Like it or not you are probably in several communities. I belong to several great communities in my life and one of them that I value most of all is my guitar making and repairing community. I would like to tell you a bit about my history in getting myself into our community and developing life long friendships.
I have been repairing guitars since the 80’s, but decided about 18 years ago that it is what I would do for a living. I took a job at a small music store in the East Village of Manhattan and told them that as well as selling guitars I could also repair them. I was hired and for 5 1⁄2 years built up a solid repair business for the store and a good reputation around the city. Eventually it became hard for the shop to keep me on without modifying my employment status as the repairs I were doing were financially exceeding the retail operation of the store. At this point my then future wife Ela convinced me with much difficulty to leave the financial security of working for someone, and open a shop out of our apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The rest as they say is history, and proved to me that my wife is much smarter than I am.
I was unaware back in 2003 of any of the guitar building and repair guilds that existed, or the major shows where builders could show their work. As I started exploring the Internet beyond funny cat photos, I found some forums where the buzz around the conventions and guitar shows was quite intense. I decided that after reading all the repair books available and seeing every StewMac video, that I wanted to at least meet some of the people I admired so much who were successful at what I was trying to do. The question at hand is how did a shy person with no contacts in the community after several years accumulate so many wonderful friends who are at the top of the field I am in. The answer is simple. I showed up.