Georgia luthier finds his calling in guitar work

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HAHIRA, Ga. (AP) - The first three songs Scott Dorscheimer ever learned on guitar were Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” Eric Clapton’s “Layla” and The Allman Brothers’ “Sweet Melissa.”

He started when he was 18 when, watching a friend play guitar, he was struck by a desire to pick it up himself.

He took a couple of lessons and learned a few chords, self-teaching himself after that.

Dorscheimer’s father was an electrical engineer who built cabins in his spare time with Scott growing up helping him saw, cut and nail them together.

Once he got into guitar playing, Scott‘ mind returned to all that woodwork and he started wondering how hard it would be to build a guitar from scratch, piece by piece.

On a visit in Bozeman, Mont., a chance conversation about guitars at a pub in Big Sky introduced Dorscheimer to the manager of Gibson Guitars in Bozeman.

Two weeks later, he hooked a U-Haul up to his truck and moved to Montana, going to work for Gibson.

“Gibson builds all their acoustic guitars out there. The weather is really conducive for the wood out there because of the humidity. It’s a dry air.”

He ended up staying there for a year, long enough to learn a few things about guitars, and long enough to discover that what he was seeking wasn’t something you could find in a factory, not even one that created guitars.

He met the guys at Gibson who did custom work by hand and started talking with them. Two of them had gone to a luthier, or guitar building, school in Phoenix, Ariz., and Dorscheimer decided that was where he’d head. He even wrote a check to the school, a check he still holds onto today. But, like the oft-quoted line from John Lennon, life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

A conversation with two professional luthiers convinced him that guitar building was a long, hard road to make a living.

“You’ve got to pay your dues. There’s no other way around it.”

Dorscheimer ended up moving back to Atlanta and going to college, majoring in political science and business administration, but he didn’t give up on guitars. He kept working at it, at first ordering guitar making kits that came with half of the steps done. He’d take baby steps with each one, learning a little more each time, slowly working backwards to get to the point where he was starting from scratch.

“The only way to do this is to get in there.”

He ended up going into insurance, something that his stepfather did, sticking with it for 15 years, building guitars on the side.

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