Great guitar, crap case (?)

crjcarr
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:51 pm

Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by crjcarr » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:30 am

Just looking for opinions from other guitarists, and particularly from professional luthiers on here. Here's my dilemma; I just took delivery of a beautiful 640 scale, brand new, and I'm very disappointed in the case. Guitar is amazing, $6,500 and I'm pretty much in love with it, but deciding whether I should keep it or send it back. The case it arrived in is crappy Silver Creek case you can get off Amazon for $70. That wouldn't be that big a deal, except that the guitar is way too small, and it arrived with a kitchen towel jammed in there to prevent it from knocking around too much. I'm not kidding, a freakin' kitchen towel. The last time I ordered a guitar built from a luthier, it came with a custom made case and that was included in the cost of the guitar ($6,200) So here's my problem; ordering a custom case to be made now looks like it will cost $800-$1k or more, which materailly changes the cost of this guitar. ON a side note, I'm pretty shocked that a luthier who is selling his guitars for that price would send out a guitar in a cheap case that doesn't fit the instrument. I'm also very surprised that such a reputable dealer of guitars would send out a guitar like that, regardless of how it arrived from the luthier. Am I way off-base here? Luthiers, would you sell a guitar for that price and not included a case that fits?
__________
1997 Masaki Sakurai
2010 Bendicht Tschannen doubletop

Laudiesdad69
Posts: 1174
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:16 pm

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:01 am

Visesnut makes an adjustable case that you can custom fit to any size guitar via means of an adjustable interior. Check with Strings by mail about the shorter scale length. sBM sells them for about $850. At that price I don't see how a maker could include one of those without charging more for a guitar.

My Ramirez with the 7/8 size body came with a cheap Humicase Protege that didn't fit it as well. I thought that a guitar that cost $4K should have come with a better case too. One of the threads about cases I read recently have a guideline that a case should cost approximately 10% of what you paid for the guitar.

The nice thing about a case like the Visesnut is that it will fit just about any guitar, and I only travel with one at a time anyway. Available in your choice of colors as well.

User avatar
Michael Lazar
Luthier
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 10:26 pm
Location: St. Albert, Alberta

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by Michael Lazar » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:35 pm

As a luthier, I quote my prices to include a very cheap but functional case. Unless I'm asked to make an off standard body size the case fits perfectly. Alternately I will offer to obtain a higher end custom made case for whatever the additional cost to me happens to be. What I find strange is that your luthier did not clarify all of that with you as part of the initial negotiations.

User avatar
souldier
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:45 pm

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by souldier » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:26 pm

I'd imagine they include a case good enough to ship the guitar and use around town while allowing the guitarist to upgrade their case according to their preferences in the future. If the player has a specific case in mind, they should communicate this with the luthier well in advance and be willing to pay the extra cost. When making such costly transactions its important for both parties to communicate and clarify these things to avoid unpleasant surprises.

If you're happy with the guitar, I wouldn't return it over a case issue. If the guitar has a particularly small body, you're best bet is visesnut or a custom case like Hoffee or Karura, which will indeed drive up the cost, but the $6500 you paid is really for the guitar itself. If you had requested a custom fitted case with the guitar to begin with, you would have paid more regardless.
"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

User avatar
Michael.N.
Posts: 6482
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:28 am
Location: UK

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:07 pm

crjcarr wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:30 am
Just looking for opinions from other guitarists, and particularly from professional luthiers on here. Here's my dilemma; I just took delivery of a beautiful 640 scale, brand new, and I'm very disappointed in the case. Guitar is amazing, $6,500 and I'm pretty much in love with it, but deciding whether I should keep it or send it back. The case it arrived in is crappy Silver Creek case you can get off Amazon for $70. That wouldn't be that big a deal, except that the guitar is way too small, and it arrived with a kitchen towel jammed in there to prevent it from knocking around too much. I'm not kidding, a freakin' kitchen towel. The last time I ordered a guitar built from a luthier, it came with a custom made case and that was included in the cost of the guitar ($6,200) So here's my problem; ordering a custom case to be made now looks like it will cost $800-$1k or more, which materailly changes the cost of this guitar. ON a side note, I'm pretty shocked that a luthier who is selling his guitars for that price would send out a guitar in a cheap case that doesn't fit the instrument. I'm also very surprised that such a reputable dealer of guitars would send out a guitar like that, regardless of how it arrived from the luthier. Am I way off-base here? Luthiers, would you sell a guitar for that price and not included a case that fits?
Probably in line with many other luthiers I offer a choice, a cheap off the shelf case that is likely to need padding out internally or a custom made case that fits the guitar. I usually use Kingham. The Kingham comes at a price though, some $600 more. That's just added on to my standard price. I don't know if they still do it but Hiscox used to send a few extra pads to take up any extra space, made of the same case lining material.
It all depends on how you look at the $6500. Perhaps the luthier charges $6,500 for the guitar and throws in the cheap case for nothing or rather it's in with the price. If he offered an upgraded case it's likely that it will just add to the overall price, so your $6,500 guitar might be quoted as $7,200. No one can tell him how much or how little he should be charging, that's his concern. I do think that it's right to inform of the case prior to selling the instrument though.
Historicalguitars.

