You're not a luthier...I am...I think...

Just what is a luthier? What does it take to be one, and how do you know when you are one? Do you have to be "outed" or do you just know?

During the months of February and March 1999, I unwittingly started a little war on the Usenet Instrument Builders' newsgroup. I posted a note that invited luthiers to my new web forum on this site. The gist of the note was that everything not having to do with guitar building was SPAM -- certainly not my intent, but that's what came out. What I got was no visitors to my forum, and howls of outrage from the builders using the newsgroup. 

Lesson 1: A luthier isn't just a guitar builder, as I had previously thought. I looked up the word (after the fact) on the Merriam-Webster dictionary site and guess what I found...

Luthier, from Merriam-Webster's Site

Main Entry: luˇthiˇer
Pronunciation: 'lü-tE-&r, -thE-&r
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from luth lute (from Middle French lut)
Date: 1879
     One who makes stringed musical instruments (as violins or guitars)

Of course, I was shocked! I had unwittingly aligned myself with all stringed instrument makers...not that there's anything wrong with that.  I promise I'll do more analysis in the future.  This was a hit on me.

Lesson 2: Be careful what you post on the internet because there are lots of people out there that take the time to microanalyze every statement they find. Your "non-carefully thought-out" statement (like mine) may suffer the same fate.

Lesson 3: There were suggestions during the verbal war that somehow those who build electric guitars or use parts to build guitars are not as "equal" as their acoustic-centric brothers.  My perspective is that electric guitars are just as worthy of discussion as acoustic guitars. Kind of like the old "kids are people, too" slogan, "electrics are guitars, too."  The world of guitar is a "big tent" world -- room for just about everybody. What about those Korn-approved 7-string guitars?

Lesson 4:  There are lots of guitar builders that refer to themselves "luthiers".  I did a search on Yahoo for, of course, luthier and found the majority of the artisans calling themselves luthiers had "guitar" somewhere in the name of their business.  The title luthier sounds authoritative, kind of like professor or doctor.  I sure am sorry I offended all of you luthiers because I associated you solely with guitars!

Lesson 5:  People tend to become outraged over small, ultimately insignificant issues.  There are a lot of big issues out there folks -- spend your energy on something that will hopefully change the world, or your personal environment for the better. 

So, my perception is that I emerged from the electronic combat wiser and better, I suppose. In the final analysis I just want you to enjoy this site, be a participant, and help everybody learn something about the guitar.


Opinion Page

Builder's Gallery Repair Techniques Our Original Music Guitar Forum
The "Saga Sagas" Links

Play Guitar

Opinion Page
  Guitar Collection

Listen on Reverbnation

Interesting Guitars


Contact GUITARATTACK GuitarAttack Store KGS Store   HOME