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A visit to a Vietnamese Guitar factory


Etienne Rambert
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You know, I imagine that this thread is good for another 40-50 pages. And at the end of that time, there will be nothing more accomplished than has been accomplished now. Both sides of the discussion are hopelessly mired in concrete. No one is going to give an inch.

 

Neal, I didn't say I supported you, I simply said I look forward to your posts. Everyone on this earth needs a laugh sometime during the day, and you have taught me much about how NOT to communicate. Until all the people who have contributed to this thread bow down in unison to your point of view, you will not be satisfied. What I meant by what I said was that this thread has become my daily 'soap opera', complete with the good guys, the bad guys, the assholes and the angels.

 

I don't see, by what I've read, that these people are going to bow down to your point of view, and why you keep poking the subject with a stick is beyond me. These threads are not contests, they are informational data, communication, and assistance to those who need it and want it. You have voiced your point at least twenty times, and I think they are trying to tell you that they don't buy it. How much further you want to go with this is entirely up to you, not to them. But, knowing you, I'll tune in tommorrow to "As the Stomach Turns" and you will be right there, slamming home the same useless point. :rolleyes:

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You know, I imagine that this thread is good for another 40-50 pages. And at the end of that time, there will be nothing more accomplished than has been accomplished now. Both sides of the discussion are hopelessly mired in concrete. No one is going to give an inch.


Neal, I didn't say I supported you
, I simply said I look forward to your posts. Everyone on this earth needs a laugh sometime during the day, and
you have taught me much about how NOT to communicate
. Until all the people who have contributed to this thread bow down in unison to your point of view, you will not be satisfied. What I meant by what I said was that this thread has become my daily 'soap opera', complete with the good guys, the bad guys, the assholes and the angels.


I don't see, by what I've read, that these people are going to bow down to your point of view, and why you keep poking the subject with a stick is beyond me. These threads are not contests, they are informational data, communication, and assistance to those who need it and want it. You have voiced your point at least twenty times, and I think they are trying to tell you that they don't buy it. How much further you want to go with this is entirely up to you, not to them. But, knowing you, I'll tune in tommorrow to "As the Stomach Turns" and you will be right there, slamming home the same useless point.
:rolleyes:

 

Oh goodness gracious Mike, I was being a bit sarcastic. Yes, I know, there is the SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE coming out to slam the bit of wisdom I am conveying. The same group. THE SAME GROUP. You, Etty, I expect FBH any minute to come in and implore me to just get along, and a few others..

 

But, I'm glad you learned SOMEthing, even if you failed to grasp the importance of building a wooden musical instrument in a, let's say, more controlled environment...

 

I do know by now that this SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE are running a protective circle around Etty, and Etty is still busy doing his "damage control" the only way he knows how, not facts, but wild proclamations like "exploding" "wager", "idiot".. you know, by name calling.

 

Some of you, I suspect teenagers (not you Mike), respond favorably to that.

 

I'm only here because of a statement Etty made earlier saying that these were comparable to Ayers, and I thought I'd point out that they are most definitely not.

 

I really am done continuing, but it's subscribed, so I get the emails about who posted and, well.. I read them. Yeah, I shoulda just kept my mouth shut about that beautiful Koa, but let's not start making these things something they are not, let's keep in mind that successful guitar companies have spent lots of dollars in infrastructure for a reason. That's the only reason I'm here. But hey, if the price floats your boat, buy one Mike! Let us know how it turns out too!

 

You can thank me later:lol: (btw, since irony is lost on quite a few here, that little emoticon is a laughing guy, meaning I'm sure THE SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE are not going to thank me.)

 

So, depending on the bull{censored} that's tossed out by the OP, I can stay away. It's up to him. But I think you guys like me here, and I'd like to think, though I could be wrong, that a few at least, have given it some long term thought other than price and bling. (excluding those that live in typically humid climates, of course.)

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Well, since my all-plywood beater was decapitated and there is an empty case to fill, I consider having Etienne check out a Binh for me and I'm willing to give VC guitars a chance here on the island of Ireland.

