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  #1  
Old 02-19-2021, 05:41 PM
Metal Tiger Metal Tiger is offline
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Default New Vs Old from the same builder?

Hello everyone,

I have been a member for a while but never posted before.

Based on your experience, what are the differences between older and newer builds from the same builder.

I have had a ton of electric custom guitars and have noticed that some builders’ guitars become better as they gain more experience and some have the opposite effect when they become bigger and more well known. That can be attributed to them hiring more people to help them etc.

I am looking to buy an OM/GC style guitar and I am contemplating whether I should go for an older Wingert from 15 years ago or get a newer Santa Cruz from a couple of years ago. I love small builders and 1-person shops but I would be open to either option.

Let me know your thoughts and thank you.
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metal Tiger View Post
Hello everyone,

I have been a member for a while but never posted before.

Based on your experience, what are the differences between older and newer builds from the same builder.

I have had a ton of electric custom guitars and have noticed that some builders’ guitars become better as they gain more experience and some have the opposite effect when they become bigger and more well known. That can be attributed to them hiring more people to help them etc.

I am looking to buy an OM/GC style guitar and I am contemplating whether I should go for an older Wingert from 15 years ago or get a newer Santa Cruz from a couple of years ago. I love small builders and 1-person shops but I would be open to either option.

Let me know your thoughts and thank you.
As you touch on, I think it is highly dependent on the person you’re talking about. Not sure there is a universal truth on this one. I have no experience with Kathy’s guitars and very little with Santa Cruz. I guess one should ask what characteristics you’re looking for since I’m fairly certain a Wingert is a pretty different guitar from a Santa Cruz.
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:03 PM
Carey Carey is offline
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It sounds from your post like there are two guitars from different makers
that you're considering. If I'm reading that accurately, which one do you like better/respond to more? That's at least a good place to start-
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Old 02-19-2021, 07:39 PM
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Old 02-19-2021, 08:24 PM
Metal Tiger Metal Tiger is offline
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Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
As you touch on, I think it is highly dependent on the person you’re talking about. Not sure there is a universal truth on this one. I have no experience with Kathy’s guitars and very little with Santa Cruz. I guess one should ask what characteristics you’re looking for since I’m fairly certain a Wingert is a pretty different guitar from a Santa Cruz.
Thank you for the response.

I guess I was asking more about her older guitars compared to newer ones since, based on what I have heard, I like the newer ones but I have not found any clear recordings of older guitars by her. I was also curious about the build quality and how it has changed during the last 15 years. Different techniques, finishing, bracing etc.

Tone-wise, I am looking for something open, 3D with clarity and chime-y top end while maintaining balance all over the neck and articulation for complex chords. The guitar will be used mostly for modern-ish fingerstyle.
Both guitars have Euro tops, the Winger is EIR and the SCGC is Cocobolo.
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Old 02-19-2021, 08:27 PM
Metal Tiger Metal Tiger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carey View Post
It sounds from your post like there are two guitars from different makers
that you're considering. If I'm reading that accurately, which one do you like better/respond to more? That's at least a good place to start-
Correct, as I said above I was curious about Wingert's quality over the years and what her development over the last decade+ has brought to the table and how her guitars' voice has changed.

I can't play the guitars in person, since they are for sale online but I like both from what I have seen.
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Old 02-19-2021, 08:51 PM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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As has been pointed out above, the axes you mention are very different instruments from way different builders.
I believe Kathy Wingert is solo. SCGC is a small shop. Thy both have stellar reps.

I believe many if not most builders get better as they build more instruments. Just makes sense. We play better the more we play and practice, right?

But these two builders older stuff should really be FINE.

I can tell you John Kinnaird continues to build better and better guitars. IMNSHO
I just got my #5 Custom JK, (#160) and it is the best instrument I have owned yet. But John's all have been spectacular, even #99 which I bought used here on AGF from Mike (who is selling it again, to finance his latest Custom from John.). Repeat customers are always a good sign!

Look on the FS listings, if you want to find a Killer 000-12c!

Best on the quest!

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Old 02-19-2021, 09:47 PM
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Bruce Sexauer Bruce Sexauer is offline
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Many luthiers build a guitars long enough to feel they have figured it out and then go into production. Innovation then tends to go into finding more efficient methods rather than incrementally better guitars.

Some luthiers devote their careers to making the best possible guitar, one after another.

Most luthiers of my acquaintance walk a line in between these extremes in an effort to keep production up and prices down: real world economics.

There are so many ways to approach our craft that it is not a great idea to generalize about “luthiers”.

My early works has proven to be generally quite good, and virtually all of it has stood the test of time. Because I am in the middle category above, my latest work is virtually all incomparably superior to what I was doing 20 or more years ago, at least judged by my own standards.
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:21 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Kathy is approachable - ask her how she feels her guitars of that era were in comparison to what she does now.
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Sexauer View Post
Many luthiers build a guitars long enough to feel they have figured it out and then go into production. Innovation then tends to go into finding more efficient methods rather than incrementally better guitars.

Some luthiers devote their careers to making the best possible guitar, one after another.

