Acoustic body

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by kiwigeo » Thu May 22, 2014 12:02 am

simso wrote:Then it's very surprising, that they are not closer on there box completion times.
Maybe the guy who takes a bit longer prefers a bit of "romance" in his builds? :)
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by charangohabsburg » Thu May 22, 2014 12:16 am

needsmorecowbel wrote: [...]

An excerpt from "It's okay to be me?" by Michael Thames
Published by Random House
Alone the fact that he seems to have asked this question himself is a good start I'd say! :cl
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by needsmorecowbel » Thu May 22, 2014 1:02 am

charangohabsburg wrote:Alone the fact that he seems to have asked this question himself is a good start I'd say! :cl
:lol:

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by Nick » Thu May 22, 2014 6:44 am

I can understand your perplexity at why somebody would spend hours carving a top when there is a much quicker method Perry but you build electric guitars which only have to have a representation of a shape carved into them to look right. An archtop's top is THE main sound generator (as with any acoustic), stuff this part up and the whole instrument may as well be kindling! In order to get the best sound out of every piece of spruce you have to 'know' that top. The sound a top makes as a 'luthier' plane (as you put it) cuts a shaving off can tell you a lot about that top (are you getting too thin?, is that a hard area that will have to be dealt with later because it could affect the sound ?). Even running your fingers over a top will give you a sound that you can read. And I don't care how clever or fast somebody is, you cannot carve the recurve area (THE most critical area of any archtop) with a grinder and a coarse disk. It needs to be scraped, flexed, scraped some more, flexed, scraped some more, this process alone can take time.
Bob Benedetto (one of the modern day godfather's of Archtop building) used to make them all by hand, still carving them by hand also until '99 when he partnered up one of the major manufacturers (begins with an F). Things were geared up to 'mass produce' and from what I understand, quality gradually went down the toilet in the quest to get more units out the door. Needless to say he's no longer in that partnership and back producing them with his own small team around him.
You can force a Tomato to grow quickly by growing it in a hot house with plenty of fertilizer but it end up tasteless compared to the same tomato that's grown 'naturally'.
As you are equally perplexed by why things could possibly take an age when they could be done quicker, I'm equally puzzled as to why you can have a completely hand made instrument (acoustic) that could have upwards of 150 hours poured into it for sale in a shop for maybe 4 grand and sitting next to it is a PRS for 5 grand, I can't see the justification! Especially when looking at the time taken to complete, between the two.

I'm not trying to start the Electric versus Acoustic argument here as I build both (not professionally but semi) and can appreciate the story from both sides.
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by Ormsby Guitars » Thu May 22, 2014 9:45 am

kiwigeo wrote:
Ormsby Guitars wrote:

ahh, thanks for the sarcasm.

Forgive me for sharing an idea that cuts 8 hours of hard labour from a build.

There is ZERO 'romance' in spending 8 hours doing something which is achieved in 40 minutes. Want to finish it off with one inch long 'luthier' planes? Go for it.

If some of you guys took advice from those making a living from this trade, you might learn something. Regardless of the actual type of instruments we build.
It wasn't sarcasm......the question as to why Daquisto and others don't use the method you've proposed was a serious one. I'm sure other members are at least asking the same question in their minds.

If you really want to minimize the time spent building your guitars and at the same time maximize your profits why don't you just outsource everything to a factory in China? o:)
Prior to myself talking about how I carved tops ten years ago, there was no one I could find that was doing it this way. Hamer guitars, and many others, went on to try it and use it as their 'system'. It's very easy to get stuck in a 'rut' and not look for new methods or ideas.

The grinder method simply removes the "rout steps" method, AND gets you much closer to the final shape than hours of shaving 1/4mm shavings until you get close.

And yes, you could outsource to china to increase production. Or employ people. Or use cnc. Or buy in 'pre roughed in' tops. Or not offer archtops.

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by Ormsby Guitars » Thu May 22, 2014 9:53 am

Nick wrote:I can understand your perplexity at why somebody would spend hours carving a top when there is a much quicker method Perry but you build electric guitars which only have to have a representation of a shape carved into them to look right. An archtop's top is THE main sound generator (as with any acoustic), stuff this part up and the whole instrument may as well be kindling! In order to get the best sound out of every piece of spruce you have to 'know' that top. The sound a top makes as a 'luthier' plane (as you put it) cuts a shaving off can tell you a lot about that top (are you getting too thin?, is that a hard area that will have to be dealt with later because it could affect the sound ?). Even running your fingers over a top will give you a sound that you can read. And I don't care how clever or fast somebody is, you cannot carve the recurve area (THE most critical area of any archtop) with a grinder and a coarse disk. It needs to be scraped, flexed, scraped some more, flexed, scraped some more, this process alone can take time.
Yep, totally get that. Absolutely agree. Im not suggesting you go from grinder to orbital to lacquer. Im suggesting you knock all the excess off to get a good starting point.

