Steve Nall, a Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery graduate, and longtime employee for Collings Guitars in Austin, TX, visits the school. In this video he talks about his life in guitar-making, and what he looks for in a potential employee. It’s a candid conversation about the important attributes a team player should possess to get ahead in this business, especially in a manufacturing setting.


During our talk, Steve explains to me that the criteria, on which he bases his search for qualified applicants, has changed over the years. At one point he looked for the class “rock star”, the wood-worker with the best hand-skills and nicest student instruments. But these days, he’s looking for a trainable person with a decent skill-set and an aptitude to learn more, someone with a great work ethic. He’d rather find someone with an affable attitude, who’s a team player, instead of someone who’s got “mad hand-skills”, but a non-complementary mind-set and selfish work ethic.


Lately, I found that a lot of companies are looking for this type of employee. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative or envision your own path. It’s just that when you work for someone else, you need to have the discipline to build their instruments the way they want it done… It’s called “continuing education” or “on-the-job training”. If needed, you can always build on your own time… Balance is key.


About the author:

John "Juano" Lippi

“Musician and producer Juano Lippi was born with some wizardry inside: Divinity meets the Devil.” – Phil Ramone – The Huffington Post

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