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A day in the life of a luthier Thursday, May 10, 2007

Alberto waits in Ocoyoacac, Mexico, early in the morning of Apr. 30 for the bus to Mexico City. It would have been quicker to take his car, but he can't take his car into the city on Mondays due to Mexico City's anti-congestion laws. To get to his first stop, he had to transfer from the bus to the subway, and then to another bus.

April 30 I had the opportunity to follow violin-maker Alberto Garcia around on a day at work. He doesn't go
to visit musicians every day, but I think it was a fairly typical day for him. If you want a new violin, or need yours repaired, contact Alberto in Mexico at 044-55-3673-7551 (cel.).

Alberto needs violin strings for a client who has one of Alberto's violins on trial, so the first stop of the day is the only one store in the Distrito Federal that sells quality strings.

After buying strings, he makes another two-bus ride to the campus of the Escuela Medico Militar in Mexico City, where he delivers the strings to Samuel Murillo during a break in the Orquesta del Ejercito's rehearsal.

Samuel still needs some adjustments when practice resumes, so Alberto is stuck waiting for another 50 minutes.

After the Orquesta's practice is finished, Alberto makes some additional adjustments to the strings, bridge, and sound peg. While Samuel played the instrument to check the adjustments, Alberto took some time to chat with other musicians and hand out business cards.

After a long day in the city, Alberto dozes on the two-bus ride back to Ocoyoacac.

Back at home, Alberto is back in the shop repairing a damaged violin. While sales of new violins are the highlight of his year, most of his work comes from repairs.