In a house with two kids and a dog, there is a reason, why everything that remotely resembles any value is locked away. All my guitar cases are locked and I know, why. Teenage party ... "oi, my (step)dadhas some geetahs, let's play Guitar Hero foe real!"

That doesn't mean, that the VC guitar will end up there, but if it blows off my pecker (or gets DBR by our climate) it is less expensive than a D-35 or a D-40 to lose.

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Oh goodness gracious Mike, I was being a bit sarcastic. Yes, I know, there is the SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE coming out to slam the bit of wisdom I am conveying. The same group. THE SAME GROUP. You, Etty,
I expect FBH any minute to come in and implore me to just get along,
and a few others..


 

Sorry, no imploring today, you've become tedious and tiresome.

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Sorry, no imploring today, you've become tedious and tiresome.

 

 

And yet, you continue to engage me. So, not tiresome enough, eh?

 

Serious, the group here that follows this thread, stop feeding the troll, and perhaps he will retire to his troll-hole.

 

Etty, stop making wild claims about the guitars, feel free to joke about imploding exploding wear your safety glasses stuff, it's cool, no offense taken, but stop with the "comparisons", because the only comparison to a known brand would be to Antonio Tsai and BruceWeiArt on eBay.

 

Deal?

 

Another "serious", I feel right at home here, like you're my brothers, sisters, and neighbors. A prophet is never welcome in his home town, just ask Jesus.**

 

 

**for you humorless bastards that can't tell a joke from their ass, that was a joke. Goddammit, I hate having to explain jokes to some of you nimrods, but it's apparent that has to be.

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. . . let's keep in mind that successful guitar companies have spent lots of dollars in infrastructure for a reason.

 

This is not an argument against your comment but an addition. I do believe that a main reason for humidity control during construction has to do with process control and QC: controlling as many variables in the process to influence the final build quality which, then, has some relation to the ability to offer warranties on the product as well as maintain and increase the perception of the brand quality.

 

I've read in some luthery discussions that some manufacturing decisions are made solely for those reasons but to the detriment of the sound or playability of the instrument. None of us know the effect of the air-drying that we have seen in the VN and Philippines vid's; perhaps they take care of all of the free water removal leaving the wood equilibrated with ambient. And, if the wood is high quality to begin with, it may do better than we expect in the finished instrument as it moves through climates.

 

I've been reading the "Wood drying" article in wiki and it mentions that:

 

1. along the grain, wood shrinks the least (0.1 -0.3%)

2. across the grain the most (5-10%) - which is why the cross braces rip the top apart when your guitar has an acute drying episode, but:

3. along the pith - that is, from the heartwood towards the cambium, it shrinks less (2-6%).

 

I posted earlier that my Lowden wasn't harmed or affected by extreme arid conditions of Arizona: that may, then, have to do with the fact that they build only with quarter-sawn wood (rather than slabs).

 

I wouldn't mind seeing this thread end ... though I am (obviously) extending it. As someone else said: whenever it does end, it will end right where we are now. NealP and Etiene are needlessly opposed to each other. I agree with NealP that a guitar assembled in VietNam (all else being equal) will have a higher than average chance of a structural problem when shipped to a much drier climate. I agree with Etienne that his guitars come back to the US and don't have problems. That is, if he says they do, I believe him.

 

I would like to see more guitars leave a factory or workshop equilibrated either to drier or wetter than average conditions - so long as shops can practice climate control. My Tanglewood behaved like an earlier poster described his VN guitar reacted to less humid conditions: everything fretted out below where the neck met the body. I fixed that. A lot of us live in either drier or damper climates than where the instrument is made. Running humidifiers or de-humidifiers to baby our guitars just doesn't seem right to me.

 

Greg

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This is not an argument against your comment but an addition. I do believe that a main reason for humidity control during construction has to do with process control and QC: controlling as many variables in the process to influence the final build quality which, then, has some relation to the ability to offer warranties on the product as well as maintain and increase the perception of the brand quality.


