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The Boutique Truth..??

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by NastyMojo, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I think it is a just about perfect corollary.

    I see people order pieces parts from good sources, and make an awful mess of them I wouldn't want in my house at all. If you reshape the necks, redetail the headstock, apply coatings and topcoatings, fit parts meticulously with a willingness to keep matching necks and bodies until things actually work wonderfully, you can give that value away for cheap but you shouldn't have to if others would fail trying to do the same thing you've just done.

    I've seen "boutique" guitars (from sources that do not participate with TDPRI) where there's one example using Allparts parts and a second example of all in-house made parts and I thought the "Allparts Partscaster" was easily nicer than their inside guitar but also way way nicer than the average Allparts partscasters I see out there in Fender-Land. You can use this construct to convince yourself a CS Fender No-Caster is just a partscaster as well, if you wanna strain that way.

    I don't begrudge the O.P.'s inability to appreciate this. This could be all new to him. It takes time, it takes experience with the undertaking to start to pick up on why one thing is not worth $ 50 while something awfully similar in some superficial ways is worth $ 5,000, at least to most. And more; some people actually want a Seasick Steve guitar with rattly parts falling off, with pots and wires loose and cutting in and out. Some people want a guitar that fell into a mineshaft 10 years ago, or was in the mud in a pond for 6 months. I've stopped trying to make decisions for people who want those kinds of bragging rights - just give them what they want, and make them pay enough so they're convinced they are special.
     
  2. NastyMojo

    NastyMojo Tele-Afflicted

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    Everybody brought up very good points,and answered my basic question of why they charge what they charge,and it all makes sense now. I already put my own guitars together,and no its not easy by any means. I tools can be expensive :D
     
  3. jjkrause84

    jjkrause84 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Exactly. The time and expertise of assembling and perfecting guitar parts to create a coherent whole IS worth money....serious money, if you get a real professional. That said, if you say 'I build custom guitars' it gives the impression that wood becomes guitar all under the same roof. As we all know, this is not always the case.

    Personally, I think buyers would be perfectly comfortable knowing that the builder reshapes/refines USACG materials (for example)...they would understand that they are paying for labour and expertise, and that their money is purchasing them a superior product that they would not otherwise have access to.
     
  4. BigD

    BigD Friend of Leo's

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    This was a very good question to ask and was answered very nicely also.

    You're paying for someones time and skills. And the vast network of logistics it takes to get it done.
     
  5. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Afflicted

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    Great responses to this. Rod Kirn does it again.

    A Tele is a very simple design. Good parts for it are readily available from the vendors you listed, and those parts will usually be equal in quality to most guitar makers out there (indeed, a lot of guitar makers use those same parts, as we discussed).

    I feel a good kit from Warmoth/All Parts/MJT will put you right in the ballpark of anything, as long as you know how to screw stuff together. Bringing it to a trusted guitar shop for a good setup afterward would top it off nicely. I would trust the guitar shop I go to in Milwaukee to setup my guitar as well as many guitar builders would.

    I have a feeling guys like Don Grosh and Tom Anderson do actually build the whole thing and don't assemble parts (I might be wrong), so if you're looking for a high end experience, that may be the way to go.
     
  6. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Ya know...my work is fairly mechanical. It depends on making adjustments, fabricating pieces and parts and common sense understanding of physics. I'm also a very unaccomplished and undiciplined guitar player. Even though I've hacked away at it for many years I'll never be a speed player. I might even be able to bolt together aftermarket parts into something that pleases me.

    But in order to assemble a world class instrument it requires a heck of alot of tiny details that need to be addressed in a certain order to avoid creating an instrument that will disappoint.

    There are plenty of accolades and praise for the custom builders. Enough to eliminate any percievable mistrust of these craftsmen.
     
  7. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

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    You said it well, william tele.

    We can buy a world class guitar of top notch materials made to our custom specs by experts, many of whom have devoted decades to perfecting their capabilities - and for only a few thousand bucks.

    In contrast, in the violin, flute, piano, etc. families, a few thousand bucks will get a student instrument, and not a very good one.
     
  8. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    H. Mac, so many times I fail to cover all the details in a conversation and I think I did here as well. When saying there should be no mistrust, I guess I mean that the established builders on this forum have proven they deliver the goods and if they didn't there would be more critical feedback from the pro players and those who know what a build is worth.

    I think the methods and materials that a builder uses is something that any interested customer would enquire about during an initial spec discussion...so the whole question of disclosure seems kind of superfluous.
     
  9. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

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    I feel exactly the same way.. Gotta say that some of these 'builders' IMO are questionable. I contacted several before deciding who to go with and was left with the feeling I was getting BSed by a few. Interestingly they were also the most expensive and the ones with a sales pitch. Funny how that works..
     
  10. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    the feeling I was getting BSed by a few. Interestingly they were also the most expensive and the ones with a sales pitch.

    Well these's the stuff I'm looking for and possibly the original poster as well. Would you be able to elaborate on who you have these "feelings" about? Isn't that the truth we're all looking for? Thanks...
     
