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Old 11-24-2012, 04:09 PM   #1
Sir-Shredalot
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The Value Of Hand Made Guitars

i found this video very interesting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81P_...be_gdata_player

What is the benefit of hand made electrics? Is it as beneficial as flamenco or other acoustic guitars, and at which parts..e.g. neck setting etc.
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:56 PM   #2
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Hand made guitars are, generally speaking, of higher quality. A machine will do as it's going to do, regardless of whether or not it set the neck properly, or soldered properly, or did whatever it is going to do properly. A human however will see that they improperly soldered that joint, or improperly set that neck, and fix their mistake.
However, many guitars that are made by machine are more than satisfactory and will do the exact same job as the hand made ones.

I also want to know where this guy got his price figures from. Claiming that any guitar under 3k is unusable is idiotic to say the least. I have a guitar worth $700 and it is made of a two piece alder body, and quality electronics, tuners, and tremolo. Do not get your price figures from him. Unless he is not speaking in terms of USD.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Viban
I also want to know where this guy got his price figures from. Claiming that any guitar under 3k is unusable is idiotic to say the least. I have a guitar worth $700 and it is made of a two piece alder body, and quality electronics, tuners, and tremolo. Do not get your price figures from him. Unless he is not speaking in terms of USD.

Classical and Flamenco guitars are a whole different game than electrics. An electric doesn't need to be hand-crafted to play and sound good. Obviously some hand-crafting goes into an electric, but a huge part of the work is routing and such, which is something a CNC can do just as well as a person.

With acoustics, on the other hand, there is a huge difference between something that's made in a factory and something made by a luthier. I wouldn't say an acoustic from a factory is unplayable, but the difference between one built by a competent luthier and one built by a factory worker is night and day. And a big part of that isn't the work itself, it's the skill and dedication to excellence behind it. It would be very unrealistic to expect a factory worker to care about tuning the soundboard when that is what they do all day. Yeah, they might be really good at it, but I'm sure the general idea is to make it good enough as fast as possible and move on to the next.

And $3000 for a hand-crafted acoustic is cheap. For the amount of hours that go into it, and the cost of materials, charging double that is more realistic to turn a profit.

Basically, the difference between a hand-crafted acoustic and a hand-crafted electric is humongous. I don't think the guy in video is blowing smoke, he's just saying what any acoustic builder I know would say.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:21 PM   #4
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Having used both, there is no comparison between a high end guitar found in your local music shop and one that is hand made. I say this based on working with ONE luthier and not many. The guy I deal with has incredible talent and you can feel the difference... and the attention to detail is obvious compared to high-end stuff, like Gibson or Ibanez. I find there is enough difference that it takes your playing to the next level. Which makes me think that custom jobs (e.g., a Slash Les Paul) is of a different caliber than what the public buys.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
Classical and Flamenco guitars are a whole different game than electrics. An electric doesn't need to be hand-crafted to play and sound good. Obviously some hand-crafting goes into an electric, but a huge part of the work is routing and such, which is something a CNC can do just as well as a person.

With acoustics, on the other hand, there is a huge difference between something that's made in a factory and something made by a luthier. I wouldn't say an acoustic from a factory is unplayable, but the difference between one built by a competent luthier and one built by a factory worker is night and day. And a big part of that isn't the work itself, it's the skill and dedication to excellence behind it. It would be very unrealistic to expect a factory worker to care about tuning the soundboard when that is what they do all day. Yeah, they might be really good at it, but I'm sure the general idea is to make it good enough as fast as possible and move on to the next.

And $3000 for a hand-crafted acoustic is cheap. For the amount of hours that go into it, and the cost of materials, charging double that is more realistic to turn a profit.

Basically, the difference between a hand-crafted acoustic and a hand-crafted electric is humongous. I don't think the guy in video is blowing smoke, he's just saying what any acoustic builder I know would say.


But it seemed to me that he was claiming that you drop 3 grand in an acoustic, or you might as well buy an expensive paperweight. I'm not denying that a hand crafted masterpiece is going to be better than what you get from a factory, but I have a $200 factory made acoustic and it does the job just fine.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Viban
But it seemed to me that he was claiming that you drop 3 grand in an acoustic, or you might as well buy an expensive paperweight.

Oh I thought he was saying that he sells them for $3000. Honestly, I didn't pay close attention, I just kinda listened while I was typing that. But I can see that, a $3000 handmade acoustic would be questionably cheap. Like I said, for man hours and materials, charging almost double that is more realistic. You really do get what you pay for when it comes down to it.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by W4RP1G
Oh I thought he was saying that he sells them for $3000. Honestly, I didn't pay close attention, I just kinda listened while I was typing that. But I can see that, a $3000 handmade acoustic would be questionably cheap. Like I said, for man hours and materials, charging almost double that is more realistic. You really do get what you pay for when it comes down to it.

