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Old 11-14-2012, 12:33 PM   #41
MegadethFan18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vauxite
I paid 264 for my Desolation and it's miles ahead of anything in it's price range. MILES.


I watched the video and the Cap'n makes a great point in that if I wanted to buy the pieces to make a guitar it would cost me more than that Charvel actually costs. Where as if I bought the materials for a 2100 guitar I'd have about 1500 left over. It really does show the wholesale muscle the big companies have.

I've never played any Charvel but I'm don't band wagon so I wouldn't write of an entire brand until I'd played a few.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:34 PM   #42
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How good are you at building guitars?
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:57 PM   #43
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How good are you at building guitars?


Not this good :




There is also certain limitations imposed by the tools I use such as my router can only be used on flat surfaces or I can't drill certain parts of the guitar body using the pillar drill so I have to use a hand drill which has no depth stop.

I either know exactly what materials I am getting in my guitar but without CNC accuracy or I get materials that come covered in paint and could be anything (knotty or multi piece) but are cut perfectly.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:00 PM   #44
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Right.

So you don't think that skill or time is worth anything?
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:11 PM   #45
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Right.

So you don't think that skill or time is worth anything?


That was kind of my point, Fender is buying so much stuff at once that they can buy materials to make, sell and profit from a guitar that they sell for 260. For 260 me, one person buying materials for a single guitar would have to spend probably 260 just buying the materials. That's what I meant by wholesale they buy so much stuff at once that the cost of each unit is probably tiny.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:35 PM   #46
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You should just build one anyway. I've built 2 Teles and a Strat. The two teles were with throwaway pine from Home Depot. I actually ordered a decent slab of Maple for the Strat. It's a very worth it venture. You'll learn so much about what makes a real quality guitar.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:48 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom 1.0
Right.

So you don't think that skill or time is worth anything?

Time? Questionable. It takes much longer to shape and route a guitar by hand, but it's not better by any means. Skill is definitely a factor in the entire building process, but a guitar built by a skilled luthier on a CNC machine won't be worse than a guitar built by hand.

In fact, I would argue that everyone wins when a CNC router is used. The luthier doesn't have to spend so much time and exhaust so much energy on steps that can be done much faster and easier on a CNC, and the customer doesn't pay the upcharge for hours spent shaping and routing by hand.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:08 PM   #48
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You realise how hard programming the CNC stuff is though?

I wasn't being a bellend, I just thought it funny how hey discussed parts but overlooked the time involved.
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Old 11-14-2012, 04:39 PM   #49
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Quote:
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You realise how hard programming the CNC stuff is though?

I wasn't being a bellend, I just thought it funny how hey discussed parts but overlooked the time involved.


I doubt the people in the guitar factories actually program them, the code for the software is probably written when they buy them, like buying a PC with Windows installed. Sure it takes time for the people writing the code but how far back are we taking this?

I didn't over look the time, if you do it by hand you have to measure for every single blank you only have to set the co ordinates on a CNC machine once and you can make as many as you like, sort of like a real life copy and paste.

I was mainly trying to illustrate the power of wholesale as the Cap'n said the guitar was cheaper than the sum of it's parts.

Basically, I can buy the materials and then invest time and effort OR for the same price I can get the materials and someone/thing else's time and effort.

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Old 11-14-2012, 05:16 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Tom 1.0
You realise how hard programming the CNC stuff is though?

No, but I'll know soon enough, since I'm taking a CNC class next semester. I'm actually more worried about learning to use a CAD program to design than I am the actual operation of the CNC(unless Google Sketchup can be used in place of one?). Still, the hours used to learn those things would be small potatoes for someone who's interested in mass production.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:31 PM   #51
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I'd like to make it known that plenty of CNC guitars play and sound perfectly like crap, too. A guitar is not a summation of it's parts.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:46 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by sashki
I'm sure they're well built, but it's a shame they discontinued the Pro Mod San Dimas guitars. Those were the essence of Charvel. No-one else really makes guitars like that any more (at least not for a reasonable price).