  11. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yes, but I think a guitarsmith should have the option of making his own raw necks and/or placing mass orders from USACG for necks with uncommon specifications, or perhaps stock unfinished necks from Allparts, and then give the customer the option as to what he wants.

    And.

    I want to emphasize that the unfinished necks that come in the box from Allparts, even though they're licensed and have a lot of Fender DNA in them, still have a long way to go before they can be called a finished product. I think there's a tendency to put down guys who use these pieces parts as though it is a finished product. I suggest it is just a starting point.
     
  12. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Forum member Rob Destefano(?) seems to be able to put together some really nice partscasters for people without breaking the bank. I'm pretty sure you can send him a box of crap and he'll send you back a diamond.
     
  13. johnboy99

    johnboy99 Tele-Meister

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    There is an old saying that goes something like, "there is only one fair price for anything... the price that 2 people agree on." if you think something is overpriced, don't buy it. Do your homework, ask your questions, and qualify the person you want to hire to build your guitar, ask for referrals, play some of their guitars etc. I think our perception of price is distorted because you can walk into GC and buy a decent instrument for a couple hundred bucks, made overseas - not to mention the junk acoustics for $89... Its really amazing that someone can make an acoustic guitar( buy the wood, parts, finish it etc) pack it ship it to the USA for probably $40-50... It would take me forever to build an acoustic... Mass manufacturing overseas and custom, USA craftsmen are going to be pretty far apart on price. But it's up to you to choose your budget and make the best choice.


    I agree - buyer has the right to know what they are getting.
     
  14. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'd rather not mention names but will say that the guy that I chose to build my guitar has already posted on this thread.
     
  15. John Page

    John Page Tele-Meister

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    Then I would respectfully suggest that if the building process were reduced to a "1 to 10" process it's a matter of whether you want to start at 1 or 7.

    That being said, if the people making the neck and body do a good job at their end, the results from 7 to 10 can still make or break the guitar. But there is a huge amount of influence in steps 1 to 6 in making a great guitar.
     
  16. tapollok

    tapollok Tele-Holic

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    This....and...a great corollary...one of many versions:

    Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a woman approached him.
    “It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”
    So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the woman his work of art.
    “It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”
    “Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.
    “B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

    To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

    Related...
    I wear Maui Jim Titanium sunglasses. Now $309.00 plus tax.
    They have no hinge and are so light and comfy I barely know they're on my mug. Are they $300.00 better than dime-store cheapos?...wait for it...

    Irrelevant question.

    They are exactly what I want to feel (or, not feel) on my face.
    I have not experienced their equal at lower cost.
    I don't care that I can spend the same amount and wear a different pair of cheapo's every day for a month...I don't care what the production cost is...I don't care what the markup is...I don't care if they outsource mfr'g...I don't care about brand names. I am willing to pay for the end result of their design and manufacture as it benefits me.

    I, too, own a small manufacturing company. Though we have weathered the "downturn", our inside joke is that we have been "paying our clients for the privilege of creating cool stuff for them". I could stun the audience with the hard facts about the cost of doing business...but I'll leave it at the hard fact that I would have a Kirn in my hands right now if I hadn't been bleeding "green" for the last 3 years.:rolleyes:

    Cheers!

    Tom
     
  17. Skub

    Skub Poster Extraordinaire

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    Choice is king.

    I don't know of anyone forced to pay more than they want to for a Telecaster,we are balls deep in options.

    tapollok's Picasso yarn sums it up for me.
     
  18. Bar01

    Bar01 TDPRI Member

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  19. Oakville Dave

    Oakville Dave Friend of Leo's

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    TDPRI member Bill Scheltema BUILDS HIS OWN bodies, necks (he can do a compound radius if you want!) AND even winds his own pickups!!! As for hardware he'll use whatever brand you prefer or the high quality hardware that he uses for his guitars. So if you want a maple capped chambered body with a Calham bridge, Kluson tuners, Bill Lawrence pickups, and a 7.5 to 12.5 rosewood fingerboard on a flamed maple neck, he can build it for you!!! Check him out at www.canadianbreed.com. I play his #003 Premium T Style guitar and it's a knockout in every way PLUS his prices are better than that any other custom builder (and even assembler!) that I've seen!! Check out #003 on my website, www.groovehammer.ca and click the CDN BREED tab.

    Good Luck!
     

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  20. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

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    An excellent, quotable quote, Tom! It sums it up really well.

    If someone has (1) the capability of appreciating a custom guitar; and (2) is willing to pay for it, then they will almost certaintly end up with a quality guitar that they can and do appreciate.

    I have a custom guitar made by my local guitar tech, and am very familiar with the time, labor, and "smarts" that he put into it. Thanks to his expertise, his ingenuity, his patience, his knowledge of the characteristics and differences in the available Fender and after market components, his ability to deal with my endless questions, I own the best guitar that I've ever played, and I was more than willing to pay for it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
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