AJ Huvard

Frequently Asked Questions

Anthony J. Huvard, Luthier Online

How does the Apprenticeship work?

Password protected data files are downloaded sequentially from the web site. As each 'lesson' is assimilated, the accompanying 'quiz' is completed at the 'online' testing center (html form driven). After the student completes the examination, the results will be interpreted by a staff member and the results returned to the student via e-mail.

We will survey and check each student's work individually... incorrect answers will result in referral to specific areas of study in the lesson plan. . . Once this test is passed. . . the student is allowed to continue on to the next lesson to repeat the process. The 'programmed learning' format of this series of lectures enables each student to advance through the program at their own speed.

What if I have a question about something in the class information?

Real-time questions/answer series twice weekly for 2 hours each session. . . Students will rendezvous in Cyberspace at a designated, password protected 'chat-room' to ask specific questions and share their experiences of the past week's studies. Each session will be preceded by a syllabus outlining an overview for the night's topic of discussion. This syllabus is e-mailed to each student prior to the meeting in order to allow the student to prepare questions or comments in advance. Answers may be recorded for later downloading to the student's database. This database will become a 'keyword' searchable text document and thus a continual source of reference for the student as they proceed through the course. The student may also e-mail Mr. Huvard questions at any time...

Students may begin their training at any time (the scheduled start date for the course is March 15, 1997), however, due to the nature of the course, all students must 'start' at the beginning, so that terminology can be imparted and a general level of understanding may be achieved.

Who is 'teaching' the course?

The formal curriculum was developed by Anthony Huvard, a professional instrument maker and expert repairman with 30 years experience in the craft. He has taught the elements of instrument construction for nearly 20 years in several different formats, ranging from lecture classes to full-time, on sight apprenticeships. He has given lectures and demonstrated all aspects of the craft worldwide since 1970. Occasionally, recognized experts in particular areas of the craft will be engaged to provide 'color commentary' and insight into their particular areas of interest. Restoration techniques, specifics of design, and theoretical experimentation, as well as ornamentation and aesthetics will be addressed. Often times these 'special' lectures will be independent of the course curriculum and will be used as the 'topic of discussion' for the 'online' question and answer sessions.

I am a novice computer user, how will this affect my access to information?

It is assumed that a basic level of computer awareness has been achieved by anyone seeking their training online. . . However, each document will have specific instructions for how to configure your machine for downloading. . . both DOS/Windows and Macintosh operating system's formats will be addressed. These 'how to' instructions will simplify the initial process, and soon enough the student will become comfortable with the procedure.

You may want to purchase a Zip Drive to store the Apprenticeship Class. This will allow you to easily and collect large scanned or downloaded files and backup all data.

What about 'hands on training'?

Obviously, an online training program has some limitations. One of these is the lack of opportunity to learn 'hands on.' We have however considered this and will attempt to simulate one-on-one training by augmenting the lecture series with gifs, jpegs and 'quick time' videos of the more esoteric requirements of the craft, such as sharpening skills, side bending, rosette production and ornamentation techniques. This audio visual approach is not quite as good as 'being there in person, but it is, we feel a reasonable alternative.

What if I fail my test? Can I flunk out of the class?

No, You cannot flunk out of this class. A substandard result on a quiz simply implies that more attention must be paid to the subjects at hand before the student is ready to proceed to the next level. Every attempt will be made to interpret the test scores and point out the areas in the curriculum that can be provide the proper answers. With a little bit of extra effort most everyone can acquire the skills and knowledge needed to build a musical instrument.

Where do I get my supplies? Are they included in the tuition?

Tools and supplies are the sole responsibility of the student. However, Famous Guitarmaker Internet World Headquarters maintains a list of suppliers and a discount of 20% from retail will be offered to registered students of the class who order their personal set of tools and supplies directly from Famous Guitarmaker Internet World Headquarters online. Otherwise students may shop anywhere they like for what they require.

Can we buy the books from you too?

Yes, we can provide a set of course textbooks, or individual course textbooks as required to 'fill in' gaps in your library; registered students are offered a special discount. Contact the 'Supply Room' with your orders. Sorry, no C.O.D.'s, but we gladly accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express cards.

Do you have a method of 'critiquing' our projects?

Yes! Send us a photo! We will scan them and make the gifs available to all participants. They will be critiqued by everyone in the class. This method of 'sharing' helps create a truly interactive experience! Remember! we are all builders here and we like to receive feedback too.

Do I have to use 'imported materials' for my projects? Or special 'tone woods'?

No! Certain materials are the favored ones, but domestic alternatives are available and their use is encouraged. Each project will list several options for materials to use and the wood technology section of the curriculum will help you decide which are the 'best choices..

I'm not sure I can do this. . . What if my work is not up to par?

We are not here to judge anyone, but rather to offer information and advice to those who want to learn our craft. The purpose of our class is to promote the craft for the fun and enjoyment of the novice, and to raise the level of training of all involved.

