Discussion:
Luthier Alert : McKerrihan Guitars
(too old to reply)
DG
2006-02-15 22:49:10 UTC
Permalink
I've read the horror stories in this newsgroup recounting the
dealings with unscrupulous luithiers. I'd like to warn everyone on
the list of another such luthier: Glen McKerrihan. Needless to say, I
find myself in a situation where Glen has a CONSIDERABLE amount of my
money and I have nothing to show for it. This has been going on since
2000 and I'm at my wits end with him. I'd like to hear how others
have dealt with similar situations. I've spoken with attorneys and I
am considering legal action but that would be a costly endeavor.
Needless to say, if you are considering contracting a luthier for a
custom guitar, do your homework! Trust only well-known luthiers that
have an established track record of delivering guitars in a timely
fashion and that go beyond the call of duty for complete customer
satisfaction. And if you are one of the few that haven't heard from
Glen and wish to contact him about a guitar you may have ordered, I
have his contact information. Email me offline...

Frustrated to the max!
mark (sixstringtheoryDOTcom)
2006-02-15 23:06:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by DG
I've read the horror stories in this newsgroup recounting the
dealings with unscrupulous luithiers. I'd like to warn everyone on
the list of another such luthier: Glen McKerrihan. Needless to say, I
find myself in a situation where Glen has a CONSIDERABLE amount of my
money and I have nothing to show for it. This has been going on since
2000 and I'm at my wits end with him. I'd like to hear how others
have dealt with similar situations. I've spoken with attorneys and I
am considering legal action but that would be a costly endeavor.
Needless to say, if you are considering contracting a luthier for a
custom guitar, do your homework! Trust only well-known luthiers that
have an established track record of delivering guitars in a timely
fashion and that go beyond the call of duty for complete customer
satisfaction. And if you are one of the few that haven't heard from
Glen and wish to contact him about a guitar you may have ordered, I
have his contact information. Email me offline...
Frustrated to the max!
Don't stop there. Give us the scoop. What happened?

mark
jimbol51
2006-02-15 23:41:23 UTC
Permalink
To give this guy the benefit of a doubt what is his excuse? Or is he simply
not answering phone calls or e-mails? Jim
DG
2006-02-16 00:39:10 UTC
Permalink
-He has moved twice since I've been dealing with him...didn't bother to
tell me so I had to track him down both times
-Unresponsive to calls and emails
-His last move is such that I know his general location but don't have
a specific address
-Judging from the emails I've received, it looks like I'm not the only
one...

I'd rather not rehash all the specifics publicly. I really just wanted
to warn those that were thinking of going with a luthier to build them
a guitar. Am I shooting myself in the foot by warning others? Maybe,
but I believe in Karma and I'd rather not have someone go through the
same experience I have with Glen. Needless to say I'm looking at a loss
easily over $5K.....
LarryV
2006-02-16 01:09:05 UTC
Permalink
That really sucks. I see his website is down as well. I hope you
manage to settle this to your satisfaction, thanks for the warning.
Mark Cleary
2006-02-16 00:32:03 UTC
Permalink
Please see my thread on Frans Elferink. I can't say enough about how great
he was to deal with. You need to be specific, what is wrong.
--
Mark Cleary
Hollenbeck Jazz Guitars the Finest
Handcarved Jazz Guitars
http://members.cox.net/ruthster/hollenbeck/
Post by DG
I've read the horror stories in this newsgroup recounting the
dealings with unscrupulous luithiers. I'd like to warn everyone on
the list of another such luthier: Glen McKerrihan. Needless to say, I
find myself in a situation where Glen has a CONSIDERABLE amount of my
money and I have nothing to show for it. This has been going on since
2000 and I'm at my wits end with him. I'd like to hear how others
have dealt with similar situations. I've spoken with attorneys and I
am considering legal action but that would be a costly endeavor.
Needless to say, if you are considering contracting a luthier for a
custom guitar, do your homework! Trust only well-known luthiers that
have an established track record of delivering guitars in a timely
fashion and that go beyond the call of duty for complete customer
satisfaction. And if you are one of the few that haven't heard from
Glen and wish to contact him about a guitar you may have ordered, I
have his contact information. Email me offline...
Frustrated to the max!
m***@southwestguitar.com
2006-02-16 01:05:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by DG
I've read the horror stories in this newsgroup recounting the
dealings with unscrupulous luithiers. I'd like to warn everyone on
the list of another such luthier: Glen McKerrihan. Needless to say, I
find myself in a situation where Glen has a CONSIDERABLE amount of my
money and I have nothing to show for it. This has been going on since
2000 and I'm at my wits end with him. I'd like to hear how others
have dealt with similar situations. I've spoken with attorneys and I
am considering legal action but that would be a costly endeavor.
Needless to say, if you are considering contracting a luthier for a
custom guitar, do your homework! Trust only well-known luthiers that
have an established track record of delivering guitars in a timely
fashion and that go beyond the call of duty for complete customer
satisfaction. And if you are one of the few that haven't heard from
Glen and wish to contact him about a guitar you may have ordered, I
have his contact information. Email me offline...
Frustrated to the max!
i bought a guitar from Glen in 2002. It was a 7 string built for
someone else at first, then i bought it when the first owner didn't
want it - so i never had him build me a guitar. I bought the guitar
from him because i wanted a fine guitar and the luthier who built it
nearby so i could get it worked on by him (glen lived an hour or two
from me). Glen said that if i did'nt like it he would build me a new
one and i could trade it with the old one - no extra charge!
Well, after i finished my payments, i couldn't get a hold of him
anymore. Friends of mine had trouble getting a hold of him about their
instruments, too. I feel kinda burned.
I heard recently that he had gotten a divorce from his wife, etc. But i
really did't get the backup support from him that i should of gotten
for buying a $4000 guitar.
Keith Freeman
2006-02-16 12:17:01 UTC
Permalink
I may be wrong, but I thought that bona fide luthiers don't expect you to
pay for an instrument until you have it in your hands.

