…but I have had some feedback about my guitars. A couple days I took my most recent one (pictured in a previous post) in to Sweetwater Sound so my sales engineer could look at it and critique it. I’ve done that before and he’s had some good advice for me. He’s a pretty good player himself, and gets to see a LOT of guitars, from all price points.
This time, he mostly had good things to say, and also showed me some custom Gibsons that he thought were comparable to mine. They were in the $3,000 to $4,000 range. Whoo hoo! 😀
Then, yesterday someone came over to look at a classical guitar that I had posted on Craigslist. I also showed him another one I have, and he liked it much more. He said it was every bit as good as some very expensive ones he’s played. He’s been playing for 40 years, so he ought to know. Classicals made by well established luthiers can go for $10,000 or more. Of course, I can’t command those prices yet. I told him I wouldn’t ask more than $1000 for the one he liked. I’d be happy to get $500 for it. I told him that almost all the materials used in it came from Menards, and he thought that was pretty good. 😉
So, he want’s to come back after I’ve put new strings on and leveled the frets, since a few of them were buzzing. I’ll let y’all know if he buys it.
It was really nice to hear a good player play one of my instruments. And also to get his opinion. It sounded a whole lot better in his hands than mine. 😉 Also, until a couple days ago, the only guitars I’ve seen and heard in person have been my own. It was the same with knives. I made knives for several years before I sold any, and it was a few more years before I saw anyone else’s knives in person.
I’ve often wondered if this was a good thing, and I’ve decided that it is. If I’d seen other makers work before I had become satisfied with my own quality, I would have been tempted to start selling them sooner, and then the market would be full of lousy knives that would be coming back to haunt me now. I think I can honestly say that I haven’t sold any knives that would be an embarrassment to me.
The first time I saw a knife made by an ABS mastersmith, was at the ABS Expo in Troy Ohio at the SOFA facilities. I was attending a class about standards, and the teacher passed around a knife by a MS that he said epitomized quality. I counted 3 or 4 flaws that I wouldn’t allow out of my shop. 😉 The plunge lines weren’t even, the blade was corkscrewed, and crooked, and the handle wasn’t symmetrical. It was still a nice knife, but if I’d seen that before I’d started selling, I wouldn’t have been as motivated to improve my work.
I want the same thing for my guitars. The one I showed the guy at Sweetwater was pretty good, but it still has a couple things I need to work on. The neck angle isn’t perfect, and the finish/polish could be better. The neck angle issue I’ll be posting about sometime, because I’ve been working on a new system of assembly that will help a lot.
The finishing issue, I’ll either have to just work on it, or hire it out. Lot’s of guitar builders don’t do their own finishing. One of the big name finishers lives just an hour or so from me, so I’m very tempted to have him do it. Or at least pick his brain. 🙂
I’m already planning my next guitar, which should be a stunner, and good enough to sell. I’ll be using Black Acacia, also known as Australian Blackwood, for the back and sides. It’s very similar to Koa.
About Sweetwater. If you haven’t been there, or at least to their website, you don’t know what your missing. That is, if you’re into music. www.sweetwater.com
As far as instruments go, they used to sell just guitars, drums, and keyboards. Now they’ve got more stuff. I saw a bunch of acoustic pianos there (talk about sticker shock! Who can afford $50,000 for a piano? And those were just Yamahas. How much is a Steinway?), and I think I even saw some banjos in their catalog.
When I was there the other day, I bought a Zoom H2, which is a digital recorder. I’ve been playing with it, and once I get it all figured out, I’ll post some sound clips of some of my instruments.
Well, this has been a very verbose post. And no pictures. 😉 I’d better go get something done…