I've read in some luthery discussions that some manufacturing decisions are made solely for those reasons but to the detriment of the sound or playability of the instrument. None of us know the effect of the air-drying that we have seen in the VN and Philippines vid's; perhaps they take care of all of the free water removal leaving the wood equilibrated with ambient. And, if the wood is high quality to begin with, it may do better than we expect in the finished instrument as it moves through climates.


I've been reading the "Wood drying" article in wiki and it mentions that:


1. along the grain, wood shrinks the least (0.1 -0.3%)

2. across the grain the most (5-10%) - which is why the cross braces rip the top apart when your guitar has an acute drying episode, but:

3. along the pith - that is, from the heartwood towards the cambium, it shrinks less (2-6%).


I posted earlier that my Lowden wasn't harmed or affected by extreme arid conditions of Arizona: that may, then, have to do with the fact that they build only with quarter-sawn wood (rather than slabs).


I wouldn't mind seeing this thread end ... though I am (obviously) extending it. As someone else said: whenever it does end, it will end right where we are now. NealP and Etiene are needlessly opposed to each other. I agree with NealP that a guitar assembled in VietNam (all else being equal) will have a higher than average chance of a structural problem when shipped to a much drier climate. I agree with Etienne that his guitars come back to the US and don't have problems. That is, if he says they do, I believe him.


I would like to see more guitars leave a factory or workshop equilibrated either to drier or wetter than average conditions - so long as shops can practice climate control. My Tanglewood behaved like an earlier poster described his VN guitar reacted to less humid conditions: everything fretted out below where the neck met the body. I fixed that. A lot of us live in either drier or damper climates than where the instrument is made. Running humidifiers or de-humidifiers to baby our guitars just doesn't seem right to me.


Greg

Thanks Greg. An actual post devoid of petty vitriol. That's refreshing here in this thread, serious about that.

 

Oddly, I will leave it at that. I know, weird, eh?

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Neal, I must be reading the wrong thread because:

 

1. I don't see these people as being your brothers, sisters, and neighbors.

2. I read these people as wanting to see you under a greyhound.

3. You are not a prophet (shame on you, using Jesus' name like that is just plain vulgar).

4. This is not your hometown.

5. If you have to explain a joke, you shouldn't have told it.

 

Now, if that makes me one of these 'humorless bastards', then so be it. My conscience is clear, I sleep good at night.

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Greg Coal - I'm not needlessly opposed to NeilP. He's perfect. I used to write

comic plays. People like him are a dream-come-true for people like me. They just show up & voila! Laughter ensues.

 

I earn my living communicating in writing & in person. I know -- if I can get 'em laughing -- I win. I need people like him.

 

:thu:
But I have to admit, even though I'm one of Neal's harshest critics, that I'm starting to enjoy his posts. He's sort of like a runaway train.
:)

I posted waaaaaayyyyyyy back there, in post #338, my opinion on this whole thing. I believe Neal's theory is sound......in theory, but there are other considerations. Woods have a tendency to adapt to different environments, within limits.


I firmly believe that the cracking we hear so much about in modern guitars is due to the fact that manufacturers are using thinner and lower quality woods than they did in the good old days. Pick up a Martin guitar from the 1960's and the same model from the 2000's. There is a huge difference in weight. That difference in weight has to come from somewhere.


I personally would not be afraid to buy one of the Vietnamese guitars. From what I have seen from the posts presented herein, this builder uses quality woods and his workmanship seems to be on a very high level. I'm sure he has taken the humidity issue into consideration.


When Neal says that 1 in 10 of these guitars will experience problems, I wonder what the ratio of failure for Martin, Taylor, Guild, and other top-level brands is. I think he will find that that ratio is about the same.


Keep on truckin', Neal.
:wave:

 

Hi. the 1 in 10 figure was not mine. It was an Aussie dealer who sells these in

volume in Australia. He was pissed at me for beating him to that big arch-top.

So he ordered 6 for himself. But that's his failure rate. He wins the lottery 90% of the time.

 

Speaking of my big arch-top, my pal in DFW has taken me up on the deal. I'm

flying it back to him in October. He'll report now & then. I've told him

specifically to not humidify it.

