I find luthier shops to be very fascinating. They’re the string doctors of my profession. If a stringed instrument needs fixed or adjusted, this is who to visit.
I’ve visited a number of luthiers over the course of my career, and they’ve all had a big thing in common. Their shops always look like a set out of a Hoarders show! Wooden instruments stick out in every direction, covering countertops, the floor, and walls.
In addition to fixing instruments, some luthiers make their own instruments! And best of all, they usually have the most incredible stories! Their craft is passed on from the “master” to the apprentice over the course of many years of training and woodwork, so a lot is learned on the job. My luthiers have had a variety of backgrounds, from British violin-maker transplant to a Midwestern city, to a Chicago-based couple with a love of music celebrities, to a St. Louis fiddle player who also works on violins from many of the St. Louis Symphony members.
My father-in-law, a woodworker hobbiest, loves to come with me every year for my violin’s annual checkup to see all the unique instruments/works of art.
Listen to this episode for a look into a luthier shop!