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The Road to becoming a Luthier
Hi Chris (and everyone else!),
I've loved bass guitars ever since I picked one up around 10 years ago and have recently decided to start learning to setup and maintain them as I was always amazed at what a difference a professional setup can make. I watched the series on Scotts Bass Lessons on how to setup a bass guitar and have got fantastic results already (and have learned how important it is to start with a well-put-together instrument if you want it to play nicely!).
Leading on from the above, I've decided that I love bass guitars too much to not consider learning how to properly repair and eventually start building them so my question is: where is the best place to start when it comes to learning how to build a bass guitar? I've got a 'shopping list' of things I need to start buying (fret finishing tools, a straight edge etc.) and have also looked at courses offered by Crimson Guitars. I've even reached out to Jaydee (as they're 15 minutes down the road from me) to see if they'd be willing to let me come and help them out (for free) in exchange for learning about what it is that goes into a well-made bass guitar.
It's also worth noting that I'm an IT Manager by day so I'm fortunate enough to have some money to spend on the hobby but have virtually no woodworking experience!
Currently learning how to setup bass guitars!
Yes - this is an area I've had a lot of enquiries about over time and for many years I jointly ran quarterly weekend courses on guitar/bass maintainance, with a friend of mine who had a small 'Country House' Hotel in the Lake District and ran playing weekend courses - though these have now ceased...
There are a few privately run guitar making courses and London University (originally Goldsmiths College) and Leeds College of Music used to run two and three year full time courses - but I'm not sure if these are still available.
The problem with most makers such as ourselves, JayDee, Wal Basses etc., is that training takes a long time and in production terms is something of a distraction and not economic to undertake unless you are training someone to work with you in your own workshop. So it is difficult to offer any really useful advice. Even books on electric bass making are a bit thin on the ground - though there are a number of quite good ones on both making and repairing guitars that may touch on bass.
Stewart MacDonald (StewMac - https://www.stewmac.com/ ) are a good place to start for both books and tools - they're in the US, but ship to the UK. And my old friend David Dyke ( http://www.luthierssupplies.co.uk/ ) is a good place to get wood and specialist materials...
If you get stuck or need specific advice - give me a call...