up?

In order to complete this mammoth task that I have set myself, I signed myself up (with a little financial aid from my parents) to take part in the Sir John Cass University’s ‘Introduction to Guitar Building’ short course. And so, on Monday afternoon I made my way up to London Town to begin the course which will start me on my road to lutherie.

Having successfully made my way to the Sir John Cass University Art and Design building, I was greeted at the door by a few other dudes, who I assumed were to be my partners in this endeavour - all of us in the same shoes. However, I shortly found out that I was not in the same shoes as everybody else, as 90% of my fellow classmates had decades of experience in woodwork. But before I had time to worry about any of this, we were interrupted by a voice from the other side of the room. A gentleman entered the room and introduced himself as Mathias; saying he would be our tutor throughout our time on the course.

We followed Mathias out of the waiting area, and I soon discovered the labyrinth that this building was. Every door and every corridor on every floor looked the same. However, with careful guidance, my fellow aspiring luthiers and I were led to a workshop on the top floor, where over the next few months we will acquire all the skills you must have to build your own acoustic guitar.

3 hours of intense plane practice later, I come out a changed (and worn out) man. Never before have I had much interest in woodwork, but since the moment I left, I have been itching to get back in that workshop. I simply adored the other worldly experience of no distractions and no interruptions, just me, myself and I. The definition of mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”. I really believe that taking the time out to be alone in your head is a great thing to do; I would recommend this experience in any way that you can get it.


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