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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:03 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Terence Kennedy wrote:
I think even with a two way rod it’s a good idea to do the final leveling of the board with some tension on the rod.
I have found trying to introduce symmetrical relief into a too humped neck by truss rod alone to be unpredictable. My experience has been with the LMI TRSD and for the last 5-6 years the Blanchard.

Right after fretting I usually check by putting 10-12 lbs on the shoulders while supporting the headstock.

Any chance your customer overhumidified his guitar? Guys that pay $$$ tend to do that.


When we fret the rod is ever so slightly engaged when we level the board. When we put frets in it the rod ends up very nearly in the neutral position all things willing. Relief is milled into our boards, more on the bass side and less on the treble side and this translates to the fret crowns too which are barely kissed only enough for the bluing (ink) to show full and complete contact with the leveling beams flattened on our calibrated surface plate. Next the fret crowns are refined. It works out great for us.

I just did my own Strat and corrected too much relief on the treble side and not enough on the bass side. It's luck of the draw these days and about 50:50 what you are going to get from any producer that we see be they small Luthier of giant factory. Our process lets us completely control relief, where, how much, when etc and makes for instruments capable of uber low action as a result. My acton on my Strat and I'm a moderate hitter is noe <4 and <5 at the 12th, very acceptable.

I don't think that what we do is any more laborious or difficult, just very specifically sequential and highly dependent on understanding the material science, what's rubber, what's not, Hoadly's understanding wood, etc. The goodly amount of OLFers who have learned our methods will understand the what's rubber remarks because that's what Dave teaches getting into material science.

Not promoting here just stating the fact that necks move.

Necks even move depending on if the guitar is in your lap or on the bench. I do all my set-up final adjustments in the playing position for this very reason. This is also the thinking behind the neck jig idea for fret work although we also teach how to get similar results with no jig just that understanding of how things move and employing a bit of the "touch" with anticipatory..... shaping of the fret plane.



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:09 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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pat macaluso wrote:
Was he the original owner?

I don't think anyone's mentioned it yet on this thread, but you can crank the rod before you put the Frets in, plane it flat, deepen the slots appropriately, then fret. This gives you some room to move both ways.


Hey Pat. We don't do this unless absolutely necessary because of a single action rod and a tendency toward back bow with the rod neutral. It most certainly can work and correct permanent back bow but it also thins the fret board and can even sand through inlays in the mid neck area if there is a hump there. Sometimes we have no choice but I would not do this as a standard practice and only imply it when necessary and I'm willing to remove inlays to reinstall them later if need be.



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:54 pm 
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I was talking about on a new guitar as it seemed that's where the conversation was going. Yes, it does introduce other problems on a refret.

I asked if he was the original owner because I could understand the luthier not servicing the guitar for a second owner. But, not taking care of the original buyer on an 8K guitar? Wow... (given there were not signs of obvious neglect)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:41 am 
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Necks even move depending on if the guitar is in your lap or on the bench. I do all my set-up final adjustments in the playing position for this very reason

For sure. An acoustic lying on a bench on a neck rest vs in the playing position will measure around .010 differently...



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:29 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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pat macaluso wrote:
I was talking about on a new guitar as it seemed that's where the conversation was going. Yes, it does introduce other problems on a refret.

I asked if he was the original owner because I could understand the luthier not servicing the guitar for a second owner. But, not taking care of the original buyer on an 8K guitar? Wow... (given there were not signs of obvious neglect)


The original owner, the one who commissioned the instrument is who brought it in. He is so pissed at the Luthier that they will never deal with them again and won't even trust them to fix it. It did go back to the Luthier several times according to the owner and there was never any solution offered beyond heavier strings.

It has another issues too. It feed back like nobodies business and he's had to hide from the amps on stage and cover the F holes with plastic but it still feeds back too much. Poor match of a WRC top and overly sensitive, pup that is not isolated from the top. Or, in other words this is a very poor design that does not work...

Jazz players, that's what this guy is have enough of a struggle with some of those arrangements that going to heavier strings, perhaps two steps up is not desirable.

Or, in other words this guitar is representative of a builder who should not have sold this guitar without doing what ever it took to provide it with a working AND effective truss rod AND a pup/top combination that didn't feed back overly.

