Your definition of build vs assemble?????

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by G.Rotten, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    I see a lot of people talking about building guitars that are ordering the neck & body as well as all the other components.

    Then there are the people who hand pick a pc of wood & turn it into a beautiful instrument & both refer to the themselves as "Builders".

    Now there is nothing wrong with either way, but I wonder why it's acceptable for both to use the same title. Though I have built a handful of bodies from scratch I wouldn't call myself a "builder" because I have never made a neck from scratch. I am at best an "extreme modifier" IMO. I'm aware that there are entire businesses where "The Builder" orders necks from a supplier.

    Where is the dividing line between "Builder vs Assembler"? Is it volume?

    IMO a builder needs to have a band-saw.
     
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  2. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    It doesn’t matter. Assemblers know they aren’t building from scratch, and we all know it too. No need to get hung up on these definitions.
     
  3. Deepblankspace

    Deepblankspace TDPRI Member

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    Its the difference between a luthier and a guitar tech,
    I am a guiar tech, i assemble guitars
     
  4. Jared macneill

    Jared macneill Tele-Meister

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    I think building is buying an unfinished part and finishing and assembling. Like my tele body I had to fine sand and do the actual finning process. Something like a finished warmoth body would be assembling or a part caster


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  5. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    Either way I suppose it's ok for anyone to call it either way. It did raise my eyebrow recently when someone stated that they'd done two builds this year. (My first thought without even reading the thread, "ahem, no you didn't")

    For me personally, if I didn't make all the wood and do the fretwork I didn't build it and can't put my logo on it.
     
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  6. Torren61

    Torren61 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I use the term build/assemble when referring to my own work but I guess assemble would be more accurate. I don’t think I’ve ever said I built a guitar.
     
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  7. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Afflicted

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    I saw someone catch some grief a few years back for planning a new build and someone pointed out that there was no build, it was just them talking about a list of parts. Poor form if you ask me. Now I've built 6 or 7 guitars from "scratch" now, but not everyone has the means to do so, whether they don't have access to the tools, or just don't have the space for them. But building guitars is fun so why should we exclude based on terminology.

    The other thing is when I plot out a build, I sharpen up a new spreadsheet, and list all the components that I need for it. Bridge, pickups, pickguard, tuners, truss rod, pots, knobs, frets, etc. And I find that I don't build any of those things. The part of the guitar I'm actually creating is limited to 2 parts, the neck and the body. I'm not machining my own bridge! I have wound a few sets of pickups, but that's another story.

    I'm sure there are plenty of Luther's building acoustic guitars and other fine instruments that look down on what most of us do here as simply routing wood with a template. So there are different levels for everything and I'm not about to get picky.
     
  8. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    This is my thinking too, & I say that knowing I have never made all the wood in a guitar (thus never having put my name on even my own guitars).
     
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  9. KT89

    KT89 Tele-Meister

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    I think building vs assembling actually implicates a pretty significant difference in level of work, planning, expertise and skill. When building a guitar, even if you use routing templates there is a lot of micro adjustment done on component placement, sanding work, cleaning up power tool cuts, etc. that you don't get with assembling a guitar. Setting up the centerline on a scratch build is very nerve wracking. I feel the same way about anyone who "builds" an amp from a kit: it skips what is IMO the toughest part of the build: measuring and drilling/working the chassis, building and upholstering a head cab, component selection, etc. The easy part is dropping in and soldering a few components.

    THAT SAID, people have fun "assembling" guitars. They are proud of their creation. Just say congrats and be happy for them there's no need to be a snob about it.
     
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  10. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    Build = you make the body and neck from wood blanks.

    I built some guitars and a couple I assembled. I do not take credit for building a guitar if I did not make the body and neck.

    I don’t care what terms other people choose to use.

    .
     
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  11. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    IDK. I see the point of the OP, but as a kid I never said “I assembled that model airplane.” We all knew I didn’t inject the styrene into a mold, so the manufacturing part of “build” was left out.


