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#41
Quote by Captaincranky

(a) Then there's this. Because a person is Asian, doesn't meant they are unskilled, nor does it mean they don't take pride in their work, due to low wages. In fact, Asians in America are often considered, "the model minority". They excel in school, they show up for work on time, and so forth. Why does anybody think that ethos doesn't attach to their luthierie skills?

(b) I keep hearing people grunting, "USA, USA, we're number one"! Will somebody explain to me WTF we're number one in? At last count, I think we were 30th in reading or math or both.


(a) To be fair, anyone with any sense isn't playing the race card, they're saying that those guitars are built down to a price, and that's what makes them worse.

(b) Fact-checking maybe?
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#42
Quote by Thom1989
IIRC the higher end acoustic manufacturers use air dried wood as opposed to kiln dried. Air dried is denser and less susceptible to humidity changes (not an excuse to not look after the guitar) air drying wood takes significantly longer which is where a good portion of cost comes from as we all know time is money.


Neat theory, too bad it's completely false. Air drying isn't inherently better than kiln drying (in some ways it's worse) and the final result is identical. Also, air drying usually takes about a year for any reasonable thickness that a luthier might use, so while there's an additional lag time when you're getting started any established company should see no additional cost or time from air drying since presumably you will stock and set a sufficient supply for each year. (And air drying is actually cheaper since there's no equipment cost.)
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#43
Quote by Dave_Mc
(a) To be fair, anyone with any sense isn't playing the race card, they're saying that those guitars are built down to a price, and that's what makes them worse.
To be honest, the cost of labor is a significant cost of any article. If you're trying to say Asian guitars are, "built down to a price", and discounting maybe a 4 to 1 wage disparity in favor of American workers, you're simply not making sense.

They must have been doing something right over there in the orient, of Martin and friends would never have sued them for copying their guitars.

Brands like Epiphone, (yes ironically a Gibson subsidiary), apparently have listened to enough USA, USA, crap. All of a sudden you have solid tops on certain models which were laminated before. (But yes, this could be a reaction to an Asian competitor's increase of market share as well, or in addition to). And then there's Epi's new pickups, everything I've seen says they, "pretty much sound like on o' them thar Gibson PAFs"

An Epiphone DR-100 is "built down to a price". Gibsons or Martins aren't 10 times better than their American counterparts, yet they're 10 times the price of the.better stuff coming out of Asia.

Quote by Dave_Mc
(b) Fact-checking maybe?
I figure someone will say, "that Cranky's nuts". "He has no idea WTF he's talking about". Then they'll do the fact checking for me.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 5, 2016,
#44
Quote by Captaincranky


Then there's this. Because a person is Asian, doesn't meant they are unskilled, nor does it mean they don't take pride in their work, due to low wages. In fact, Asians in America are often considered, "the model minority". They excel in school, they show up for work on time, and so forth. Why does anybody think that ethos doesn't attach to their luthierie skills?

I keep hearing people grunting, "USA, USA, we're number one"! Will somebody explain to me WTF we're number one in? At last count, I think we were 30th in reading or math or both.

The average Asian is thrilled not to be in the middle of a rice paddy and to have a "decent paying" skilled job the industrial world. The average American is arrogant enough to think they're doing their employer an enormous favor, simply by showing up for work so they can start blabbering on Facebook half the day.

So, boys and girls, that's why American guitars are so expensive. So you should thank your lucky stars that the rest of the world hasn't figured out what the US dollar is truly worth, and so they keep sending us great stuff like iPhones, and guitars, and you name it, for great prices.


This argument is ridiculous, patently false, and a rebranding of the "noble savage" fallacy of culture confusion.

The very least troublesome "fact" of your post is the idea that iPhones and similarly capable electronic devices are competitively priced for Americans - the Asian markets are saturated with a wider and more affordable variety of smartphones.

The "model minority" stereotype is in fact a damaging trope in American society and is not something that should be encouraged or proliferated.
My God, it's full of stars!
Last edited by Dreadnought at Jul 5, 2016,
#45
When I was a dealer I got a 2-day tour of the Martin factory. I ate dinner with Chris Martin himself, in fact. Put together a special run with the custom shop folks and got a tour by the actual floor workers, not just the PR and dealer relations folks. Treated me great while I was there.

I remember being blown away by the Nazareth facility and how much hand-on work was actually being done. Any American guitar is still hand-scalloped, for example, something I took for granted, and it's all been done by the same two ladies for the last 6 years. The same four gentleman have been gluing the tops and backs onto the sides for another few years.