-Keith

Portable Changes, tips etc. at http://home.wanadoo.nl/keith.freeman/
e-mail only to keith DOT freeman AT wanadoo DOT nl
DG
2006-02-16 13:40:01 UTC
Permalink
I'm out the money because the one guitar he did build for me was a dud
and was going to either fix it or replace it. While he was making the
first guitar, I had given him money for down payments on the other 2
guitars he was going to make for me. I should have realized something
wasn't right when he was as late as he was with delivery of the first
guitar. Having had no previous experience with luthiers, I figured
that's just the way they are with respect to business practices. Since
then, I've talked to a few of the well-known luthiers and even had a
guitar built by Dale Unger. Upfront, Glen's demeanor was pretty much
the same as Dale's but throughout the construction process, Dale was
waaay more customer-oriented. I can't say enought positive comments
about him. Unfortunately that does nothing in regards to me ever seeing
the money Glen owes me and the others in the same situation.....
Keith Freeman
2006-02-16 16:59:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by DG
I'm out the money because the one guitar he did build for me was a dud
and was going to either fix it or replace it. While he was making the
first guitar, I had given him money for down payments on the other 2
guitars he was going to make for me.
You ordered two more guitars from a maker who had built you a dud?

-Keith

Portable Changes, tips etc. at http://home.wanadoo.nl/keith.freeman/
e-mail only to keith DOT freeman AT wanadoo DOT nl
DG
2006-02-16 17:31:37 UTC
Permalink
No of course not! I ordered the two guitars during the time that I was
waiting for the first one to be done. At the time, most luthiers had
anywhere from a 2 to 3 and a half year waiting list. I thought I was
being "proactive" by getting in his queue as early as possible.
Glen quoted a 6 month waiting list for his guitars. In retrospect,
maybe that should have been the red flag : A luthier with a waiting
list measured in months instead of years....
kagejs
2006-02-16 18:16:22 UTC
Permalink
How the hell do you guys afford all of these guitars? I'm doing
something wrong. :-(
Jack A. Zucker
2006-02-17 00:48:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by kagejs
How the hell do you guys afford all of these guitars? I'm doing
something wrong. :-(
Three $5000 guitars. Wish I could do that.

On a somewhat related topic, there's a guy selling a Two-Rock amplifier on
the gearpage for $12k
GregD
2006-02-17 00:57:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack A. Zucker
Post by kagejs
How the hell do you guys afford all of these guitars? I'm doing
something wrong. :-(
Three $5000 guitars. Wish I could do that.
One $5000 guitar - wish I could do *that*!
Post by Jack A. Zucker
On a somewhat related topic, there's a guy selling a Two-Rock
amplifier on the gearpage for $12k
Judas! For that kind of money, I'd expect at least 3 rocks!
mark (sixstringtheoryDOTcom)
2006-02-17 01:38:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack A. Zucker
Three $5000 guitars. Wish I could do that.
On a somewhat related topic, there's a guy selling a Two-Rock amplifier on
the gearpage for $12k
DG,

If you could afford to spend drop fifteen large on multiple guitars
sight-unseen, perhaps you should just bite the bullet and drop a few
hundred more on a private eye to track this guy down. Sue him, whatever?
I know you won't get your cash back if he's a deadbeat, but at least
somehow cause him discomfort where possible.

