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A couple’s custom guitar workshop outside of Ho Chi Minh City

Monday, March 22, 2021, 21:02 GMT+7
A couple’s custom guitar workshop outside of Ho Chi Minh City
Nguyen Buu Thang completes a guitar at his workshop in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Driven by their passion for music, Nguyen Buu Thang and Le Thi Thanh Tam, a couple in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Tan District, learn to build guitars by hand.

Thang graduated from the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music and later switched to crafting guitars.

Simultaneously, Tam left her job as an accountant to accompany her husband on their new journey.

In a small workshop just outside of the city, they have been making three types of instruments including classic guitars, acoustic guitars, and electric guitars for 15 years.

It takes six months to two years to finish an order.

Thang handles a piece of wood in his workshop. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre.

Nguyen Buu Thang handles a piece of wood in his workshop. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Every handmade guitar has to undergo certain procedures from wood treatment to measuring, shaping, assembling to sound checking.

Each of them specializes in different steps.

Building a sound box is the most challenging process as it changes the guitar’s sound.

“The perk of making custom guitars is that we can pay due attention to every single detail," said Thang.

"It is the incomparable happiness when I first tune a guitar.”

Wooden cuts are carefully estimated. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre

Wooden cuts are carefully estimated. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Thanh Tam makes the back of a guitar. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre

Le Thi Thanh Tam makes the back of a guitar. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Thanh Tam measures the length of a guitar’s neck. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre

Le Thi Thanh Tam measures the length of a guitar’s neck. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Buu Thang shapes a guitar’s neck to fit a customer’s order. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Buu Thang shapes a guitar’s neck to fit a customer’s order. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

A piece of a guitar is carefully carved by hand. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre

A piece of a guitar is carefully carved by hand. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Buu Thang paints a sound box which decides how good a guitar will look. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Buu Thang paints a sound box which decides how good a guitar will look. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Thanh Tam arranges guitars. They receive orders for classic guitars, acoustic guitars and electric guitars which range from dozens of millions Vietnam dong based on the materials and customers’ demands. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre

Le Thi Thanh Tam arranges guitars. They receive orders for classic guitars, acoustic guitars, and electric guitars which fetch dozens of millions of Vietnamese dong based on the materials and customers’ demands. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Thang tunes a guitar to check its sound. Photo: Ngoc Phuong/Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Buu Thang tunes a guitar to check its sound. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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