J. Rod McClellan
Luthier

 
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Handmade Instruments Built For The Musician
5558 E. Freedom Ln. Clinton, WI 53525 (608)365-2624
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There are several reasons why I've chosen to dedicate my time and effort to building guitars. The first one is that God has called me to it. He has prepared me for it in many ways, discussed more fully in Who Am I?. I also talk there about my musical background, which plays a major role in convincing me that this is the occupation where I belong. These are the most personal reasons.

Then there comes the need for someone to approach building instruments as I do. I could never say that someone should buy my instruments because they are the best. How would I know that? I can say that my instruments are uniquely built. I approach every build with an attitude of learning: first, learning what the musician needs, then, learning how to make that happen with the materials available to do the work. I use my own knowledge, but I also seek guidance from outside myself. I don't rely on just my understanding of music and wood and precision craftsmanship.

I also rely on the God who called me to this work to lead me in it, and I seek His leading all along the way. I believe there is a need for somebody to do this openly, and dedicate themselves to pursuing lutherie this way. There may be others who practice the craft this way, but I don't know of any. I'm not saying either that this makes my instruments better. That's not for me to decide. There are luthiers who have much more experience than I, and who build wonderful instruments without seeking that kind of guidance; nevertheless, I do.

I build instruments for musicians, not for the masses. I try not to waste any time along the way, but time is not the issue for me, or rather, I will take whatever time is required to make the instrument what I'm convinced it must be for the sake of my customer, and for the glory of God. I don't think about the profit side of it - I can't. I'm not a businessman, I'm a servant and a minister to my customers. I trust God that He will take care of my needs, and He always has and does. In many ways, this is a matter of trust towards Him. I don't ever want to talk someone into buying an instrument from me so that I can make a living.

I want to make myself available to anyone who desires to have an instrument built by someone who will give everything they are to the task, including their dependence on God. When I'm commissioned to build an instrument, you get everything. When it's finished and you are happy, you'll know that God had the biggest part in making that happen, because He's the One in Who's name I serve you. As stated elsewhere, I view my work as an act of worship towards Him. I'm thankful to Him for the privilege I've had so far to build instruments for musicians dedicated to sharing themselves with others through the music they make.