Personally, if I ever spent 5k on a guitar I'd make sure to spend the
cash on a plane ticket and check up on his ass every couple of months
too! But then again, I guess that's why I struggle to justify to myself
spending $200 on a guitar : )

mark
DG
2006-02-17 05:18:09 UTC
Permalink
You got the math all wrong...3 guitars for a total of $6500.00...NOT 3
Post by Jack A. Zucker
Post by kagejs
How the hell do you guys afford all of these guitars? I'm doing
something wrong. :-(
Three $5000 guitars. Wish I could do that.
On a somewhat related topic, there's a guy selling a Two-Rock amplifier on
the gearpage for $12k
Michael Tueller
2006-02-17 11:01:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack A. Zucker
Three $5000 guitars. Wish I could do that.
me too...
But I recently had a conversation with violin players. Don't
mention a guitar prices to them, they'll laugh at you;-)

Mike
Jack A. Zucker
2006-02-17 00:46:22 UTC
Permalink
What do you mean it was a dud?
Post by DG
I'm out the money because the one guitar he did build for me was a dud
and was going to either fix it or replace it. While he was making the
first guitar, I had given him money for down payments on the other 2
guitars he was going to make for me. I should have realized something
wasn't right when he was as late as he was with delivery of the first
guitar. Having had no previous experience with luthiers, I figured
that's just the way they are with respect to business practices. Since
then, I've talked to a few of the well-known luthiers and even had a
guitar built by Dale Unger. Upfront, Glen's demeanor was pretty much
the same as Dale's but throughout the construction process, Dale was
waaay more customer-oriented. I can't say enought positive comments
about him. Unfortunately that does nothing in regards to me ever seeing
the money Glen owes me and the others in the same situation.....
Joe Montgomery
2006-02-16 14:42:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith Freeman
I may be wrong, but I thought that bona fide luthiers don't expect you to
pay for an instrument until you have it in your hands.
In 1995 my handmade guitar was $1000 down, the balance on completion of
24 months; a long time to mull...

Being 250 miles away rt, I had appointments before the neck was joined
to the body in order make any last minute changes...I slowly paid for
extras like inlays and a Calton case by sending him $50 here, $200
there...and always got a nice note with the receipt.

Guitar was a month early and came out beyond my expectations.

--

Others I know had to wait over 6 months past promise date (from a
different luthier)...and I have a friend waiting now for one almost 8
months overdue.

Can be a nervewracking experience even with a bona fide luthier. I
don't think I could do it again.

JM
Paul C
2006-02-16 22:06:17 UTC
Permalink
One alternative is to order through a well-established dealer who has a
relationship with the luthier. It doesn't affect the final price,
because the dealer gets his usual discount; it allows you to specify
all the details you want; you sometimes get earlier delivery if the
dealer has prebooked production slots; and if you are selling other
instruments to finance the new one, a good commission dealer is a great
asset (and there are positive sales tax implications in Canada); and if
there is international or long-distance shipping involved the dealer
knows the ropes. I've ordered three instruments this way over the past
twenty years (two delivered, one currently in production) from three
different makers (and through three different dealers, although not
because of dissatisfaction with any of them) and (so far) no problems.
The one time I ordered directly from a distant luthier the deal worked
out very well, although I had mild panic onsets periodically in the
year between deposit and delivery.
BFender
2006-02-16 23:44:17 UTC
Permalink
Well put!

/bf/
Post by Paul C
One alternative is to order through a well-established dealer who has a
relationship with the luthier. It doesn't affect the final price,
because the dealer gets his usual discount; it allows you to specify
all the details you want; you sometimes get earlier delivery if the
dealer has prebooked production slots; and if you are selling other
instruments to finance the new one, a good commission dealer is a great
asset (and there are positive sales tax implications in Canada); and if
there is international or long-distance shipping involved the dealer
knows the ropes. I've ordered three instruments this way over the past
twenty years (two delivered, one currently in production) from three
different makers (and through three different dealers, although not
because of dissatisfaction with any of them) and (so far) no problems.
The one time I ordered directly from a distant luthier the deal worked
out very well, although I had mild panic onsets periodically in the
year between deposit and delivery.
BFender
2006-02-16 23:46:58 UTC
Permalink
I know of no luthiers who will ship a guitar before being paid in full.

