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  #16  
Old 01-09-2020, 05:20 PM
Goat Mick Goat Mick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SongwriterFan View Post
So they're going to assemble, brace, and voice the tops here in the US, ship those tops over to China, have the Chinese assemble the guitar, then ship it back for final setup?

Is anything else gonna be done in the US?
I'm reading it as the US Bourgeouis guitars aren't going to change. They'll still be built here in the US like they always have. There will also be a less expensive import line built by Eastman to Bourgeouis specifications that will be imported.
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  #17  
Old 01-09-2020, 05:38 PM
rjathon rjathon is offline
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Default Congratulations!

Congratulations to Mr. Bourgeois,

This is a wonderful idea. Those who want one of his expensive guitars can still get one, yet people who don’t want to pay the full price can still get a guitar that is “Bourgeois will be responsible for design, materials selection, production of voiced tops, final setup and quality control” basically a super duper custom guitar at a lessor price point.

It appears that the collaboration will give Mr. Bourgeois the capital needed to invest in high tech machinery to streamline his production process thus making his guitars less expensive plus the added bonus of offering an even lower priced version of his splendid design to those less inclined to pay a king’s ransom for a guitar.

I am very happy for Mr. Bourgeois and for the consumer. His ship has come in, and so has ours.

My guess is that the first samples of the Chinese built Bourgeois guitars will be first rate and very desirable as the need to prove the concept will prevail. How quality does after that will be up to Mr. Bourgeois and time will tell. I find this new event to be very exciting.

I will never be a good enough guitar player to justify a Bourgeois guitar, but maybe, just maybe, the Eastman verion could be within my reach!


Russ
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  #18  
Old 01-09-2020, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SongwriterFan View Post
So they're going to assemble, brace, and voice the tops here in the US, ship those tops over to China, have the Chinese assemble the guitar, then ship it back for final setup?

Is anything else gonna be done in the US?
Anything else "done in US" as far as the new combined build lower price point B&E guitars ? Just shipping it appears.
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  #19  
Old 01-09-2020, 07:43 PM
tippy5 tippy5 is offline
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Last summer I spent a week 30 miles away from the Bourgeois factory. It was his annual company closure week. I emailed ahead a month before my Maine vacation. I was planning on picking out a custom wood set in person. They offered one of their employees could come by and open it up. I was very impressed with their trying to accomodate my only Maine time but I didn't want to intrude. My parents, cousins, uncles and aunts are all from, and many still living in, South Maine. I might try to make it again next summer?

I hope their new Eastman collaboration is good for him and his employees. Eastman is a good maker of guitars of so many designs.

Minor concerns.... I wonder if the Eastman fretboards will also feature his compound radius? Also if the overall acoustic guitar demand is going up, what tonewoods will be available.
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  #20  
Old 01-09-2020, 07:53 PM
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I like Bourgeois guitars. I wish nothing but success for them. If a collaboration with Eastman helps get less expensive, higher quality instruments in the hands of guitarists; I don't see how anyone could complain.

Two things struck me as I was reading Dana's message though.

1. I don't think Lewiston, Maine is the right source for amount of labor that will probably be needed. I think he alludes to this as well.

2. How in the world does Larrivee manage to sell their instruments at a profit. Dana says Bourgeois would "lose their shirts" if they tried to sell their guitars for less. Granted, Larrivee doesn't devote the time to "top tuning" that Bourgeois does; but they're significantly less expensive and using American labor. I'll also say, knowing that it will be controversial, that Larrivee and Bourgeois aren't in the same league as each other.
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  #21  
Old 01-09-2020, 07:54 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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That's a well put together letter. Very reassuring.

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  #22  
Old 01-09-2020, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny B View Post
" it will also allow us to crack the $4,000 price barrier, and by a significant margin. US introduction, by the way, is scheduled for the latter part of 2020."

Does this infer a sub $4K Bourgeois/Eastman "co-produced" guitar? That's still fairly pricey.
We’ll have to see. I interpreted the statement to simply mean the Hybrids will be well under $4,000, something he’s been wanting to offer. But what “well under” is at this point is not specified.
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  #23  
Old 01-09-2020, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dneal View Post
I'll also say, knowing that it will be controversial, that Larrivee and Bourgeois aren't in the same league as each other.
Perhaps you've answered your own question?

But you raise a very good point, and having been in academics throughout my professional career, I'm not well versed in profit margins.

Satin finishes and reduced ornamentation are perhaps part of the answer?
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  #24  
Old 01-09-2020, 09:56 PM
Acoustic Wolf Acoustic Wolf is offline
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Originally Posted by tomcstokes59 View Post
As previously announced, Bourgeois and Eastman will address this conundrum by collaborating on a new series of guitars that will be partly produced by each company. Bourgeois will be responsible for design, materials selection, production of voiced tops, final setup and quality control; Eastman will assemble and finish guitars to our specifications. Not only will this collaboration further increase job creation in Lewiston, it will also allow us to crack the $4,000 price barrier, and by a significant margin. US introduction, by the way, is scheduled for the latter part of 2020.
To be honest, I am not particularly concerned about having "Chinese hands" on any guitar, given that as Bourgeois states above, "design, materials selection, production of voiced tops, final setup and quality control" are handled by the US team. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if it's a US employee or a China employee who does the basic work on a guitar, if in the end Dana voices the top, if that is the most important aspect of the guitar's construction. As a result, I think this will result in a decrease in desire for higher end Bourgeois guitars. Those who purchase the high-end Bourgeois guitars (e.g., D-45 style Bourgeois guitars) might no longer want to purchase a brand associated with Chinese guitars, unless they are hardcore Bourgeois loyalists, so they may lose sales there. I don't see this as a bad situation for Bourgeois though, because like Martin, it's possible most of the $$$ is being made at the low-end price spectrum.
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  #25  
Old 01-09-2020, 10:52 PM
247hoopsfan 247hoopsfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dneal View Post

