GAL Membership
Why Join?

Why join the Guild of American Luthiers?
 Well, we can tell you that the Guild has led the way since 1972 to create a community of craftspeople who share their lutherie knowledge and experience with their fellow members. And that our publications and conventions have been the avenue by which hundreds of luthiers have gained and shared knowledge for decades. But our members say it best. Here are a few comments from some highly respected luthiers who think joining the Guild is a pretty good thing to do!  Read on…

Dana Bourgeois testimonial Dana Bourgeois, Brunswick, ME
“Back in the mid 70’s, when I first started building guitars, information on the opic of lutherie was not so easy to come by. At that time a few good books were available, but guitar-building wannabes like myself had to make do without such luxuries as guitar schools, local luthier communities, apprenticeships, and the internet. There was a GAL, however, whose publications and conventions quickly became my lifeline to a universe of information. In the interim a lot has changed. Information is now widely available from so many sources that one can spend a lifetime digesting it all. Of all the sources out there, though, GAL is still the deepest, widest, and the one I find most rewarding. If I had to start over again I’d get myself a membership to the Guild of American Luthiers, a workbench, and a Stew-Mac catalogue, in precisely that order.”

R.E. Brune testimonial RE Brune, Evanston, IL
“After over 40 years of lutherie, I still have a lot to learn, and the GAL is THE source of information, a veritable living encyclopedia of lutherie that eclipses the endeavors of any individual luthier. From the magazine and plans to the conventions, you can't get this information anywhere else, for any price. Why anyone who has even modicum of interest in lutherie is not a member is beyond my comprehension.”

Fred Carlson testimonial Fred Carlson, Santa Cruz, CA
“Why join the GAL? I'll tell you what I think: besides the obvious reason of all the knowledge to be shared, I think that for the art to move forward and for us as individual luthiers and humans to evolve, we need each other. We need ways to connect with others who share our passion; we need to be part of a larger community. I always tell people just starting out on the lutherie path, or wanting to, that one of the most important things they can do is to become part of the community of builders. Having access to knowledge and experience is, of course, priceless, but having access to people is the thing. So much that is worthwhile about life comes from human contact. Friendship and camaraderie, that's part of it; many of my best friends I've met through the GAL. I'm sure that one of the most important ways to learn about lutherie is to develop relationships with others in the field. I know that from experience, just as I know how valuable it is, as a luthier attempting to make a living at this craft, to have the love and respect of my peers. Many jobs and opportunities have come to me because many fellow luthiers have come to know and respect my work enough to send clients, suppliers and others in my direction. I'm convinced that my long-time membership and participation in the GAL has been one of the most important factors in my achieving the level of success and enjoyment I've gotten from being a crazy, self-employed luthier/artist. Join the GAL; it may be the single best thing you can do for yourself as an aspiring or practicing luthier.”

Jeffrey Elliott testimonial Jeff Elliott, Portland, OR
“When I was introduced to the Guild in 1975 it was a fledgling organization with a grand vision. I joined because I believed in that vision: by sharing our collective lutherie experiences we would increase everyone's understanding and raise our own level of craft faster and more fully than any one of us might achieve by working alone. Each of us has something to share and something to learn. Together we're extraordinary. For over 30 years I have witnessed this ideal become an ongoing reality for thousands of luthiers, musicians, and aficionados the world over, and am proud to feel a part of it. Together with the unanticipated but equally satisfying benefit of lifelong friendships and professional camaraderie, my life has been immeasurably enriched. Thank you GAL.”

Harry Fleishman testimonial Harry Fleishman, Sebastopol, CA
“I recommend, with only a hint of threat, that my students join the GAL immediately. I tell them that not only will they learn a lot and support a good group, but also they will have access to some of the best luthiers in the world. The Guild has been instrumental in fostering the idea that we learn together and grow together. Yes, there are too many luthiers; yes, the competition is getting fiercer by the day. But more luthiers has raised the bar for all of us and moved us from emulating the 19th century to creating the 21st. Joining GAL isn't enough, however. I encourage new members, especially younger members, to contribute. This gets fresh ideas into the lutherie community and also helps younger builders get known. Everybody wins.”

Frank Ford testimonial Frank Ford, Palo Alto, CA
“Here's the deal. In today's world the community of luthiers is a pretty small community, and spread thin throughout the known world. So, we need ways to reinforce our sense of community and a means of networking in order to share our expertise, learn and grow. Sure, today we have the Internet. But, it's limited to relatively sterile text, photos and video - a far cry from the kind of powerful interpersonal relating we do in person at the Convention, and on the phone. Enter the GAL – there's something for everyone in the magazine, and at the conventions. And, as much as you might learn by reading and attending, trust me, you'll gain double that if you contribute!”

Graham McDonald testimonial Graham McDonald, Australia
“Why join? There is lots of stuff I could write about sharing information, camaraderie, networking, but if nothing else, it is just incredible value to be a member. Even with variable exchange rates each edition of American Lutherie only costs me around $20 and there hasn't been a copy out of the 95 that hasn't had at least 20 bucks worth of good ideas. It is the most valuable three feet of my library shelves.”

Robert Ruck testimonial Robert Ruck, Eugene, OR
“Along with the wealth of information the Guild makes available, there is the possibility to meet other makers and hear their stories. The Guild magazine American Lutherie is a good forum through which one can express ideas, humor, opinions, and keep abreast of issues related to lutherie. It's a great value.”

Roger Siminoff testimonial Roger Siminoff, Arroyo Grande, CA
“The luthierie community is steeped in the tradition of sharing methods and technology. This is the path by which we all learn, grow, and expand our art. Serving as a catalyst for its members, the Guild of American Luthiers helps to foster the information sharing process and provides a means for all of us to connect. But the Guild can only succeed if it is supported by the members it works so diligently to embrace. If you are serious about your work as a luthier, you should be equally serious about becoming a member.”

Lloyd Pond testimonial Lloyd Pond, Austin, TX
“Too often, in a world of computer controlled machines, a person can lose the idea that a person can make musical instrument, not just beautiful “Martin” look-alikes, but creations from the mind of Fred Carlson or Ben Patron. GAL gives me that link to builders and keeps my imagination humming.”

Paul Bristow testimonial Paul Bristow, Gresham, OR
“Yes, The BEST Organization that I Know of. The most inspiring group of very high end artists, with open hearts and minds, genius on their breath, and amazing insight and creativity. And no ego wars. Just Sisterhood, Brotherhood, and honest interest in working together in the most amazing ways. Really gives me hope that as a world/nation/culture... There is the possibility that humanpersonhood, can rise to noble heighths, and yearn to work together for the benefit of all, without prejiduce, greed, or the need to control others for personal gain. What is left?... The pure enjoyment of life, and love of others, and passion for our arts, with mutual respect and admiration for all. Comradeship.”

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