/bf/
--
Peace,
/bf/
Bill Fender
www.legatoguitars.com
(910) 686-3264
Post by Keith Freeman
I may be wrong, but I thought that bona fide luthiers don't expect you to
pay for an instrument until you have it in your hands.
-Keith
Portable Changes, tips etc. at http://home.wanadoo.nl/keith.freeman/
e-mail only to keith DOT freeman AT wanadoo DOT nl
Keith Freeman
2006-02-17 01:20:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by BFender
I know of no luthiers who will ship a guitar before being paid in full.
If the builder didn't offer a money-back guarantee I would want to pick it
up personally, not have it shipped sight unseen. You guys in the States
have cheap domestic air fares, don't you?

-Keith

Portable Changes, tips etc. at http://home.wanadoo.nl/keith.freeman/
e-mail only to keith DOT freeman AT wanadoo DOT nl
mark (sixstringtheoryDOTcom)
2006-02-17 01:40:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith Freeman
Post by BFender
I know of no luthiers who will ship a guitar before being paid in full.
If the builder didn't offer a money-back guarantee I would want to pick it
up personally, not have it shipped sight unseen. You guys in the States
have cheap domestic air fares, don't you?
Yes, very cheap. Depending on flexibility, you can usually (with effort)
find a one-way fare to anywhere in the USA, from anywhere else in the
USA, for under $200. $300 for roundtrip.

mark
Jack A. Zucker
2006-02-17 00:45:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Keith Freeman
I may be wrong, but I thought that bona fide luthiers don't expect you to
pay for an instrument until you have it in your hands.
that's wrong
m***@southwestguitar.com
2006-02-16 01:08:14 UTC
Permalink
BTW i'd like to email you about getting Glens info, but don't know your
email.
when i look at your profile, your email is only partially shown.
Am i missing something?
LarryV
2006-02-16 01:11:18 UTC
Permalink
Click on the View Profile in his post, and then click on the 3 dots
(ellipsis) in his email. You'll have to enter some validation
characters and then you will be able to see his full email address.
RickH
2006-02-16 18:31:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by DG
I've read the horror stories in this newsgroup recounting the
dealings with unscrupulous luithiers. I'd like to warn everyone on
the list of another such luthier: Glen McKerrihan. Needless to say, I
find myself in a situation where Glen has a CONSIDERABLE amount of my
money and I have nothing to show for it. This has been going on since
2000 and I'm at my wits end with him. I'd like to hear how others
have dealt with similar situations. I've spoken with attorneys and I
am considering legal action but that would be a costly endeavor.
Needless to say, if you are considering contracting a luthier for a
custom guitar, do your homework! Trust only well-known luthiers that
have an established track record of delivering guitars in a timely
fashion and that go beyond the call of duty for complete customer
satisfaction. And if you are one of the few that haven't heard from
Glen and wish to contact him about a guitar you may have ordered, I
have his contact information. Email me offline...
Frustrated to the max!
Sorry to hear your plight, this whole "commision to build" model is too
rich for my blood.

I wish more luthiers would adapt a business model of doing "small"
production runs of perhaps 50 identical "proven" guitars then sell them
for under $2000 each. In the end the luthier gets his $100k and the
buyers get to try out the axes first. Then if you want customization
of the one you bought you pay the luthier for customization. But no,
the typical luthier wants to tweak the hell out of 5 or 6 boxes a year
and charge an arm/leg to get their yearly income from a very small
number of customers, (guiney pigs), buying things sight-unseen. The
task of copying 50 proven axes can be handed off to a journeyman while
the "master" luthier designs the next model. Everybody wins, the
customer, the master , the apprentice, the journeyman.
LarryV
2006-02-16 18:44:31 UTC
Permalink
Yeah, great idea! I would never even entertain the idea of buying a
guitar from a luthier, mainly because of the expense, but also because
you don't really know what you're going to end up with when all is said
and done. It could easily be a winner or a loser. Not only that, but
they've got your money tied up and you have a long wait ahead of you to
get your instrument. I also don't like the fact that you're dealing
with a single individual, if they choose to become rather hard to find
or difficult to deal with, it's pretty hard to get due satisfaction. I
like a sure thing like playing an instrument and deciding if I want it
without having to put forth $$$$ of dollars first and be stuck with it.
YMMV.
Jack A. Zucker
2006-02-17 00:51:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by LarryV
Yeah, great idea! I would never even entertain the idea of buying a
guitar from a luthier, mainly because of the expense, but also because
you don't really know what you're going to end up with when all is said
and done.
That's very true. Lots of luthiers talk about tonewoods but in many ways,
these guitars have become parlor guitars. At least Sadowsky while expensive
is making instruments designed for players.

