Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

powermrk
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Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by powermrk » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:01 pm

If you can contact the luthier directly, would you still order a guitar from dealers?
In general, is there any difference at costs between both parties?

Jack Douglas
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by Jack Douglas » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:24 pm

I believe you’re better off dealing directly with the Luthier. That said, you need to be able to be specific about your preferred set-up and preferences of materials. And you must trust the Luthier.
With a dealer you’ll pay a premium, but have the opportunity to try many guitars before deciding on ‘the one’! Some dealers allow you to return a guitar for full value trade against another within a given time frame.
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

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Tom Poore
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by Tom Poore » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:57 pm

The upside of buying directly from a luthier is that you’ll save money. The downside is that you get whatever he or she makes for you. If it’s a dud, you’re either stuck with it, or you return it and lose your deposit. Some luthiers are very consistent in the quality of their guitars. Others aren’t. And the fame of a luthier often isn’t a reliable barometer of consistency.

For me, I’d never buy a high end guitar without trying it out. And I’m not so committed to a single luthier that I wouldn't want to try out many different guitars. So I’m willing to pay the added cost of a knowledgeable and honest dealer. But that’s just me. The key, of course, is to find a knowledgeable and honest dealer. One might argue that dealing directly with a luthier bypasses the danger of a dishonest dealer. Perhaps. But luthiers, like dealers, are people too. You’ve just as much chance of finding dishonest luthiers as you do dealers.

As in many things, you pays your money and takes your chances.

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Brynmor
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by Brynmor » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:22 pm

If you know what you want from the guitar you will probably have a good idea of which maker(s) you would favour. In that case, I would deal directly with the luthier. Otherwise, go to a reputable dealer.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by Alan Carruth » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:37 pm

Some luthiers do have a more generous return policy than others. Ask.

It's probably impossible to make 'identical' guitars, but an experienced maker should be able to get 'arbitrarily close' if they're familiar with the sound. One issue is that different people describe sound in different ways, and things get lost in translation.

If you do want to order something special, your best bet is to try out instruments by various makers until you find one that's similar in tone and response to what you're looking for. Most makers build to suit themselves to some extent, and end up making fairly similar instruments. You're more likely to get the sound you want from somebody who likes the same thing, and has had some practice at getting it.

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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by UKsteve » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:14 pm

Luthier every time for me. Vastly cheaper and built to your specs, and a special relationship with the person who builds your guitar. And far less of a loss if you decide to flip it. I have seen several guitars here priced used for more than the direct cost new from the luthier. Unsurprisingly, they don’t sell.

Two caveats:
A; You will have to wait, and sometimes a few years if they ae in demand.
B; You need to know exactly what/who you want. Do your research properly.

It costs nothing to approach luthiers directly, and you may be surprised at how affordable many “big names” are compared to dealer prices, and how quickly some can accomodate you. It’s definitely a buyers market out there at the moment.

Used guitars can be a good deal from a dealer occasionally.

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bacsidoan
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by bacsidoan » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:46 am

The best bet is buying a guitar from a reputable collector on this forum: riffmeister, dofpic, peterm61 to name a few. These guys are honest. Their rejects are well priced and exceptional by any standard. :wink:

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souldier
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by souldier » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:42 pm

There are pros and cons going with either option

Luthier: You get the guitar customized to your personal preferences (within the comfort level of the luthier). You pay less because you cut out the middle man. You enjoy the journey of watching a guitar being built specifically for you and building a relationship with the luthier. The downsides involve the risk of getting a guitar you are not totally happy with (even with a return policy I'd imagine many people avoid this because of the awkwardness it might create). You also have to deal with wait time, which can be as low as a few months to several years.

Dealer: No wait time. The opportunity to try before you buy so there is much less risk and surprise. Returning an instrument is also less painful and you just lose out on shipping. You can even try several guitars side by side and compare them. The downside is you pay more, the guitar isn't built exactly to your specs, etc.

