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Operation: Bootstraps Britain

Operation: Bootstraps Britain

by Theron McClure

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Newsletter Vol. 4, #2, 1976

The English luthiers are two years behind in filling their orders from customers. You cannot buy lutes, viols, etc., “off the hook” in London. A choice of harpsichords is limited.

It is not the musical and playing public who caused this short supply of instruments in Britain. It was the luthiers themselves who created and developed the healthy market for instruments. But how?

By playing. Makers of those early-type instruments which are so much easier to learn to play then are the symphonic type, built lutes and viols for themselves taught themselves to play them, and presented concerts which developed audiences and buyers for these musical products.

American luthiers can do the same thing and have the same successes. How will a prospective buyer of an instrument know whether he wants you instrument if he doesn’t hear it demonstrated for him, and he himself can’t play?

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