difference between luthier and factory made guitars ?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Astra Piotr

difference between luthier and factory made guitars ?

Post by Astra Piotr » Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:05 pm

Hello everyone,

Forgive me my naive question, but since I've noticed that there are some luthiers and experienced guitarists on the forum, I'd likt to ask a question about the differences between factory made guitars and luthiers' makes.

I understand that with luthiers' products, the future owner can discuss the details with the craftsman. And, what's understandable, the luthiers' guitars are better But the question is :roll: In what ways are they better, and how much better ?

What's the difference between good factory made guitars (Alhambra 10 p??) and the one built by a luthier.
I visited Pepe's site and I envy people who can afford such guitars.
:lol: 8)

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Vesuvio
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Post by Vesuvio » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:06 pm

Interesting you should mention Pepe. He posted some very interesting information a while back. Here it is:

viewtopic.php?p=105963&highlight=#105963

Best wishes, V.

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:08 pm

Astra: Thanks for the comment. I do not like to push my guitars in forums. The way I sell my guitars is through word of mouth. If I were to advertise, I would not be able to satisfy as many requests. I only make so few per year. I like to make every part of my guitars. It is more a labor of love than a profit making activity. I am surprised you mentioned the price as too high. I try to keep the prices to the minimum to cover expenses. I also give good discounts to good players. They will make my guitars "look" good. I have posted somewhere in this forum the cost of materials and other costs to teach people how to buy and how much to pay for guitars. Email me if you have any questions on that regard. I can also advise you privately on what to buy with a limited budget and from whom. The advise is free.

Patrick Mailloux

Post by Patrick Mailloux » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:47 pm

The most important factor to be considered for factory made guitars is that they be very sturdy: they are built, then packed using the lest amount of protection possible (in order to save money on packaging), then loaded in containers (where they will sit for weeks or months) and shipped all over the world where temperatures will range from extremely warm and humid to ice cold and dry. In order to withstand such treatments, the guitars are made to be very solid and coated with incredible amounts of varnish. With such constraints, the guitar only has limited potential to perform anywhere near its capacities.

Money saving is paramount. Therefore, each factory guitar is check very quickly by an employee (who may or may not be a trained luthier) in order to make sure it fall within certain parameters. Each guitar is strung, checked for a couple of minutes and then immediately sent to be packed.

In contrast, a luthier will often spend many hours fine tuning a guitar before delivery. I try to hang on to a guitar for at least a week (more if possible) after it is completed and strung, just to make sure the action is set a the best possible height, that the intonation is as accurate as possible and that there are no buzzes or back buzzes. During that week, it is also possible to monitor the sound and "tweek" the instrument in order to obtain the best possible tone. I am not going to get into the details of construction, but factories often make 200 or 300 guitars a day while a luthier takes on average about 200 hours on each guitar. That alone should give you an idea of the level of attention that gets a factory guitar during its construction, compared to what a luthier does.

Cheers,

bones

Post by bones » Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:32 am

I'm having a guitar made right now after spending an afternoon with the luthier and apart from it being very exciting (I actually dream about 'her') the things I found out about guitar making in one long conversation with a real luthier were fascinating. I played a few sample instruments, all superb and then chose the characteristics, finish, tuning machines and decorations I wanted (could afford) cosmetics were last on my last, the sound and playability being most important. He keeps wetting my appetite by sending photographs of the guitars progress.
You could sum up the difference between a luthier made instrument and even a good factory guitar as being the same as the difference between an F1 racing car and a family saloon.

Astra Piotr

Post by Astra Piotr » Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:25 am

Hello everyone,

Pepe has mentioned prices. I didn't actually mean that the prices are too high.
In fact, I've only heard that the prices of luthiers' models are higher and it's generally true. You know it's a relative thing. All depends on your income. In Poland we don't earn much and the only giutar I can afford are the ones from the cheaper end of the market. It's simply that I wouldn't probably be abale to afford andy luthiers models. Even if, like in Pepe's case, someone is keeping the prices down. (In fact I don't even know how much Pepe charges for his guitars. Still, his attitude is a guarantee that his models are wonderful :-) )

By the way. Is it possible that the luthier's model can be cheaper than the top factory made models ???

Greetings

bones

Post by bones » Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:25 am

Astra Piotr wrote:Hello everyone,

Pepe has mentioned prices. I didn't actually mean that the prices are too high.
In fact, I've only heard that the prices of luthiers' models are higher and it's generally true. You know it's a relative thing. All depends on your income. In Poland we don't earn much and the only giutar I can afford are the ones from the cheaper end of the market. It's simply that I wouldn't probably be abale to afford andy luthiers models. Even if, like in Pepe's case, someone is keeping the prices down. (In fact I don't even know how much Pepe charges for his guitars. Still, his attitude is a guarantee that his models are wonderful :-) )

By the way. Is it possible that the luthier's model can be cheaper than the top factory made models ???

Greetings
Come and live in England! If you catch a luthier at the right time in his career you may get an absolute bargain, I wish I could afford to buy two of the guitars I am having made! I 'm sure they will be sought after very soon so sometimes it may be possible to get a luthier made instrument for less than a high end factory guitar, if the luthier is great and the price is affordable it is the only option. Don't forget there a great number of luthier made used instruments around, it doesn't have to be new. 8)

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:14 pm

Do you know how much Andres Segovia paid Manuel Ramirez for his first good classical concert guitar? before he was SEGOVIA? ......ZERO!!! Yes, zipo! nothing! So, remember that many people is in guitar for the love to the guitar, not to the money. Seek and you shall find! :D

bones

Post by bones » Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:20 pm

pepe wrote:Do you know how much Andres Segovia paid Manuel Ramirez for his first good classical concert guitar? before he was SEGOVIA? ......ZERO!!! Yes, zipo! nothing! So, remember that many people is in guitar for the love to the guitar, not to the money. Seek and you shall find! :D
So true Pepe and the story is just as magical everytime it is repeated, love is at the heart of all great art and certainly is manifest in the work of talented luthiers.

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