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View Full Version : How to insult a luthier?



Pete Howlett
08-17-2014, 11:23 AM
Ask him to build a uke like (insert another luthiers name here)... New one on me but I suspect others have had this type of face-slapping request waiting for them in their inbox no?

Titchtheclown
08-17-2014, 11:37 AM
Personally I would not be insulted if someone asked me to build a ukulele like Pete Howlett.

ukantor
08-17-2014, 11:43 AM
I've not heard of anything like that, Pete, but it just shows how unthinking and insensitive some people can be. I don't think you would want to build a uke for someone with that mind-set.

John Colter.

Jim Hanks
08-17-2014, 12:05 PM
Not being a luthier, I can only imagine, but it probably wasn't intended as an insult. Perhaps you could ask the potential client what aspects of the other uke they particularly like and that could open the conversation into what you're good at and how you can meet the same ends (or not). But I recall a recent post from Rick Turner with a similar story like "can you make it more like a Taylor" (or whatever it was) and he refunded her deposit and said "go down he street and buy a Taylor" (paraphrasing). So I do understand the sentiment.

SteveZ
08-17-2014, 12:34 PM
Ask him to build a uke like (insert another luthiers name here)... New one on me but I suspect others have had this type of face-slapping request waiting for them in their inbox no?

It would not surprise me if the comment was, "Build me a uke/guitar/mandolin like ------, only cheaper. He charges too much!"

To me, rightly or wrongly, there are two kind of folk being called luthiers these days. One is like a mechanic - can set up, fix damage and generally put back together what's broken and build under the supervision of an artisan. The other is the artisan who builds based on a combination of skill, imagination, knowledge, experience, uniqueness and talent. Am lucky enough to have two "artisan" instruments and have the greatest respect for the luthier-artisans who built them.

Doc_J
08-17-2014, 01:04 PM
This world has all kinds of people. And a well known and sought after luthier will hear from many of types of folks, asking for all kinds of things. Hopefully, most will think first before contacting a luthier for what they want. But apparently some don't. Take that insulting request as a twisted compliment.

Inksplosive AL
08-17-2014, 01:29 PM
Not being a luthier, I can only imagine, but it probably wasn't intended as an insult. Perhaps you could ask the potential client what aspects of the other uke they particularly like and that could open the conversation into what you're good at and how you can meet the same ends (or not).

Yeah you need to have your nose out of the air to be able to see through the trees!

As a pro tattoo artist I have been asked in the middle of a tattoo so Al... what do you do for your real job?

I do know someday I'll own a BlackBear ukulele!

Jim Hanks
08-17-2014, 01:33 PM
I do know someday I'll own a BlackBear ukulele!
Um, you do realize Pete Howlett is not BlackBear, right? Although both are top shelf.

coolkayaker1
08-17-2014, 02:22 PM
Question: is it reasonable to ask for a Martin copy? I don't know; I'm curious.

PhilUSAFRet
08-17-2014, 02:59 PM
Ignorance and naivete' notwithstanding, it's always risky to assume someone's intent is to insult or offend when, quite probably, it is not. I would prefer to think of a good luthier as also a good business man. The solution for ignorance is information, not rejection. Just my take on the matter.
If inquiring of a Martin copy is unreasonable Kayaker, then I have committed that faux pas.

Yknot
08-17-2014, 04:16 PM
As a full-time luthier of 20 years, and part-time for 20 years before that, I always welcomed a new challenge, provided the wood was paid for before the project started. My major failure so far has been to find a way to uncut wood..
I welcome a new idea, a new approach to building. Give me some new information to process, and - maybe - work into a build, and I'm happy. On ukuleles, I'm still new, having built about a dozen instruments of various sizes. Ask me to build a Martin replica - most certainly I'd do that. And then I'd see if I could build a better instrument, starting with the Martin design. You'd get a good instrument and I'd learn something in the process. I find a great deal of enjoyment in building string instruments, each one takes on it's own life. And there is always the better uke, better design, new ideas on down the road. Particularly since I'm (somewhat) retired and now build to my own whims!

ksiegel
08-17-2014, 06:02 PM
During a conversation with Rick Turner about Ukes and luthiers, I mentioned a couple of luthiers who are here on the forum, and his comment was "One day, I'd like to have one made by [insert name here]."

if Rick Turner would rather have an instrument MADE BY that luthier, rather than making one himself LIKE one made by that luthier, then that tells me all I need to know about the other luthier, and why I would never, ever ask a luthier to build something LIKE another luthier.

We can discuss the whys and wherefores, techniques and build styles, but in the end, each luthier is unique, and the instrument is the reason to buy it, NOT the reason to make one similar to it.



-Kurt

Steveperrywriter
08-17-2014, 06:30 PM
During a conversation with Rick Turner about Ukes and luthiers, I mentioned a couple of luthiers who are here on the forum, and his comment was "One day, I'd like to have one made by [insert name here]."

if Rick Turner would rather have an instrument MADE BY that luthier, rather than making one himself LIKE one made by that luthier, then that tells me all I need to know about the other luthier, and why I would never, ever ask a luthier to build something LIKE another luthier.

We can discuss the whys and wherefores, techniques and build styles, but in the end, each luthier is unique, and the instrument is the reason to buy it, NOT the reason to make one similar to it.



-Kurt

Hear, hear ...

