Getting a luthier made guitar - too many choices!

Jack Douglas
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Re: Getting a luthier made guitar - too many choices!

Post by Jack Douglas » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:48 pm

That you already know you want a cedar top guitar is a big hurtle in itself. If you are self taught and don't perform in large rooms I personally think spending money on a double top is money down the drain. Spend the money on better tuners and woods and a nicer case. It's hard to go wrong with a Luthier made traditional instrument. I would spend time with the Luthier to determine the best scale length for your hand size and that the nut width and string spacing are standard. The Luthier can adjust the action the way you like it. I would also have a discussion with the Luthier about the neck shape and by that I mean does your Luthier use a classic U shape or does he/she use a what I call a D shape which most times is thinner and flatter. Only you can decide what feels the best to you.
Here's the good news. When you hire a Luthier to make a guitar just for you each of those things I mentioned can be discussed and decided on.
Go for it!
:D
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crjcarr
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Re: Getting a luthier made guitar - too many choices!

Post by crjcarr » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:50 am

I'd echo what a few others have said here: the doubletop is unforgiving for those without great technique. Like you, I'm mostly self-taught (haven't studied with anyone since college) and I recently had a doubletop made. It's an amazing guitar, the volume is much louder than my other traditional cedar guitar. But every LH movement can be heard, the string squeaks are amplified, and it takes twice the precision to play cleanly. I've found myself going back to my cedar top Sakurai/Kohno over the doubletop simply because I enjoy playing it more. I don't need to reach the back of a large auditorium....

I also agree with everyone who has said go for it. You don't need to be a pro to justify playing a better instrument. I'd almost make the opposite argument: if you're playing simpler pieces, it's more important that every note sing. Even as an amateur, you'll appreciate the vast difference between a production guitar and a well-crafted custom guitar. As long as you'll enjoy that sound, it's worth the investment.
__________
1997 Masaki Sakurai
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Eberhard Mueller
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Re: Getting a luthier made guitar - too many choices!

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:33 pm

msb wrote:
Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:26 pm
... However If it makes playing more enjoyable, incentivises practice and makes me happy perhaps it is worth it?

So if I park that decision and say that its probably more efficient financially than buying incrementally better guitars over time and having to sell them on. My next problem is exactly what I should get. ...

So I'd be grateful for any comments/advice that will help solidify my resolve to purchase and help me choose between the available options. :D
I think it is worth it, getting a luthier built. But, I also think it worth it to buy "incrementally better guitars over time." If the goal is to "incentivize practice" and to make "playing more enjoyable," the latter option does spread the joy of acquisition over many more years! You also learn a lot from that process.

Commissioning a built is an experience in itself, 'though!
Neil Douglas 2001 (German Spruce / German Maple)
Neil Douglas 1992 (Engelmann Spruce / Brazilian Rosewood)
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souldier
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Re: Getting a luthier made guitar - too many choices!

Post by souldier » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:17 pm

crjcarr wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:50 am
I'd echo what a few others have said here: the doubletop is unforgiving for those without great technique. Like you, I'm mostly self-taught (haven't studied with anyone since college) and I recently had a doubletop made. It's an amazing guitar, the volume is much louder than my other traditional cedar guitar. But every LH movement can be heard, the string squeaks are amplified, and it takes twice the precision to play cleanly. I've found myself going back to my cedar top Sakurai/Kohno over the doubletop simply because I enjoy playing it more. I don't need to reach the back of a large auditorium....
I haven't found this idea to necessarily be true for all double tops or luthier instruments in general. In fact I've played several double tops that were more forgiving, even though they were particularly loud. It really depends on the maker and guitar itself. Many double tops and lattice braced guitars that I have played have a somewhat nasal sound to them, making them sound thicker, warmer and fuller and thus more forgiving.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

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Eberhard Mueller
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Re: Getting a luthier made guitar - too many choices!

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:56 pm

crjcarr wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:50 am
I'd echo what a few others have said here: the doubletop is unforgiving for those without great technique. Like you, I'm mostly self-taught (haven't studied with anyone since college) and I recently had a doubletop made. It's an amazing guitar, the volume is much louder than my other traditional cedar guitar. But every LH movement can be heard, the string squeaks are amplified, and it takes twice the precision to play cleanly.
...
This characteristic could be remedied with different strings. I don't have a double top but have similar experience with traditional design, if I get the strings wrong, i.e. loud, amplified string noise, a bit "tinnier" on the high end - further exacerbated by my hearing aids, my "tin" ears. The same strings on another guitar will sound very good. So there are lots of factors, including nails and playing style.
Neil Douglas 2001 (German Spruce / German Maple)
Neil Douglas 1992 (Engelmann Spruce / Brazilian Rosewood)
La Patrie Motif
Cordoba Mini M

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