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

Ozarkpicker 08-25-2019 02:40 PM

“Handcrafted” vs. “Handmade”
 
What is the difference in the terms “Handmade” & “ Handcfafted” when referring to how a particular manufacturers guitars are made. I am a bit confused, because I recently heard a member here refer to Eastman acoustic guitars as being “Handcrafted”, when I’m pretty sure they are machine-made for the very most part...to keep prices lower, I suspect. But, that term would suggest they are not.

I have always thought of guitars like Bourgeois, Collings or Thompson being “Handmade”, with virtually no machinery used to build their instruments, and therefore they are made in far lower numbers than even those made by Martin, Gibson or Taylor...which I would consider more “Handcrafted” than “Handmade”.

Will someone smarter than I give a shot at this?

justonwo 08-25-2019 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ozarkpicker (Post 6146123)
What is the difference in the terms “Handmade” & “ Handcfafted” when referring to how a particular manufacturers guitars are made. I am a bit confused, because I recently heard a member here refer to Eastman acoustic guitars as being “Handcrafted”, when I’m pretty sure they are machine-made for the very most part...to keep prices lower, I suspect. But, that term would suggest they are not.

I have always thought of guitars like Bourgeois, Collings or Thompson being “Handmade”, with virtually no machinery used to build their instruments, and therefore they are made in far lower numbers than even those made by Martin, Gibson or Taylor...which I would consider more “Handcrafted” than “Handmade”.

Will someone smarter than I give a shot at this?

I don’t think there’s a standard associated with either of those words, so I think the usage of either could be subject to a wide variety of interpretations. Of course, no guitar I’m aware of is made with no human touch. Even guitars with CNC parts are still assembled by hand. So it’s semantics really. Any guitar maker in the world could use the term “handcrafted” or “handmade” without being totally wrong.

I think it’s probably more sensible to think of things in terms of mass production instruments vs those made one by one. In the case of the former, guitars are built to average specs with a combination of machines and humans. In the case of the latter, it’s mostly a person with jigs and hand tools/power tools. Instruments are individualized. And there are boutique companies that are somewhere in between.

frankmcr 08-25-2019 03:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ozarkpicker (Post 6146123)
What is the difference in the terms “Handmade” & “ Handcfafted” when referring to how a particular manufacturers guitars are made?

Marketing.

steveh 08-25-2019 03:14 PM

When examining a certain luthier's work, a pal of mine described the guitar as, "more homemade than handmade". I think we can all understand what he was getting it.

As for "handmade" vs. "handcrafted", I agree: Both = marketing.
In reality, I doubt there's anything substantial that distinguishes between them.

Cheers,
Steve

tbeltrans 08-25-2019 03:15 PM

As for the use of (CNC) machines, I suspect that most everybody is using something along those lines these days. I have two guitars that each were made in one-man shops, and both use machinery of one kind or another. Neither shop makes more than 10 or 12 guitars per year though.

So what does "hand made" really mean? Does a guitar built by one person, rather than 2 or more, constitute "hand made" even though machines were used? Is there a dividing line of some kind where we consider "mass produced" to be over a certain number and those shops that turn out fewer than that number are considered to be "hand made"?

I don't have any answers to these questions, but I suspect the poster who said "marketing", might be closer to the truth about this stuff. :)

Tony

Blind Dog 08-25-2019 03:20 PM

I agree, the definition's personal.

Like off-the-rack, boutique, and luthier reference standard - marketing & your personal absorption rate influence definition.

RP 08-25-2019 03:26 PM

Tomato...tomaaato.....

Fresh1985 08-25-2019 04:04 PM

I would think almost all well known makers use machines to varying degrees these days. They are much more consitent than humans could ever be at repetitive tasks.

Still I watched a recent martin factory tour video and was pleasantly suprised by the amount of handwork going on, but the video may have been a few years old and things change so quickly.

As has already been said both terms are more about marketing than anything else.

Denny B 08-25-2019 05:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ozarkpicker (Post 6146123)
What is the difference in the terms “Handmade” & “ Handcfafted” when referring to how a particular manufacturers guitars are made.

The difference is about $5,000... :wink:

Tico 08-25-2019 05:46 PM

It's not possible to make a guitar with one's bare hands.
You need tools and machines.
Even a simple electric saw is a machine.

I pretty much ignore all manufacturer's use of these terms because there is no agreement on meaning.

Silly Moustache 08-25-2019 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frankmcr (Post 6146148)
Marketing.

Yeah this.

Like "Select spruce top" (which means the one next in the pile)

If a neck is shaped on a CNC machine with what does the operator press the button with ? ... his toes?

justonwo 08-25-2019 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Silly Moustache (Post 6146258)
Yeah this.

Like "Select spruce top" (which means the one next in the pile)

If a neck is shaped on a CNC machine with what does the operator press the button with ? ... his toes?

But it WAS selected, Andy. Carefully and lovingly.

charles Tauber 08-25-2019 06:41 PM

Neither term, handmade or handcrafted, have any real meaning anymore: they mean whatever anyone wants them to mean.

The obvious intention is to invoke sentiments that something was made the way things used to be made and that the way they used to be made was of a high quality. As anyone who has attended a Christmas craft sale with works by less skilled amateurs knows, being "handmade" is not a guarantee of quality of design or workmanship.

As others have pointed out, very, very few things are made anymore without the aid of some sort of machinery or automation.

What might be a more relevant is the distinction drawn by David Pye (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Pye_(furniture)), the workmanship of risk versus the workmanship of certainty.

Quote:

The expression “Old World Craftsmanship" is supposed to evoke images of meticulous, snowy-haired old craftsmen making unbelievably fine furniture in little workshops set up among the toadstools and gnarled roots of the Black Forest. lt - makes some people go warm all over just to think of all these good-hearted Geppetos working away on masterpieces over there in the Old World, but basically, the phrase is a brain-less banality that trivializes the idea of fine workmanship. It doesn‘t teach us how to distinguish between fine and mediocre workmanship, it just pours syrup over everything. It was the great contribution of the late British writer and craftsman David Pye to have constructed a Clear and unsentimental definition of workmanship that helps us understand how to judge its qualities. His definition is based not on whether a thing happens to be made by machine or made by hand (a distinction which he thought was pointless and futile) but instead on the chance [of screwing up the work] that exists
https://www.coursehero.com/file/1404...nship-of-risk/

jaymarsch 08-25-2019 11:42 PM

I agree that at this point in time these terms come down to how a luthier advertises what might set them apart. I remember back in 2003 when I first met Kathy Wingert, her tag line was something like “One of a kind, one at a time.” I liked what that evoked - a singular focus on a guitar that was made expressly for a specific customer taking into consideration their needs and wants. Of course, as Charles points out, that doesn’t tell you the quality of the work.
It was after playing a number of her guitars and learning about her reputation that ultimately sealed the deal.

Handcrafted, handmade, bespoke, homemade - all up for interpretation.

Best,
Jayne

merlin666 08-25-2019 11:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frankmcr (Post 6146148)
Marketing.

That's it. Typically the spoo suggests that it's done by unskilled labourers who do simple repetitive tasks and then pass it on to the next monkey. Actual luthier built guitar brands don't need to use these terms.


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