We see it all of the time. Not to piss anyone here off but our "real world" dealings with many people who also commission instruments tells us that there are lots of small Luthier instruments out here that were never ready for prime time.

This guy also said to me that at least with a factory instrument you have a lifetime warranty and a company likely to be around to back it up.

FWIW this is valuable intel for anyone wishing to do commissions. Provide value, make people happy or just like anything else your reputation may be on the line.

Kind of sad but we are going to do plan B when he's back in the area. He drove hundreds of miles to find a suitable shop to help him.



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:30 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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meddlingfool wrote:
Necks even move depending on if the guitar is in your lap or on the bench. I do all my set-up final adjustments in the playing position for this very reason

For sure. An acoustic lying on a bench on a neck rest vs in the playing position will measure around .010 differently...


Exactly when I first noticed this I had no idea that gravity has such an impact.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:39 am 
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Yes, both from the strings weight and the weight of the guitar itself bending from being supported at the ends and not the middle.

I have been in many ways fortunate in my upbringing as a builder. The opportunity to do somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 final setups has left me fairly comfortable with that step. Wide swathes of knowledge gaps in other areas, but that step, okeydokey.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:17 am 
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Add this to the list of reasons why, if I ever get good enough at this hobby to sell the guitars I make, I will never do commission work. If this was a commission, the customer was probably involved in the choice of wood, the type of pickup, whether to go with a carved or laminated top, etc., right? Weren't some of these shared decisions probably the same design decisions that Hesh has pointed out were not properly thought out? The customer is paying for the builder to experiment and see if this Frankenstein's monster will live, and if so, whether it will have a pleasant personality or be, well, a monster. The customer is counting on it being a success. I have no desire to gamble with the customer's money, and I have no desire to "codesign" the guitar with the customer. I would rather just build, using my own design decisions, and then sell the ones that come out as great guitars.



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:21 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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meddlingfool wrote:
Yes, both from the strings weight and the weight of the guitar itself bending from being supported at the ends and not the middle.

I have been in many ways fortunate in my upbringing as a builder. The opportunity to do somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 final setups has left me fairly comfortable with that step. Wide swathes of knowledge gaps in other areas, but that step, okeydokey.


Again exactly! [:Y:] I do all the set-ups for us and that's likely north of 700 a year and even though some of them are crap guitars you gain valuable experience and learn how to milk every last bit of playability out of the things.

As you well know it makes one a WAY better builder to always have the end game in mind and understand it too.

That's a LOT of set-ups Ed, I'm very impressed and hope to live long enough to even get near that number!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:31 am 
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doncaparker wrote:
Add this to the list of reasons why, if I ever get good enough at this hobby to sell the guitars I make, I will never do commission work. If this was a commission, the customer was probably involved in the choice of wood, the type of pickup, whether to go with a carved or laminated top, etc., right? Weren't some of these shared decisions probably the same design decisions that Hesh has pointed out were not properly thought out? The customer is paying for the builder to experiment and see if this Frankenstein's monster will live, and if so, whether it will have a pleasant personality or be, well, a monster. The customer is counting on it being a success. I have no desire to gamble with the customer's money, and I have no desire to "codesign" the guitar with the customer. I would rather just build, using my own design decisions, and then sell the ones that come out as great guitars.



I have a bit of a different take on this Don my friend.

It's the duty of the builder or repair person to advise clients what's a sound practice and what's not.... I do it every day and frequently find myself having to tell a client that they are wrong, r-o-n-g..... How one does it is the trick, I fail at times, other times I don't.

The reason that I avoided and never did commissions is that I was approached well over two dozen times after my first several instruments and what a lot of people wanted were things that they could not get elsewhere. From nine string... acoustics.... to 12 strings these folks are as you indicated part of the problem but nothing stops us from telling them that we are not interested. That's what I did.

I've had people tell me that "what if I offered you $10K in advance to build it" and I told them that if this was not a phone conversation I would show them the door because they were clearly not respecting my own rights to decide what I want to do.... We all always have these choices unless, of course... one enters into a contract and has a duty to deliver on same.

