RED WING, Minn. (KTTC) – Heads were bobbing, fingers drumming and feet tapping at a guitar show in Red Wing Wednesday night. It’s an annual rite of passage for a group of students at Minnesota State College Southeast, but it wasn’t the students performing.
While the students worked hard for this moment – it was the six-string creations that were on display – creations of the Guitar Repair and Building program. The guitarists aren’t showing off their musical talent, but rather their carpentry.
“I knew I wanted to work with my hands and I knew I wanted to do something with music,” 2nd year student at MSCS Caleb Holst said. “So, this is where I ended up.”
“It was a really weird feeling, going through the process, we’re picking up wood from lumber yards and then all of the sudden its like hey, I made that,” 1st year student at MSCS Nolan Hartl added.
Students say a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the hand made instruments.
“It would be like negative three and we would be miserable because you don’t want to go to school,” Holst said. “Its the progress that makes it worth it. You end up with a guitar and its just like, you’ve done it!”
While finishing a product that requires such intricacy, time and dedication might seem like the highlight, students say hearing their instruments come to life is the best part.
“It’s so surreal. Its’s unbelievable having a professional play your guitar,” Holst said. “And it just sounds beautiful, I just hadn’t played it yet.”
Guitar builders got to hear first notes plucked out by a pro who’s been around guitars most of his life.
“They all have a different voice and its interesting to pull our what it does best,” professional guitarist Phil Heywood said. “Each one take you to a slightly different place, and I enjoy most of those places.”
“Everything is so precise, I guess the most rewarding to me is like I can take the time and be precise and end up with a really cool guitar,” Hartl said.
“I think it is a trip for the builders, to hear someone kind of wig out on their instrument,” Heywood added, laughing.
Students can spend one year in the Guitar Repair and Building program, but some opt to take two years.