How much to make a guitar?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
2handband

Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by 2handband » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:03 pm

Ross Gutmeier wrote:I tried an experiment to see just how inexspensively I could make a really good guitar. I found ways to cut back on labor and focused my efforts primarily on sound and it turned out to be an excellent guitar, especially for the money, but there it sits, apparently too cheap to be any good. It's frustrating and I doubt I'll ever do it again.
Pics and price?

Ross Gutmeier
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by Ross Gutmeier » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:22 pm

I know maple is harder to sell and there's a little bit less labor if you don't have to pore fill, but 20% is a pretty big break. Kudos to you if it works to stimulate sales.

I think that for me the whole inexspensively made guitar was a bad idea from the start, at least in today's market. It's not something I needed to do but I've always been intrigued by simply adorned but great sounding guitars (like Torres' so called "guitars of simplicity") they just seemed so pure to me. I also wanted to build something for those who just wanted a great sounding guitar and either couldn't afford or didn't want to pay such a high price and were willing to do without all the fancy this and that.

I figured if I could do this without taking an hourly pay cut I would really have something but in the end it just made me look desperate. Long gone it seems are the days when a maker built with your purse in mind. Nowadays you're only as good as the price you can command. That's so damned boring. If somebody said to me "I want the the best guitar you can make me for $XXXX" and it meant I had to do it in a week with mediocre materials, I'd really welcome that challenge. That's what Torres, Manuel Ramirez, Santos, and the other great builders used to do, but I guess that was a different time.

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Michael.N.
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:27 pm

Ross Gutmeier wrote:I tried an experiment to see just how inexspensively I could make a really good guitar. I found ways to cut back on labor and focused my efforts primarily on sound and it turned out to be an excellent guitar, especially for the money, but there it sits, apparently too cheap to be any good. It's frustrating and I doubt I'll ever do it again.
I had the exact same experience, one of the Torres guitars of simplicity (it wasn't that simple). A guitar sub £1,000 and in 6 months I think I received one single email. I pulled it. What's the point?
I ain't going back there again, I'll leave it to others. I've tried the race to the bottom.
Strange as it may seem but in 1990 I was getting more (in real terms) than I am now for my most expensive model. I had a lot less experience too.
Last edited by Michael.N. on Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michael.N.
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:35 pm

Richard Newman wrote:I have recently been building using birdseye maple, as opposed to rosewood and have found I can build much faster this way. Little or no grain fill needed, nicer on the lungs and easy to thickness and a pleasure to work, compared with rosewood.
In an attempt to prize players away from rw guitars (and the paperwork involved) I have been offering these birdseye instruments at a 20% discount. I have found that I'm not out of pocket at all and my order books are filling up very nicely. I manage to source some great maple at a great price that I'm happy to pass the saving on to the customers.
Interesting. I charge more for birds eye! I find it takes me quite a lot longer to thickness plane birds eye and I get more failures with ribs corrugating badly. Birds eye one of the most difficult woods that I've planed. In fact I'd say that rosewood was 'easy' in comparison, certainly less problematic.
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Richard Newman

Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by Richard Newman » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:28 pm

Michael, I haven't found that at all, at least with the 4 I've recently made. I did build a bending machine, as I suspected I might have problems. I bent dry and it was a breeze. I also found the low angle veritas jack plane, with a toothing blade iron worked fast.

Ross Gutmeier
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by Ross Gutmeier » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:44 pm

2handband wrote:
Ross Gutmeier wrote:I tried an experiment to see just how inexspensively I could make a really good guitar. I found ways to cut back on labor and focused my efforts primarily on sound and it turned out to be an excellent guitar, especially for the money, but there it sits, apparently too cheap to be any good. It's frustrating and I doubt I'll ever do it again.
Pics and price?
Sent you a PM

2handband

Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by 2handband » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:50 pm

Ross Gutmeier wrote:
2handband wrote:
Ross Gutmeier wrote:I tried an experiment to see just how inexspensively I could make a really good guitar. I found ways to cut back on labor and focused my efforts primarily on sound and it turned out to be an excellent guitar, especially for the money, but there it sits, apparently too cheap to be any good. It's frustrating and I doubt I'll ever do it again.
Pics and price?
Sent you a PM
Didn't get it are you sure you sent it to the right guy?

Ross Gutmeier
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by Ross Gutmeier » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:05 pm

2handband wrote:
Ross Gutmeier wrote:
2handband wrote:
Pics and price?
Sent you a PM
Didn't get it are you sure you sent it to the right guy?
Lemme know if it worked this time.

2handband

Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by 2handband » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:20 pm

Ross Gutmeier wrote:
2handband wrote:
Ross Gutmeier wrote:
Sent you a PM
Didn't get it are you sure you sent it to the right guy?
Lemme know if it worked this time.
Got it tnx.

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Michael.N.
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:49 pm

Richard Newman wrote:Michael, I haven't found that at all, at least with the 4 I've recently made. I did build a bending machine, as I suspected I might have problems. I bent dry and it was a breeze. I also found the low angle veritas jack plane, with a toothing blade iron worked fast.

Bending machine may result in less corrugation. I don't know because I've never used one. I bend dry (apart from the waist area), that gets a quick spritz. The thing is that two out of four birds eye sides that I've recently bent: two were perfectly fine, two were awful. Over the course of a couple of weeks I clamped them between boards and flattened them. When I tried to bend them again they were just as bad, perhaps a little worse. That was using a spring steel backing as well. Of course they are all slab sawn, which kind of means it's the luck of the draw as to how they are going to react. You may have got lucky with the cut and discovered some that were well behaved. It's far from being the only time I've had trouble with birds eye.
Alternately I suppose I could clamp and glue some heavy blocks to the inside, just like that French maker does with his rosewood sides (probably why he did it in the first place). Not a great look for a Torres copy though! Quarter sawn figured maple is probably the much safer route.
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Alan Carruth
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by Alan Carruth » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:08 pm

The other problem with bird's eye is that when it cracks they're serpentine. I've got a beautiful set of 'bird' that I bought several years ago and every time I look at it I'm sorry I did.

robert e
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by robert e » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:17 pm

Ross Gutmeier wrote:I tried an experiment to see just how inexspensively I could make a really good guitar. I found ways to cut back on labor and focused my efforts primarily on sound and it turned out to be an excellent guitar, especially for the money, but there it sits, apparently too cheap to be any good. It's frustrating and I doubt I'll ever do it again.
Too intriguing! Is this excellent guitar just sitting there because of its looks? Any pictures?

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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by robert e » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:23 pm

And Michael, any handy photo of your "simplistic" Torres?

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Michael.N.
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:49 pm

It was this one, it bit the dust. :?

http://www.historicalguitars.co.uk/latest
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robert e
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Re: How much to make a guitar?

Post by robert e » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:25 pm

Ah. Now I see what you mean by simplicity. It's not unattractive, IMO. And sounds lovely in Rob's hands, especially on "Lagrima". Fascinating about the lute bridge. It does sound flexible, but is it a challenge to maintain action/intonation when changing strings?

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