Kramer kinda does.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:00 PM   #53
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I'd like to make it known that plenty of CNC guitars play and sound perfectly like crap, too. A guitar is not a summation of it's parts.


Stuff always gets through the cracks, if you get a guitar that is faulty just return it. You'd need magic to fix a problem like a twisted neck.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:08 PM   #54
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Read this, it is quite interesting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Thorn

I'm game.

First off, there is no shop, large or small, that is entirely CNC. It does not exist. I think most individuals would be surprised by what a guitar component looks like when it comes off a CNC. It is no where near complete, there is still plenty of hand sanding, fitting, etc.

Here's a break down of what I do with the CNC and "by hand".

CNC:
Fretboards - you asked "why
they've gone to the CNC and what aspect of things is better". The fretboard is so brutally important that it is ideal for CNC accuracy. I perimeter, slot, radius, and rout for inlays all in one set-up on the CNC. Than insures spot-on fret slot placement (VERY important to the quality of the guitar), consistent radii including compound radiusing, and inlays that are very tight and free of sloppy filler/gaps.
Total time on the CNC: 20 minutes

Necks - Once the blank has been bandsawn ("by hand") to an oversized shape the CNC will machine the neck carve, perimeter the neck and heel, shape the headstock, drill for tuners, rout for truss rod and rout for logo & purfling. This is done through 6 different set-ups.
Total time on the CNC: 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Bodies - The CNC performs all cavity routing (top & back), neck pocket routing, perimeter, top carve, and bridge location holes. On a pivot style trem, such as a PRS trem, the location of those 6 holes must be perfectly inline to prevent binding of the trem during use.
Total time on the CNC for a body with carve top: 3 hours

Inlays - Production inlays, such as my Firesuns and "T" logo, are cut on the CNC for a perfect fit into the routes on the fretboard and headstock. I also "rip" my purfling strips on the CNC too.
Total time for one guitar's worth: 15 minutes

Components - I machine my own 1-pc. brass tremolos, pickup covers and rings, knobs, back plates, truss rod covers, and jack plates.
Total time worth: Approx: 10 hours.
Granted, all of these parts are "custom" for my guitars exclusively. I could purchase all of these parts from guitar supply shops but prefer to make my own.

None of the above times include any programming, set-up or material preparation...all of which are done "by hand".

_____________________

"By hand"
This term, I assume, includes feeding or pushing the component through a power tool such as a planer, jointer, drum sander, bandsaw etc.

Fretboards:
Pre CNC: The wood is bandsawn to an oversize thickness and feed through a drum sander to flatten.

Post CNC - The fretboard needs to:
Have the side dots drilled and glued in.
Inlays and purfling glued in.
Glue the board to the neck blank.
Level and true the board.
Fret and fretdress.
Total time "by hand": 13 hours for the above operations. My fret preparation (cutting to length, nipping the tang, grinding the tang), fret installation and dress is a total of 6 hours alone...no CNC for any of those operations.

Necks:
Pre CNC:
The wood is milled and rough cut to shape, using tracing templates, on a table saw and bandsaw before it gets to the CNC.
Post CNC:
Install the truss rod and filler strip,
blend the neck into the fretboard,
inlay logo and purfling,
final shape the neck carve to spec using rasps, spindle sanders and lots of elbow grease sanding then sanding some more,
gluing the neck into the body.
Total time "by hand": 8-10 hours easily.

Body:
Pre CNC:
Split top, joint edges, bookmatch glue together, sand to thickness.
Mill/sand body to thickness.
Locate and glue top to body spread then sand and drill locating hole for the CNC.
Post CNC:
Inlay purfling.
Drill for controls, side jack, wiring channels.
Radius back edge on router table.
SAND from 150 grit to 320/400
Total time "by hand": 10-15 hours depending on the wood species.

Paint:
Prep, mask off, stain, seal, color, top coat, lots of sanding in between, lots of sanding after, buffing...the list goes on. No CNC for these ops.
Total time "by hand": 28 hours if all goes right the first time...it never does.

Assembly:
Installation of components (tuners, pickups, bridge, etc), wiring, cutting the nut, set up.
Total time "by hand": 6-8 hours

The above is only visually productive acts, not including ordering wood and components, e-mails, shipping, and just plain running the business.