Another trend is very expensive reproductions of mass-manufactured fender
and marshall amps of the '60s. Back in their day, they were made by
housewives forced into the job market because of rising inflation. Now these
amps are emulated and going for big bucks.

You gotta love commerce.
LarryV
2006-02-17 01:01:31 UTC
Permalink
Man, you got that right! Marshall's are expensive now, right up there
with boutique amps. A new 20 watt blues breaker is selling for
somewhere around $2500. I was looking at all the different boutique
amps, and I ended up ordering a Gerlitz Revelator. Harvey is
discontinuing production and I'm getting one of the last ones. Mainly
because they are expensive and time consuming to build. It's going to
be a 2 to 3 month wait, but he doesn't want any money until it's
completed. These amps are supposed to be killer amps too. I ordered a
1x12 combo.

http://www.gerlitzamps.com/html/features.html

http://www.harmony-central.com/Guitar/Data/Gerlitz_Amplification/G1_Revelator-1.html

Has all of the features I want and he's giving me a great deal on the
amp.
LarryV
2006-02-17 01:06:30 UTC
Permalink
The other cool thing about this amp that I've never seen on another
tube amp is that there's a solid state linear power amp *after* the
tube stage. This allows you to get power tube saturation, and then
control the output after that stage so you can get power tube
distortion at low volumes.
GregD
2006-02-17 01:02:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack A. Zucker
Post by LarryV
Yeah, great idea! I would never even entertain the idea of buying a
guitar from a luthier, mainly because of the expense, but also
because you don't really know what you're going to end up with when
all is said and done.
That's very true. Lots of luthiers talk about tonewoods but in many
ways, these guitars have become parlor guitars. At least Sadowsky
while expensive is making instruments designed for players.
Another trend is very expensive reproductions of mass-manufactured
fender and marshall amps of the '60s. Back in their day, they were
made by housewives forced into the job market because of rising
inflation.
Hmmm, so if we could fuel inflation somehow, we could get those housewives
back out there making classic, handbuilt amps... How about if we just lied
to 'em and told them that there was inflation? You know how gullible
housewives are - they'll believe anything! OK, I'll lie to mine tonight and
see if I can get her to build some amps for me. I'll let you know how it
goes.
Post by Jack A. Zucker
Now these amps are emulated and going for big bucks.
You gotta love commerce.
Keith Freeman
2006-02-17 01:16:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by GregD
we could get those housewives
back out there making classic, handbuilt amps...
As far as I can see, they're out there producing crappy translations at 5
cents a word... [ end of professional gripe ]

-Keith

Portable Changes, tips etc. at http://home.wanadoo.nl/keith.freeman/
e-mail only to keith DOT freeman AT wanadoo DOT nl
Max Leggett
2006-02-17 01:08:15 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 16 Feb 2006 19:51:33 -0500, "Jack A. Zucker"
Post by Jack A. Zucker
Another trend is very expensive reproductions of mass-manufactured fender
and marshall amps of the '60s. Back in their day, they were made by
housewives forced into the job market because of rising inflation. Now these
amps are emulated and going for big bucks.
You gotta love commerce.
It's pure marketing - identify a demand and move to fill it. Hence NOS
Strats for guys who never learnt the third chord but want rock creds
hanging on the wall. I'm sure musicians don't buy that stuff or any of
the 'signature' guitars out there, either. But if you think that Ace
Freely's signature on a $300 guitar gives you creds, then you'll pay
$700 for it just for the creds. By day, mild mannered insurance clerk
Denvil Weebs, but, by night! Rock and roll animal!!!!!! And all for a
lousy $700. Smart marketing.











----------------------------------
"All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
Spike Milligan
mark (sixstringtheoryDOTcom)
2006-02-17 01:44:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Max Leggett
It's pure marketing - identify a demand and move to fill it. Hence NOS
Strats for guys who never learnt the third chord but want rock creds
hanging on the wall. I'm sure musicians don't buy that stuff or any of
the 'signature' guitars out there, either. But if you think that Ace
Freely's signature on a $300 guitar gives you creds, then you'll pay
$700 for it just for the creds. By day, mild mannered insurance clerk
Denvil Weebs, but, by night! Rock and roll animal!!!!!! And all for a
lousy $700. Smart marketing.
LOL this reminds me of the guy I saw last month at the open blues
jam.....mr rock n fuckin roll....with his polka-dot buddy guy
'signature' strat.

