Teaching guitar-making

Guitar-making might well be the most popular pasttime in the world today. People take it up after retirement, guitarists get interested in how guitars are made and try their hand and I have even met people who have lost a job in their own field and think that guitar-making might offer better opportunities for a decent salary. There are schools in almost every country and makers, some good some not-so-good, are supplementing their income by teaching. So, more and more guitar-makers are appearing and offering guitars for sale.

I have always felt that competition is good the guitar in general, those coming up behind you keep you on your toes and those ahead of you give you something to work towards. Specifically I have always appreciated the competition in Granada because it draws more and more clients to the city. The fact that buying a “handmade” guitar is such a personal choice means that there is usually a client for every maker and a maker for every client. This all works very well as long as the quality of the instruments is high and the client is well-informed. Sadly, all sorts of guitars (hobby-makers, factories, imports) are being offered today as wonders of craftsmanship while at the same time more and more guitar buyers are looking for a luxury item instead of a tool to make music with.

Back to the subject at hand, what moves a maker to begin teaching? Some people are born to teach; this vocation usually makes them good teachers and if they have done their work and know how to make good guitars they might well turn out some graduates who may go on to become decent makers. Fair enough. Especially as many of these better teachers only teach a few students over their lifetime and may not even be charging the students. My problem comes when someone begins teaching because they can’t make a living building guitars. I hesitate to say that this indicates that his guitars are sub-par but that certainly can be one of the factors that lead to failure. So here we have someone who is not exactly helping to raise the bar of this fine craft and on top of that he is teaching others thereby working towards saturating the market with deficient instruments giving all of us a bad name.