So you want to be a guitar maker!

I thought I'd digress from my usual course today ("What?" I hear you cry. "You flop all over the shop as it is! Usual course my #*#x***.......!") by musing a bit on a different aspect of my life - luthierie, or the art of making stringed instruments. Without wanting to blow my own trumpet (pun intended) I've done alright at this. Despite my father's well founded misgivings I've managed to pay the bills, put a roof over my head and send my daughter to school on the proceeds of this fine craft and had a fulfilling, fascinating career as well (an aside - not strictly true. If Ann didn't work as well it would be a bit tough but never let the truth get in the way of a good story) . At the age of 51 I still get up in the morning wanting to go to work, interested and engaged in the next development in the world that is guitars, and specifically, Maton guitars. I'm a lucky fella I suppose and I guess I'm where I'm supposed to be.....
This is very much a growing industry and Melbourne has the potential to become a major centre for quality guitar manufacturing in the world scene. Not in numbers maybe, but certainly in quality and prestige. The country's two major manufacturers are here, both growing rapidly, and the country's only accredited training provider is here as well.
NCAT (Northern College of Arts & Technology) first ran it's Certificate courses in Making & Repair of Musical Instruments in 2009. We at Maton worked closely with Bon Nardella, the driving force behind the new course to make sure it was relevant to the needs of manufacturers and the industry as a whole. Now in 2014 I'm glad to say it is going from strength to strength, producing talented instrument makers and repairers who I'm sure will play a huge role in the development of the Australian industry as a whole.
This is a far cry from the way my generation got into the business. My own story was a combination of luck, timing and sheer persistence as well as some guiding hands who helped steer me in the right direction when necessary. Information was scarce and often misleading, if it wasn't for the publications of the American Guild of Luthiers and Stewart McDonald catalogues I'm not sure what we would have done back in the 70's and 80's. 
So, if anyone you know is thinking about a career (and there really is one to be had) in guitar making or stringed instruments in general please feel free to pass this blog onto them. Making instruments is a great thing to do and it's wonderful that we now have the ability to complete an accredited training course in instrument making. Here is the link to NCAT - NCAT Musical Instrument Making & Repair
Just for something different I've posted a picture of myself with a couple of prototype tenor ukuleles we developed recently. They'll be in production soon..
Cheers
Patrick

2 comments

  • Chris

    Chris Melbourne

    How and where do apply for a job

    How and where do apply for a job

  • Bernie

    Bernie Geelong

    Nice looking ukes, Pat. Good Aussie Blackwood, I assume?

    Nice looking ukes, Pat. Good Aussie Blackwood, I assume?

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