Before enrolling at Guitar Craft Academy Nashville last year, Jeremy Smith, 25, says he had reached a point in his life where if he didn’t pursue a career in luthiery, he knew he never would.

A recent graduate of Guitar Craft Academy Nashville’s electric and acoustic courses, Jeremy started a new job this month at Gibson’s Nashville factory as a neck fitter. He’ll be working on all of Gibson’s iconic models — Les Pauls, Firebirds, SGs and Thunderbird basses — matching necks to guitar bodies based on model and serial number.

He says GCA Nashville’s acoustic program taught him to use chisels and make precise measurements and cuts, skills that paved the way for his Gibson job.

Jeremy has been interested in music since childhood, when his grandparents bought him his first guitar. He got his first musical education hearing hymns and worship music at his church, where his father was worship leader. During his teens he became interested in the construction of guitars and started doing small repairs for himself and his friends.

“I love it,” he says of his job at Gibson. After he finishes work on a guitar, he stamps his approval number — 2 — under each instrument’s back plate. “I’m really looking forward to the day when I go to a guitar store and take the back plate off and see my No. 2 stamped in there. I’ll know I glued that neck in.”