mark
Mark Cleary
2006-02-17 02:42:36 UTC
Permalink
I think I will take exception to that post. I have 5 guitars made by various
luthiers and they are all designed for players only. I personally play my
Hollenbeck on most all gigs and I teach with this instrument. In fact when
Martin Taylor was in the States a number of years ago playing at a college
outside Chicago he used my personal Hollenbeck. He played it on stage with
David Grisman and it is no different than any other quality guitar made to
be played. True it is a large 18 inch fully carved top with a floating pick
up, not everybody's cup of tea. But made to be used and Martin had no
trouble with feedback and he even played one tune with no amp. Not many
players seem to want to spend the big cash for these guitars and subject
them to the road but that is what they are made for, to be played. What
exactly do you mean by parlor guitars? What do luthiers say about tonewood
that is different from what players say?
--
Mark Cleary
Hollenbeck Jazz Guitars the Finest
Handcarved Jazz Guitars
http://members.cox.net/ruthster/hollenbeck/
Post by Jack A. Zucker
Post by LarryV
Yeah, great idea! I would never even entertain the idea of buying a
guitar from a luthier, mainly because of the expense, but also because
you don't really know what you're going to end up with when all is said
and done.
That's very true. Lots of luthiers talk about tonewoods but in many ways,
these guitars have become parlor guitars. At least Sadowsky while expensive
is making instruments designed for players.
Another trend is very expensive reproductions of mass-manufactured fender
and marshall amps of the '60s. Back in their day, they were made by
housewives forced into the job market because of rising inflation. Now these
amps are emulated and going for big bucks.
You gotta love commerce.
RickH
2006-02-17 16:36:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack A. Zucker
Post by LarryV
Yeah, great idea! I would never even entertain the idea of buying a
guitar from a luthier, mainly because of the expense, but also because
you don't really know what you're going to end up with when all is said
and done.
That's very true. Lots of luthiers talk about tonewoods but in many ways,
these guitars have become parlor guitars. At least Sadowsky while expensive
is making instruments designed for players.
Another trend is very expensive reproductions of mass-manufactured fender
and marshall amps of the '60s. Back in their day, they were made by
housewives forced into the job market because of rising inflation. Now these
amps are emulated and going for big bucks.
You gotta love commerce.
Hmmm, my wife is a stay at home mom... A few years ago I came home from
work and she had the VCR completely dismantled on the kitchen table.
Turns out a neighbor kid had filled the tape slot with pennies, hot
wheel cars, and legos (if you have kids you've been there before). I
was really impressed that she fixed it in spite of the "warning no
user-serviceable parts inside" warning. I should set her up a little
work bench, download some schematics, etc.

Tom Walls
2006-02-16 18:55:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by RickH
I wish more luthiers would adapt a business model of doing "small"
production runs of perhaps 50 identical "proven" guitars then sell them
for under $2000 each. In the end the luthier gets his $100k and the
buyers get to try out the axes first. Then if you want customization
of the one you bought you pay the luthier for customization. But no,
the typical luthier wants to tweak the hell out of 5 or 6 boxes a year
and charge an arm/leg to get their yearly income from a very small
number of customers, (guiney pigs), buying things sight-unseen. The
task of copying 50 proven axes can be handed off to a journeyman while
the "master" luthier designs the next model. Everybody wins, the
customer, the master , the apprentice, the journeyman.
Your model works if there is a market for the product, if there is
skilled labor available, and the luthier has the capital for expansion.
But I suspect that the answer for most luthiers would be "no, no, and
no". The guys with a big enough reputation to attract a larger market
make deals with Fender, Guild, etc. to set up a shop for their signature
lines.
--
Tom Walls
the guy at the Temple of Zeus
Joe Montgomery
2006-02-16 19:40:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by RickH
I wish more luthiers would adapt a business model of doing "small"
production runs of perhaps 50 identical "proven" guitars then sell them
for under $2000 each.
Andersen did exactly this but the "handmade production model"
Streamline Archtop ran $5000 and the instruments went thru select
dealers, not direct from luthier.

I don't know if under $2000 hand built is doable by known luthiers. You
can sometimes find a guy with no 'name' yet but you are taking a shot.

