Posted on

Letter: Start by Building a Dulcimer

Letter: Start by Building a Dulcimer

by John Calkin

Originally published in American Lutherie #24, 1990

Dear Members,

Novice luthiers need a wood that is available, inexpensive, worthy of respect, and that they are not afraid of. A couple times a year would-be guitar makers come to my shop for advice. They have done some homework, so they know the theoretical aspects of choosing wood. They won’t mail-order because this is their first step into lutherie and they want to choose the wood personally. Most find their way to the Martin factory, and when they show up again it is with a box of wood and parts that cost them a half day and at least $350. They view the wood as not only expensive, but irreplaceable. In their minds they can hear the rain forests crashing down.

Months later, they want to talk guitarmaking. No, they haven’t quite started yet. They should build a little shrine and place their wood on its altar; better to sacrifice it to the lutherie gods than to splinter their dream in the workshop.

Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article

This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page.

If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.