BlackBearUkes
08-17-2014, 06:46 PM
The only time I felt like I was insulted was when I gathered all the wood for a commission and was waiting for the down payment when weeks later the guy emails me saying he contacted another luthier to build the uke for cheaper and did I mind.

Allen
08-17-2014, 06:50 PM
I have had a couple of those requests over the years.

One fella even sent me a link to the exact instrument he wanted me to copy (it was some way out there idea that would take months to build) and asked how much? When I told him the exact same as the other luthier he was insulted. Figured I should do it on the cheap.

sukie
08-17-2014, 06:55 PM
During a conversation with Rick Turner about Ukes and luthiers, I mentioned a couple of luthiers who are here on the forum, and his comment was "One day, I'd like to have one made by [insert name here]."

if Rick Turner would rather have an instrument MADE BY that luthier, rather than making one himself LIKE one made by that luthier, then that tells me all I need to know about the other luthier, and why I would never, ever ask a luthier to build something LIKE another luthier.

We can discuss the whys and wherefores, techniques and build styles, but in the end, each luthier is unique, and the instrument is the reason to buy it, NOT the reason to make one similar to it.



-Kurt
Perfect way to put it.

aaronckeim
08-18-2014, 05:12 AM
Yup, we have heard that and plenty worse. Especially when people aren't aware of what we do and how we do it. It is pretty easy to tell when someone could be a challenging customer: bargain hunting, chasing an impossible dream uke, has been denied by all the other builders, has insane design ideas, has unreasonably high expectations, wants you to copy another living builder, etc...It's just a matter of communicating up front and making sure they really want one of ours. That way everyone knows what they are getting into and are setup for success.
A

stevepetergal
08-18-2014, 06:16 AM
Here's what I think would insult me. Someone asking me to build an instrument because they like my work. Then, in the same breath, saying they could get a Mahalo for a 75% less.

hoosierhiver
08-18-2014, 06:44 AM
I think I would have responded, "yes, I can build you a ukulele like -----, but you're going to pay like you're Bill Gates."

PhilUSAFRet
08-18-2014, 06:45 AM
:wallbash: That would do it!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-18-2014, 07:21 AM
Similar things have happened to me but in reverse. Most recently and closet to home involved my neighbor who also builds ukes. I stopped in his shop one day and saw photos from my website of one of my ukes on his wall. When I asked him what that was about he replied that a customer had sent him pics of my uke and wanted him to build one just like it only cheaper! I think that happens pretty often.

mds725
08-18-2014, 08:23 AM
During a conversation with Rick Turner about Ukes and luthiers, I mentioned a couple of luthiers who are here on the forum, and his comment was "One day, I'd like to have one made by [insert name here]."

if Rick Turner would rather have an instrument MADE BY that luthier, rather than making one himself LIKE one made by that luthier, then that tells me all I need to know about the other luthier, and why I would never, ever ask a luthier to build something LIKE another luthier.

We can discuss the whys and wherefores, techniques and build styles, but in the end, each luthier is unique, and the instrument is the reason to buy it, NOT the reason to make one similar to it.



-Kurt

Rick is insanely wise.

Nickie
08-18-2014, 09:19 AM
The nerve of some people! I would never want a cheapened version of anything!
I think that tells a lot about the customer's character...

Pete Howlett
08-18-2014, 09:23 AM
I don't think price was the issue - it was more a lack of imagination and an insane lack of probity.

sukie
08-18-2014, 10:00 AM
Similar things have happened to me but in reverse. Most recently and closet to home involved my neighbor who also builds ukes. I stopped in his shop one day and saw photos from my website of one of my ukes on his wall. When I asked him what that was about he replied that a customer had sent him pics of my uke and wanted him to build one just like it only cheaper! I think that happens pretty often.
Hope it wasn't mine. An imitation wouldn't do it justice anyway.

I feel for you luthiers. People can be such knuckleheads.

Timbuck
08-18-2014, 11:12 AM
I got a phone call from a guy...He said "Right! I want to buy one of your Sopranos but! I'm not paying that much" from his accent I gathered that he was a Yorkshire man...Same as me :)

ukantor
08-18-2014, 11:25 AM
Deep pockets, short arms - right?

Timbuck
08-18-2014, 11:48 AM
That's us John...It's in the blood tha' knows ;)

hawaii 50
08-18-2014, 12:21 PM
Similar things have happened to me but in reverse. Most recently and closet to home involved my neighbor who also builds ukes. I stopped in his shop one day and saw photos from my website of one of my ukes on his wall. When I asked him what that was about he replied that a customer had sent him pics of my uke and wanted him to build one just like it only cheaper! I think that happens pretty often.

Chuck...the builder can try to make it look like one of yours(but this can not be done IMO)..

but it is all about the tone of each builders uke... no one can get close to what you do tone wise.....:)

ksquine
08-19-2014, 06:33 PM
I've usually get asked if I can build a uke like a luthier.....instead of my usual hack jobs

Bob Orr
08-20-2014, 10:15 AM
I got a phone call from a guy...He said "Right! I want to buy one of your Sopranos but! I'm not paying that much" from his accent I gathered that he was a Yorkshire man...Same as me :)

Definition of a Yorkshireman? a Scotsman with all the generosity squeezed out!

Bob (a Jock)

TJ Uke
08-21-2014, 08:12 AM
What about recreations of historical instruments?