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-   -   “Handcrafted” vs. “Handmade” (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=555836)

Simon Fay 08-26-2019 10:46 AM

The posts on this thread are on point -- it's a marketing line mostly. The reality is that even with very sophisticated tooling, instruments require a great deal of "hand work". Constrast that with products from IKEA that can be manufactured with almost no human labor going into the construction other than operating a machine with a computer controlled interface (CNC machines).

The term is meant to evoke a scenario akin/similar to products made in glass blowing. Something that is made by an artisan - not something made in an assembly line. So while Martin, Eastman, Taylor, etc... use the term and in some ways it is correct (as there is a lot of hands on labor involved), their very business model goes directly against what it means to be handmade. Hence, the reason we say it's marketing because it really isn't a honest representation of what handmade is supposed to be.


The real interesting thing is that very little woodworking nowadays is actually "handmade" by the true definition. Handmade is defined as being produced by hand tools only (chisels, rasps, files, planes, etc...). But the word is so ingrained that we've carried it over to also recognize objects that are made with great care and in small numbers by artisans.

dneal 08-26-2019 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ljguitar (Post 6146766)
Hi Ozark Picker

I understand the confusion. There is no 'official' language to differentiate between manufactured (Martin, Gibson, Taylor), from small factory (SantaCruz, Froggy Bottom, Collings) or solo builders (Olson, Bashkin, Lowden) and small team builders…(Somogyi has apprentices, McKnight…others' hands touch guitars during builds, but Tim does the main parts and voicing, Ryan…two man builds).

You post this pretty consistently, and I rebut it, but here we go again.

Froggy is hardly a "small factory", and nowhere close to Santa Cruz and Collings. It's Michael Millard and 3 other guys in a shed in Vermont.

Doesn't look like a factory to me.

http://i655.photobucket.com/albums/u...s/P1000057.jpg

http://i655.photobucket.com/albums/u...s/P1000061.jpg

pictures shamelessly stolen from Michael Watts' post HERE

Haasome 08-26-2019 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dneal (Post 6146808)
You post this pretty consistently, and I rebut it, but here we go again.

Froggy is hardly a "small factory", and nowhere close to Santa Cruz and Collings. It's Michael Millard and 3 other guys in a shed in Vermont.

Doesn't look like a factory to me.

I agree, we don’t have a rule for categories. But I thought that categorization of Froggy was odd. I bought a Froggy in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Each guitar was built and signed by the same 3 people. Froggy builds 100 guitars/year. It’s hardly a factory. Here is Michael building my guitar in 2016 — in his “factory.”

https://i.imgur.com/uxXNVwLl.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/75DQcOtl.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/sKVKUedl.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/riS0SVMl.jpg

rokdog49 08-26-2019 12:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Fay (Post 6146773)
The posts on this thread are on point -- it's a marketing line mostly. The reality is that even with very sophisticated tooling, instruments require a great deal of "hand work". Constrast that with products from IKEA that can be manufactured with almost no human labor going into the construction other than operating a machine with a computer controlled interface (CNC machines).

The term is meant to evoke a scenario akin/similar to products made in glass blowing. Something that is made by an artisan - not something made in an assembly line. So while Martin, Eastman, Taylor, etc... use the term and in some ways it is correct (as there is a lot of hands on labor involved), their very business model goes directly against what it means to be handmade. Hence, the reason we say it's marketing because it really isn't a honest representation of what handmade is supposed to be.


The real interesting thing is that very little woodworking nowadays is actually "handmade" by the true definition. Handmade is defined as being produced by hand tools only (chisels, rasps, files, planes, etc...). But the word is so ingrained that we've carried it over to also recognize objects that are made with great care and in small numbers by artisans.

I'm curious as to why you lumped Eastman in with companies who build nearly twenty times as many guitars as Eastman.
Eastman does use hand tools and I was told more so than any other production guitar builder. They are a large group of "luthiers" doing individual tasks with hand tools and with some guitars it is one person start to finish.
Furthermore, Eastman doesn't even promote how they "hand build" their guitars as a "marketing" tool except on their website.
Eastman does very very little other conventional marketing.
Some of their dealers mention it, that's about it.
Eastman is not your typical "mass production" off shore guitar maker folks and they are in fact, building guitars...by hand.

mischultz 08-26-2019 01:52 PM

And Lowden in the solo category was equally curious.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haasome (Post 6146844)
I agree, we don’t have a rule for categories. But I thought that categorization of Froggy was odd. I bought a Froggy in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Each guitar was built and signed by the same 3 people. Froggy builds 100 guitars/year. It’s hardly a factory. Here is Michael building my guitar in 2016 — in his “factory.”


gitarro 08-26-2019 04:17 PM

There doesn't seem to me to be any difference between the meaning of hand made and hand crafted - both seem to literally mean the same thing.

In any event it us a pointless distinction because even in the lagest factories guitsrs are still being made by human beings operating mostly hand tools and sometimes heavier machinery and sometimes directing computer assisted machinery. Even in the smallest luthiers workshops hand tools at the very least are still needed as there never was a luthier rough enough to cut and plane and shape wood with his or her bare hands alone!