Absolutely, but I don't think the claim that all acoustics in the average person's price range are going to be shitty is exactly correct. You most definitely get what you pay for, there is no doubt about it, However I think eventually you need to decide what you're willing to pay for. I payed 200 for my acoustic used, sure you can see some of the joints in the binding, and maybe the nut and saddles are plastic, but those things really don't matter to me. It plays good, sounds decent enough and even though it leaves a little to be desired tonally when it is unplugged, a good set of PB strings often clears up most of it. I probably wouldn't trade it in for a better guitar even if someone made the offer.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Viban
Absolutely, but I don't think the claim that all acoustics in the average person's price range are going to be shitty is exactly correct. You most definitely get what you pay for, there is no doubt about it, However I think eventually you need to decide what you're willing to pay for. I payed 200 for my acoustic used, sure you can see some of the joints in the binding, and maybe the nut and saddles are plastic, but those things really don't matter to me. It plays good, sounds decent enough and even though it leaves a little to be desired tonally when it is unplugged, a good set of PB strings often clears up most of it. I probably wouldn't trade it in for a better guitar even if someone made the offer.

Yeah I don't agree with him about cheaper guitars being unplayable. That was either him trying to sell guitars, or just an example of his high standards. I do know that there are people who will call a guitar "unplayable" or "junk" if it isn't a really high quality, hand-crafted masterpiece. They could probably be called snobs though, but if they can afford to spend $10,000 on a guitar, more power to them. And I think there is kind of an "I could never go back" mentality that some people have once they've sampled something that is truly better. Of course, that is all in the head, and a snobby guitarist who's truly passionate about playing the guitar will play on whatever is available.

Also, there is much more elitism when it comes to this stuff amongst the classical and flamenco communities than there is among the steel string communities. It's like comparing beer drinkers to blue-blooded wine drinkers at times.

So yeah, you do get what you pay for, but to say a guitar is unplayable in a certain price range is like saying a Hyundai is not drivable because Ferraris are better.

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Old 11-24-2012, 06:55 PM   #9
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As far as I'm concerned, If you can't play on a guitar just because you're used to guitars that are designed specifically for your hand, You're no better than a novice. Versatility is just as important as dexterity, stamina, and precision.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viban
As far as I'm concerned, If you can't play on a guitar just because you're used to guitars that are designed specifically for your hand, You're no better than a novice. Versatility is just as important as dexterity, stamina, and precision.


That's a stupid attitude. At the professional level, you will use every little edge you can find or buy to make your playing better and to make your tone better. If you're performing regularly or every night, using an instrument that is not comfortable or one that takes extra effort to use is just asking for an injury.

Few people buy $3000 and up guitars for just a hobby (of course there are a few exceptions), they either use those guitars for their career or part time work.

Last edited by earthwormjim : 11-24-2012 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by earthwormjim
Few people buy $3000 and up guitars for just a hobby (of course there are a few exceptions), they either use those guitars for their career or part time work.

Yeah I was going to say that if you're recording or playing regularly at a venue, then having a better made instrument is going to be much more beneficial than if you're just playing at home or at a party.

I think this thread has the potential to turn into a "my cheap guitar is good enough for me" argument that we've probably all seen already with regard to Squier vs Fender or Epiphone/Agile vs Gibson. And those threads always end up being both sides trying to justify their purchase with anecdotal evidence and preference. I don't that will happen here in GB&C, but it certainly has the potential.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:01 PM   #12
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basically the guy in the video was referring to the situation that most newer wood tops arent strong enough to take tension on a flamenco guitar and will bend. ive found this with cedar and its ruined my intonation.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by earthwormjim
That's a stupid attitude. At the professional level, you will use every little edge you can find or buy to make your playing better and to make your tone better. If you're performing regularly or every night, using an instrument that is not comfortable or one that takes extra effort to use is just asking for an injury.

Few people buy $3000 and up guitars for just a hobby (of course there are a few exceptions), they either use those guitars for their career or part time work.

I'm not saying to go buy a guitar that doesn't feel good to you. I'm trying to say that if one is so spoiled by one guitar that was meant to be as easily played as possible for them specifically, and they aren't even able to finish one song on any other guitar that isn't set up specifically for them then wouldn't you agree that said player lacks versatility? I would think that any gigging musician should be a versatile as possible, that way in case their prized guitar gets broken, or lost, or is in for repairs, they can use another one and not have to worry about only being able to play the one guitar.

I also really don't see a reason to take "every little edge". Its not like guitarists are directly competing against each other and getting graded on every little mistake . As far as I'm concerned, if you can do it on one guitar, but not the other, and there is nothing blatantly wrong with the guitar, then you're relying too much on the guitar and not enough on yourself.

That isn't to say that you shouldn't go buy yourself a guitar that feels good, but if you're completely incapable of playing on a guitar that you had to borrow because yours broke right before a show or something, then you're selling yourself short for no good reason.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:09 PM   #14
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You're not thinking about this properly. Who says a person can't finish a song on a cheaper guitar? It has nothing to do with being spoiled... rather, being the best you can be (no matter your ability) relative to the tools you are using. Obviously you have NOT played a custom made guitar vs. a $500 guitar. It's like walking in crap shoes as opposed to high quality shoes... driving a crap car vs. a Mercedes... doing surgery with a scalple vs. a carving knife, etc., etc. I can afford a great guitar and can appreciate it far more than a stock guitar. As I stated in other posts, I have a Les Paul Slash and an Ibanez Satriani JS2400 (which hang on my wall)... yet I play custom made guitars! If it made no difference, would I not play those other guitars hanging on my wall?
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:34 AM   #15
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A good guitar is a good guitar. Doesn't matter where it's made or how it's made or how much it costs.

