That’s John Reuter, director of training @robertovenn.school.of.luthiery where I went to school. John is a great teacher. Let me tell you a story about John and I.
I showed up to the Quonset hut in the desert a long haired (!) wannabe luthier. I was sufficiently obsesssed with making guitars but possessed the ignorance about everything all of us are blessed with when we graduate high school. John is as close to a football coach the luthier world has. Football coaches have a knack for bluntly confronting youthful ignorance. John is a man who knows what he’s doing and he’s going to tell you when you are not doing it that way. I respected and feared him. John was the teacher I needed.
We were sanding a radius in the rim of acoustic guitar frames and I needed to have a teacher check it before moving on. I chose John. John came out and bent down over the rim to check for gaps, cigarette in the corner of his mouth. My teenage obliviousness was quickly disrupted by that cigarette being tossed frustratingly across the yard and me seeing John walk back into the shop without a word.
I had kind of done the work and was lazily hoping someone could tell I could move on. I learned then, although I didn’t realize it, that if you’re going to do something like Mule I needed to learn to confront myself. This self-confrontation is the most important part of owning a business, especially one where you make what you sell. It’s also something least rarely expressed. It’s a balancing act and a life long project to know when to burn the boats and when you’re wrong about something. To detach, to learn, to decide and move quickly and move on. John is the teacher we need.
This picture is from when I went to RV a couple years ago when I went to give a talk on resonators. I went in the office and confidently handed him #500. I also felt like a nervous 19 year old. John played it and looked it over. He loved it. He told me. I cried in my car. ——- Thanks to John, William, Robert, And Joe too.