The process is still an assembly line, everywhere is that isn't custom. The thing is that Martin is cutting, aging, shaping, applying and selling the wood all in house, by hand.

That's expensive. The crazy thing, is that if someone really had the skill and could do all that themselves, that single guitar would be thousands of dollars more for relatively the same product.

I can also tell you, from selling Martins for years, that the overhead on them sucks. Stores don't make a lot of money off of them. If you bought the most basic DRSGT road series dreadnought for $999, the store is making probably $120. Martin only keeps probably 12% overhead on their to-dealer material. It's easier to sustain profits when you're a volume manufacturer, but realize that the folks who are running the company really aren't making as much money as you would think they are.

It costs roughly $750 to make a $999 guitar, in other words. Now, that's a high volume guitar. The profits are obviously higher on instruments like the D28 and all, but the percentages roughly even out.


I've seen so many tinfoil hat theories about manufacturing costs versus product worth on this website. From years of sales and working as a guitar tech I've found unilaterally all of them to be rubbish.
Last edited by JustRooster at Jul 5, 2016,
#46
Quote by Dreadnought
The very least troublesome "fact" of your post is the idea that iPhones and similarly capable electronic devices are competitively priced for Americans - the Asian markets are saturated with a wider and more affordable variety of smartphones.
Well, you should read Apple's profit reports. Because then you'd realize how badly you are being milked for the cost of an iPhone, because you are an American. That fact notwithstanding, Foxconn< (the actual manufacturer of the iPhone), had to put suicide nets around the employee dormitories to prevent workers from jumping out of windows in response to poor pay and working conditions.

So, if those iPhones were built in this country, you'd be paying maybe double for the same crap. "Wages, wages, wages", it's the industrial equivalent of real estate's, "location, location, location".
Quote by Dreadnought
The "model minority" stereotype is in fact a damaging trope in American society and is not something that should be encouraged or proliferated.
Well, I've been around fo almost 70 years. I was in sales, where I learned to "qualify" people. And then I've also had a few sociology and even a criminology course. What I've learned from all this is, I don't have to stereotype anybody, they'll do it for me, all by themselves,.

Oh by the way, I believe it's Apple who is contemplating building a factory in the US. Their idea of, "bringing jobs back to the US", is building a factory with an all robot assembly "team", and a few dozen jobs, mostly white collar, but perhaps a few with oil cans to squirt a stiff robot's arm or the like.
#47
Quote by JustRooster
...[ ]....I remember being blown away by the Nazareth facility and how much hand-on work was actually being done. Any American guitar is still hand-scalloped, for example, something I took for granted, and it's all been done by the same two ladies for the last 6 years. The same four gentleman have been gluing the tops and backs onto the sides for another few years. ...[ ]....
The trouble with using this as a comparison, is because patticake posted a video of a Yamaha factory in China, and remarking, "I can't believe how much work is done by hand". She said as we watched a 200 dollar Fg-700 take shape.

FWIW, it's actually a whole lot simpler to run an inlay pass around a guitar for the body binding with a hand router, as it is to build a $100.000 CnC machine to do the same damned thing.

Maybe Patti will re-post that link. Although, right after I watched the video, someone from the same town as the Yamaha factory, tried to hack my UG account. Oh well, maybe it was just a coincidence.
#48
Except companies don't have to build that machine. They just have to buy it. Also, Yamaha is making guitars with plastic and pressboard, which is a much more forgiving material from a constructions standpoint. You could trust entry-level line workers with those materials. With aged and dried Spruce you need to be taught. The skill levels are different, it's a more valuable and difficult material.

Tons and tons of companies use CNC for their guitars and it really does save costs. The thing is that being hand-made is a marketable trait to musicians.
Last edited by JustRooster at Jul 5, 2016,
#49
Quote by JustRooster

Tons and tons of companies use CNC for their guitars and it really does save costs. The thing is that being hand-made is a marketable trait to musicians.


And that CNC machine will be more accurate, consistent and repeatable than any human being that has ever lived once it's programmed properly. From a financial standpoint wouldn't you want to trust your more expensive materials to that rather than chance and human error?

Sure, hand-made is marketable, but that doesn't mean it's superior.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#50
Arby911

Agreed, I didn't mean to imply that, hope it didn't come off that way. Simply meant that Acoustic players value hand built, and this company does it to a very traditional and "desirable" extent.
Last edited by JustRooster at Jul 5, 2016,
#51
Quote by JustRooster
Arby911

Agreed, I didn't mean to imply that, hope it didn't come off that way. Simply meant that Acoustic players value hand built, and this company does it to a very traditional and "desirable" extent.