The router step method certainly cuts a lot of time, compared to using the luthier planes exclusively, but it is still an extremely time consuming method, which really only removes half of the excess.

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by sebastiaan56 » Thu May 22, 2014 11:21 am

Or buy pre shaped necks, front and back plates, slotted fingerboards etc. For me part of the fun is taking my time and working things out. I already own a manufacturing business, one is enough thx.
make mine fifths........

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by ozwood » Thu May 22, 2014 12:12 pm

:roll:

Reminds me of the time I took a mate fishing in my old diesel cruiser, it did 6knots max with a southerly up it's bum, down the front of a wave, he had a what is essentially a 14 ft Punt with a 200 Hp on it, He whinged, pissed and moaned the whole way about how slow it was, while I sipped on the fresh coffee I had just made and enjoyed the stillness of the morning while the little deisel putted away quietly, looked at the birds, watched a couple of dolphins mucking about , and spotted a big school of fish sitting on a reef on the sounder, would have missed all that doing 70 knots, fishing for me was about being on the water , enjoying the trip and any fish were a bonus, everybody knows it's cheaper and easier to go to a fishmongers and buy a fish!.

Sometimes it's about using your hobby as an exercise in mindfullness and savouring the experiance.

Most of the instruments I make are for friends, family and people I have become friends with, from repairing their instruments. I build, with the person in mind, they know and appreciate the time , love and care that goes in, and I like to think that's what gives an instrument it's soul, I could never build an instrument for someone I disliked, no matter how much they were paying.

Perry's question is quite valid, and his approach to manufacturing is also valid, I work in manufacturing and ask the very same questions all day.

Problem is it was asked on forum full of people doing it for every reason other than mass manufacturing, speed and volume.

So Perry I don't think you will find much in the way of meaningful or accurate data.


Cheers,
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by needsmorecowbel » Thu May 22, 2014 1:37 pm

ozwood wrote:
He whinged, pissed and moaned the whole way about how slow it was, while I sipped on the fresh coffee I had just made and enjoyed the stillness of the morning while the little deisel putted away quietly, looked at the birds, watched a couple of dolphins mucking about ,
Then he asked that question: "what kind of a boat doesn't have a fish finder on it? How are you meant to catch fish?" :lol:

Stu

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by Ormsby Guitars » Thu May 22, 2014 2:13 pm

ozwood wrote:
Perry's question is quite valid, and his approach to manufacturing is also valid, I work in manufacturing and ask the very same questions all day.

Problem is it was asked on forum full of people doing it for every reason other than mass manufacturing, speed and volume.

So Perry I don't think you will find much in the way of meaningful or accurate data.


Cheers,
Which is unfortunate. I was under the impression there were quite a few guys here doing this as a business, or at least a paid hobby.

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by scuffle » Thu May 22, 2014 2:26 pm

ozwood wrote::roll:

Reminds me of the time I took a mate fishing in my old diesel cruiser, it did 6knots max with a southerly up it's bum, down the front of a wave, he had a what is essentially a 14 ft Punt with a 200 Hp on it, He whinged, pissed and moaned the whole way about how slow it was, while I sipped on the fresh coffee I had just made and enjoyed the stillness of the morning while the little deisel putted away quietly, looked at the birds, watched a couple of dolphins mucking about , and spotted a big school of fish sitting on a reef on the sounder, would have missed all that doing 70 knots, fishing for me was about being on the water , enjoying the trip and any fish were a bonus, everybody knows it's cheaper and easier to go to a fishmongers and buy a fish!.


Cheers,
i used to tell everyone i loved fishing...but then i realised that the only reason i loved it so much was because it was a good way to have a nap :)
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by Allen » Thu May 22, 2014 3:04 pm

I haven't replied to this, as it's been quite some time that I built a bolt on neck acoustic that I couldn't really hazard anything other than a very wild guess as to the time it would take.

Building Spanish style ukes is so totally different where you need pretty much all your components ready, and then assembly takes perhaps a little more than an hour all up with glue dry time between different operations. But that means the body is closed up and bindings are installed in a day if there aren't any purflings, and if there are then another hour the next day. Scraping and sanding and shaping neck might add 2 hours, and then its on to pore fill.