Most luthiers of my acquaintance walk a line in between these extremes in an effort to keep production up and prices down: real world economics.

There are so many ways to approach our craft that it is not a great idea to generalize about “luthiers”.

My early works has proven to be generally quite good, and virtually all of it has stood the test of time. Because I am in the middle category above, my latest work is virtually all incomparably superior to what I was doing 20 or more years ago, at least judged by my own standards.
My goodness, but that is so true. Continue to do what moves you, Bruce, and it will just continue to get better overall. And, it has been spectacular for decades!!!

Salud

Paul
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Last edited by Guitars44me; 02-19-2021 at 10:46 PM.
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  #11  
Old 02-19-2021, 11:19 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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I'm in the camp of being confused about the comparison between Wingert and Santa Cruz - totally different guitars. One's a 1-person shop, the other is a boutique, small, multi-person shop, and the guitars are sonically very different, tho it's hard to generalize across different models. Kathy's guitars won't sound like Santa Cruz, new or old, but neither will a Santa Cruz OO sound like a Santa Cruz FS, and so on.

But as far as Kathy's guitars, first of all I'd ask her what she's doing differently and what the difference would be with a newer one.

Then for what it's worth, I've played quite a lot of her guitars. A few years back - might have been the last Healdsburg Festival that was held, or the one before that - I demo'd her guitars for her, and I played 2 or 3 new ones along side my own, which is now almost 20 years old. I'd say each guitar was different, but each had the Wingert sound, and I liked them all. I think with guitars, it comes down to what you like. As far as I know, Kathy falls into Bruce's category 2 - she's not gone high production, and generally builds one guitar at a time.

Notice that Kathy makes a few different sizes as well, so if you like her guitars, but are looking for something different, I'd talk to her about what you want, maybe a different body size, maybe different woods. She has done some interesting projects to get people what they want, even building a resonator harp-guitar recently!
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:15 AM
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All Kathy’s guitars have a distinctive sound as Doug said. I’ve played some of her older and newer ones. I’ve also played a bunch of Santa Cruz guitars and they are very different to Wingerts.

To give you an idea of where Kathy’s guitars sit I’d compare the sound of her guitars more to builders like Baranik, Galloup, Hamblin and Eichelbaum than to Santa Cruz. Speaking of Baraniks, I have a 2006 Baranik and a 2019 Baranik. The 2006 guitar is a stellar instrument and at the price I would get for it if I sold it now, it would be an absolute bargain.

I think you can guarantee that an early build by Kathy will be an excellent guitar. Jaymarsch on the AGF bought a Wingert new around fifteen years ago and she sings it praises regularly here on the forum. With that in mind I see your primary issue as being would you prefer an early used Wingert to a Santa Cruz and that comes down to the tone you prefer. Whether the used Wingert compares with a new Wingert (at a much higher price) is interesting, but really only important if you are already hooked on her sound and are contemplating a used one over a new one.

As a final suggestion, here is where I got hooked on Kathy's guitars - reasonably consistent recordings of Wingerts going back many years - https://www.dreamguitars.com/shop/bu...rt,-kathy.html

Last edited by colins; 02-20-2021 at 04:15 AM.
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  #13  
Old 02-20-2021, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metal Tiger View Post
Hello everyone,
Based on your experience, what are the differences between older and newer builds from the same builder?

I am looking to buy an OM/GC style guitar and I am contemplating whether I should go for an older Wingert from 15 years ago or get a newer Santa Cruz from a couple of years?
These are two distinctly different questions.

Question 1: A good luthier can produce a great guitar at any point in their career. That said, guitar making is a journey in enlightened empiricism. The more time at the bench, the more consistent the result. Builders with more experience tend to produce more consistent results. Also, 15 years is an entire career for some luthiers and a small portion to others. So it depends where those 15 years fall in the context time at the bench in my opinion.

Question 2: A Santa Cruz and a Wingert will sound quite different in my experience. Some players will prefer one over the other. Both are fine instruments. One is made by a small team of builders and the other by a single luthier. Guitar preference is quite heterogeneous. You will not get consistent answers here. It is very much influenced by the player, their technique and type of music that they play. The only thing a new Santa Cruz and a used Wingert may have in common are 6 strings and a price tag.
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Old 02-21-2021, 12:00 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Although a luthier should get better at his craft over time and introduces over time improvements which may have an effect on power or volume or tone, whether he builds a great guitsr or merely a good one o even an average one at any point of his career depends a lot on many factors, some or even many of which may be outside his control. For instance I have played 4 guitars made by one of the greatest luthiers recognised universally by even other luthiers, and ony one of those was a world beater of a guitar. Two were "merely" good while one was decidedly average when the luthier experimented with a wood hoice that he would not use again. All of them were built within a period of about 6-8 years from each other. I have no data fro his more recent guitars but I gave no reason to believe a different result will eventuate.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:35 PM
BlackKeys36 BlackKeys36 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bard Rocks View Post
Kathy is approachable - ask her how she feels her guitars of that era were in comparison to what she does now.
I would second this advice. In my relatively small sample-size (3) I have found luthiers to be pretty open and honest about their previous builds that are available second-hand.
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