crjcarr
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:51 pm

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by crjcarr » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:11 pm

Michael Lazar wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:35 pm
As a luthier, I quote my prices to include a very cheap but functional case. Unless I'm asked to make an off standard body size the case fits perfectly. Alternately I will offer to obtain a higher end custom made case for whatever the additional cost to me happens to be. What I find strange is that your luthier did not clarify all of that with you as part of the initial negotiations.
Michael, I purchased this guitar through a dealer, which is part of my quandary. Having to jam kitchen towels into a standard case to make it fit is something I think the dealer should have made known when purchasing. I guess my overall point here is that as a luthier, if you're making a guitar that does not fit in a standard case at all (about 1/2 - 3/4" wiggle room on all side of the guitar body) then it should be something the buyer is made aware of, that there's another $600-$1k needed to buy a case for this guitar.
__________
1997 Masaki Sakurai
2010 Bendicht Tschannen doubletop

Philosopherguy
Posts: 874
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:40 am
Location: Niagara, Ontario, Canada

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by Philosopherguy » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:35 pm

I don't think there is any harm in calling the dealer and explaining your issues. They might be able to work something out with you.

I don't think it is too much to ask for a case that at least fits the guitar, whether or not its a great case is another issue.

Martin
*************************************************************
2013 Ramirez 130 Anos - Spruce
2013 Ramirez 4NE - Cedar
1998 Dean Harrington - Spruce
1977 Kuniharu Nobe - Spruce
1971 Yamaha GC3 - Spruce

User avatar
Michael.N.
Posts: 6482
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:28 am
Location: UK

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:34 pm

Very few guitars fit an off the shelf case. There are too many variations in guitars and of course the case makers simply cannot account for all those variations. If you really shop around it's just possible that you will find one that is a decent fit. It's unlikely to be perfect though, not in the same manner as a case that has been custom made. Most people just accept that a certain amount of padding out is required. Hiscox do a few sizes but they also provide little cushions to take up any space. The cushions are of the same material as the case lining. There's a reason why they supply these cushions, they are obviously aware that most guitars are unlikely to be a snug fit.
Historicalguitars.

astro64
Posts: 640
Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:43 pm
Location: American Southwest

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by astro64 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:07 am

crjcarr wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:11 pm
Michael Lazar wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:35 pm
As a luthier, I quote my prices to include a very cheap but functional case. Unless I'm asked to make an off standard body size the case fits perfectly. Alternately I will offer to obtain a higher end custom made case for whatever the additional cost to me happens to be. What I find strange is that your luthier did not clarify all of that with you as part of the initial negotiations.
Michael, I purchased this guitar through a dealer, which is part of my quandary. Having to jam kitchen towels into a standard case to make it fit is something I think the dealer should have made known when purchasing. I guess my overall point here is that as a luthier, if you're making a guitar that does not fit in a standard case at all (about 1/2 - 3/4" wiggle room on all side of the guitar body) then it should be something the buyer is made aware of, that there's another $600-$1k needed to buy a case for this guitar.
Could it have been the dealer who switched cases? Did you ask? Anyway, the guitar matters much more than the case it arrives in. I would never return a good guitar because I don't like the case. Unless you are planning to fly with the guitar, you don't need an $800 case.

celestemcc
Posts: 686
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by celestemcc » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:01 pm

A 640 guitar is not necessarily smaller-bodied than a longer-scale guitar, so many commercial cases should fit, but yeah: price. FWIW I love my Visesnut. Before you even consider one from SBM, though, talk to the dealer or luthier to see if they can get one for you. I paid much less than the $850 because I got it through my luthier, who ordered it for me thru Marshall Brunet. If rule of thumb is ca what, 10 - 15% of a guitar's cost, and if you can get a Visesnut at a discount, you'd be in line with that.

That said, I haven't yet flown with the Visesnut. I like it for the extremely light weight, smaller footprint, protection, and that "custom" fit. Not so much because of the guitar's size, as that snug fit keeps the guitar safer if the case is dropped. Downside is that the under-neck box is small. IF you go for one, do get the (inexpensive) optional case cover.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

gjo
Posts: 259
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:48 am

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by gjo » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:26 pm

Before blaming the maker you probably better contact the seller about your problems. That would be the normal way.

Just my simple opinion.