Alternatively, seems there are lots of used handbuilt instruments out
there these days...not to mention Eastman, Heritage, etc. ...and some
pretty great (IMO) working class axes for $1000 and down (Aria, Ibanez,
Squier, DeArmond, for example) -

JM
Max Leggett
2006-02-16 20:16:44 UTC
Permalink
On 16 Feb 2006 11:40:26 -0800, "Joe Montgomery"
Post by Joe Montgomery
Post by RickH
I wish more luthiers would adapt a business model of doing "small"
production runs of perhaps 50 identical "proven" guitars then sell them
for under $2000 each.
Andersen did exactly this but the "handmade production model"
Streamline Archtop ran $5000 and the instruments went thru select
dealers, not direct from luthier.
I don't know if under $2000 hand built is doable by known luthiers. You
can sometimes find a guy with no 'name' yet but you are taking a shot.
If you do a producton run of 50 guitars, then you have to sell the
suckers, and sell them quickly. It's called cash flow. That's a
sizeable investment in money and time. How do you differentiate
yourself from other luthiers at the same price point [and I agree that
much less than 4-5 grand won't be enoughof a margin]? How do you
convince people like me to buy one of your guitars instead of a used
165 at less than1/2 the price of a custom? How do you sell that many
very specialised guitars in a crowded market? Roger Sadowsky has done
it through design and quality sufficient to atrract Jimmy Bruno and
Jim Hall, but how many people can do that? Luthiery is like playing
jazz - anyone can go into the business, but doing it well is another
thing altogether. Roger had to go offshore for manufacturing to keep
the costs manageable; judging by his slipping delivery schedule he's
running into production problems, so he's got all this money and time
tied up and no guitars to sell. That's one hell of a financial strain
[= negative cashflow] - I hope he pull through, but how many people
could even afford to set up an offshore production facility? The
average luthier simply hasn't the financial resources to do anything
but one offs and money up front. So if you want to go that way it's
very much caveat emptor and doing due diligence beforehand.

And why custom, apart from the ego gratification? I'm not knocking ego
gratification, I'm a big fan, but Heritage is just one company turning
out killer guitars at very aggressive price points. So why take a risk
on Larry Luthier and his Jazz Daddy Special payable in advance
delivery when I get round to it maybe? And second hand 165s - I have
one,and I cannot recommend it highly enough - for under $1500: why
spend more? Why custom at all? Having said that, I have dibs on a
Sadowsky JB, but I just wouldn't go the independent luthier turning
out one offs - my trust levels generally don't extend that far.



----------------------------------
"All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
Spike Milligan
Max Leggett
2006-02-16 20:21:12 UTC
Permalink
And as far as the original post goes, that's why the gods gave us
lawyers.
Post by Max Leggett
On 16 Feb 2006 11:40:26 -0800, "Joe Montgomery"
Post by Joe Montgomery
Post by RickH
I wish more luthiers would adapt a business model of doing "small"
production runs of perhaps 50 identical "proven" guitars then sell them
for under $2000 each.
Andersen did exactly this but the "handmade production model"
Streamline Archtop ran $5000 and the instruments went thru select
dealers, not direct from luthier.
I don't know if under $2000 hand built is doable by known luthiers. You
can sometimes find a guy with no 'name' yet but you are taking a shot.
If you do a producton run of 50 guitars, then you have to sell the
suckers, and sell them quickly. It's called cash flow. That's a
sizeable investment in money and time. How do you differentiate
yourself from other luthiers at the same price point [and I agree that
much less than 4-5 grand won't be enoughof a margin]? How do you
convince people like me to buy one of your guitars instead of a used
165 at less than1/2 the price of a custom? How do you sell that many
very specialised guitars in a crowded market? Roger Sadowsky has done
it through design and quality sufficient to atrract Jimmy Bruno and
Jim Hall, but how many people can do that? Luthiery is like playing
jazz - anyone can go into the business, but doing it well is another
thing altogether. Roger had to go offshore for manufacturing to keep
the costs manageable; judging by his slipping delivery schedule he's
running into production problems, so he's got all this money and time
tied up and no guitars to sell. That's one hell of a financial strain
[= negative cashflow] - I hope he pull through, but how many people
could even afford to set up an offshore production facility? The
average luthier simply hasn't the financial resources to do anything
but one offs and money up front. So if you want to go that way it's
very much caveat emptor and doing due diligence beforehand.
And why custom, apart from the ego gratification? I'm not knocking ego
gratification, I'm a big fan, but Heritage is just one company turning
out killer guitars at very aggressive price points. So why take a risk
on Larry Luthier and his Jazz Daddy Special payable in advance
delivery when I get round to it maybe? And second hand 165s - I have
one,and I cannot recommend it highly enough - for under $1500: why
spend more? Why custom at all? Having said that, I have dibs on a
Sadowsky JB, but I just wouldn't go the independent luthier turning
out one offs - my trust levels generally don't extend that far.
----------------------------------
"All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
Spike Milligan
----------------------------------
"All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
Spike Milligan
RickH
2006-02-16 21:08:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Max Leggett
On 16 Feb 2006 11:40:26 -0800, "Joe Montgomery"
Post by Joe Montgomery
Post by RickH
I wish more luthiers would adapt a business model of doing "small"
production runs of perhaps 50 identical "proven" guitars then sell them
for under $2000 each.
Andersen did exactly this but the "handmade production model"
Streamline Archtop ran $5000 and the instruments went thru select
dealers, not direct from luthier.
I don't know if under $2000 hand built is doable by known luthiers. You
can sometimes find a guy with no 'name' yet but you are taking a shot.
If you do a producton run of 50 guitars, then you have to sell the
suckers, and sell them quickly. It's called cash flow. That's a
sizeable investment in money and time. How do you differentiate
yourself from other luthiers at the same price point [and I agree that
much less than 4-5 grand won't be enoughof a margin]? How do you
convince people like me to buy one of your guitars instead of a used
165 at less than1/2 the price of a custom? How do you sell that many
very specialised guitars in a crowded market? Roger Sadowsky has done
it through design and quality sufficient to atrract Jimmy Bruno and
Jim Hall, but how many people can do that? Luthiery is like playing
jazz - anyone can go into the business, but doing it well is another
thing altogether. Roger had to go offshore for manufacturing to keep
the costs manageable; judging by his slipping delivery schedule he's
running into production problems, so he's got all this money and time
tied up and no guitars to sell. That's one hell of a financial strain
[= negative cashflow] - I hope he pull through, but how many people
could even afford to set up an offshore production facility? The
average luthier simply hasn't the financial resources to do anything
but one offs and money up front. So if you want to go that way it's
very much caveat emptor and doing due diligence beforehand.
And why custom, apart from the ego gratification? I'm not knocking ego
gratification, I'm a big fan, but Heritage is just one company turning
out killer guitars at very aggressive price points. So why take a risk
on Larry Luthier and his Jazz Daddy Special payable in advance
delivery when I get round to it maybe? And second hand 165s - I have
one,and I cannot recommend it highly enough - for under $1500: why
spend more? Why custom at all? Having said that, I have dibs on a
Sadowsky JB, but I just wouldn't go the independent luthier turning
out one offs - my trust levels generally don't extend that far.
----------------------------------
"All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
Spike Milligan
I'm just the marketing department, I leave the details to my engineers
and accounting department;)

