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Thread: What we're up against

  1. #21
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    What the hell makes you think luthiers in small shops want to be like Taylor guitars? They don't for the most part. The day a small shop has to tool up like the big boys is the day we see nothing but same old- same old. There will always be big factories cranking the stuff out, doesn't mean we have to add to that. Screw that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Howlett View Post
    Anyone remember Taylor Guitars 'Factory Fridays'? I learnt so much watching them... rather than ridicule and whine it woudl be well for us to watch and learn.
    Last edited by BlackBearUkes; 04-20-2017 at 03:53 PM.

  2. #22
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    There is an old saying that sausage tastes great but just don't watch it being made... This to me is an example of mass production on an industrial scale and that is OK. But I agree that making guitars like sausages is just bit jarring. But hey, it is a business and always has been. And you know what? Some of these mass produced guitars don't sound half bad. Well... not that great maybe, but they are affordable and bring music to people who can't afford high end stuff.... Anyway, yes, a disturbing video on some levels. ..... I think maybe as someone pointed out, that it is not so much the manufacturing processes that are suspect but the wood and how it holds up over time. Only time will tell. That being said, I learned how to play on a 70's Yamaha 6 string and you what? the the thing didn't sound to bad at all. Eventually it just fell apart, but hey I had fun.

  3. #23
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SvfNhMlnBE

    The antitheses of the earlier video. Hardly an electron in sight. These workers are highly skilled at their particular task and their speed of execution is amazing. Stentor violins are at the cheap end too.

  4. #24
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    I enjoyed this very insightful thread and interesting video. In a past life I was production manager of a medium size woodworking shop. We had a lot of automation but we also employed a lot of highly skilled cabinet makers. Marriage of technology with hand skills is very common in many industries.

    The first ukulele I bought was a Gretsch G9120 all laminate tenor for $135.00. On the label it said "crafted in China", it played well and sounded good, I still own it. Fast forward to today and I have owned or still own ukes by Howlet, Collings, Compass Rose, Mya Moe, Ono, LfdM, Kinnard, Ko'olau, I'iwi and others. It is because I was able to start out easily and cheaply that the passion for ukulele grew.

    The point being that having inexpensive musical instruments available to those just starting out is a GOOD thing. I can't see what is wrong with making music accessible to the masses. It allowed me to do something new and extremely enjoyable, playing an instrument. I then became a customer of high end instruments and custom luthiers. This is the usual progression of a hobby, be it golf, fishing, tennis or guitar.
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 04-21-2017 at 12:17 AM.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  5. #25
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    Historically speaking the masses could never afford so called 'luthier instruments', that was always the preserve of the well off or the rich. The huge increase in demand that happened in the mid 19 th century/early 20 th century was filled by so called factory or trade instruments. They weren't factories as we know them now but they were more akin to the set up in the video that I linked to previously. The difference was that it was rarely done under one roof - it was a cottage style industry. The actual number of instruments that were being produced under these cottage style industries was astonishingly high. They were produced to meet the demand, quickly and cheaply. The people that made them had no notion of it being a high art or a high craft. They weren't in the least bit concerned with all that nonsense. They were much more concerned with making enough money to feed the family.

  6. #26
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    I'll learn from anyone - factory or individual...

  7. #27
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    In the end, it's all market-driven business. Factories don't make thousands of anything on speculation. Wholesalers who order the stuff don't take too many risks or they won't be in business too long.
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T), Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C)
    Banjo-Ukes: The Duke (T), Lanikai LB6-S (S)
    Tenor Guitars: Martin 515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Howlett View Post
    I'll learn from anyone - factory or individual...
    It was a pleasure meeting you at Mike's shop on Oahu Pete, I hope you are doing well!

    I do love factory videos, and it is crazy to see the volume. The only parts of the video that kind of gave me pause was the stringing and the shot of all of them going back and forth on the hanging conveyor.
    That stringing segment - I think about the amount of care I use when re-stringing my instruments and I was just blown away, hammering in all six bridge pins at once, using a mechanized winder, just cringing!

    I guess beer purists might have a hard time touring the Anheuser-Busch brewery, same type of thing.

    The waste and competition for ordering does make sense though. How much wood is wasted by instruments that do not pass QC and are tossed?
    Does it make it any tougher for Pete and Sven or Beau to get Rosewood when these folks buy an entire shipment?

    I know that they will never compete on the sales side, completely different customer base.

    All that being said, I do have a Kala concert ukulele that lives in my car.
    It has always been there at the ready for when I need a decent ukulele to play and don't want to worry about one of my more expensive ones.
    And I have heard Kimo Hussey play it, and you know what? It sounds pretty good when he plays it!
    1:5255
    My Quiver: S & J Craft Milo Tenor "Liliu" six string custom and Milo and Lychee concert by Emil Bader
    Pono PKT-1 Koa Tenor w/MiSi, Lanikai LU-21T - Autographed!, Hikare CU 528 Baritone
    R&L all koa mini concert, Mainland Gecko, Epiphone Les Paul Vintage, Purple Kamoa GC-700, Kala Concert
    Nothin' left to do but : ) : ) : )

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespa Bob View Post
    Creating instruments with no soul.

    Bob
    The player supplies the soul...not the wood...no matter how well crafted.......

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael N. View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SvfNhMlnBE

    The antitheses of the earlier video. Hardly an electron in sight. These workers are highly skilled at their particular task and their speed of execution is amazing. Stentor violins are at the cheap end too.
    Thanks Michael. Interesting video... One wonders why Stentor moved their factory to China. Because of labor obviously. No way Westerners are going to work that hard for that long and do that kind of quality work monotonous hour after monotonous hour. But hey, if your previous job was walking behind a water buffalo knee deep in mud and dung under a hot sun for 12 hours a day 6 days a week and you had a chance at this job you would jump at it.

    Verring dangerously off topic here, but here is a video of a test on a $99 dollar Chinese violin. Disturbing in other ways. How can you compete against that kind of price for that kind of value and quality? Well, you can't.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFaCpYRMKB8

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