What can streamline the process is producing parts in batches. Cutting a stock of brace wood. Making a batch of necks. Slotting a heap of fret boards. Slotting a couple dozen bridges. All the things I do, and I'm constantly looking at areas to improve my efficiency.
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by kiwigeo » Thu May 22, 2014 3:07 pm

Ormsby Guitars wrote:
Which is unfortunate. I was under the impression there were quite a few guys here doing this as a business, or at least a paid hobby.
I give my guitars away to needy muso friends.....
Martin

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by rocket » Thu May 22, 2014 5:56 pm

You're so lucky Martin, i don't have any muso friends to give mine to.
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by rocket » Thu May 22, 2014 5:59 pm

Also too Martin,,, the weather was good for my S.A. trip, had a good time! :gui :gui :gui :dru :dru :dri :dri
Burrrp Rod.
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by kiwigeo » Thu May 22, 2014 6:17 pm

rocket wrote:Also too Martin,,, the weather was good for my S.A. trip, had a good time! :gui :gui :gui :dru :dru :dri :dri
Burrrp Rod.
Glad to hear that Rod. Adelaide has been having a freaky run of summer like weather. Totally bizzare.
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by rocket » Thu May 22, 2014 6:52 pm

Yeah Melbourne too, but i think that it might be coming to an end very soon.
Cheers,,
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by Nick » Fri May 23, 2014 6:13 am

Ormsby Guitars wrote:Which is unfortunate. I was under the impression there were quite a few guys here doing this as a business, or at least a paid hobby.
I guess us paid hobbyists attack it from a different angle (well I do at least). I quote the customer an all up price and an approximate delivery time which I always over estimate so I know I have time up my sleeve (also helps because then if everything goes smoothly the customer thinks you've pushed his job through to come in under time and they're even more wrapped :wink: ). The reason it is a hobby that I happen to make a bit of money from, is because I enjoy the process, working with wood (my day job is all metal work) and taking pleasure for a job well done. Enjoyment is the number one factor, I think if I had to think of every step in terms of minutes and seconds and trimming every one down to the lowest number then that enjoyment factor would disappear.
Unlike yourself, I'm not relying on it to put food on the plate or pay the mortgage/rent so the number of units I produce isn't a factor I consider as important. But if I was to become fully professional then obviously skimming time would be a major factor and marketing the other. But then the magic has gone and it becomes just another job, not knocking what you do, we need people like you but you would look at a finished guitar and see a profit margin or the fact that you can eat this week, I look at a finished guitar and see memories of how a few flat pieces of timber got shaped and cut to end up in this final state, then I get to see the smile on the customers face as I hand it over to them, stuff money can't buy.
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by rocket » Fri May 23, 2014 8:31 am

AMEN!
Like I said before the crash, " Hit the bloody thing, it won't hit ya back

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by Ormsby Guitars » Fri May 23, 2014 11:10 am

Nick wrote:
Ormsby Guitars wrote:Which is unfortunate. I was under the impression there were quite a few guys here doing this as a business, or at least a paid hobby.
I guess us paid hobbyists attack it from a different angle (well I do at least). I quote the customer an all up price and an approximate delivery time which I always over estimate so I know I have time up my sleeve (also helps because then if everything goes smoothly the customer thinks you've pushed his job through to come in under time and they're even more wrapped :wink: ). The reason it is a hobby that I happen to make a bit of money from, is because I enjoy the process, working with wood (my day job is all metal work) and taking pleasure for a job well done. Enjoyment is the number one factor, I think if I had to think of every step in terms of minutes and seconds and trimming every one down to the lowest number then that enjoyment factor would disappear.
Unlike yourself, I'm not relying on it to put food on the plate or pay the mortgage/rent so the number of units I produce isn't a factor I consider as important. But if I was to become fully professional then obviously skimming time would be a major factor and marketing the other. But then the magic has gone and it becomes just another job, not knocking what you do, we need people like you but you would look at a finished guitar and see a profit margin or the fact that you can eat this week, I look at a finished guitar and see memories of how a few flat pieces of timber got shaped and cut to end up in this final state, then I get to see the smile on the customers face as I hand it over to them, stuff money can't buy.

I know what you have said, is true to most, but for me it isnt. I dont look for ways to shave minutes or seconds. I am very efficient, but that is from years of woodwork (I completed both a carpentry, and cabinet making apprenticeships, one after the other). Because of that prior 'day in day out' woodworking experience, I had a head start over most guys getting into instrument making... they have to learn (or improve) their woodworking skills.