Ouch on Sadowski, a custom builder going offshore kinda negates the
"value proposition" their boutique business is supposed to be making in
the first place.

On Heritage I agree, I'd go visit Kalamazoo which is an under 3 hour
drive from here and talk to the guys cutting the wood for the
gratification aspect. The business I described is more like a Heritage
anyway I guess. The basic point is for more custom luthiers to be able
to go the "copy" route at any level they are able to.
Joe Montgomery
2006-02-16 22:27:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Max Leggett
And why custom, apart from the ego gratification?
fwiw, here's my story;

After 25 years I played a lot of rock, pop, shows, Strat, 335, Les
Paul, etc. and knew nada of jazz...had a few nice jazz boxes, GB10, 175
before my abilities and knowledge caught up with the instrument's
qualities. I heard Bucky and John around 94 and really wanted acoustic
sounding ax with floater...tried many off the rack, esp a Guild Artist
Award, used, still the best sounding guitar I ever heard...but the
scale was off, the neck was a club and the guitar was heavy...then I
found a Johnny Smith...perfect in every way, except in the 'real world'
- it was microphonic, weak pickup, fed back on a sneeze, etc...

So I got tired of the hunt...I commissioned a 4.15 lb. 16.50 wide, 24.9
scale that had a neck feel like a strat (the theory being that the
easier it was to play physically, the longer I'd be able to play it and
hopefully not develop any RMD's), had woods that would age nicely,
chose my pickup, inlays (for anticipating my upcoming bad vision)
small, lightweight tuners (not in vogue yet) and then wrapped the whole
thing in a calton case for protection from my fellow bandmates,
airlines, weather and back seat travel. And all the while, I thought
what a great thing to leave my kid. +. I figured if I jumped off and
did this, instead of hunting for gear, I'd spend the bulk of my time
playing this one...

Then, of course, I wanted a pure "electric" archtop with a laminated
top and just happened to be looking when the sadowsky jh came
around...Incidentally, I had Glen McKerrihan's 16" keenan...nice, but
this one had no f holes and was really really dead on top...

That was 12 years ago...still play the guitar every day...it's dinged,
has had a full refret, the neck's been oversprayed and I still love
playing it.

JM
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