    If we took the idea of building vs assembling, I guess there could be no purchase parts, they would all have to be bespoke. A little further, we’d have to cut down our own trees, mine our own ores, pump our own crude and build out from raw materials.

    But, essentially everyone (pro and amateur) has purchase parts in their builds.
     
  12. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    There's certainly no reason for anyone to feel "less accomplished" for either way because both can create a fantastic instrument that is different and has a different level of pride over what can be just bought.

    However, there is a whole level of skills in actually building a guitar from a raw piece of wood vs. everyone with a Parts-caster is an assembler.

    I doubt there are many if any "Builders" who build every component (unless that is actually their niche), so to me it comes down to woodworking.
     
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  13. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Holic

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    It's just words, it doesn't bother me what people say usually as long as the intention isn't to deceive.

    ... My brother in law builds houses, he doesn't make the bricks or saw the wood.

    When someone says "I'm starting a new warmoth build" we all know what they mean.

    I don't really know why some people seem to get so upset over this kind of thing.

    ... did you really make that guitar? Did you grow the tree, make your own fret write? forge your own bridge? .. everything is assembled to some degree. None of it matters unless you are a business.
     
  14. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think this argument is about the wrong thing. Pointless. Some builders make more of the parts they use than others. And some builders make better guitars than others. When you buy a guitar, you just get the guitar. You didn't buy the story.

    And where do you draw the line? Nobody makes their own tuners. Any of these boutique builders have a punch press to make control plates, stamp out bridges? A few make their own pickups, but nobody makes their own pots.

    And amps are just as bad. Amp builders buy the parts they put in those amps, right? They are just assemblers, too.
     
  15. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    I ve built guitars and a bass where the only thing I didn't make were the tuners. P-ups, bridge, and nut all from scratch,. But assembling a Warmouth neck and GFS body w off the shelf parts is just as full filling. It seems like making a guitar either way because the sound you want is really what's being made. Whether some parts toward that goal are either bought or made doesn't matter.
     
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  16. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    Where do you draw the line is my question too. None of the big guitar builders build their own hardware in their facilities, so I wouldn't expect that to be part of the criteria.

    I've had several dozen parts casters in my day because I'm a "modder" through & through. Once you've changed the neck, tuners, bridge & pickups you have essentially assembled a guitar.

    I've also gone to the wood store, selected raw wood, & worked it into a guitar body, then put all the other parts on it. That's a completely skill set that also includes the skill set of assembling. Because I've never done all the woodworking (never made a neck) for any of my personal guitars I don't consider myself a builder.

    One day I hope to cross that bridge, but not yet.

    Amp builders are also not builders IMO (unless they made the cabinet).
     
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  17. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I kinda think it is an important distinction to make. A guitar assembler has no business referring to her/himself as a guitar builder/luthier. I make my own bodies but use Allparts necks....therefore I am not a builder.

    A builder, by my definition, is someone who can take some bits of wood (that are not guitar shaped) and a few weeks later play Stairway To Heaven on that wood. If you're doing less than that than you are not a builder. I personally know one real builder....and quite a few assemblers.
     
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  18. mugen74

    mugen74 Tele-Meister

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    Here’s another question. Would you pay $3000 for an “assembled” guitar? Because quite a few people on this site have. A very popular “builder” is nothing more than an assembler, but his guitars sell for $2-3000 and I think a lot of people don’t realize they are just partscasters with fancy paint jobs.

    jh
     
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  19. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Holic

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    Fender?
     
  20. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    Very true & no I wouldn't, but not because of the Builder vs Assembler thing (though I don't consider those "builders" builders). More because of the I don't have $2-3k & I like assembling my own guitars.

    Again, there's nothing wrong with an assembled guitar. I do it all the time & enjoy those guitars the most. There's nothing like a guitar that is exactly how you want it regardless of how it came to be.

    Building one from scratch is a whole new level of joy & is deserving of it's own label.
     
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