2. How in the world does Larrivee manage to sell their instruments at a profit. Dana says Bourgeois would "lose their shirts" if they tried to sell their guitars for less. Granted, Larrivee doesn't devote the time to "top tuning" that Bourgeois does; but they're significantly less expensive and using American labor. I'll also say, knowing that it will be controversial, that Larrivee and Bourgeois aren't in the same league as each other.
You are correct. Larrivee offers amazing hand crafted guitars at very competitive prices. Part of the reason could be that Larrivee sources his wood and has developed friendships over many years with suppliers all over the world. He is always traveling the world sourcing wood, and probably has a cost advantage as a much larger buyer than Bourgeois.
Since this is a thread about Bourgeois, I will limit my response to your comment about Bourgeois and Larrivee not being in the same league.
Suffice I to say that I don't think Larrivee is in any way inferior to Bourgeois, in quality, tone or craftsmanship. My Larrivees compare very favorably with my far more expensive Goodall.
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  #26  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:36 PM
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I thought about this in a long-long term sense, on a broader scale. Anybody who has been playing attention has seen Chinese guitar quality get better and better. Many of them have more actual hand work in them than the increasingly CNC ‘d American guitars do. Their wood sourcing is good, and better and better things are made there?

Every time a western company brings its design and quality control skill to a Chinese outfit, their stuff gets better. At some point the competition in the market place will get painful, particularly as younger players have less stereotypical problems with Chinese instruments and American instruments are increasingly out of reach.

So I worry about the American manufacturers. Brand loyalty, sentimental association, and the mystical cords memory are only going to last so long.

I don’t blame Bourgeois for doing this, it sounds like good business sense, and I’ll bet these hybrid guitars from China are going to be very good. I don’t think its very good for the larger American guitar industry, but that is what capitalism and market competition is all about.

There used to be 10 little factories in our Vermont valley, making things out of wood—plywood, tool handles, wooden bowls. They are all gone. The jobs are gone, the schools are shrinking, the towns are fading. Look out, Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
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  #27  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:49 PM
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Wow, Dana really hit on all the major concerns. Almost like he was reading this forum when the Eastman partnership was first announced.

I'm feeling much better about the future of Bourgeois now. And this is definitely going to benefit Dana personally as he now has a retirement/exit strategy lined up it would seem.
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  #28  
Old 01-09-2020, 11:59 PM
619TF 619TF is offline
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“Buy American" is about supporting an industry within the nation one lives in so that all boats may raise together. Otherwise one ends up living in a valley devoid of an entire economy. Given a choice between relatively equal quality the answer is always buy local...no matter what the race of the manufacturer or salespeople.

Last edited by 619TF; 01-10-2020 at 12:55 PM.
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  #29  
Old 01-10-2020, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfirob View Post
I thought about this in a long-long term sense, on a broader scale. Anybody who has been playing attention has seen Chinese guitar quality get better and better. Many of them have more actual hand work in them than the increasingly CNC ‘d American guitars do. Their wood sourcing is good, and better and better things are made there?

Every time a western company brings its design and quality control skill to a Chinese outfit, their stuff gets better. At some point the competition in the market place will get painful, particularly as younger players have less stereotypical problems with Chinese instruments and American instruments are increasingly out of reach.

So I worry about the American manufacturers. Brand loyalty, sentimental association, and the mystical cords memory are only going to last so long.

I don’t blame Bourgeois for doing this, it sounds like good business sense, and I’ll bet these hybrid guitars from China are going to be very good. I don’t think its very good for the larger American guitar industry, but that is what capitalism and market competition is all about.

There used to be 10 little factories in our Vermont valley, making things out of wood—plywood, tool handles, wooden bowls. They are all gone. The jobs are gone, the schools are shrinking, the towns are fading. Look out, Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
With the increasingly high quality from overseas production you mention, I’ve noticed a marked shift in attitude online over the past 10 years by North Americans who used to insist “buy domestic, our products are better quality” to “I work hard for my money and insist on the best value, no matter the origin of production”.

Personally, I think Dana’s approach is a more sophisticated solution of “if we can’t beat them, best to work with them”.

Last edited by Acousticado; 01-10-2020 at 11:10 AM. Reason: Adjusted quote
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  #30  
Old 01-10-2020, 12:51 AM
Pura Vida Pura Vida is online now
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Tom C., thanks for posting Dana's message for us to read and discuss. I've been excited about this for a while, as I've seen both companies share a similar passion for making great instruments. Eastman is a bigger than Bourgeois, but they're both pretty small in the greater market, and they share many of the same build processes, attention to detail, etc.

Dana's message alleviates many of the concerns raised and validates what Mark H. (Eastman national sales manager) shared via a live stream, where this alliance would target the gap market between Bourgeois ($6000+) and Eastman ($300-3000). My personal take is that the new guitars will be made extremely well and the lower price points will get Bourgeois into more players' hands. But Bourgeois cannibalization will be mitigated by expanded their distribution into a greater worldwide market that they simply couldn't access before (Dana basically said as much). It's a brilliant strategy that will benefit both companies, IMHO.

Out of the entire message, the one thing that caught my attention is when Dana said he would remain "an" owner of Bourgeois, not "the" owner. I don't know if he was previously a sole owner previously, or if there were other financial partners. This might suggest that Eastman has quietly purchased part of the Bourgeois company, as well, which would be consistent with their acquisition of the Haynes flute company (while retaining the Haynes name).
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