I completely agree with you though that commissions are fraught with possible misunderstandings or worse and that's why I never did any of them.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:41 am 
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Hesh wrote:
doncaparker wrote:
Add this to the list of reasons why, if I ever get good enough at this hobby to sell the guitars I make, I will never do commission work. If this was a commission, the customer was probably involved in the choice of wood, the type of pickup, whether to go with a carved or laminated top, etc., right? Weren't some of these shared decisions probably the same design decisions that Hesh has pointed out were not properly thought out? The customer is paying for the builder to experiment and see if this Frankenstein's monster will live, and if so, whether it will have a pleasant personality or be, well, a monster. The customer is counting on it being a success. I have no desire to gamble with the customer's money, and I have no desire to "codesign" the guitar with the customer. I would rather just build, using my own design decisions, and then sell the ones that come out as great guitars.



I have a bit of a different take on this Don my friend.

It's the duty of the builder or repair person to advise clients what's a sound practice and what's not.... I do it every day and frequently find myself having to tell a client that they are wrong, r-o-n-g..... How one does it is the trick, I fail at times, other times I don't.

The reason that I avoided and never did commissions is that I was approached well over two dozen times after my first several instruments and what a lot of people wanted were things that they could not get elsewhere. From nine string... acoustics.... to 12 strings these folks are as you indicated part of the problem but nothing stops us from telling them that we are not interested. That's what I did.

I've had people tell me that "what if I offered you $10K in advance to build it" and I told them that if this was not a phone conversation I would show them the door because they were clearly not respecting my own rights to decide what I want to do.... We all always have these choices unless, of course... one enters into a contract and has a duty to deliver on same.

I completely agree with you though that commissions are fraught with possible misunderstandings or worse and that's why I never did any of them.



I see repair as essentially a commission every time.
No down payment, risk for both parties.
To increase my resolve to charge sufficiently, I remind myself I'm being paid partly for the work done and partly for taking on risk and not screwing it up.
My better customers understand the value of piece of mind and reducing risk. Others don't see past the cost of the physical task. Repairs, after the fact, seem obvious and easy by definition. The very tip of an iceberg of effort and issues.



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:41 am 
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doncaparker wrote:
Add this to the list of reasons why, if I ever get good enough at this hobby to sell the guitars I make, I will never do commission work.


I don't think that totally absolves the issue... Say a customer buys an spec built instrument... Plays it for a while and discovers some weird quirk that neither the builder nor the customer knew of....

Then what do you do when the fellow brings it back to you with this unhappy face?

Say it's the thing I mentioned with my Oak neck.... I never figured that oak back-bowing due to humidity because of differential expansion between oak and the rosewood fretboard would be a problem. If I had paid $8k for the thing, I am not sure I would be happy with "Well - let's watch it - it will probably settle down in 5 or 10 years...." At least the double acting truss rod saved me from myself that day...

That same guitar - about 5 years after it was built developed a weird rattle on the 5th fret... I finally chased it down to the fret backing out because I didn't have a fretwire bender back then - I just bent the frets a bit by hand before hammering them in.. It had a bit of a kink there that dressed out easily enough during the initial setup.... But 5 years later, it backed out and wouldn't tap or glue back down... Replaced the fret and it was good as new....

And so it goes...



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:54 pm 
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I have a slightly different take.

I really don't like building on spec. That leaves you with finished product with no market and you can wind up flogging it out the back door at reduced rate just to shift it, with no projection of when money will come in. A commission is desired and payed out at full pop upon completion, and nobody asks me for a discount either.

I've always done well with my guitars in either format, but now that I've shifted my base price for the shiny ones up to a whopping 3k$, they are understandably harder to move. But I don't don't do much work in that brand anymore.

Once you are in control of your building process, building a guitar that hits a clients tonal goals is a relatively straight forward process.

I do think working at a production facility for almost 20 years, as the production manager for the last 12-15 or something has given me some advantages over hobbyists or enthusiasts and sometimes even over some of the vaunted. Tens of thousands of fret jobs, neck fits, setups, yada yada as well as overseeing the bulk of the actual construction aspects for about 140k guitars has had a pretty deep impression as to what's actually important in a guitar.

Unfortunately, as this 8k$ flaw shows, the high end market is not immune to flaws in workmanship.

I've encountered more than a few five figure instruments from some top names that had what I consider full on deal breakers or 'not quite there yets' that would not have left my shop at all, even on my budget brand. That price point should carry a really high degree of execution but doesn't always.

