Luthier and clients.

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
malc laney
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Luthier and clients.

Post by malc laney » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:39 pm

Is there a disconnect between what clients think is a good guitar and luthiers? the latter spend time talking about bracing , lattice etc.., wood varieties , which strings .Can the same be said that a garment made by incredibly precise machines for M and S ,and the same factory made guitar would be a better bet for the bulk of players .[you can easily take your garment back for a no quibble refund or exchange from the above retailer !
i dont have animus against luthiers , but it seems a very chancy way of buying a very expensive item.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:25 pm

Well with a client a luthier is unlikely to raise the topic of bracing etc unless asked. In my experience they are more likely to want to talk about sound, volume and playability, in no particular order.
Ordering direct is certainly a very uncertain way of doing things, compared to going to a shop or dealer, but hundreds around the world live mostly that way so it presumably works, and always has for me when I've done it.
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Steve Ganz
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by Steve Ganz » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:29 pm

Malc,
Perhaps you would be better off trying to play your shirt, it would be more economical and if you don't like it, just return it.
I'd say that there is a disconnect inherent in your question. But let's try to address your real concern.

Trust.
My relationship with clients is based on trust. I have a nice percentage of repeat orders and buyers. The first purchase is a bit of a leap of faith for both parties.The connection between buyers and sellers is based on trust. If either side loses trust, there is no connection. That might be the disconnect which you mention.

If a player was satisfied with a factory guitar, why should they spend more? Usually it comes down to playability and sound. They are looking for better playability and sound for the precious hours they spend practicing and then for the few minutes of a performance.

If you have a specific luthier in mind to work with, try to reach an agreement on how to proceed, and see if it makes sense to you. If not, say thank you and walk away. There does not have to be a disconnect. If you can't see the possibility of a connection, walking away makes sense. Perhaps you just haven't found the right luthier. Don't hold it against that particular luthier, just keep looking for one that feels right. It might be a fruitless search, but you might learn something valuable.
Steve

HomerB
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by HomerB » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:41 pm

... the precious hours they spend practicing and then for the few minutes of a performance ...
I could not agree more. The hours playing guitar are often the best time of the day. A good guitar will always enhance that time.
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malc laney
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by malc laney » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:46 am

Steve Ganz suggests playing my shirt ! I remember a few years back people played their clothes with attatched contact mikes [the sort of thing Pink Floyd might of done on their body music with Ivor Cutler ]
Maybe this is one area that can dispel the AI takeover , as robots dont usually wear shirts ?
Sorry about the silly ! Thanks for the grown up insights.

TheEvan
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by TheEvan » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:03 pm

The best approach to ordering from a luthier is to have played their work. If you love it, you'll love what they make. When I've done commissions in the past, I've generally said "build what you do best". We'll work out details like scale length, tuner selection and what-not, but I get their best if I ask for their best.

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:35 pm

Interesting analogy. I don't buy tailor made clothes made by hand of prime hand selected silk from the orient, fitted to my personal and individual specifications, and uniquely designed , one of a kind, because I can't afford them. I buy my clothes at Costco. I save my money for hand crafted guitars. To answer your question, tailor made clothes are not for everyone. Same with guitars.

One caveat. I prefer to buy USA or support local business when I can and if they're reasonably competitive price and quality wise. One thing that has changed in the 30 years since I started playing is you can probably find a great luthier in your home town or stare or region and certainly country.
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fraim
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by fraim » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:16 pm

i recently purchased a great guitar from steve ganz & live 2000 miles away. he's right...it's about trust!

GuitarB
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by GuitarB » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:26 am

I would listen to guitars that were made by luthier, and discuss only about egornomic features, and basic details( nuts, action...).

Alan Carruth
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by Alan Carruth » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:20 pm

Picasso said that when they talk to each other: "Critics talk about art, but artists talk about where to buy turpentine".

We do end up talking with clients about wood more than we, or they, might expect. I attribute part of that to the prevalence of beliefs in 'magic wood'. These tend to be more strongly rooted in the steel string community, in some respects, or perhaps they just use more kinds of wood, and have ideas about each? There are plenty of Classical players and makers who feel that it comes down to two dichotomies: spruce vs. cedar, and Indian vs. Brazilian rosewood. To the extent that wood makes a difference it's important to hash that out. One issue is that some makers question how much of an effect the wood actually has on the tone, but since tone is subjective, belief tends to become reality.

Another aspect of that is that people tend to use words differently when talking about tone. It can be hard to know what a client means by 'chocolate', and any information you can get can be helpful.

As has been said, for anybody commissioning a guitar, the best thing is to find a maker who produces instruments that you like. Even if you want something other than what you've seen, at least then you have a basis for comparison.

At least some if us have a fairly liberal return policy. Most makers use word or mouth as their main 'advertising'. It's said that; "When somebody buys a thing they like, they tell their friends, but when they buy a thing they don't like, they tell everybody. We can't afford to have somebody out there with an instrument they don't like, no matter what the reason, and it's often easier to simply take it back and give a refund. In the few cases where I've had to do that I've never had a problem selling the instrument later. I'd rather a customer remember me as a poor luthier than a poor luthier and a jerk.

fraim
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by fraim » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:38 pm

alan, that was a great post! chocolate? really? when i was discussing what i was looking for in a guitar with steve i said i was looking for something that sounded "buttery". that makes much more sense than chocolate... lol.
good luck with your buildings & sales!

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petermc61
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by petermc61 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:40 am

I have no idea what 'chocolate' sounds like but amusingly I have a strong view what 'caramel' sounds like (think of a cedar Friederich). :shock:

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Steve Ganz
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by Steve Ganz » Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:27 am

It's standard for me to ask a customer for a few favorite videos or recordings. That way I can hear the sounds that they like, and then ask for a description. Developing a shared vocabulary helps the relationship and the end result.
Steve

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Mike Steede
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by Mike Steede » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:52 am

I once heard that Frank Zappa said "talking about music is like dancing about architecture". I don't think he meant it in a sarcastic manner, just that developing the vocabulary to do so can be very difficult and a mutual understanding of the vocabulary involved needs to be developed. I suspect the same is true of the luthier/customer relationship. It must take a fair amount of time to mutually understand what words like 'chocolately' mean or 'buttery' mean. I like the idea of sending a cd of one's favourite pieces to give the luthier a good idea of what one's looking forward. I think I'll do that with one I have on order. Personally, my playlist covers a wide spectrum so I think a jack of all trades is going to be the answer in the end.
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simonm
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Re: Luthier and clients.

Post by simonm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:30 am

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:35 pm
.... I buy my clothes at Costco. …
… One caveat. I prefer to buy USA or support local business when I can .
I like to look at labels to see where stuff is made. I was in a large Outlet Mall in the US way back and most "US" clothing was was made in China, Columbia, India, Malaysia and so on. I saw only one Brand that had some "Made in the USA" clothing. Boss (German brand) had a whole range of men's suits with "Made in the USA" labels. Ralph Laurel put the "Made in China" directly into their brand name, not hidden away behind the washing instructions.


A friend of mine was once doing some "business English" conversation lessons with a German car industry executive who was being seconded to a plant in an English speaking country. A number of lessons where about the noises a car makes. He said it was very difficult. e.g. try explaining what you understand by an "intermittent grinding noise" to someone else who isn't from your usual language group. Hmm ... creamy chocolate guitar …

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