Where it all began…

In the mid 80’s I found myself designing and making my first guitar at high school. This was way before the flood of information became available from the internet. There weren’t even that many books on the subject of guitar making. Using a ‘hands on’ approach, I used exiting instruments as my guide to how a guitar should be laid out. I was very fortunate enough to have a guitar teacher lend me a ‘real’ Fender to take home for the weekend to measure up! My knowledge of guitars now leads me to believe that the “real’ Fender lent to me was in fact a ’63- ’65 Stratocaster! Not a bad starting point.

The years after this time led me into the Jewellery making industry, which while ‘way-laying me’ for a few years, gifted me with hand skills and accuracy and an overly developed perfectionist streak, that would stand me in good stead as a luthier.

I was born to make guitars.

In my late 20’s I was fortunate to come under the guidance of Philip Carson Crickmore. Spending two days a week for two years in his workshop helping with rudimentary assembly tasks showed me what was needed to create quality instruments. Watching a master like Phil at work was invaluable.

My 30’s and early 40’s saw me creating instruments of my own design for myself. I was learning how to rapidly and accurately create jigs for my own shapes and forms. These years also saw me teaching at a TAFE college, imparting my knowledge and honing my teaching skills. It was during my time at TAFE that I started up the Electric Guitar and Bass Making course under the insistence of a senior colleague (and Bass aficionado) Peter Lamburd. This course ran very successfully for 4 years with students making classic bolt-on guitars and basses.

Where I am now…

In late 2014, I established my own workshop in Mooroolbark near the Dandenong Ranges and have been creating ever increasingly complex instruments, focusing mainly on bass guitars and continuing my teaching of guitar making from there.

2016 has seen the establishment of the Melbourne School of Guitar Making in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs where I have also relocated my own instrument building practice.

david searle