Fair enough. I respect any company that chooses to build and market a product using craftsmen and can command a premium from people who value the methods and association that it provides them, but I probably won't be a customer unless their product is actually 'better' in some measurable way.

I note that "because I like it" is more than sufficient reason for me to purchase something, but I won't pretend it's better merely because of that.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#52
Quote by JustRooster
Except companies don't have to build that machine. They just have to buy it. Also, Yamaha is making guitars with plastic and pressboard, which is a much more forgiving material from a constructions standpoint. You could trust entry-level line workers with those materials. With aged and dried Spruce you need to be taught. The skill levels are different, it's a more valuable and difficult material.

Tons and tons of companies use CNC for their guitars and it really does save costs. The thing is that being hand-made is a marketable trait to musicians.


Some people as well value the employment of those craftsmen and the sustainment of the trade (luthiership) itself.

It's not very relevant for me at least, because at that price range I'm just going to get a handmade guitar from a single luthier anyways.
My God, it's full of stars!
Last edited by Dreadnought at Jul 5, 2016,
#53
Quote by Dreadnought
Some people as well value the employment of those craftsmen and the sustainment of the trade (luthiership) itself.

It's not very relevant for me at least, because at that price range I'm just going to get a handmade guitar from a single luthier anyways.


Still need a competent luthier to set up the machine to start with, which is why CNC setup folks get paid way more than operators. It adds required skill to the practice, it doesn't subtract it.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#54
Quote by Arby911
Still need a competent luthier to set up the machine to start with, which is why CNC setup folks get paid way more than operators. It adds required skill to the practice, it doesn't subtract it.


Yes. Martin now use a fair bit of CNC machining, and a CNC program and machine works just as well in China as it does in the US.
#55
Quote by JustRooster
Except companies don't have to build that machine. They just have to buy it. Also, Yamaha is making guitars with plastic and pressboard, which is a much more forgiving material from a constructions standpoint.
Gee, isn't Martin building guitars with "HPL" (high pressure laminate) these days? Or isn't that material "forgiving" with Martin written on the head stock"


Quote by JustRooster
You could trust entry-level line workers with those materials. With aged and dried Spruce you need to be taught. The skill levels are different, it's a more valuable and difficult material.
Here's why that doesn't work on any level of bullshit conceivable. Practically everything coming out of Asia over 200 bucks has a solid top. And yes, those tops are made out of "aged and dried spruce".
Quote by JustRooster

I remember being blown away by the Nazareth facility and how much hand-on work was actually being done. Any American guitar is still hand-scalloped, for example, something I took for granted, and it's all been done by the same two ladies for the last 6 years. The same four gentleman have been gluing the tops and backs onto the sides for another few years.
Here's where you have to ask, "exactly how good could you get at doing one simple task"? Or perhaps, "think how good they'll be, when they've been gluing tops and backs on for another 20 years"!

Quote by JustRooster
I can also tell you, from selling Martins for years, that the overhead on them sucks. Stores don't make a lot of money off of them. If you bought the most basic DRSGT road series dreadnought for $999, the store is making probably $120. Martin only keeps probably 12% overhead on their to-dealer material. It's easier to sustain profits when you're a volume manufacturer, but realize that the folks who are running the company really aren't making as much money as you would think they are.

It costs roughly $750 to make a $999 guitar, in other words. Now, that's a high volume guitar. The profits are obviously higher on instruments like the D28 and all, but the percentages roughly even out.
Right, and the narrow margin points right back to where I said it does, to high American wages. The company, it's dealers, and the customers are all biting the same bullet, high caliber wages.

Besides that whole rant, is off topic. The question was, "why are Martin (etc.) guitars so expensive. Percentage of markup has nothing to do with the question. Considering that a lower profit margin would tend to reduce the cost of anything.

It's like one haberdasher said to the other, "how do you lose a dollar on everything you sell, and still make money"? The other haberdasher looked him straight in the eye an said, "volume"!


Quote by JustRooster
I've seen so many tinfoil hat theories about manufacturing costs versus product worth on this website. From years of sales and working as a guitar tech I've found unilaterally all of them to be rubbish.
It's all rubbish if you convince yourself that it is. If a musician, or a collector, will pay a premium price for something which is "hand made", you can bet they'll be throwing a party soon enough which involves passing it around and letting their friends sniff the sound hole. If you want to piss money away on the basis of status, that's your prerogative, but it really doesn't make you a better player or for that matter, a better person.

.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 5, 2016,
#56
Quote by Captaincranky
To be honest, the cost of labor is a significant cost of any article. If you're trying to say Asian guitars are, "built down to a price", and discounting maybe a 4 to 1 wage disparity in favor of American workers, you're simply not making sense.

