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  #1  
Old 01-17-2021, 07:03 PM
pianissimo pianissimo is offline
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Default Considering a Claxton. Could other luthiers fix problems if they arise 20 years in?

I have always been hesitant about going the custom route because of worries about longevity (I play my guitars...a lot).

I have been very impressed with Ed Claxton's work, and I'm considering a commission. Reading about Ed Claxton's builds, it seems like he had not changed the internal construction in a while. However, what would happen if I have a problem 20 years from now when Ed Claxton is no longer building or repairing his guitars?

I know very little about lutherie. Can any luthier competently repair any other luthier's guitar? Everything from refretting and neck resets to rebuilding stuff if something were to somehow break (have no idea what, but I'm just thinking of the worst). Or would I be better off sticking with Custom Shop Martins if I need this repair ability 20 years from now?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:49 PM
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This may be somewhat controversial, but I generally prefer the setup, repair and restoration work of non-building luthiers. The tough part is vetting them and being close enough to a good one that you don't have to ship your guitar. Congrats on the commission - Ed is one of the most talented builders in the world. Definitely in my top 5! PM me if you need recommendations.


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Old 01-17-2021, 08:52 PM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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Most workmanship and material problems tend to show up within the 1st year or 2. Things like neck angle changes & top bellying are normal occurrences and are often not covered under warranty. Personally, I wouldn't let concerns like yours deter me from ordering from an independent shop.
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Old 01-17-2021, 09:13 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is online now
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I would not be overly concerned. Technicians and builders see this from time to time and will be understanding. If Ed is no longer working, they are.
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:31 PM
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Builders and repair techs are two very different things, despite what appears to be obvious cross-over. While I do warranty many aspects of my own work w/o caveat, I am not the most skilled repair person (let alone restoration) I know and in many cases I would recommend them if my customer can afford it. But then set-up, that's something I think I do well.
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:37 AM
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Couple of comments:

I have a buddy in California that has bought a number of guitars that are around a century old and left them with experienced restorers/repairers to bring them back up to their best. The results are very, very good and not off the planet in terms of cost. I have had one single-luthier guitar that needed repair work; in my case it was repaired by Dream Guitars and they did a great job. I have even had a guitar that was only half-built when the luthier passed away. Another luthier finished it, with outstanding results. So my experience suggests you need not be at all concerned about having work done on a guitar after its builder has stopped work.

As to owning a Claxton….go for it! The guitars he builds are just sublime.
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:56 AM
tadol tadol is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianissimo View Post
Can any luthier competently repair any other luthier's guitar? Everything from refretting and neck resets to rebuilding stuff if something were to somehow break (have no idea what, but I'm just thinking of the worst). Or would I be better off sticking with Custom Shop Martins if I need this repair ability 20 years from now?
This is one of the reasons building in traditional and time proven ways is so important. The main reason a good luthier can do such a great job repairing a 100 year old Martin is because the materials and techniques haven’t changed hardly at all. It’s when you get into builds by people (or companies) who think they can do it better - like epoxying necks on, or assembling things in ways that you are better off going to a machinist rather than a woodworker - that’s when I would worry.

Not all luthiers have the experience and expertise to rebuild an instrument of that quality, but you shouldn’t have any problem with basic repairs, like neck resets and re-frets, nuts, saddles, set-ups, etc. If you had a serious accident, and needed to re-top it, or some similar major surgery, you would want to check with a few of the better shops (whoever they’ll be in 20 years) before committing to who would do it. Also, with an instrument of that quality, it will be very worth any cost you might incur to keep it in premium condition.

A Claxton, or any of the premium hand-builders we have currently working in traditional techniques, should not be a major concern for long-term reliability and maintainability. Just gotta figure out how to pay for them up front! ;-)
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Old 01-18-2021, 12:37 PM
pianissimo pianissimo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tadol View Post
This is one of the reasons building in traditional and time proven ways is so important. The main reason a good luthier can do such a great job repairing a 100 year old Martin is because the materials and techniques haven’t changed hardly at all. It’s when you get into builds by people (or companies) who think they can do it better - like epoxying necks on, or assembling things in ways that you are better off going to a machinist rather than a woodworker - that’s when I would worry.

Not all luthiers have the experience and expertise to rebuild an instrument of that quality, but you shouldn’t have any problem with basic repairs, like neck resets and re-frets, nuts, saddles, set-ups, etc. If you had a serious accident, and needed to re-top it, or some similar major surgery, you would want to check with a few of the better shops (whoever they’ll be in 20 years) before committing to who would do it. Also, with an instrument of that quality, it will be very worth any cost you might incur to keep it in premium condition.

A Claxton, or any of the premium hand-builders we have currently working in traditional techniques, should not be a major concern for long-term reliability and maintainability. Just gotta figure out how to pay for them up front! ;-)
Thank you! That is a much better way to phrase my question! Does Ed Klaxton use only traditional and time-proven techniques that other luthiers repairing would all be familiar with and could work with, or does he use some methods that are relatively rare and unfamiliar?
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:35 PM
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Greatest response to this sort of question I've ever run across, only sorry I didn't think of it myself, and I can't exactly remember where I read it, but it goes something like this: Buy the guitars you want when you want to--you're going to be dead a long time.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jwills57 View Post
Buy the guitars you want when you want to--you're going to be dead a long time.
Best quote I’ve read in a long time! Really funny
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:48 PM
steveh steveh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianissimo View Post
Does Ed Klaxton use only traditional and time-proven techniques that other luthiers repairing would all be familiar with and could work with
In a word, "yes".

I have a Claxton OM and have played several others, and all have sounded quite extraordinary. However, on close inspection I can see no "special sauce" applied. Constructionally, they look like ordinary guitars...they just don't sound like it. No magic unicorn dust here, just decades of experience.

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:05 PM
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You’re letting the tail wag the dog, as I mentioned in your other thread, if you’re deciding on a builder based on warranty. I can’t think of any guitars I own that can’t be repaired by someone other than the builder. In fact, as already stated, the builder may not even be the best person for the job. Skilled repair is an entire speciality in and of itself. Find a skilled repair person you can trust and then buy whatever you want.

Ed is a fantastic builder, by the way.
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Old 01-19-2021, 10:27 AM
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Smile I agree with Juston

Quote:
Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
You’re letting the tail wag the dog, as I mentioned in your other thread, if you’re deciding on a builder based on warranty. I can’t think of any guitars I own that can’t be repaired by someone other than the builder. In fact, as already stated, the builder may not even be the best person for the job. Skilled repair is an entire speciality in and of itself. Find a skilled repair person you can trust and then buy whatever you want.

Ed is a fantastic builder, by the way.
What Juston said. Get what you want NOW. As Jim Morrison said, "the future's uncertain and the end is always near".
And, I believe there will always be excellent Repair folks. Get aquatinted with a few ASAP,

I do believe bolt on necks now qualify as time tested by now.

And enjoy the process

Paul
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:39 AM
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I agree with the general consensus, piannissimo. There is no reason to worry about the long-term future of your guitar once Ed Claxton is no longer around. His traditional building techniques and materials would hold no mystery for any qualified repairman should something ever go wrong.

My advice? Let go of the fear, and rejoice in the fact that you are in a position to commission a guitar from one the truly supreme masters of the craft. Only a small handful of people will be able to do so before Ed retires fully from what he calls his "labor of love".
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