The Luthiery Shop & Music Theater Opens In Bourbon
Paul Dunn has been building and repairing string instruments for more than 40 years, but until he opened The Luthiery Shop & Music Theater in Bourbon, never had his tools under one roof.
Dunn’s lifelong obsession with acoustic instruments and some favorable circumstances led him to open The Luthiery Shop in November. He spent five months renovating a space at 296 Pine Street to create a spot where musicians can have Dunn build a custom string instrument, like a guitar, mandolin, violin, ukulele or have them repaired. The Luthiery Shop will not be a music store, but he’ll have strings or certain parts available for purchase.
Dunn took an interest in building instruments when he was 10. He was intrigued by how they were made and what made them work. He went to a luthier school in Phoenix to receive formal training and has been building string instruments since then.
Though he’s been building the instruments for most of his life, Dunn doesn’t consider himself much of a musician. He can play guitar, but his interest lies in enabling someone’s musical passion. “I was always more interested in building guitars than playing,” he said, noting it’s not uncommon among luthiers “I would rather see and hear them play.”
“It’s a good feeling,” he said about watching someone play an instrument he’s built.
Dunn envisions The Luthiery Shop as a place where musicians can gather for jam sessions, relax and enjoy each other’s company. He plans to bring in musical acts next year. A small stage has been set up with a space for people to sit down and enjoy the music. In another part of the building is his shop. Dunn is considering the idea of giving people what he calls a luthier “experience” where he shows them the process of building a string instrument. It would be available to a limited number of people.
Dunn used to do repairs out of Westgate Music in Sullivan, which has closed. At The Luthiery Shop, he’s resumed his repair work. “It motivated me a lot,” he said about Westgate’s closing. Dunn began searching out a spot and landed in a vacant building in Bourbon. “I looked at it and thought it would be a neat spot for a music theater,” he said.
Dunn hopes musicians of all skill levels will come out for jam sessions. Currently, there are no set hours since he’s occupied with his other job, but he’s available on Friday afternoons and Saturdays or when his truck is parked out front.