They must have been doing something right over there in the orient, of Martin and friends would never have sued them for copying their guitars.

Brands like Epiphone, (yes ironically a Gibson subsidiary), apparently have listened to enough USA, USA, crap. All of a sudden you have solid tops on certain models which were laminated before. (But yes, this could be a reaction to an Asian competitor's increase of market share as well, or in addition to). And then there's Epi's new pickups, everything I've seen says they, "pretty much sound like on o' them thar Gibson PAFs"

An Epiphone DR-100 is "built down to a price". Gibsons or Martins aren't 10 times better than their American counterparts, yet they're 10 times the price of the.better stuff coming out of Asia.

I figure someone will say, "that Cranky's nuts". "He has no idea WTF he's talking about". Then they'll do the fact checking for me.


Well sure but the wage disparity isn't the only thing affecting the overall price. And you're also assuming they're passing on all of those savings to the customer (look and brand-name t-shirts made in sweatshops (probably) and sold for the same amount of money as clothing made in the west, for example).

also in the case of cheaper guitars made for companies which also make dearer guitars in the USA (or wherever) they don't want the cheaper ones to be as good or they'll cannibalise the dearer models.

and diminishing returns apply to just about everything, there doesn't have to be a linear relationship with quality and price for the dearer one to be worth it- something costing twice as much which is only a little better may still be worth it to someone.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jul 5, 2016,
#57
Quote by Dave_Mc
Well sure but the wage disparity isn't the only thing affecting the overall price. And you're also assuming they're passing on all of those savings to the customer (look and brand-name t-shirts made in sweatshops (probably) and sold for the same amount of money as clothing made in the west, for example).
OK now, other than Donald Trump's haberdasher, are you sure there is such a thing as clothing made in the west? I thought it was a given the any "ACTRESS'S" line of clothing would be made in a sweatshop. Then the ACTRESS would be exposed, as having her line of clothing made in a sweatshop. Of course the ACTRESS would make an elaborate, tearful apology on morning TV, and insist she was "putting her foot down", and no longer would tolerate her clothing be made at such a place. Then the sweatshop would be moved two blocks down and unto the other side of the street, nevermore to be talked about again.

After which, of course, the ACTRESS would be nominated for an academy award. The nominated film of course, wouldn't be where her most high profile acting chops were seen.

Quote by Dave_Mc
also in the case of cheaper guitars made for companies which also make dearer guitars in the USA (or wherever) they don't want the cheaper ones to be as good or they'll cannibalise the dearer models.
Well, unless we have a crop of 16 year olds, who are independently wealthy, (IE all of them have well to do parents whose bank accounts they hacked), Gibson and others will have to tolerate a certain amount of soft tissue loss.

Quote by Dave_Mc
and diminishing returns apply to just about everything, there doesn't have to be a linear relationship with quality and price for the dearer one to be worth it- something costing twice as much which is only a little better may still be worth it to someone.
Well, you pretty much have to make "real" Les Pauls, to give you the legitimacy to make, "you own Asian copies". I suppose we could call that, on one hand "diminishing returns", but OTOH, it might be just as appropriate to call the dynamic, "escalating returns"...
#58
Quote by Captaincranky
Gee, isn't Martin building guitars with "HPL" (high pressure laminate) these days? Or isn't that material "forgiving" with Martin written on the head stock"


Not in America.

Quote by Captaincranky
Here's why that doesn't work on any level of bullshit conceivable. Practically everything coming out of Asia over 200 bucks has a solid top. And yes, those tops are made out of "aged and dried spruce". Here's where you have to ask, "exactly how good could you get at doing one simple task"? Or perhaps, "think how good they'll be, when they've been gluing tops and backs on for another 20 years"!


There's a difference in spruce quality and process. If they're making them for 200 bucks I really doubt it's to the same quality or extent.

Quote by Captaincranky
Right, and the narrow margin points right back to where I said it does, to high American wages. The company, it's dealers, and the customers are all biting the same bullet, high caliber wages.


Paying your workers isn't a bullet. Especially when it's a skilled position.

Quote by Captaincranky
Besides that whole rant, is off topic. The question was, "why are Martin (etc.) guitars so expensive. Percentage of markup has nothing to do with the question. Considering that a lower profit margin would tend to reduce the cost of anything.


You are pretty clueless about retail and manufacturing if that's what you think.

Quote by Captaincranky
It's like one haberdasher said to the other, "how do you lose a dollar on everything you sell, and still make money"? The other haberdasher looked him straight in the eye an said, "volume"!
False dichotomy.

