return icon

Guitar workshop hits all the right notes

 VietNamNet Bridge – The arrival of a late afternoon is accompanied by the gentle strumming of a guitar, emanating softly from a family workshop in Ho Chi Minh City.

VietNamNet Bridge – The arrival of a late afternoon is accompanied by the gentle strumming of a guitar, emanating softly from a family workshop in Ho Chi Minh City.


Sound operation: A skilled worker makes the soundboard, the most difficult part of a guitar to construct.



The quick, lively melody reminds us of days gone past and causes us to wonder about the people working in the workshop. Luckily for us, this is the place we are looking for: Ba Don's guitar workshop in Doan Van Bo Street

No sooner do we arrive at this place, one of the oldest of its kind, than we are warmly invited to see inside. Here, everybody is at work on guitars-in-progress. Some are busy sawing the bout, others cutting the cover and others still piercing the body. The sound of chisel and hammer creates a particular chorus, occasionally interrupted by the solo of a string tuner.

In the corner of the workshop sits Hong Phuc Dat, 22, carefully adding the final touches to each instrument. Although young, his professional skills are incredible and watching him skillfully chain each part of the guitar together is quite amazing.

"I come from the southern province of Ben Tre and was introduced to this studio by an acquaintance of mine. For almost three years, I have loved making guitars and growing in confidence.

In another corner, Cha Van Binh, a wounded veteran, carefully checks every tiny detail of a guitar. Despite the intricate nature of the work and the scorching heat of the day, his fingers dance effortlessly on the strings, lively and radiant like a true artist.

"I am working on this guitar stave by order of a customer living on the outskirts of Ha Noi. He seems to be a guitar know-it-all so I have to be very careful with this instrument," Binh says with a smile.


Stringing it together: Workers at Ba Don workshop in the process of making a guitar.

"Both my older brother and I make guitars for hire. He works for another workshop in District 4. I have worked here for ten years, mostly chiselling and grafting the top soundboard. My monthly salary is not much but I can afford to raise my family. It is also my destiny, as the more I make guitars, the more I fall for them and wish to make them better," he laughs.

When he first joined, Binh was only responsible for simple tasks like tuning up the strings and painting the guitar. Now he is comfortable with the whole process, from doing the mould, making the soundbox and tuning the strings.

The family of craftsman Ba Don have been making guitars for nearly a century. Nguyen Van Trang, the leader of the workshop and third generation of the family, has been a guitar maker since the age of 12. At present, seven of Don's children are following their father's footsteps.

"There are more than 20 workers at my shop. We also have many different types of wood to produce a guitar. Each type is used for different parts. Most importantly, fine and rosewood are selected to make the soundbox and neck of the instrument.

To make a guitar takes lots of labour. We must graft the sides, the front and back, fix the neck, glue the saddle, before finally polishing it. After that, the instrument must be polished again with a layer of lacquer paint. Each part will be tied up separately and then put under the sun till the glue is dry," Trang explains in detail.

He adds that the most difficult part of the process is making the soundbox, since the price and quality of a guitar depend on it. As a result, the soundbox technician must be the best worker of all.

"The price depends on the wood. Normally each guitar costs VND300,000 to VND2,000,000 (US$15-200). During the manufacturing process only the neck-making and colouring require a machine. Everything else must be done by hand. Trang's workshop produces 200 units a month for customers of all ages. Students from the city's Academy of Music take up the highest amount. However, Trang can count the number of his peers able to make traditional guitars like his on just about one hand.

"In times of difficulty, many have abandoned their workshops and looked for a new job. It is such a shame and I hope someone can do more to protect the business," he said. "We need to join together and defend it as strongly as we can."

Source: VNS


Vietnam weighs electricity price hikes in 2023

Vietnam is considering hiking electricity tariffs this year as the last adjustment took place almost four years ago while input costs of power generation have soared since.

Biggest spring blood donation event to kick off on February 6

The Xuan hong (red spring) festival – the biggest annual blood donation campaign of the season – will begin on February 6, expecting 6,000 units of the vitality liquid.

Vietnam-Asia trade reaches nearly 475.3 billion USD in 2022

Vietnam’s merchandise trade with Asia reached 475.29 billion USD in 2022, increasing by 9.6% compared to 2021 and accounting for the highest proportion (65.1%) in the country's total import-export value.

Revised Law on Medical Examination and Treatment promulgated

The Presidential Office on February 3 announced the Acting President’s order to promulgate the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment that was adopted by the 15th National Assembly at its second extraordinary session.

Volatile real estate market puts pressure on business results

Volatile real estate market caused revenue and profit of realty businesses to decrease sharply in the fourth quarter of 2022.


CNTraveler picks Con Dao one of best island vacations globally

Six businesses lose fuel distribution licenses

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has revoked the fuel distribution licenses from six local businesses, with effect on February 27.

ChatGPT and AI booms in Vietnam

AI and ChatGPT technologies are forecasted to explode, creating a new wave of technology this year.

Fruit exports to China increase sharply

The recovery of exports to China will contribute to boosting Vietnam's fruit and vegetable industry in 2023.

Former chairs, vice chairs of Thai Nguyen disciplined

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has taken disciplinary measures against two former chairmen, two former vice chairmen and one vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Thai Nguyen Province.

Hotel in Da Lat fined for discriminating against foreign tourists

The People's Committee of Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on Wednesday fined Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa, director of Dream Flower Hotel Ltd. Co, for discriminating against tourists.

State Treasury to auction VND400 trillion G-bonds this year

The Vietnam State Treasury (VST) has announced a plan to auction VND400 trillion worth of government bonds on the Hanoi Stock Exchange this year.

Ministry proposes adjusting fuel prices every Thursday

According to MoIT, shorter price cycles are better at keeping domestic prices closer to the global oil prices, even during holidays (except Tet) to minimise the risk of market disruptions.

Indian journalist impressed by Ha Long Bay cruise

Aatreyee Mohanta, an Indian journalist of Telegraph India, enjoyed plenty of quintessential experiences in Vietnam as she travelled on the Aspira Cruise around Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay,


Heavyweight shares help stop market from a fall