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hammer40
08-24-2012, 12:25 AM
I have been checking out various luthier websites/pages, and every now and then I'll see at the bottom of a page the sentence "This is an heirloom instrument".

What does that mean? I can only assume it's meant to suggests a quality built instrument, but isn't that what we should always expect?

The Big Kahuna
08-24-2012, 12:28 AM
The only time I've seen that on items for sale, I've assumed the guy is trying to sell me snake oil. It may mean something different in the Ukulele world though.

The Big Kahuna
08-24-2012, 12:32 AM
Saying that, a google search for "heirloom instrument" turned up THIS (http://www.soundtoearth.com/custdisplay.php?id=4&custom=true) site for Weber Mandolins. I have to say, it was very difficult not to touch myself inappropriately when looking at some of the instruments, but I can't help thinking the term "Heirloom Instrument" is a bit of an "Americanism".

The Orange Mage
08-24-2012, 01:29 AM
I always assumed the term meant it a "prized" instrument that has been in the same family for generations or something. I used quotation marks because if it were truly prized it wouldn't be up for sale, IMO.

I wonder if my grandfather's Gibson counts as an heirloom instrument...

stevepetergal
08-24-2012, 02:01 AM
I think of heirlooms as items that have been handed down for at least a generation or two, through a family. I think "inherit" is a form of the word "heir".

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 02:19 AM
For me, it means nothing from a marketing standpoint. Like Steve said, a "Heirloom" is something that has been passed from generation to generation in your family. Anything can be an heirloom, and has not one thing to do with "quality". My dog can take a dump in the yard today, and I can scoop it up, set it aside and give it to my son, he can give it to his son, and so on and so on, and technically, it will be a "heirloom". But guess what, it's still just a dog turd. I have seen people cherish a cheap, beat up, horrible sounding and playing ukulele from the 1920s because it belonged to their grand mother. That, is a prized, priceless ukulele to that family, and IS a heirloom, and will continue to be passed down the family as a heirloom. Not worth much to anyone outside the family, but to them, it is priceless as it should be.

mm stan
08-24-2012, 02:41 AM
have you tried a heirloom tomato???

dnewton2
08-24-2012, 04:07 AM
I have seen some crazy curly koa sets labeled as heirloom. I think when it is new instrument or wood or whatever it is marketing saying it is better quality or something.

Skitzic
08-24-2012, 04:14 AM
When I see something that says 'heirloom instrument' I think of very pretty wood that you will want to keep in the family.

IE, you will it to your offspring, and they think it's so pretty they want to keep it instead of running to the evil bays.

PoiDog
08-24-2012, 04:23 AM
It's just some marketing schmuck who decided to use a fancy word to try and give their product more class. It's a way for them to try and make it appear that their instruments are or will be prized.

My personal opinion is that anyone that believes they need to fancy up their stuff by using silly adjectives like "heirloom" are trying a bit too hard to compensate for something.

vanflynn
08-24-2012, 04:23 AM
A Hairloom instrument is used to make rugs.

stevepetergal
08-24-2012, 04:38 AM
Perhaps the use of the word heirloom in regard to quality is appropriate if we actually say "heirloom quality" rather than just "heirloom". Like Skitzic suggested and dnewton seems to see it, an heirloom quality instrument could be one that the owner will look forward to handing down, one that will be cherished for generations.

I like the term. It is rather heart warming.

KamakOzzie
08-24-2012, 04:57 AM
My dog can take a dump in the yard today, and I can scoop it up, set it aside and give it to my son, he can give it to his son, and so on and so on, and technically, it will be a "heirloom".

Is your dog an heirdale?

Bill

The Big Kahuna
08-24-2012, 05:02 AM
"Are those Aquilas on that dog turd ?"

"No, he has Tapeworms"

Patrick Madsen
08-24-2012, 05:52 AM
Like Steve said, the words make me think of the instruments that are passed down thru the family instrument library to future generations of family players; on the third generation now. They get to pick from the library and get to keep as long as it's being played. If not played, it goes back to the "vault" or they get to pick another from there.

I would be cautious buying someone elses' heirloom unless it was explained that it's just not being played anymore.

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 06:22 AM
Being a romantic by nature, I love the term too. But not as a marketing ploy. It has nothing to do with quality. I understand they are using it to give the illusion of quality whether warranted or not. But, the word as it was originally intended has nothing to do with quality, but more as "cherrished for generations". I don't like the word as used as a marketing term. It's like the term "Heavy Duty". That term used to mean something. But these days, everything is marketed "Heavy Duty" so now that term means nothing.

And no, my dog is not a hierdale. And his little piles of "heirlooms" will never be very rare because he keeps leaving them laying around the yard every day. ;)

luluwrites
08-24-2012, 07:02 AM
In my bookseller days, we used the euphemism "well loved" to mean "used", as in: Ms. Rowling will sign copies of Harry Potter purchased here today, plus one well-loved copy from home.

If I read "heirloom" about an instrument, I would assume that the instrument was of outstanding quality, but had already had one owner. My assumption would probably be incorrect, but there you go.

