Hand Tools Archive

Re: Guitar are interesting
Response To:
Re: Guitar ()

david weaver
because there are a lot of people who start trying to make them with the intention to sell from the start. They get interested in projects and jigs, and workstation work like you're saying (the world of production guitars is unskilled and semi-skilled labor - they can make a good guitar if not a great one, so you're not going to make a production type guitar as an individual and recover much for time).

I posted on a guitar forum for a little bit, but got banned because an older builder referred to someone else as a sissy in response to a criticism, and i questioned banning the older builder (who is a pro) and diluting comment!! Apparently, "sissy" is now homophobic -- :b It reminded me of sawmillcreek constantly threatening george because he draws fire from newbies when he insists that standards are important. Those types of forums are set up to make the owners money and keep individuals in place, not quality. Lots of parallels.

At any rate, there are a couple of former Gibson employees on those forums, and they are just kind of there. None of them could build a guitar. They can tell stories about what it was like to work at gibson, and how they have guitars made of unique parts that they snuck away from the factory, but I haven't seen or heard one talk about actually building a guitar. Just like the forums, the focus for them is on what it was like "in the old days" and now workplace politics.

I do (in four guitars so far) as you say, take the tools available, figure out what to do with them. Fret tangs are something like .023" (can't remember exactly). It's not hard to dig out a saw that will suffice based on plate or plate plus a little set. Mark them, and cut them, but there's very little of that kind of stuff on that forum. It's filled with 90% bad work and guys trying to set up routers and MDF to do something simple.

Cabinet factory work was obviously the same when I was in college. I may have hung the doors on 900 cabinets in a given day, maybe put drawer guides in them the next. But making work fast means that it isn't going to be meaningful.

I suspect I could sell my guitars for the cost of the parts ,and if i was dishonest (and talked them up to be more than they are - which seems to be de-rigeur for the market), probably a little bit more. I never intend to build anything for sale or sell for any reason other than making space, though, but guitars and tools are interesting in a way that making most pieces of furniture isn't.

The individual builders, I get the sense that a lot of them are temporary and are using partially made parts to speed up their work, too. I'm not going to bug you to post more of your work since it's a pain to find it and do it, but George is sort of in the same boat, and most of his work (for sale) was done in his younger days or bought by people who took it out of circulation. I located one of his one-off guitars last week from a prior sale:


...and gave him a call. He couldn't remember the guitar, but vaguely remembered it when he saw it. The listing is wrong, it's a gibson slope shoulder type acoustic, and it sold for more than George would've charged by a factor of two, but it's plain and neatly made. If I could manage to make a guitar of that quality in a couple of years, I'd bet I couldn't sell it in two decades for two thirds of that.

I see amp guys going through the same struggle when they think they'll make a business out of it - trying to sell hand made JTM 45 clones for 30% of what marshall does and probably clearing almost nothing. Much better as a hobby than a business!

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