Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lutherie, and the Life-Cycle of the Guitar

While the beginning and end points of the guitar-building process can be clearly defined, it's instructive - not to mention humbling - to reflect on the fact that the work of a guitar builder represents only the first stage in the life of the guitar.

If we acknowledge that the luthier's weeks or months of toil serves only to produce a tool whose ultimate purpose is to produce music (hopefully beautiful music!) for many decades, then there's perhaps less of a temptation to view our instruments as ends in themselves. I certainly accept the fact that some of the guitars being built today can truly be regarded as works of art in their own right, but even in the unlikely event that my own instruments one day reach those same lofty heights, the reward I would most like to receive for my efforts would be to see them in the hands of skilled musicians, fulfilling their intended role to the limits of their potential, and contributing in some small way to the magic that music creates.