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 07:14 AM
That said, and my opinion of that is, a heirloom is specific to one family. If a heirloom is sold, it is no longer a heirloom of that family. That circle has been broken. That doesn't mean it can't become a heirloom of another family, but not until it is handed down from at least one generation to another. A new heirloom circle has started. Watching most those shows like Pawn Stars, and things like that. It really bugs me to see someone walk in to a pawn shop or otherwise put up for sale a heirloom that was handed down. I hear, "it was my grandfather's" or something like that. Especially war relics that came from a father/mother, grandfather/grandmother from someone in the family that served in war and handed the item of their service down, then to take it and sell it for a fist full of dollar bills. Again, being a romantic, what is a fistfull of dollars going to do? Your circle and connection to that item is broken. I understand sometimes you have to in todays ecconomy, but man, I can't put a price on sentiment. I would have to be in dire straights to give up something cherrished like that. But it bugs me to see some people have no problem selling something of so much family significance and that families history without any remorse of thought. It's just me..


In my bookseller days, we used the euphemism "well loved" to mean "used", as in: Ms. Rowling will sign copies of Harry Potter purchased here today, plus one well-loved copy from home.

If I read "heirloom" about an instrument, I would assume that the instrument was of outstanding quality, but had already had one owner. My assumption would probably be incorrect, but there you go.

Uke Republic
08-24-2012, 08:20 AM
Herr Loom? Ya I know him

hammer40
08-24-2012, 11:02 AM
So, it sounds like this is nothing more than advertising then. Basically, they are just saying, I build a beautiful, hand made instrument that will last for years and be handed down through the family. Kind of what I thought it meant but then you never know.

ksiegel
08-24-2012, 11:04 AM
Yeah, when I think "heirloom", I think about the Samovar that my grandmother's grandmother received as a wedding present in Russia in the 18-somethings.

And I think about that a lot - it is the single item I requested my parents bequeath to me in their will, and we have the provision that when I die, it goes to whichever of my nephews will treasure it the way I do.

The harmony Soprano Uke my Father-in-law gave me is special, but it isn't an heirloom. (Although at least one of the antique firearms he gave to my wife and me certainly ought to be...)



-Kurt



Although when I went to that mandolin page, I certainly understood the Big Kahuna's inappropriate use of hands...

csibona
08-24-2012, 12:19 PM
The idea behind "heirloom" marketing is that you are not buying the product for yourself but for the next generation. You may use it now but since you intend to hand it off to someone else it is not like you are buying yourself an expensive item but that you are really buying an expensive item for someone else. It's reasonably good marketing - but it does make people think you are selling them snake oil...

BlackBearUkes
08-24-2012, 01:26 PM
I agree its just a marketing ploy for someone trying to sell an instrument that they think will be special in the future, but really its just hype. I once knew an artist who painted and carved ducks and wildlife scenes. His painting and carvings were small and when asked what they sold for, he would always say to his client that they were priceless and will be worth a small fortune in the future. He actually believed this until the day he died. I once asked him why he told people this story, and he said to simply get more money and he thought people always felt better paying more so they could boost about it to they friends. I told him that an artist doesn't have any control over how their work will be valued in the future and to suggest it is priceless now is taking advantage of people. He just smiled and said some people want to be taken advantage of. End of story.

Hippie Dribble
08-24-2012, 01:34 PM
from the Oxford dictionary...

"a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations"

By this I take it that the word implies neither quality nor monetary significance, but familial ties that bind, by which it's 'value' is derived.

From a marketing standpoint one might sell an 'heirloom' on the basis of it being antique, unique or rare, but as Tony said, the esteem in which his dog's turd is held by his great grandson may not be the esteem in which my great grandson may hold it. :p

connor013
08-24-2012, 01:37 PM
Not to be a jerk, but I have an heirloom OED!

Tudorp
08-24-2012, 02:16 PM
Well, of course not brother. It's not your dog!!! lol.. But, if you change your mind, I'll send ya some, hahhah..


from the Oxford dictionary...

"a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations"

By this I take it that the word implies neither quality nor monetary significance, but familial ties that bind, by which it's 'value' is derived.

From a marketing standpoint one might sell an 'heirloom' on the basis of it being antique, unique or rare, but as Tony said, the esteem in which his dog's turd is held by his great grandson may not be the esteem in which my great grandson may hold it. :p

stevepetergal
08-24-2012, 03:52 PM
I'm not really bothered by the term "heirloom" or "heirloom quality". Is it a maketing tool? Sure. But so is "High Quality" or "World Class"..."the choice of discriminating artists" "spot-on intonation".
The talk of dog droppings is un-called-for. Some things actually are Heirloom Quality. Even some ukuleles, believe it or not.

AndrewKuker
08-24-2012, 04:14 PM
Well said Steve. The dog crap surely could not be saved. Physically impossible. But how many things that we spend money on will appreciate with time. A great instrument well taken care of is one of the few. My kids wont get my cameras or cars, computers, surfboards, tv's, books, clothes and on and on. That stuff will all be a joke. But my master grade Koa Ko'olau guitar that my wife bought me for our anniversary will eventually be played by one of their kids, most likely. And that's why I can describe it as heirloom quality. Craig Lavin has some really cool thoughts on the way consumers are nowadays. Check out this video here on his website. It's an interesting thing to think about.- handcraftinlay.com/ (http://www.handcraftinlay.com/) - Go there and click on - The Artist -