Quote by Captaincranky
It's all rubbish if you convince yourself that it is. If a musician, or a collector, will pay a premium price for something which is "hand made", you can bet they'll be throwing a party soon enough which involves passing it around and letting their friends sniff the sound hole. If you want to piss money away on the basis of status, that's your prerogative, but it really doesn't make you a better player or for that matter, a better person.


You're creating this really bad narrative of who I am and what I think. Most of my guitars are local custom orders from luthiers who utilize CNC. I'm not someone who's "drinking the punch" on Martin. I'm someone who literally fed themselves by knowing a lot about them. I'm not saying I'm an expert, I'm just not clueless.

Like you. I'm saying you're clueless. Continue thinking you've uncovered the 'truth' about guitars and their prices if you will.
#60
Quote by Arby911
Still need a competent luthier to set up the machine to start with, which is why CNC setup folks get paid way more than operators. It adds required skill to the practice, it doesn't subtract it.


You're not wrong, and I don't particularly care, but I can understand if some might.
My God, it's full of stars!
#61
Quote by JustRooster
I just checked out your profile. It looks like you're sort of a dipshit for a jobby.
That's what most people do when they can't win a discussion with me, run off and call me an "asshole" on my profile page. I just leave it there, for future reference, so I know who I'm talking to.

You usually know you've won when they start calling you names...

Well, if you used to sell Martins, and you've been given, "the big waltz", by one of the Martin family, then you have indeed, "drank the Kool-Aid".

I also have a few year of retail sales (salary + commission) under my belt. So, I do know how to operate a profit wheel.

On narrow margin, high dealer cost product, you can't drop the sell price but so far, and still eat. Accordingly, that will tend to keep the selling price up. ("make it more expensive" as I said earlier).


It's like one haberdasher said to the other, "how do you lose a dollar on everything you sell, and still make money"? The other haberdasher looked him straight in the eye an said, "volume"! You are pretty clueless about retail and manufacturing if that's what you think.
Quote by JustRooster
False dichotomy.
No, that was an old ethnic JOKE, which I sanitized for the benefit of forum rules.

Now why don't you go sniff a sound hole or two, instead of my profile?

Quote by JustRooster
You're creating this really bad narrative of who I am and what I think. Most of my guitars are local custom orders from luthiers who utilize CNC. I'm not someone who's "drinking the punch" on Martin. I'm someone who literally fed themselves by knowing a lot about them. I'm not saying I'm an expert, I'm just not clueless.

Like you. I'm saying you're clueless. Continue thinking you've uncovered the 'truth' about guitars and their prices if you will.
So the same guy at Martin has been doing the same menial task for 5? years was it, and that makes him a master craftsman? That's an interesting take on the "truth"..

A great majority of today's highly technical product simply could not be made by hand. In other words, we couldn't have half of what we do now, including guitars, if it weren't for machines. I appreciate the sentiment of what a good "hand made product might be", and I'll give you my further thoughts about that, after I retreat to a log cabin with an outhouse in Appalachia
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 6, 2016,
#62
Quote by JustRooster


There's a difference in spruce quality and process. If they're making them for 200 bucks I really doubt it's to the same quality or extent.


That bit made me smile. Somewhere in this thread it was noted that air drying is superior to kiln drying. So what is the lasted gee-whiz method of treating guitar tops? Torrefaction - cooking them in an oven! It also has the side effect of making them fugly. (If you want good sound and ugly, bunya is the way to go.) This whole debate seems a bit farcical to me, whose favourite fingerpicking guitar has a plywood top.
#63
Quote by Tony Done
That bit made me smile. Somewhere in this thread it was noted that air drying is superior to kiln drying. So what is the lasted gee-whiz method of treating guitar tops? Torrefaction - cooking them in an oven! It also has the side effect of making them fugly. (If you want good sound and ugly, bunya is the way to go.) This whole debate seems a bit farcical to me, whose favourite fingerpicking guitar has a plywood top.


The fox and the grapes, my friend.

If you don't understand that drying techniques can affect the wood, you need to retake your high school chemistry class. The question is "why are Martin guitars expensive." The answer is that they buy expensive material, pay skilled workers to work on them, use expensive procedures to prepare and shape them, and have and overall really good quality.

What crank would have you believe is that the price is entirely the name. Which, the margins completely debunk, but whatever, conspiracy theorists can't be swayed.
Last edited by JustRooster at Jul 6, 2016,
#64
Quote by Captaincranky
That's what most people do when they can't win a discussion with me, run off and call me an "asshole" on my profile page. I just leave it there, for future reference, so I know who I'm talking to.


