How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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CarbonElitist
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How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by CarbonElitist » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:51 am

I'm surprised this practice is so rare. In fact I think the only luthier/vendor who records (mostly) unaltered impromptu recordings of his guitars is Richard Savage (Sayage?) of Savage Classical Guitars. I know it's impossible to capture all of the qualities of a guitar in a recording, but it's certainly a whole lot better than guessing what the guitar sounds like from looking at a picture.
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David Norton
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by David Norton » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:01 am

Guitar Salon (GSI) frequently offers videos of their instruments.
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Regulus
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Regulus » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:14 am

I am not sure if Aaron Green (a member here: and an excellent luthier, and a dealer in quality S/H guitars) ever records his new instruments. But, he does for the amazing ones he is representing for sale, and his friend, and well-known guitarist, Frank Wallace records-videos pieces played on them.
Franks Youtube is here:
https://www.youtube.com/user/frankwallacecomposer
and Aarons here,
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKQoL3 ... d1FQiX2rVQ

Aaron's is really a gallery of Frank Wallace playing guitars for us to be envious of :-) and it's worth having in your bookmarks. Frank is a superb guitarist, and the instruments are... desirable.
But I don't think the sound on YT really gives the full experience of the guitar, but it is certainly better than a text description of the instrument alone.

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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Philosopherguy » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:17 am

I agree that more dealers/luthiers should do this. Given that relative to the past, it is fairly cheap and easy to produce a decent quality recording of an instrument there should be no real monetary barrier. I think it would be a good selling feature for those that can't audition a guitar in person. Plus that, even if someone doesn't buy the particular guitar in the recording, people can keep guitars/sounds in their mind for when they are ready to purchase.

Recordings don't do some guitars justice, but they may be better than nothing(on the flip side, a bad recording might not be a good selling feature). Given how many transactions happen online these days, you would figure that at least the younger luthiers and dealers would want to get on board with as many promotion tools as possible.

Well-known luthiers would not need to do this, of course. Most of the well-known luthiers already have waiting lists.

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Steve Ganz
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Steve Ganz » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:32 am

I'm not sure how to answer this question. (I'm not sure the premise is correct.)
There are more than 20 sound samples on my website.
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vesa
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by vesa » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:53 am

Problem is also how these recordings are made.
How would you do it:
1. Using top gear in best suitable room and afterwards
add reverb and other effects so that the recording would
blow the ears out of an unexperienced guitarist/buyer
while a more experienced one would have difficulties
to find out what the real sound of the instrument is?
2. A living room recording with a well placed Zoom or similar recorder without ¨a total makeover¨ by editing which gives
a more realistic picture of the sound yet less flashy?

By the way Miles Roberts at Kent guitar classics has many samples.

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simonm
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by simonm » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:35 am

I agree entirely that is is nice to hear a good sound sample.

Now come the buts ... :-)

Not every luthier is a superb player - probably relatively few in fact. A decent recording set-up takes some cash investment and definitely some time investment to get it all working properly. If you ask some professional to play for the recording then, then they should be getting something for their time. If you assume when buying direct that something like 30%-50% of the price is for materials and overheads then any additional cost (both in time and money) knocks a chunk out of the makers pre-tax income.

Then there is choice of music - some choice of music will put off some listeners completely. I have heard some sales recordings that I could not listen to to beyond a few barres, because the choice was way outside my taste range, despite the skill of the player. If the quality of the recording is poor then it is counter productive. Then there is the thought that people who hear a recording deciding (and posting all over the net) that a particular luthier's guitar have poor trebles whereas in fact the truth is that the person has a computer with crappy speakers and is used to recordings that have been totally manipulated.

I saw a post a one point where someone was considering getting a luthier to build a guitar for him and was asking for advice about wood, body shape etc ... there was a link to a recording (not from a seller or maker) which he liked and the question was what design would give that sound. The real answer (slight exaggeration ;-)) was that a plank of wood with nails and six strings could sound like the recording in question - there was so much reverb added that you really couldn't say anything about the sound characteristics of the guitar. Moral of the story, there are dangers as well as costs attached to recordings.

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Erik Zurcher » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:13 am

I don't believe in sound samples at all. What you hear is a recording, all you do is judging the quality of the recording, not the sound characteristics of the guitar, a 2D version of a 3D instrument.
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Jose Marques
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Jose Marques » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:20 am

I believe that is not correct, I have not only sound samples but videos as well and I know a lot of luthiers that do that as well...

about the quality of the sound live is always different , in my record videos, the ones that I record and not the ones that the musician record with my guitars, I do not use anything except the recorder , no effect nothing at all.
I'm a Luthier living in Bury st Edmunds UK

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James Lister
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by James Lister » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:16 pm

I do have sound samples and videos on my website. I think they are of limited value, but they are better than nothing. Although I play reasonably well, all my sound samples are played by my teacher Nick Fletcher, who is more able to get the best from my guitars. Bear in mind that quite a lot of work is required in making good quality recordings, which is why I don't do it for every guitar I make.

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Pat Dodson » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:55 pm

Sound samples/videos are a bit of a double edged sword IMO. There are a few on the web where I suspect the poor playing or recording has not helped the luthier’s or shop’s sale. In the main though they are done well and on balance perhaps, as James says above, they do have value, albeit limited.

When I spoke to James a couple of years ago about commissioning a guitar I mentioned one of his samples as representing the kind of tone and balance that I particularly like. The back and sides on that sample’s guitar were BRW but James replied that he felt the BRW was less important than that that particular guitar had turned out very well. 8)

James made me a guitar with maple back and sides and I am delighted with it though completely unable to make it sound as good as Nick Fletcher undoubtedly could were he left handed. I’ll never know what it might sound like if the back and sides were BRW and I don’t regret that for a moment. However the samples on James’ site were part of the reason I approached him and they helped me understand a little better the sound I desired.

So samples might well have only limited value but, done well, I think they are still worthwhile.

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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Seter » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:14 pm

Most of the luthiers of various stringed instruments I follow/buy from do make recordings, often that is how I first encountered them (either on forums like delcamp, mandolincafe, everythingdulcimer, or on youtube wanderings.) There are plenty now who seem to post their every move on social media, including playing completed instruments.

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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Beowulf » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:34 pm

How else can one hear the sound of a guitar to the listener other than by hearing another player live? Recordings are useful and necessary. This is not the same as the sound to the player. In addition, if you do not have the option of trying an instrument in person, recordings can be very helpful. I chose my 1st Yamaha in person and my 2nd by listening to recordings...all well made mind you. I have not surveyed the % of luthiers that provide sound samples...so I don't know if it is low?
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Alexandru Marian
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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Alexandru Marian » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:47 pm

For some reason I tried to record and post every guitar I've built, now more than 50 with more than 100 samples. Ended up spending a small fortune in gear, also time building tube gear. It is consuming but makes for a nice break after finishing an instrument, and adds to the urge of calling in skilled players for test drives.

Ime the recording setup adds a strong signature while missing/masking some subtleties evident to the live impression. But with good gear, decently used in a decent environment, it is definitely better than nothing.

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Re: How come so few luthiers include sound samples of their instrument?

Post by Costantino Proietti » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:51 pm

James Lister wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:16 pm
I do have sound samples and videos on my website. I think they are of limited value, but they are better than nothing.

James
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