To me a more useful distinction is between the approach and purpose of a factory and that of a luthier. A factory is one that makes and treats all its guitars as interchangeable products - they strive to make aln their processes produce as closely as possible the same product over and over again. Hence the individual differences between each set of wood are ignored and all pieces of wood are shaped and thicknessed according to the same standard specifications that are determined according to safety margins designed to limit warranty claims to as low as possible while using the guitars to still sound on average within tolerable levels of lack of responsiveness. Whereas the luthier is solely focused optimising the tonal potential and capabilities of the individual guitar that he makes so that every piece of wood used is chosen and thicknesses and formed to achieve a synthesis in the final build that produces the highest possible tonal benefits while still maintaining structural stability over the long term. Because of this individual focus, the luthier also sees each guitar as a unique work of craftsmanship that melds art and engineering and therefore he may cause the aesthetically pleasing elements of each guitsr to differ markedly one from another depending on the wishes of the customer

Hence the solo luthier may even used computer aided machinery to help her complete the huitar parts but as long as the objectives and methodology are that if a luthier and not factory, she is a luthier. On the other hand if he has the approach of a factory even though he us a one man show, then he is basically running an incredibly efficent factory.

gitarro 08-26-2019 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mischultz (Post 6146911)
And Lowden in the solo category was equally curious.

George lowden is also a solo luthier who builds his own guitars solely over and above what his factory makes under his family name. Perhaps that is what ljguitar was referring to.

gitarro 08-26-2019 04:53 PM

Therefore according to my understanding and definitions the Lowden workshop is a factory because as far as I can gather they do not optimise the tone of each guitar but they build according to a standard specification. Likewise for Avalon and McIlroy. On the other hand froggy bottom, Santa cruz, and bourgeois are lutherie workshops because they do individual voicing of guitars.

An example of a luthier doing every operation with only hand tools and without even a bandsaw is boaz elkayam who even takes the trouble to personally cut down some of the wood that he uses. A luthier on the other side of the spectrum is james olson who has perfected the manufacture of his guitars in his one man man shop to such an extent that at the height of his production he was able to make more than 50 guitars a year all by himself.

Haasome 08-26-2019 05:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gitarro (Post 6147043)
Therefore according to my understanding and definitions the Lowden workshop is a factory because as far as I can gather they do not optimise the tone of each guitar but they build according to a standard specification. Likewise for Avalon and McIlroy and collings. On the other hand froggy bottom, Santa cruz, and bourgeois are lutherie workshops because they do individual voicing of guitars

While I still consider Collings a small factory, they do optimize & voice each guitar.
See — https://www.collingsguitars.com/shop...ood-selection/

gitarro 08-26-2019 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Haasome (Post 6147048)
While I still consider Collings a small factory, they do optimize & voice each guitar.
See — https://www.collingsguitars.com/shop...ood-selection/

Thank you for pointing that out to me - I didnt know that. I will make the correction in my post.

Can I ask why is it that you consider Collings to be a factory while considering froggy bottom to be a lutherie set up? Is it purely down to the scale of production all the size of the operation in terms of the number of staff ? It seems to me if both operations employ individual voicing then there is no difference essentially between collings and froggy bottom except sheer physical size because both are lutherie workshops.

1neeto 08-26-2019 05:15 PM

My uncle is an electric guitar luthier of 30+ years, and he has no CNC machines, he calls his guitars hand crafted, and rightfully so. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...51acee24e6.jpg

Haasome 08-26-2019 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1neeto (Post 6147058)
My uncle is an electric guitar luthier of 30+ years, and he has no CNC machines, he calls his guitars hand crafted, and rightfully so. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...51acee24e6.jpg

Boy, I think that is one sweet guitar!

Kerbie 08-26-2019 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1neeto (Post 6147058)
My uncle is an electric guitar luthier of 30+ years, and he has no CNC machines, he calls his guitars hand crafted, and rightfully so.

Very nice! I like it.

gitarro 08-26-2019 05:25 PM

The key Distinction to me is whether or not they individually voice each guitar that they make. If they do then that means they are a lutherie workshop but if not then regardless of their size they are a factory.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rokdog49 (Post 6146861)
I'm curious as to why you lumped Eastman in with companies who build nearly twenty times as many guitars as Eastman.
Eastman does use hand tools and I was told more so than any other production guitar builder. They are a large group of "luthiers" doing individual tasks with hand tools and with some guitars it is one person start to finish.
Furthermore, Eastman doesn't even promote how they "hand build" their guitars as a "marketing" tool except on their website.
Eastman does very very little other conventional marketing.
Some of their dealers mention it, that's about it.
Eastman is not your typical "mass production" off shore guitar maker folks and they are in fact, building guitars...by hand.


gitarro 08-26-2019 06:04 PM

Perhaps in a category of their own are luthiers who offer a line of guitars which were assembled by a factory but which are then further modified post production by the luthier through voicing of the guitar - such as Maestro and Jeffrey Yong (the latter has as his main offering his line of fully custom made guitars that are made solely by him).


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