And I agree with Viban, a great guitarist is great because of HIS/HER abilities, NOT because they have the best quality guitar in the world. It's all player, very little on the instrument. Give Eric Johnson a MIM Strat and the show will go on without a hitch and a common ear won't even tell the difference. Being flexible and adaptable is a huge and often overlooked skill to have. It comes from not being babyed with perfectly quality gear as you're learning.

But who the **** are we? This is a question that only a luthier can answer really.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiNr...&feature=relmfu
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by X-plorer88
A good guitar is a good guitar. Doesn't matter where it's made or how it's made or how much it costs.

And I agree with Viban, a great guitarist is great because of HIS/HER abilities, NOT because they have the best quality guitar in the world. It's all player, very little on the instrument. Give Eric Johnson a MIM Strat and the show will go on without a hitch and a common ear won't even tell the difference. Being flexible and adaptable is a huge and often overlooked skill to have. It comes from not being babyed with perfectly quality gear as you're learning.

But who the **** are we? This is a question that only a luthier can answer really.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiNr...&feature=relmfu

That rainbow finish on that guitar he showed is pretty freaking sweet. I don't really understand what he was going on about when he said that strat was going to be "hand made". I'm sure he's not going to chisel out the cavities, and imo using templates and a router is no more hand made than using a CNC router. Or maybe he was just talking about the care he puts into each step compared to a factory made guitar, which I would totally agree is a good thing.
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:17 AM   #17
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To me hand made means hand tools. Even an electric router is a hand tool if you're moving it about by hand, in my opinion.

I think he meant he's going to profile the neck completely with a hand chisel and file. He said he has the CNC machine to do it but the customer wanted it all done by hand. He'll use a router for the cavities I'm sure.

Like I said before if a guitar is good, it's good. I don't care if it's done by CNC or the worlds most awesome old dude. Thats me. Other people put more stake into those kinds of things than others I guess. And ultimately I think people should be able to get exactly what they want if they're willing to pay. It would be cool to hand pick all the cuts of wood that go into making your instrument, and seeing it progress too, that would be sweet. I love that Slut guitar. Such a cool shape.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:10 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viban
I also really don't see a reason to take "every little edge". Its not like guitarists are directly competing against each other and getting graded on every little mistake . As far as I'm concerned, if you can do it on one guitar, but not the other, and there is nothing blatantly wrong with the guitar, then you're relying too much on the guitar and not enough on yourself.

That isn't to say that you shouldn't go buy yourself a guitar that feels good, but if you're completely incapable of playing on a guitar that you had to borrow because yours broke right before a show or something, then you're selling yourself short for no good reason.


Being a musician is just like any other career. You are competing against countless equally talented people for jobs, gigs and session work. Especially someone in the Flamenco field. That's already a rather small market.

Keep in mind the video is aimed at hand made flamenco acoustic guitars. We're not talking slab body electric guitars here, where the majority of their tone is generated by a guitar amp and pickup design.

As for the OPs question, hand made and high quality tone woods are nowhere near, not even really in the same universe, of importance as with a Flemnco or really good acoustic guitar. You can pretty much use heavy, very stable and cheap woods with electrics. These woods really wouldn't be suitable for good acoustic guitar building. Hell solid plastic bodies work just fine for some electrics. The woods in an electric indirectly influence the tone, they're not the actual source of the sound amplification like the vibrating top of an acoustic is.

You don't need intricate bracing with an electric, you don't need a tuned top, you don't need woods that are still warp resistance when cut very thin. There are so many areas where you can cut corners and have zero negative influence on the guitar with electrics.

Last edited by earthwormjim : 11-25-2012 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthwormjim
Being a musician is just like any other career. You are competing against countless equally talented people for jobs, gigs and session work. Especially someone in the Flamenco field. That's already a rather small market.

Keep in mind the video is aimed at hand made flamenco acoustic guitars. We're not talking slab body electric guitars here, where the majority of their tone is generated by a guitar amp and pickup design.

As for the OPs question, hand made and high quality tone woods are nowhere near, not even really in the same universe, of importance as with a Flemnco or really good acoustic guitar. You can pretty much use heavy, very stable and cheap woods with electrics. These woods really wouldn't be suitable for good acoustic guitar building. Hell solid plastic bodies work just fine for some electrics. The woods in an electric indirectly influence the tone, they're not the actual source of the sound amplification like the vibrating top of an acoustic is.

You don't need intricate bracing with an electric, you don't need a tuned top, you don't need woods that are still warp resistance when cut very thin. There are so many areas where you can cut corners and have zero negative influence on the guitar with electrics.



Thanks for your comment.
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