Lagan Lutherie was established in 2010 but its origins extend back 13 years.
Sam Irwin began teaching lutherie at a technical college in belfast in 1998. The classes began modestly with 6 people in attendance but grew year on year almost entirely on word of mouth and reputation. Eventually 50+ students were attending per year making acoustic, classical and electric guitars, as well as mandolins, bouzoukis, harps and lyres.
Demand was so great that intensive courses were put in place during the summer months when the college was usually closed. However in 2009, changes to courses and budget constraints meant it became no longer viable to offer a high quality instrument making course at the college.
Local demand was still very present, and along with encouragement from students: past, present and future, Sam established LLS. Since then the school has grown consistently, and the quality of instruments just gets better and better.
The freedom of being a private school has also meant that exciting research can now be pursued. Unusual woods both exotic and locally grown feature on many of instruments leaving the workshop. Uses of carbon fibre, offset soundholes, body bevels, soundports and other such features are being explored.
We look forward to welcoming many more students from all over the world in the coming years!
A gathering of instruments made under Sam’s guidance in 2003