I used to be really drawn to the idea of getting a guitar straight from the luthier because of the exciting allure of the whole process... now I would much rather go to a dealer since playing, comparing and trying before you buy would be a bigger priority for me and you cut out a bit of the risk on such a big investment. I would only buy directly from a luthier if I had the chance to try at least 1 or 2 of their guitars in person so that I have a sense of what their guitars really sound and feel like. Trying to determine if a guitar is right for me just by listening to videos, reading reviews, is insufficient since guitar preferences are so subjective and personal. The last situation you want to find yourself in is being stuck with a really expensive guitar that will be difficult to sell without taking a significant loss on. I am often astonished to see how hard it is to sell if guitars made by really well known, sought after makers. In the end after you've taken the counsel of others into account, just do what works best for you.
"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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petermc61
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by petermc61 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:10 am

bacsidoan wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:46 am
The best bet is buying a guitar from a reputable collector on this forum: riffmeister, dofpic, peterm61 to name a few. These guys are honest. Their rejects are well priced and exceptional by any standard. :wink:
Rejects!?! :shock: :lol:

I don’t have rejects, just lovely guitars that I move on to create the opportunity to try another one. You are right that we price our guitars fairly - we are not trying to make money and in most (all?) cases I turn over guitars at a loss. I think of it as a fee paid for the joy of owning and using a nice instrument.

powermrk
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by powermrk » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:03 am

souldier wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:42 pm
There are pros and cons going with either option

Luthier: You get the guitar customized to your personal preferences (within the comfort level of the luthier). You pay less because you cut out the middle man. You enjoy the journey of watching a guitar being built specifically for you and building a relationship with the luthier. The downsides involve the risk of getting a guitar you are not totally happy with (even with a return policy I'd imagine many people avoid this because of the awkwardness it might create). You also have to deal with wait time, which can be as low as a few months to several years.

Dealer: No wait time. The opportunity to try before you buy so there is much less risk and surprise. Returning an instrument is also less painful and you just lose out on shipping. You can even try several guitars side by side and compare them. The downside is you pay more, the guitar isn't built exactly to your specs, etc.
Very good points as well as others!
:merci:

David Conti
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by David Conti » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:28 pm

As a dealer I find that it is always difficult to maintain the price points between the luthier and myself but I do try.
And you also have currency fluctuations between the USD,yen,Euro etc.
I did have a customer contact me about a new guitar coming from the EU but he decided to order direct from the Luthier and saved a whopping $150.00. The downside for him is that he probably does not have a CITIES import permit and he will need a broker and also fish and wildlife permits etc. So hopefully it won't sit in customs all winter. But he can think about the $150.00 savings while he waits!

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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by UKsteve » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:51 pm

David Conti wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:28 pm
But he can think about the $150.00 savings while he waits!
The savings are usually in the thousands, at least for those luthiers with a good reputation.

I suppose the best example of this was the quote I had for a Smallman a couple of years ago from a dealer (28.5K and used) and Smallman himself (18K new and 18-month wait).

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Beowulf
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by Beowulf » Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:51 pm

I had no choice as the instrument I wanted had to be ordered through a Yamaha dealer, given that the luthier (Naohiro Kawashima) in question worked for Yamaha. Had I ordered what would most likely have been an equivalent instrument from a luthier previously employed by Yamaha who now has his own shop (Hideyuki Ezaki), the final cost wold actually have been about the same or a bit more.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

powermrk
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by powermrk » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:51 am

UKsteve wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:51 pm
David Conti wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:28 pm
But he can think about the $150.00 savings while he waits!
The savings are usually in the thousands, at least for those luthiers with a good reputation.

I suppose the best example of this was the quote I had for a Smallman a couple of years ago from a dealer (28.5K and used) and Smallman himself (18K new and 18-month wait).
Wow...Pay 10.5K more for a used one which I think the used one must be used by John William :wink:

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zavaletas
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Re: Should order a guitar from a luthier or a dealer?

Post by zavaletas » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:10 am

While a luthier can build a guitar for you, the better one's have long waiting lists, so if you want one of their guitars, they may be more readily available from a dealer. A dealer also has a range of makers and models you can compare and choose from. Even if you don't buy from them, visiting them can help you decide what you really want. Most dealers are happy to show guitars, and delighted if you purchase one.
James, Zavaleta's La Casa de Guitarras

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