I'm not sure I want to build guitars. . . But I'd like to learn to repair them. Do you offer repair classes too?

Instrument repair and instrument construction go hand in hand. A good builder is typically a good repair person, and a good repair person has better insight into the complexities of the instrument and thus tends to become a better builder. We will, however, include specific repair techniques in our course curriculum: fretting, neck resets, electronics and circuit trouble shooting and repair with all be covered. However as with any skill, a certain amount of practice is required to make 'perfect' and the best way to acquire those skills is to 'practice' on the projects in the curriculum.

What topics are included in the curriculum? What can we expect to learn?

The online apprenticeship employs many of the concepts used in the "Sloyd Method" of manual training. An introduction to hand tool woodworking with emphasis on sharpening skills and the proper use of hand tools is essential for this craft. So we will start there. Each project will teach the student new skills. Simple projects such as making a 'straight edge' will introduce the student to proper measuring and planing techniques; as the skills develop so does the complexity of the projects: a square, then a marking gauge, a 'shooting board' and so on. The student learns hand tool woodworking by actually 'building' the specialized tools of the craft. By the time the instrument making begins students have already become familiar with hand tool usage and proper technique, and thus fabrication of the instruments components are simply an extension of known skills. Additionally, mass production techniques and machine use are discussed, everything from 'scrapers' to CNC routers.

In addition to woodworking, other areas of knowledge explored are 'wood technology' to learn about wood, "glue technology' to understand glues and clamping, some metallurgy and blacksmithing skills are required to make certain projects so that information will be provided. Some theoretical physics and acoustics principals will be introduced as well. The esoteric knowledge of the craft, such as pattern and mould making, side bending, inlay, marquetry, finishing, etc. Design skills will be developed by exposure to basic mechanical drawing and freehand and perspective drawing exercises. The student will 'draw' each project prior to construction; this insures a better understanding of the elements of and design and gives the student a chance to 'work out the bugs' on paper before attempting to effect the project on the physical plane.

We will also discuss an overview of the history and development of the craft to provide the class with an understanding of the 'how and 'why' certain techniques are employed in this craft. One cannot know where they are going without understanding where they have already been.

Do we receive any kind of certification or a degree for successful completion of the class?

No. Guitarmakers don't need a degree, they simply need to build guitars. . . If you do good quality work, word of mouth will sell your guitars, and skilled repair people are always in demand. Remember, free enterprise is the lifeblood of capitalism, if your product is a good one, then the demand for your work will increase. As for certification. . . what better 'certification' could there be than a 'finely crafted' handmade example of your workmanship? Show 'em the guitar you made . . . If they like it they will buy one. . . No degree I know of will insure that! However, as a graduate of the program, whether you build professionally or not, you will become part of a group of individuals like yourself who love the craft and seek to constantly improve it. By sharing your ideas with others. we hope you will enjoy intellectually rewarding, mutually beneficial relationships and the probability of developing lifelong friendships with your fellow craftsmen.

How much does the program cost? How do I sign up?

The Online Apprenticeship requires an initial entrance fee of $250. We will register you online and e-mail your password to you. The password will give you access to the course curriculum and authorize you to download your lessons to your own computer as text files and gifs or jpegs (graphics images). A maintenance fee of $100 will be billed to your credit card each month. Thus, the faster your learn each lesson and pass the corresponding 'test' the more quickly you can advance to the next level. The sooner you complete the 'course' the less expensive the program is. You can take as long as you want on any aspect of the curriculum and because you 'pay as you go' you help control the cost of the program. Where else can you receive personal guidance for so little. . . and it can all be accomplished from the privacy of your own home! No need to travel to another city, pay rent, or upset your current lifestyle. Simply 'sign on' when you're ready to work, follow the outlined procedures at your own pace and be building your workshop and skills where you will be using them. . . in your own hometown.

What's gonna stop me from selling the information I download to others?

Nothing can prevent abuse of this system. It is based purely on trust. The advantage of maintaining a password account is that it nets each registered student individual attention and guidance in their course of study. Remember we will be assessing your work on an individual basis and our comments will relate to your specific needs. . . This interactivity is the key to the curriculum. . . Having someone to answer questions that arise and advise solutions is what makes the program workable.

Well, what if I need to take a break from the program, or simply wanna quit?

You may terminate your participation in the program at anytime. . . simply notify us of your plans via e-mail and we will cease billing your account. When you are ready to 'start again,' simply let us know and you can 'pick up' where you 'left off.' Simple, huh.

How do I know the program is worth it?

Anthony Huvard has taught hundreds of people, young and old, to build instruments; his curriculum is based on 30 years' experience working as a professional in the field and the information he has complied is the result of that work. The 'value' of education is hard to assess. Some folks will use what they learn and some will not. The information imparted in the Online Apprenticeship is extensive and well researched, but each individual must assess its value for themselves.

wood shavings

"What a recipe for preserving the wood...
to fill its pores with music." -- H. D. Thoreau

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