Apprenticeships\job opportunities?

Apprenticeships\job opportunities?

I don’t know how much or if this has been discussed, but I am thinking about my future, and one thing I would really like to do is become a maker of Uillean Pipes and\or Irish flutes and\or bodhrans. I’m only 14 now, but these years of your life go fast (i hear), and I was just wondering if such opportunities exist. I know that you can take lutherie etc. in college, but what about at a maker of uillean pipes in Ireland or something of the sort, where a "master builder" could teach you all his skills?
I hope you could understand that. If you have anything to contribute, feel free.

Re: Apprenticeshipsjob opportunities?


this is great, there should be a lot more instrument makers.

First you should narrow down (choose: pipes, flute or bodhran?). Then start learning and become the best player you can. In the process you will, hopefully, become acquainted with a few makers, and in order to become a good maker, you’ll have to be a reasonably good player too, anyway.

You’ll probably have to learn instrument making skills pretty much by yourself, but the other makers who you become friends with will help you a lot. There’s a few (and i’m thinking of one specific flute maker who i won’t name here) who instead of helping will try to derail you, but you can ignore them (him).

Good thing i have a few years, I’ve only just started playing the flute & bodhran, and have yet to learn the pipes, but I’m working on it. Tomorrow I’m going to the library and doing extensive research on the net of the subjects; but I assume the best way to learn is experimentation(?)
ps. everyone else, suggestions are still appreciated!

Re: Apprenticeshipsjob opportunities?

I would be fairly interested in this subject also but unfortunately know nothing about it. I came across various sites on the web about making guitars, mandolins etc from Kits, sort of like model aircraft etc. Does anybody know if these kits are any good? I would imagine the first instrument you would make would probably be poor but after enough failures one would have to be ok. Any info on luthier courses in Ireland?
Great thread Mark, hope you get the info you are looking for.

Re: Apprenticeshipsjob opportunities?

Mark, I would check the Uilleann Pipes Obsession page or one of those pages to see if there are any pipemakers near you. If not, see if there are any upcoming Tionols that you can make it to. The pipemakers are generally there. There are usually seminars given on reedmaking and such. Pipemakers and pipers are usually given over to all manner of futzing about with their instruments. They’ll generally spend all kinds of time with each other talking about how to make their pipes and reeds better. From there, it’s a short (if somewhat complicated) leap into making your own.

The amount of equipment needed is pretty steep — borers and lathes and all that — when you’re first getting started, I do know that.

Who knows? Perhaps you could apprentice yourself to a pipemaker for a couple of weeks vacation here or there, or, if there’s a pipemaker in your area, even work for one on a regular basis.

I know Dirk came away from a Sunday afternoon visit with Kirk Lynch a couple of weekends ago saying how much he learned about his pipes.


Re: Apprenticeshipsjob opportunities?

Mark, you might want to check out the Guitar Clinic in Hamilton.
The luthier there, Mike, builds mainly electric guitars, but he apprenticed on accoustic guitars, and occasionally builds mandolins. His guitars show up with the best players in Los Angeles, and are played by many of the top international players.
To add to that, he loves Irish music, and is a regular at the local session. You might be able to pick up a start with him, or possibly, he can steer you in the right direction.

Best of luck,

Hey Scott, I checked out the guitar clinic’s website, it appears they have ceased production?!? It says they moved, and they will no longer be doing repairs, and then it says "thanks to everyone who bought a hammertone guitar since 1995" or something like that… Apparently they moved to The Peghead on King Street? Their website confused me to no end.

Thanks Zina, there are no makers near me, but I’m going to contact some in NY and in the Netherlands, to see what they think about it, possibly for me to come for a visit, I know that most places are pretty open with that (most…..)

Thanks everyone,

Re: Apprenticeshipsjob opportunities?

Have you tried contacting the Pipers Club in Dublin.Go to Also there are lots of people make whistles and flutes in the U.S.A. Check out for whistle (and possibly some flute) makers .

Re: Apprenticeshipsjob opportunities?

Hi Mark … did you check the pipers site? there is a list of pipemakers throughout the world ( - two of them in Canada.

Try to get an internship during your school holidays first. A girl from my neighbourhood got an apprenticeship at our local and well famed violin maker Paul Lysen after she made several holiday internships in his shop. She will finish after three years apprenticeship next spring by presenting her exam set of three fiddles and two violas. Paul told me: "the internships has been important for me and her as well - because master and pupil should know what they

Flute makers

A great place for meeting flute makers is the woodenflute mail list:, look for the mailing list subscription page. Another place is the "earlyflute" Yahoo list:

Flute makers are a very helpful bunch, mostly. 🙂 Pipe (or at least chanter) making is probably a better (easier) way to start, because of the difficulties in tuning a flute. Many flute makers learn by making recorders, for the same reason.

Good luck, and send me some samples!

Re: Apprenticeshipsjob opportunities?

Hi Mark,

Gee, when I grow up, I think I’d like to make pipes, too! (Unfortunately the years go even faster
after 30 😉 Well, after playing the uilleann pipes for a year and a half, I have met Kirk Lynch
and Tim Britton, two pipe makers who also play the pipes quite well. Both of them have expressed
that they wish more pipe makers would also learn to play the pipes. So, are you learning to play
the instrument? Kirk has given me advice on how to get started with making. First, he said I should
learn to make the reeds well, then he suggests a wood-working class. When I met Tim, he taught
a workshop on reed-making.
So, Mark, if you are serious about this, then contact a couple pipe makers from one of the above lists,
and ask for advice. Just give them a call. Also, you should know that making pipes is hard work, which
is okay with me. I like working hard. Also, start learning about how to run your own business, because
you will have to deal with that if you want to make pipes for a living.

All The Best!


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