 

So ladies & gentlemen, place your bets.

 

The Ayers & Baden guitars offer some peace of mind to long-distance

shoppers. I don't need that. I'm here. I don't need to spend 2x the price on a

nearly identical guitar.

 

The Baden was interesting to me because it felt so much like a Taylor. The

cutaway styling was elegant too. The Ayers wasn't really any more impressive

than the best guitars I've seen on Guitar Street here.

****

 

One more amazing fact about my arch-top, all of these recordings...except

one, have been run through two good condenser microphones, through a good

mixing board directly into the video camera.

 

The one exception was the arch-top. I recorded it straight with the on-board

video camera mic - 9-10 feet away. And I think it's the most impressive

recording of any of these guitars.

 

That tells me (a) the on-board mic of the FS22 is excellent & (b) that arch-

top is a very loud guitar.

 

Back to the past:

 

NloqXuE_cdg

 

I'm sure gonna miss it.

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Etty:

 

I agree with you 110%. These guitars are beautiful and seem to be well-made. As I said before, I would have no qualms about ordering one (if I had the money). That archtop is gorgeous and it sounds great! :thu:

 

Carry on, man, carry on.

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NB: I am probably the only person here qualified to compare Ayers, Baden & local guitars from small shops.

That's because I have played all three. Our resident consumer advocate & wilderness prophet hasn't played any of them.

 

heh heh.

 

I've already compared them. I won't repeat myself.

 

Everyone should be careful buying guitars. And if I lived in Tucson, El-Paso or California,

I'd humidify my guitar - no matter who manufactured it. I'd also humidify it if I lived in a residence

with central or radiator heating.

 

People should take precautions -- even if they repeatedly win lotteries against astronomical odds.

If I were ordering from the States or the EU, the extra money for an Ayers or Baden might make sense.

 

BTW, the set-up on the two Koas was excellent. The necks were as fast w/.12's

as my D60 with .11's. They're learning how to build guitars with good action over here.

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NB: I am probably the only person here qualified to compare Ayers, Baden & local guitars from small shops.

That's because I have played all three. Our resident consumer advocate & wilderness prophet hasn't played any of them.


heh heh.


I've already compared them. I won't repeat myself.


Everyone should be careful buying guitars. And if I lived in Tucson, El-Paso or California,

I'd humidify my guitar - no matter who manufactured it. I'd also humidify it if I lived in a residence

with central or radiator heating.


People should take precautions -- even if they repeatedly win lotteries against astronomical odds.

If I were ordering from the States or the EU, the extra money for an Ayers or Baden might make sense.


BTW, the set-up on the two Koas was excellent. The necks were as fast w/.12's

as my D60 with .11's. They're learning how to build guitars with good action over here.

 

I've lived in California all my life and never had to humidify a guitar. Maybe if you live in desert regions, but I've never had an issue.

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Ditto.

 

Neither have I. Guild was notorious for not monitoring climate control in Westerly.

But I took my 1972 D25 all over the US, cold weather & hot. Wet climates and dry.

 

I even drove it up to Montana in winter & kept it in the trunk of the car.

I left out it in Lower Manhattan for over a year, from 2002-2003, in an

apartment with radiator heating.

 

But knowing what I know now -- I would humidify my guitars in some places.

 

And WTF are we talking about here?

 

We're talking about a few weeks of monitored humidity during the

construction of the damned guitar. That's it -- a few weeks!

 

That's what all this sturm und drang is all about.

 

The only problem I've ever had, was with a Mosrite Combo electric bass,

built in California. I bought it in 1973. It had a thick, glassy finish. It checked

very badly for some reason in Louisiana.

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And WTF are we talking about here? We're talking about a few weeks of monitored humidity during the construction of the damned guitar. That's it -- a few weeks!


That's what all this
sturm und drang
is all about.

 

I would imagine that the wood used is stored on location, soaking up that good, dry mountain air? No, that hot sticky wet 90% humid air. I can imagine that some wood is special order, and not stored for months on location, but most of that wood stays on site, for months on end until needed. So, Mr. Obtuse, it's a bit more than just a few weeks, eh?