The price of an instrument and its quality are not inextricably linked, and I really think newer builders should focus on building a higher number of simple guitars, rather than a lower number of fancy guitars. Fancy make it nicer and more expensive, but not better. Better come from proper build practices, which comes from practice building.

But we're edging into a different convo...:)



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:50 pm 
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"Unfortunately, as this 8k$ flaw shows, the high end market is not immune to flaws in workmanship."

The Louis Vuitton of lutherie?



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:08 pm 
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meddlingfool wrote:
The price of an instrument and its quality are not inextricably linked, and I really think newer builders should focus on building a higher number of simple guitars, rather than a lower number of fancy guitars. Fancy make it nicer and more expensive, but not better. Better come from proper build practices, which comes from practice building.


Preach it! laughing6-hehe

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:34 pm 
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bcombs510 wrote:
meddlingfool wrote:
The price of an instrument and its quality are not inextricably linked, and I really think newer builders should focus on building a higher number of simple guitars, rather than a lower number of fancy guitars. Fancy make it nicer and more expensive, but not better. Better come from proper build practices, which comes from practice building.


Preach it! laughing6-hehe


Might be a good idea for builders to go evaluate a $250 Recording King made in China. They play great, have bone nuts and saddles, are set-up pretty OK for a factory set-up. For a bit more coin you get solid wood and more.

Then ask yourself why a $4,000 guitar, which is at the low end of the Luthier pricing that "should" be charged if someone is not a novice is that much better than the Recording King?

I've been an audiophile all of my life and still play records on my Rega III. In the world of stereo speakers $2,000 gets you decent sound. To get 10% more sound expect to double that price and so on and so forth.

To quote John who quoted Kurt, and so it goes...;). Where is Billy Bathgate when you need him....

Great thread folks, enjoying it here!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:35 pm 
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Umm...I hope you're not suggesting that you think recording king is a fine benchmark against a properly made luthier built guitar and claiming to be an audiophile as well...:)



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:45 pm 
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Yes, I’m enjoying the thread too. Thanks everyone.

To John’s point about spec guitars, if you build something, and someone buys it, you’re responsible if something messes up later.

Presuming the guitar has been sold with at least some kind of a warranty, and not “as is”.

Deciding not to build on commission insulates you from immediate customer disappointment, but it’s not a get out of jail card for longer term issues.

Steve



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:56 pm 
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Right. I agree that builders should stand behind what they build and sell, and I agree that avoiding commission work does not solve all problems. I'm just saying that, for myself, there are a host of problems that come with building on commission, and if I ever build to sell, I will prefer to deal with the problems that come with building first, then selling. The problems that come with commission work would generate stress that would probably drive me to an early grave. I have a day job for that; I don't need it from my hobby.



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:35 pm 
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The advantage of building spec is that how it sounds is less important. If it's not being built to specifically
hit a tonal target per client edict, than does it matter if it's walnut/Sitka or whatever else you want? Someone eventually will like it.



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:46 pm 
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Well, the sound matters, but it doesn't have to be one specific sound. It just needs to be a good sound, and that can mean all sorts of things.



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:48 pm 
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Exactly.



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:19 am 
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meddlingfool wrote:
Umm...I hope you're not suggesting that you think recording king is a fine benchmark against a properly made luthier built guitar and claiming to be an audiophile as well...:)


Yeah, good point, chalk it up to the duality of man....;). It was my heart of darkness shining though.... :D


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:34 am 
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We reserve the right to hold contrary and conflicting opinions with equal conviction.

Thanks,

The Management.



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:16 am 
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It's fairly easy for someone who does repair for a living and aside from fixing broken things, welcomes disgruntled players dissatisfied with their set ups through the front door. It's a lot harder for a builder to anticipate every whim of a customer on the other side of the world. Instruments are out of the control of builders once they leave the shop.
I've never had a problem with setups on my own instruments. As a matter of fact, most customers told me the mandolins were set too low, guitars too at times. My policy was to set instruments up as best I could using the players own specs, that they played at a reasonable attack and that should they wish to "walk through my door", I would make sure it played to their liking within the realm of reality. Heaven knows that I built enough commissions to know what I am talking about.
Back to the original title of the thread...
They are an improvement over the Gilson style T/R. Anything is better than those...

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