There's nothing to win. It's facts bounced off a man with a tinfoil hat about guitars and an overdeveloped sense of righteousness. Do all companies cut corners and costs here or there? Sure. Does that invalidate the quality of a Martin? Nah, dawg.

In my years of working in guitars, anyone who could ever afford a big American Martin that came through my door ever picked something that was far less money claiming it was supposedly the same and that we were "drinking the punch," on Martin. I'm glad you like your guitar, but you don't have to disparage better brands to feel better about your gear personally. Is that a stretch? Sure, but I would wager a safe one, since that almost ALWAYS seems to be the case on this board.

Also, me linking your profile wasn't desperation, it was establishing a precedence. A precedence that you're a dipshit.
#65
Can you really trust anything made by someone with a first name for a last name?
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#66
Quote by JustRooster

If you don't understand that drying techniques can affect the wood, you need to retake your high school chemistry class.


Sure they can, that's the point right? But the simple fact is that once it's dried (assuming in each case it's done properly) not even an expert can differentiate between kiln and air dried wood.

High end furniture makers (and their prices make Martin look like Wal-Mart) have acknowledged this for decades.

Only in guitars is the cork-sniffery still strong on this issue.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#67
I would posit that considering the thickness of the wood, structural concerns may arise over the years. I've repaired hundreds of tops on old cheap strummers. A few included Martin, but the vast majority were more budget brands. That's only anecdotal, I'm aware, but I would undone other techs have similar experience.

That's probably only partially the drying techniques and more grain choice, but Martin gets better stock than yamaha.
#68
JustRooster

I noted elsewhere in the thread that I think the differenc lies in labour costs and production methods, including some cost saving options like epoxied neck joints and UV-cured poly.

And, FWIW, I have a PhD in agricultural botany which includes some aspects of drying technology
#69
Quote by Dave_Mc
...[ ]....(b) Fact-checking maybe?
Well Dave, in response to your polite request, I did some "fact checking", as to where American students rank in world scholastic achievement. Without further ado:
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/02/u-s-students-improving-slowly-in-math-and-science-but-still-lagging-internationally/

Please note that despite the fact I have been proclaimed a "dipshit" by a self professed "internet bully", (Which incidentally could be a euphemistic reference to a "troll"), the research is from the (AFAIK) well respected Pew Research Center.
#70
Quote by JustRooster
I would posit that considering the thickness of the wood, structural concerns may arise over the years. I've repaired hundreds of tops on old cheap strummers. A few included Martin, but the vast majority were more budget brands. That's only anecdotal, I'm aware, but I would undone other techs have similar experience.
It also draws a positive correlation where none may exist. First we'll exclude the laminate models, as they're notorious as being "campfire guitars", and are reasonably "indestructible" However, in the middle ground of solid top imports, we must take into consideration the fact someone who has just paid many thousands of dollars for an instrument, is inclined to take better and more controlled care of it, than certainly a teenager with his first solid top "beater".

In other words, "nobody carries a Stradivarius around in a gig bag".

Accordingly, damage is more likely among lower priced instruments, through no particular fault of workmanship and materials. (Which is not to say "warranty issues" don't happen, or won't happen). However, Martin does quite a few neck resets as well,and yes, there is a lifetime warranty in force.

Part of the issue with Martin, (and other old established US brands as well), is collectors have increased their value beyond what any sane buyer would or should pay. They aren't worth what people with more money than brains will pay, a fact which tends to trickle down and affect the price of new stock.

Martin and other USA guitar maker's, have to eat off reputation and snob appeal as much as actual value.

In other words, if you handed Yamaha a pile of Martin lumber, (which you claim is the determining factor in their superiority), Yamaha's guitars would sound as good as any Martin, and they'd still be cheaper to boot.

Quote by JustRooster
That's probably only partially the drying techniques and more grain choice, but Martin gets better stock than yamaha.


I posted this earlier in this discussion, I posted this: http://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/air-dried-wood-a-topic-for-both-luthiers-and-the-tpg-readership.192464/ It seemed like a lot of worthwhile information was contained. (One assumes along with a helping of superstition and misinformation as well). It's still a good read, at least for people who don't think they already know it all.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 6, 2016,
#71
Come on fellas let's keep it civilized.

I really don't want to have to do any mod work other than deleting multiple posts and closing erroneous threads.
My God, it's full of stars!
#72
Dreadnought Keep in mind I said this thread was a "time bomb" early in the first page.... In fact, I also said "I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole". Another regret I'll have to live with, no strength of character.

