#1
So you have a budget, and a sketchy design.

Apart from woodworking skills , what qualities would you look for in a luthier that would make you confident he could turn your concept into a kick-ass guitar?

Do they need to play guitar themselves?

Should they be within travelling distance?

Should they have fancy-pants computer design software?

A merchant account with the local exotic timberyard?

Surname: Reed-Smith?

Say you had half a dozen guitar makers to choose from, what would it take to tip you over the edge, and hand over your hard-earned?

Steve
#2
to your questions
they do not need to play guitar.
they should be within travelling distance
it's not necessary, as it would just add to the price, but it could be nice.
exotic woods would cost too much. just get me something nice.

but mine, in no order.
experience.
price.
good feedback, from previous customers.
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#3
They should be pleasant and take the time to talk to you and understand EXACTLY what you want, give you estimates (price and time) after all this aint going to be cheap. If you feel at any point like they aren't listening or don't understand you should try elsewhere.
#4
Well, approachable people who take on ideas and are able to go away with your ideas and come back with a few concepts they've drawn up.
Enthusiasm and communication would probably be the biggest things, also with some evidence they can do a good job, like some previous works.
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#6
play guitar
answer my luthier questions to the full extent, not bs me so i pay them to do repairs
be reasonable
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#7
Quote by Invader Jim
Don't forget patience, confidence, and attention to detail.


+ passion and experience.


If someone's passionate, everything else will fall into line.
#8
Such great answers, and so quickly! Thanks all!

OK...let's say it's your two grand on the line...

What questions would YOU ask of a potential guitar maker...? What answers would seal the deal, and what ones might make you think twice?

Steve
#14
His last name is Ormsby.....
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#15
Quote by ohspyro89
Because we all know handmade stuff is SO much more exact...

There is a line that can be drawn between too much and made and too much machine made. A combination of both keeps cost down and product quality up.

Yes, but im saying you dont have to have a CNC to be a good luthier.
Just look at Perry..
#16
Quote by ohspyro89
Because we all know handmade stuff is SO much more exact...

There is a line that can be drawn between too much and made and too much machine made. A combination of both keeps cost down and product quality up.



Custom guitars should be anything but exact. Using computer design ensure a perfect, machine built, lifeless instrument if you ask me. Luthiery is an art, and no guitar a true luthier makes should ever be the same as another.

EDIT: And yes, if I were to spend money on a guitar (which I wouldn't, I'd just build one) I would picked based on reputation and past instruments, as well as price, location, and the general impression the guy made on me.
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#17
Quote by Øttər
Custom guitars should be anything but exact. Using computer design ensure a perfect, machine built, lifeless instrument if you ask me. Luthiery is an art, and no guitar a true luthier makes should ever be the same as another.



It goes either way. I figured his post went more towards the line of making his own designed guitar and selling it, not making custom 1 offs all the time.

If you're going to make more than 10, I'd say go CNC if at all possible, for consistency. Otherwise, go hand made.

I think it just comes down to which would cost less and make more money in the long run. And depending on what he is talking about, it could be just handmade all the way.

Who knows, right?
#18
If you're making multiple copies, you're competing with big companies. You will lose. The only 3 successful business are the ones who do it best, the ones who do it most, and the ones who do it cheapest. So doing 10 semi good guitars gets you nowhere.


EDIT: So yeah, I wonder what this thread is about anyway?
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#19
Well we all know how PRS started, and it can happen again.

Plus it really depends who you are appealing to as a luthier. I really think building a guitar that every child on UG will love isn't the way to go. Making a guitar that suits jazz would probably be your best bet. The group of people who play jazz are usually older people who are really into tone. Those jazz artists probably aren't worried about dropping 3-5 grand on a guitar that is going to suit them perfectly either.

I am in a deal now with a big pipe organ company, http://www.schantzorgan.com/ , and we are designing a guitar that is going to suit the newer jazz styles. But basically, to set yourself apart from everyone else, well, you have to be unique. Of course, I have no clue if what I am doing is going to work, but we are putting 400 dollar pickups, 150 dollar tuners, and the best of the best for everything else. We actually spent about an hour discussing just capacitors for the guitar. There is a lot of things that is going to set our guitar apart from ANY that you can buy off the shelf, that's for damned sure. The capabilities that Schantz Organ has, is incredible, and I am glad that Vic is willing to use them to produce one FINE guitar!