 

Anyway, the best to you, I think I'll bow out of this now and leave you to the thing, the topic is now in the top 10 viewed in the AGF here, I've done my job. :poke: the fork has been poked (thanks M.C) and it is cooked. (like those poor sweaty bastards making these guitars)

 

 

 

:wave::wave:

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Hello,

I'm in Vietnam and my handmade guitar can't take the humidity, so I'm sending it back home to Canada. I read your post and want to visit this builder and buy a guitar, can you send me an address and the name of the builder? I'd really appreciate it, having to send a great guitar home leaves me empty handed..... gonna be here for a year.... yikes!

thanks a bunch

Hugo

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Hello,

I'm in Vietnam and my handmade guitar can't take the humidity, so I'm sending it back home to Canada. I read your post and want to visit this builder and buy a guitar, can you send me an address and the name of the builder? I'd really appreciate it, having to send a great guitar home leaves me empty handed..... gonna be here for a year.... yikes!

thanks a bunch

Hugo

 

PM Etienne

 

PS Hello:wave:

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I love this thread, maybe the best I've seen for me.

It's only obvious how the discussion about anything non-American can go,

but I wasn't expecting such a wide duality of psychology and understanding.

 

However, I read three pages and came right here, having to respond.

And I didn't expect to see such beautiful guitars.

 

About the living conditions and the factory:

How anyone can put down this country and it's history of invasion and oppression,

is beyond me.

It made me feel sad to see the brick and stone inlays on the ruins of an old floor,

a reminder of the time when that country still was progressing as a good society.

Who's been the offshore invader over there?

 

Here's some photos from Welland, Ontario, Canada, where I'm building right now.

Notice the factory environment, the lack of electrical equipment, except for a drill,

no spray booth (I'm not spraying) but:

powered Altec Lansing computer speakers,

a Fisher studio standard cassette deck with synchro dubbing and sequential play,

and I can tape off the radio to dub some set list cassettes,

a Canon scanner (and that's all it does) and Canon camera, made in Malaysia,

Sony studio headphones... yeah... it's all about the tones.

 

and... and... I don't want to bring any of you guys down,

but sometimes I get up after midnight and turn on the lights to make a guitar,

with no clothes on. That's when I really get into the buff.

Don't worry. The only top that gets popped is the "President's Choice" ginger beer.

 

I'd show you my fresh wood storage,

but I threw away the rest of the old dresser I found with some curly maple parts.

My guitar is built with maple found while planing cut boards in Port Colborne, Ontario,

and the center block is Louisiana poplar.

 

Twice as deep as a Stratocaster and wider, but lighter.

It's a patentable semi-solid-body electric guitar invention.

 

I saw someone despairing the dearth of family communities in America,

saying families are atomizing. The authentic phrase is "nuclear family".

Now it's "online family".

 

I gotta get back here and go through this thread.

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katopp! It took a while to lose the dubious quality in my voice about my own guitar.

I carried it around the city to rub out harmonics for days.

 

As to your question, here's where it's at right now.

And I'm living to make a proper video demonstration.

 

The refinish after I had to carve away the violin style ridges and extrusions,

the "gold" trim (1SHOT metallic brass) looked better in pictures than real life.

Now, this is going to be it. I have to get playing it again.

 

But, I'm not and have never been to a Vietnamese guitar factory.

That seems to be where's it's at, even more than my electric.

If I was a real man, I'd be playing a big archtop with a humbucker by the neck,

and two single coils like Stratocasters wired together, phasing a little,

maybe half-phased combined with the humbucker.

 

Have you noticed electronics around you are all becoming half-phased?

I haven't seen that mentioned yet anywhere in Harmony Central.

 

And it's bad, katopp, but I jammed with it through a little karaoke machine,

a response to a thread uh, not exactly just a request... most of them...

and played in F#m. What came out as singing isn't the usual me.

www.johnwatt.ca, see "all my posts on one page" for part three.

 

But I'd toora loora loora a bit more if I was you and wait for a professional one.

Are you interested in the acoustics here, especially arch-tops?

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