Not much to report here…

…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…

Phillip

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7 thoughts on “Not much to report here…

    • Because there’s so many words? LOL

      BTW, guess what I just baked. Here’s a hint: it’s round and tastes yummy. And it’s bad for my diet. I guess that was 3 hints. 😉

  1. Now, what makes you think I like a lot of words??? 😉

    Hmmm…skillet cookie? 🙂

    It must be so very encouraging to have someone you know knows what they’re talking about to place your guitars in such a class with those Gibsons! That is wonderful! I know what you’re talking about, as far as making sure your product is of the highest quality, so that you are pleased with it. I think that maybe all artists are perfectionists…I know I am, and it sounds like you are as well. I know my family gets tired of hearing me (and Dave too) critique other folks’ stuff…you know, “if I made that, it wouldn’t be that way” etc!

    Digital recorders are fun. 🙂

    • Yep, skillet cookie. Hey, you’re smarter than you look! 😉 I didn’t have any white chocolate, so I used German bakers chocolate.

      Yep, it is encouraging. My temptation is to spend a lot of time on guitars now, but that wouldn’t be fair to my waiting knife customers. So I’ll probably work on knives during the week, and guitars on the weekends.

      My dad taught me to be a perfectionist. He (was) an engineer, working on weather satellites, and if those things aren’t perfect, it’s a lot of money down the drain.

      The very first time I had the new recorder on, I caught my mom saying something about underwear that could (if taken out of context) come in real handy if I have to blackmail her someday. 😀

  2. Are you implying that I look like a dumb blonde, Phillip???? Skillet Cookie sounds like a nickname…. 😉 German baker’s chocolate is really good. I found a huge bar I like to cook with, but I can’t remember the name of it right now. It’s Belgium, I think.

    It will be nice when you’re finished with the knife orders and can work on guitars more! That’ll be fun!

    We have all kinds of funny recordings hidden away here! Just yesterday, I recorded 15 minutes of everyone goofing off in the car. It won’t be going on YouTube anytime soon, but it sure is fun to listen to. 😉

    Smarter than I look. Hm.

    • I was just joking about being smarter than you look. I have no idea how smart you are. 😀 Just teasing!

      I stopped taking knife orders last July, then started again this spring because there was an article about me in Blade magazine, (april issue, in case anyone’s interested) and I figured there would be a bunch of orders as a result. Turns out there wasn’t very many, and things have slowed way down anyhow, so I’m thinking maybe I’ll stop again. Do I seem fickle?

  3. My grandpa is really into guns and stuff, and he knows of one holster maker who only takes orders for the first few days of each month, and then closes off the ordering option and makes those that month. Just an idea…I don’t know if that would work or not, but maybe it would even things out a bit.

    But I’m no expert on making money! 🙂

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