Hell, we made a full size clay model of the guitar to get the shape and contours perfect. It took a solid 8-10 hours with 2 people working on it. I worked with another guy who is an art major in college, so he really knew what he was doing. It came out really good, and I am quite excited that's for sure.

So I am kind of in the same boat as you are, but I'm not really the luthier, just the guy behind the guitar. But I do think there is an importance level that needs to be available for the customer. We plan on having a platform, that is versatile enough that if someone wants something different, we can modify the current platform to suit their specifications. Initially,I am trying to make a great guitar, by covering all of the variables with the best parts available. Then if Mr. God O. Jazz comes up and says he wants a P90 in the bridge, 2 tones and 1 Master volume with a strat switch, Jumbo Stainless steel frets, and Steinberger 40:1 ratio tuners, we can just do it without designing a whole entire guitar.

I've been ranting now, I forget what I was actually talking about, but that's all I have to say right now.
#20
He said the perfect luthier. A perfect luthier needs a CNC Router. For example, tommorrrow I get a CNC router and I start the first line of Acrilic see thru guitars, I have a chance at going well since transparent guitars are RARE, and only way to get em is CNC Router. Plus, does not matter if your doing a custom one time only, you can use the machine anyways, thats the whole point. And guitars routed thru that are 100 % precise, they are not semi-good as someone commented. If save energy and put more passion in the painting finishing parts who says you cant get things like ormsby? Arent 4 000 dollars les pauls just beutiful?
#21
I plan on getting a CNC. Does a CNC make a better guitar? No. Does a CNC allow you do do things to an exacting standard without taking up more labour, allowing more hands on time to obtain a higher attention to detail for the same overall cost? I believe so. That was a long sentence!

The way I see it, is that a CNC can only produce what has been feed into it. It doesnt make up for bad wood, or sloppy designs. But it does make tedious high concentration work like inlay and carving tops much easier. The time saved by the CNC doing all the grunt work, can be used in other areas like finishing or fretwork where a CNC isnt able to assist (although its a matter of time before someone starts spraying guitars with CNC like the auto industry).

But, the way I see it, any high end luthier should be able to build a guitar to "CNC" type exact measurements where needed (neck joints, inlay, fret slots, etc). some are just lucky to have the extra tool, because essentially, thats all a CNC is... an extra tool.

Regards,
Perry Ormsby

Pevious builds:
HERE!
#22
Quote by divinorum69
They should have a CNC router

I completely disagree. What's the use in buying a custom handmade instrument if a machine is doing all the work? I used to have access to a cnc machine and even though I could never even considered using it to make a guitar. Now I wish I still had access to one just to make templates and make radius dishes but those can be mae easily by hand anyways.
#23
Quote by 420 FREAK
I completely disagree. What's the use in buying a custom handmade instrument if a machine is doing all the work? I used to have access to a cnc machine and even though I could never even considered using it to make a guitar. Now I wish I still had access to one just to make templates and make radius dishes but those can be mae easily by hand anyways.


I think you missed a few posts above you...

I think people miss the point. If the guitar meets your standards and is perfect for you, then what does it matter how it was made? If it sounds good, and feels good, I really could care less if it popped out of a CNC machine or some guy took 7,000 man hours to make it. I mean, it seems like a benefit to have it hand made, but in the end, I really think it's almost just a way to one up your buddies.
#24
I've been against the whole CNC router thing since I started building guitars solely because CNC is my profession. I wanted to make my guitars solely by hand and avoid using CNC for anything because, again, I do it all day every day.

I'm still against using CNC machinery - for the most part. Soon I will embark on building my own stepper motor driven CNC router... cnczone.com has tons of information on doing it and it's not really all that difficult if you have mechanical ability.

There are a lot of things CNC machinery cannot do (i.e. fretwork, bridge, cavity and pickup connecting holes) and other things that are just not economical enough to do so (like side mount input jacks). But for body shapes, cavities, etc, they can't be beat for speed and accuracy. And considering I design all of my templates and such on CAD, I guess I'm a bit of a hypocrite for not wanting to use CNC as CAM is just a natural progression from CAD.

If you ask me, though, what makes a good luthier is more than his ability... it's his passion, his love for doing what he does. Someone that will shamelessly sell his "perfect" creation for whatever price he damn well pleases but will also offer advice and help to anyone that is in need. To be a master at your craft is more than just being good at what you do, it's helping others to be their best as well.
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