What are signs of a good luthier?

New to the guitar world, and just bought a 2022 Martin D-18 a few days ago (NGD!).

It won’t need service for a while, but what do you all look for in a luthier or guitar shop before bringing a guitar in for TLC?

Word of mouth. And I don’t mean the word of the luthier’s mouth. In fact, I have found the level of expertise of a craftsman is inversely proportional to how much they tell you how wonderful they are.

Find out from other guitar players who is good in your area.

It’s not exactly scientific, but I tend to find the best ones have a lot of work on and perhaps a waiting list.

If you can watch them work, you can take note of how careful they are. I won’t let the guy that owns the best guitar store locally come near my guitar because he will likely add scratches just changing strings.

I also take a look at their work surface. if it is full of debris, that turns me off. Things like cut string ends or solder balls. If tools are out, not usually turn-off unless there is no room for working on a guitar. I am lazy about putting my tools back away, but am extremely careful about not damaging my work.

Isn’t that the case for any craftsman/tradesman, e.g. plasterer, electrician, builder etc?


Very true!