After all, posting to a thread titled, "why are Martin guitars so expensive", is the modern day equivalent of opening "Pandora's Box"....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 6, 2016,
#74
Quote by Captaincranky
To be honest, the cost of labor is a significant cost of any article. If you're trying to say Asian guitars are, "built down to a price", and discounting maybe a 4 to 1 wage disparity in favor of American workers, you're simply not making sense.

They must have been doing something right over there in the orient, of Martin and friends would never have sued them for copying their guitars.

Brands like Epiphone, (yes ironically a Gibson subsidiary), apparently have listened to enough USA, USA, crap. All of a sudden you have solid tops on certain models which were laminated before. (But yes, this could be a reaction to an Asian competitor's increase of market share as well, or in addition to). And then there's Epi's new pickups, everything I've seen says they, "pretty much sound like on o' them thar Gibson PAFs"

An Epiphone DR-100 is "built down to a price". Gibsons or Martins aren't 10 times better than their American counterparts, yet they're 10 times the price of the.better stuff coming out of Asia.

I figure someone will say, "that Cranky's nuts". "He has no idea WTF he's talking about". Then they'll do the fact checking for me.


I can't speak for guitar companies but I work in manufacturing (YES still in America!). Our labor cost is 10-11% of product, and believe me when it gets close to that 11% we hear about it. While that is certainly higher than Asian manufacturing, it's complete ignorance to say that that is the only(or even the biggest) difference. That doesn't justify 5-10 times the cost. You don't think it might have something to do with companies over-charging for that "made in the usa" label would ya? Or the fact that the CEO and other executives are making hundreds to thousands more than the workers in the good ole USA? That couple % of labor costs is millions in somebody's pocket and it isn't the workers. There's other factors that include healthcare - that US companies provide while every other country is provided by government, plus different environmental laws. I agree however that many Asian made guitars are pretty darn good these days. They should be, we've given them all of our manufacturing technology. Unfortunately, you can't live on 50 cents an hour in the US.
Last edited by hotrodney71 at Jul 6, 2016,
#75
Quote by hotrodney71
I can't speak for guitar companies but I work in manufacturing (YES still in America!). Our labor cost is 10-11% of product, and believe me when it gets close to that 11% we hear about it. While that is certainly higher than Asian manufacturing, it's complete ignorance to say that that is the only(or even the biggest) difference. That doesn't justify 5-10 times the cost. You don't think it might have something to do with companies over-charging for that "made in the usa" label would ya? Or the fact that the CEO and other executives are making hundreds to thousands more than the workers in the good ole USA? That couple % of labor costs is millions in somebody's pocket and it isn't the workers. There's other factors that include healthcare - that US companies provide while every other country is provided by government, plus different environmental laws. I agree however that many Asian made guitars are pretty darn good these days. They should be, we've given them all of our manufacturing technology. Unfortunately, you can't live on 50 cents an hour in the US.
Well, you bring up too many points in too short a space but, everything about America contributes to high prices. The landlords are greedy. the CEOs are greedy. Environmental protection is perhaps more stringently adhered to than someplace in the middle of Indonesia. With those things said, Americans have become accustomed to an inordinate level of luxury in their lives, and many are unwilling to work hard to attain it. So you certainly can't simplify the issue to the point where, "Martin guitars are expensive because they use better materials". That's patently absurd.

This issue is pivotal in the current presidential campaign. I'm sure Hillary Clinton means well, (or means to pander to poorer voters), with her "$15.00 an hour minimum wage or bust blather. "Nobody can live on that", she carps loudly. Guess what sweetie, at no point in American history has anyone ever been able to buy a house in the suburbs, (white picket fence and all), and then raise a half dozen kids on minimum wage.

And while a hoard of imbeciles may suck this crap of hers up like it's gospel, you can bet everything from McDonald's hamburgers to Martin guitars will cost more money after her election, and forevermore thereafter.

BTW, Samsung has it's own "greedy executives", that's something that isn't limited to the US's "non working upper class". In fact, they're dealing with a fake profit reporting scandal, even as they up their bonuses.

https://www.engadget.com/2008/04/17/samsung-ceo-charged-with-fraud-wont-be-arrested/
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 6, 2016,
#76
Quote by Captaincranky
(a) OK now, other than Donald Trump's haberdasher, are you sure there is such a thing as clothing made in the west? I thought it was a given the any "ACTRESS'S" line of clothing would be made in a sweatshop. Then the ACTRESS would be exposed, as having her line of clothing made in a sweatshop. Of course the ACTRESS would make an elaborate, tearful apology on morning TV, and insist she was "putting her foot down", and no longer would tolerate her clothing be made at such a place. Then the sweatshop would be moved two blocks down and unto the other side of the street, nevermore to be talked about again.

