The guitar building class in Brazil hosted by my good friend, and luthier, Luciano Borges was a huge success. In July I traveled to the newly constructed School of Lutherie in Araguari, Brazil to teach a guitar making class together with Luciano. The new facility is incredible. Luciano has created an place of unprecedented beauty and utility for studying guitar building. It was an honor to be the first guest teacher at the new building.
There were so many things about this trip that I loved, but for me, the best thing about the experience was the people I met. The students were a delight. They were enthusiastic, passionate and eager to learn. In the class all 15 students built guitars that they took home with them. Some built 6 string classical guitars others built 7 string nylon string guitars used in samba music. It was amazing how many of these students were fine accomplished musicians. As the guitars were strung up students immediately began playing and singing. It seemed everywhere we went there was always music and singing. Below is Hamilton, a student, playing a guitar made by Claudio. Claudio is the other student in the video.
The staff was composed of six luthiers that traveled from various parts of Brazil to act as monitors during the class. Rodrigo Gnattali, a fine luthier from outside Rio de Janiero , also acted as interpreter for me. Meeting Rodrigo was like meeting the brother I never knew I had. Rodrigo helped immensely with my having a blast while there. At night there were parties, musicians came and played great music. And as always everyone sang along.
Desire and Passion Lead to Inventiveness
It was explained to me that it is very difficult if not impossible for luthiers and students to find good tools and equipment in Brazil. If they can find them the cost is prohibitive. This however, did not slow anyone down in building their guitars. Where there is a will there is a way. I found the passion and desire of the students and staff resulted in some pretty inventive solutions to overcome these obstacles. I learned a few things while there. Some of those things I will bring back and use in my shop and my classes.
There was some catching up to do when I got back, so much so that I sadly did not have time to write about the trip much. My message to you is, If you ever get an opportunity to travel to Brazil, do yourself a favor and go. The Brazilians are warm, fun loving people. The food is great, the music incredible, and be sure to try some of the cachaca. I know I did and I can’t wait to go back.
New Ideas Moving Forward – More to Come
This trip has given me some great ideas for my classes, videos and products moving forward which I am sure everyone will benefit from. Stay tuned for announcements.
Luciano and I have planned more classes in the future. There will be a class in February. Exact dates will be available soon, so check back in for more information. Classes will include plane making, developing skills, and of course guitar making.
Welcome back John! Glad to hear it was a fruitful trip.