These photos were taken at
You are looking at a
CNC Machine !!!
All of the delicate cutting operations are done
by an $85,000.00 machine. All of the shaping, sanding, binding &
fitting is robotically accomplished. There are no human hands, no
human eyes to line up the wood perfectly so that imperfections in
the wood fall into locations that won't be seen later. There is
nothing illegal about building a guitar with a machine.
I feel, it's totally unethical & immoral to
charge the extremely high handmade prices, just because you
made your original reputation by building handmade guitars.
Most every large company is guilty of this, I can
think of very few large companies who still actually handbuild their
BC Rich USA, Jackson Custom Shop, & maybe the
PRS private stock guitars are semi hand built. These are all I can
think of off the top of my head. I repeat, There is nothing wrong
with CNC made guitars except that they are usually
overpriced and under built.
They generally lack a certain vibe, soul or
character that can only be achieved from a hand built guitar.
Not everyone can necessarily benefit from these
detailed characteristics, So that's why a custom made hand built
guitar isn't for everyone. I always recommend a mid priced
machine made Fender, Jackson, Dean, OLP, Hamer, or Ibanez for a
beginner or for the working musician who needs a good guitar.
A custom made guitar is not for everyone. When
and if, you finally decide to get a custom made instrument, you
cross the threshold between good & great. Today a machine made
guitar is considered a tool and a handmade one is potentially an
heirloom or an investment guitar.
The worst offenders that I can think of is ESP,
Lakland, Gibson & Taylor. Many people assume that these companies
are hand building. The ESP guitars are totally machine made in Asia
and priced incredibly high. The Lakland company offer a USA made and
an Asian made model, Both are so unbelievably
overpriced that It should be a crime. Gibson guitars are well
known for being overpriced by everyone
but I feel that their machine made guitars are
overpriced so much that even if they were handmade they are
overpriced. In the
case of Taylor, they are also machine made and if you pay attention
to their ridiculous image based advertising campaign you might think
they were handmade.
PRS on the other hand has publicly
stated that they are %100 machine made. (Kudos
For Honesty) Up until a couple of years ago they actually
used to be proud of it, They even boasted about it. Today the
consumer isn't as stupid as they used to be, thanks to people who
print these little exposé's on their websites.
Today PRS doesn't call too much attention to it
and in their last catalog they show numerous photos of craftsmen
actually carving guitars. I presume those guitars are their private
stock models, I know they are not the models you will see when you
walk into a Guitar Center or Best Buy or any corporate superstore.
Tom Anderson says he builds three
guitars a day, that may be 100% true. Or is this just a clever way
to possibly make the consumer think they are handmade. Because Tom
has CNC machinery and if he wanted to he could produce many more
guitars a day.
This whole article was prompted by
a customer who attempted to trade in a plain black blah looking
Sadowsky NYC Bass earlier today.
I offered the customer what I considered to be a very generous trade
in, I actually offered him way too much by my standard, $2,000.00
because I had heard that these basses were pretty good. (In fact
they are quite good the same as many of the guitars listed above)
When he told me he wanted
$3,500.00 for the bass I was appalled. This instrument is made from
parts & constructed almost exactly like a Fender. The customer went
on to tell me that the electronics were amazing. I played the bass,
I had to agree the electronics were great. However I know that once
an electronic circuit is designed you can copy it exactly for less
than $10.00 each. I also like the way the bass played & felt.
I just could not wrap myself around the price.
I did about 15 minutes of research
and I was able to determine who builds the bodies, necks, bridge,
tuners & pickups. My own production made machine made low
"Lowrider model bass can be bought brand new for about $2,500.00
cheaper. Coincidentally the components are all exactly the same, (With exception of his proprietary
Now I'm not claiming my bass is
better, I'm not claiming anything. I'm just trying to make a point
about overpricing.... (You
No Longer Get What You Pay For !!! & That's A Cold Hard Fact)
We have in our inventory at least 2 Fender
Basses with Sadowsky's $250.00 electronics built in should we charge
$250.00 more or should we charge $2,500.00 more (Think about it)