_______

So, if we deduct the custom components and use off the shelf bridges, pickup rings, etc. The average total time is:
CNC: 5 hours, 20 minutes.
"By hand": 69 hours, 30 minutes.

I consider my shop to be fairly state of the art, I have a large HAAS CNC for the woodwork, and 2 smaller CNCs for the pearl inlay work. The only additional automated CNC-type machinery would be a Plek and a robotic buffer. I could see that only reducing the "by hand" total by a couple/few hours at most.

Not mentioned would be a custom one-off inlay that I, or my father, would do "by hand" with a jeweler's saw and a mini router. The time spent on that could be from 45 minutes to 100s of hours depending on the design.


However small in comparison those 5 hours, 20 minutes seem...they are VERY important to the outcome of the guitar. Accuracy and consistancy are unmatched. There are features, such as my double offset purfling, that just can't physically be done by hand. Fretslots accurate to within .0005" of an inch...heck, the wood will expand or contract more than that by the time I turn the lights off in the shop at the end of the day...but it's good to know they are as accurate as can be.
Inlays that are gap free and clean are important to me. I'm not a fan of filler and I don't want that to be a part of my product. Even with hand cut and routed inlays, I feel we are one of the best at making them tight and clean.

Can I build a guitar with out a CNC, sure.
WOULD I now if I didn't have one...I doubt it, because I would always feel the guitar isn't as good as it can be WITH the help of a CNC.
There you have one take on it from a CNC builder.

Ron Thorn
Thorn Custom Guitars & Inlay

"Powered by HAAS...and loving it "


http://www.thornguitars.com/
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:31 PM   #55
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I don't understand why the hate is so high for the Desolations. I love mine, I genuinely can't fault it, regardless of everything that's been said it's one of the most comfortable guitars i've ever played.

Don't knock it til you've played it at least. Sure there's plenty of better gear out there, but mine's mine and I love it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:50 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MegadethFan18
Stuff always gets through the cracks, if you get a guitar that is faulty just return it. You'd need magic to fix a problem like a twisted neck.



Being CNC doesn't make it a perfect guitar. Plenty of sub $500 guitars are CNC. That doesn't make them magically better than $500.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:51 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom 1.0
Read this, it is quite interesting.




http://www.thornguitars.com/

Wow, that's a pretty cool read. I hope you didn't misinterpret what I was trying to say. I don't think a CNC machine is a substitute for every step or hands-on work, it's merely a tool to make the job easier and less time consuming. Plus it's very accurate and consistent.

And CNCs are great for another reason, they make clean-up super easy and reduce the dust in the air. Anyone who's had to wear a dust mask for many hours straight can definitely appreciate that.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:54 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Tom 1.0
Read this, it is quite interesting.


http://www.thornguitars.com/


Great read.

I actually thought he may play down the usefulness of CNC machines. 3 hours for a curved top "raw" body is really fast, admittedly I'm no luthier but I made a flat top "raw" body and it took me a lot longer than 3 hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustRooster
Being CNC doesn't make it a perfect guitar. Plenty of sub $500 guitars are CNC. That doesn't make them magically better than $500.


I didn't say that I said:

"Stuff always gets through the cracks, if you get a guitar that is faulty just return it. You'd need magic to fix a problem like a twisted neck."


Certain stuff is beyond both people and a CNC machines control, if the piece of wood used was "destined" to warp it would make the guitar it was attached to, in your words "Play like crap". I'd say calling out "within .0005 of an inch" for not being perfect splitting hairs. I doubt anyone could tell if a fret slot or neck pocket was out by that much and I doubt it would affect the guitar.

As for plenty of guitars being CNC'd I'd imagine all the big guys are using CNCs in all of their factories.

Last edited by MegadethFan18 : 11-14-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:48 AM   #59
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I suppose I'm not sure what you guys are trying to say about CNC vs. Handmade here. It appeared as if one side was arguing that CNC would invariably be better than handmade. Maybe that's not the case, but that's just how it seemed.
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