After which, of course, the ACTRESS would be nominated for an academy award. The nominated film of course, wouldn't be where her most high profile acting chops were seen.

(b) Well, unless we have a crop of 16 year olds, who are independently wealthy, (IE all of them have well to do parents whose bank accounts they hacked), Gibson and others will have to tolerate a certain amount of soft tissue loss.

(c) Well, you pretty much have to make "real" Les Pauls, to give you the legitimacy to make, "you own Asian copies". I suppose we could call that, on one hand "diminishing returns", but OTOH, it might be just as appropriate to call the dynamic, "escalating returns"...


(a) it's not that long ago that stuff used to be made in the west. we had clothing factories here in NI up until pretty recently, it's not that long since marks and spencer (big chain shop here) had most if not all of its clothing made in the west and its prices were no higher than the big sports brands, for example, and probably less.

(b) sure. i guess at some point they have to decide who their more important customers are, the people buying the cheaper stuff or the people buying the dearer. though that's possibly an oversimplification as well, because having the dearer stuff might give the cheaper customers something to aim for in the future, or even help to sell the cheaper stuff too (I've heard people saying they want, for example, les paul on the headstock which they can get with a cheaper epi even if, say, an MIJ tokai might be a better option).

(c) haha that's a good point

Quote by JustRooster

If you don't understand that drying techniques can affect the wood, you need to retake your high school chemistry class.


I don't remember ever covering "drying techniques", at least related to wood, in chemistry...
Quote by Captaincranky
Well Dave, in response to your polite request, I did some "fact checking", as to where American students rank in world scholastic achievement. Without further ado:
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/02/u-s-students-improving-slowly-in-math-and-science-but-still-lagging-internationally/

Please note that despite the fact I have been proclaimed a "dipshit" by a self professed "internet bully", (Which incidentally could be a euphemistic reference to a "troll"), the research is from the (AFAIK) well respected Pew Research Center.


it was just a joke I looked up something similar on wikipedia and you seemed to be around 20th or something like that

i don't see how the UK is so far up the table...
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jul 6, 2016,
#77
Quote by Dave_Mc
(a) it's not that long ago that stuff used to be made in the west. we had clothing factories here in NI up until pretty recently, it's not that long since marks and spencer (big chain shop here) had most if not all of its clothing made in the west and its prices were no higher than the big sports brands, for example, and probably less.

(b) sure. i guess at some point they have to decide who their more important customers are, the people buying the cheaper stuff or the people buying the dearer. though that's possibly an oversimplification as well, because having the dearer stuff might give the cheaper customers something to aim for in the future, or even help to sell the cheaper stuff too (I've heard people saying they want, for example, les paul on the headstock which they can get with a cheaper epi even if, say, an MIJ tokai might be a better option).

(c) haha that's a good point


I don't remember ever covering "drying techniques", at least related to wood, in chemistry...

it was just a joke I looked up something similar on wikipedia and you seemed to be around 20th or something like that

i don't see how the UK is so far up the table...
OK then. Realizing you were joking all along, I did some fact checking nonetheless.

However, either you were being too polite, or there really isn't a reason Northern Ireland should be that high on the list, since I counted the US as being 27th in science, and 35th in mathematics... In either case, there still isn't much reason for US citizens to be running amok continuously shouting, "we're number one, ad nauseam", at even the slightest of provocations.


Using my old school math skills, (27 + 35 / 2 = 31), I've determined I've been right all along, in spite of having the US public education system fail me so miserably, as it did some 50 odd years ago. I'm putting a couple of these guys in: so you'll know my heart's in the right place.
#78
Quote by Captaincranky
Dreadnought Keep in mind I said this thread was a "time bomb" early in the first page.... In fact, I also said "I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole". Another regret I'll have to live with, no strength of character.

After all, posting to a thread titled, "why are Martin guitars so expensive", is the modern day equivalent of opening "Pandora's Box"....


It generated good discussion, but also bad attitudes.
My God, it's full of stars!
#79
Quote by Dreadnought
Come on fellas let's keep it civilized.

I really don't want to have to do any mod work other than deleting multiple posts and closing erroneous threads.


You're just mad you spent so much money on a "hand built" guitar with "quality woods" when you could have just bought a Yamaha. Or at least, that's the logic.
#80
I'll fight anyone who questions my guitar, even Internet-ironically

I do find your post funny tho

This thread has been great for forum traffic lol
My God, it's full of stars!
Last edited by Dreadnought at Jul 6, 2016,