User avatar
Guitar-ded
Posts: 1791
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:32 pm
Location: BC Canada

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by Guitar-ded » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:14 pm

You'd be surprised how often guitars arrive in what was not their original case. In the case (sorry) of dealers they may swap the original to go with a higher priced guitar which arrived to them in a lesser case so as the up the value perception of that instrument. With original owner sales, it's a way of making a little more $$$ by keeping the good case for their new guitar and shipping out the lesser thing they had lying around. Some will discount for this and say up front but many don't.
I'd second contacting the dealer and seeing if he can sort you out a better case.
Getting better bit by bit, day by day.

Ironwood
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:58 pm
Location: UK/US

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by Ironwood » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:53 pm

I started flying with guitars back in the late 1980's/early 1990's. At the time, I owned a Lowden O25C and brought it along as I moved about from London to New York to L.A., and, on occasion, points beyond. The advice Brynn Hiscox gave to me, no matter that his cases were built to take the rigours of travel and the thousand shocks guitars are heir to, was to first loosen the strings, place a Dampit or similar humidifier in the soundhole, wrap the instrument in a large platic leaf bag to create a stable enviroment, and then put the "package" in the case. If memory serves, Hiscox also recommended placing towels in the empty space between the guitar and the interior case wall to further stabilise it and increase protection from rough handling. Even though I often flew first class and managed to charm the gate agents into allowing the guitar to be brought into the cabin and stored in a closet, there were times they refused. My Lowden then would be taken and placed in the cargo hold, and I would spend the entire flight wondering if it would survive. It always arrived safely and the guitar never suffered any structural or cosmetic damage.

Many UK-based luthiers trust their instruments to Hiscox cases regardless of where it is being shipped, domestically or internationally. I eventually could afford Calton Cases, then built like tanks in Ash (near Aldershot) England, purchasing them for the luthier-built guitars in my collection. Why? As already mentioned, I could afford them and they eliminated the need to wrap the guitar within and any additional padding. I have continued to rely on Hiscox cases for two, recent Martin Custom Shop guitars which are now supplied in crap cases, and the Fender Teles because the manufacturer cases don't travel at all well.

Two new guitars have been commissioned and both luthiers use Hiscox cases. Indeed, because of the drop in the quality of the Calton cases when production was moved from the UK to Canada, one of the luthiers insists on shipping the completed instrument in a Hiscox Pro II case, no matter that Caltons now are manufacturered in Austin, TX.

It is risky to travel by air with cases that may or may not be up to the rigours of airline baggage handling. Security concerns coupled with shrinking storage space in airline cabins make bring instruments on-board increasingly unlikely. One often will be informed (unhelpfully) that if an instrument is so valuable, one should purchase an adjacent seat. If your instrument is valuable and/or irreplacable to you, regardless of its real value, spending the additional money to purchase a proper flight case and making certain your guitar is well and properly packed (one can always ring the builder/manufacturer for advice) is cheaper than trying to replace it after it's been damaged or destroyed. If one travels by air and needs to bring a guitar, purchasing a Hiscox, Calton, Hoffee, Karura, or a Visesnut is a sound, albeit expensive, investment considering the alternatives. As Brynn Hiscox told me many years ago, it is much cheaper to replace an instrument case than it is to replace the instrument within.
V. E.

'72 Guild Mark II
'76 Gurian S3M
'96 Sobell Model 1 Sicilian
'97 Bown 000
'00 Aram "Hauser"
'09 Martin 000-18 Marquis
'11 Nick Apollonio 12-string Bell
'12 Martin D-41 Custom
'13 Martin M-30 Jorma Kaukonen
'17 Martin CS OMC-21
and more.

User avatar
Arash Ahmadi
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:38 pm

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:32 am

crjcarr wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:30 am
The case it arrived in is crappy Silver Creek case you can get off Amazon for $70. I'm also very surprised that such a reputable dealer of guitars would send out a guitar like that, regardless of how it arrived from the luthier. Am I way off-base here?
I hear you. It's a big risk to post an expensive guitar like that. I wonder if it was insured, or you had to pay for the possible damages in case there was any. It would only be fair if the luthier had informed you.
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

User avatar
Arash Ahmadi
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:38 pm

Re: Great guitar, crap case (?)

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:48 am

Ironwood wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:53 pm
Even though I often flew first class and managed to charm the gate agents into allowing the guitar to be brought into the cabin and stored in a closet, there were times they refused. My Lowden then would be taken and placed in the cargo hold, and I would spend the entire flight wondering if it would survive. It always arrived safely and the guitar never suffered any structural or cosmetic damage.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I wonder what the policy is when one cannot bring the guitar on board. I guess the airline doesn't accept any responsibility if the guitar arrives with some damage. I remember a famous Spanish guitarist had flown to China and was not allowed to bring the guitar in, his 10K dollar guitar was crashed and the airline was refusing to compensate until he took pictures of his guitar and posted them on social media and it went viral. Only then, they agreed to pay the repair cost.
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

Return to “Advice on buying, selling or valuing a guitar”