I have a sander set up purely for radiusing fretboards. 10 minutes max, for the first one, and about 5 minutes or less for each after that. But I still do most by hand. I have a cnc I use for some things (truss rod covers, circuit boards, some inlays), but I still build the guitars by hand. Ive only had the cnc running since December, but purchased it 2.5 years ago. Ive cut a small handful of bodies on the cnc, but would rather do it by hand. All the bits that have the 'made by hand' vibe will still always be made by hand (neck joints, neck carves, etc). But I WILL use my cnc pickup winder... the thought of doing that with the old hand guided winder is like a bad dream. I grabbed a chisel to do a neck joint the other day rather than use my "perfect every time" jig. I'll "hog out" the carved tops with a 40 grit disc to get it to the near finished shape, before checking my carve top jig patterns to make sure they are all identical. I have a template for the side dots on a fretboard, but I'll still just "do them by eye". Someone once called that unconscious confidence... when you've done it so many times, you need not think about it.

And I dont view my guitars as products. I dont see them as dollar signs. But I do look at my calendar and think "right, this quarter Id like to book in these jobs, and get this many done, and the costs will be this, and the profit will be that, and the potential issues are these". I see guitars as the best paid hobby ever. Im very well paid. I earn more building guitars than any previous career. By a long shot. But I would still build guitars even if there wasnt a dollar to be made. I sold my house in 2004 to get enough funds to dwindle that down to zero, to chase a dream. In fact I do a couple guitars a year and give them away (and not to ANYONE with ANY sort of profile as a player). My dream when i started, was to 'build guitars for a couple days a week, and work at Bunnings the rest'. But, Im in a position where I dont have to worry about the mortgage payments, or saving for a holiday, or buying my wife pretty things. I didnt get there without a lot of work. And i do feel sorry for those guys struggling to get to that point, which is why this year I decided to help them.

But the absolute BEST part of the whole process for me, is not building a guitar (although that is still awesome). Its building a client relationship. Its doing the hand over. Its getting a txt from a client saying your name is on the door at a gig. Or seeing they put your logo on the poster. Its the sound guy buying you a drink because he loved what he heard. Its arriving at melbourne airport, to find four clients took the afternoon off to come and hang out before a connecting flight. Its getting to a foreign land and a client has offered his home for you to stay in. It's getting a facebook notification that two of your clients met each other at a concert. It's seeing your name in the liner notes of an album. It's running a guitar show, and arriving to find your clients all waiting and ready to help out.

Just because something is your full time career, does not mean the passion is lost.

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by rocket » Fri May 23, 2014 2:26 pm

So you admit it Perry,, you are a bit of a romantic when it comes to guitars
rocket wrote:Just because something is your full time career, does not mean the passion is lost
you didn't use the word ROMANTIC but for one with the PASSION you have for playing with wood you can't deny that the romance is still there!! :P :P :P
Cheers,,
Rod.
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Re: Acoustic body

Post by Ormsby Guitars » Fri May 23, 2014 3:23 pm

rocket wrote:So you admit it Perry,, you are a bit of a romantic when it comes to guitars
rocket wrote:Just because something is your full time career, does not mean the passion is lost
you didn't use the word ROMANTIC but for one with the PASSION you have for playing with wood you can't deny that the romance is still there!! :P :P :P
Cheers,,
Rod.
I have no romantic feeling for organising paperwork or taxes either, but its all part of the job.

There is no romance doing all that by hand when software makes much lighter work of it!

:)

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by jeffhigh » Fri May 23, 2014 7:30 pm

Even though I am only very low production, I am increasingly drawn to jigging up to reduce wear and tear on my body from repetitive work.
Hence things like fretboard radius jigs rather than hand sanding.

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by demonx » Sat May 24, 2014 6:48 am

jeffhigh wrote:Even though I am only very low production, I am increasingly drawn to jigging up to reduce wear and tear on my body from repetitive work.
Hence things like fretboard radius jigs rather than hand sanding.

What is considered "low production" in the acoustic world for a one man builder without staff?

I know of one local builder who does about twelve a year working pretty much full time, but that is all by hand, no bending machines (done old school), minimal jigs, bugger all power tools etc.

So what would be considered low or high production in the acoustic scene? I have no idea as I've never built one.

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Re: Acoustic body

Post by simso » Sat May 24, 2014 10:35 am

IMO, low production would be 1 a week, high production is really a commercial enterprise which has the capacity to churn out hundreds to thousands per week
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