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A visit to a Vietnamese Guitar factory


Etienne Rambert
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katopp, not that I want to stop, or say stop to you,

but this is an acoustic forum and a Vietnamese build thread,

and I feel like I'm getting a free tropical vacation looking around.

 

Scalloping the neck isn't the best thing for playing a neck like a guitars.

Ritchie Blackmore used to talk about having a scalloped neck on his Stratocaster,

saying he pushed down to bend notes. He was very facetious, especially for the 60's.

Authentic instruments would have had frets held on from behind, being movable.

This deeply scalloped neck is a continuation of that fret feel.

 

The only thing missing from these guitars that's part of Vietnamese tradition,

is lots of nice inlays. Think of the skull graphics all those piles of skulls could be.

Sorry. That might not be appropriate symbols for Vietnamese people.

That's what makes me think they're being made for export to uh, North America.

And then I saw someone saying he repaired a Martin. He knows.

 

You know, if the well-traveled gentleman who first started this thread,

added the mailing address of this business, I'd mail a $20 Canadian as a gift.

I always feel good treating twenty people to a nice celebration supper.

yeah... I can't float a tab that far over the ocean.

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Originally Posted by HugoLachance


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

 

Hugo LaChance? This can't be for real.

 

Tam Hiep Luthiers 36 Nguyen Thien Thuat St. Q3

 

(on "Guitar Street" between Nguyen Thi Minh Khai & Nguyen Dinh Chieu)

Tel: 0908624067

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Hey Etienne,

I don't go by that name, but it's a valid variation, my mom's maiden name & using Hugo as I travel, seems easier for Asian's to grasp than Hugh. It'd be grand if you have a listen to my new CD, 5 instrumentals and 7 songs.... under my usual name, www.myspace.com/hughfisher (dad's name) you'll see why I NEED a good guitar.

Perhaps we can hook up in Saigon next week when I go to buy a guitar? It would be cool to hang out with someone who's been around there, shopping is not an experience I gravitate to in general, and 20 stores seems overwhelming.

Also, I'd appreciate ANY tips you have on shipping my guitar back to Canada, I'm thinking DHL, but if you have experience or someone else you use, that would be amazing!

On another note or notes, I'm sure you'd enjoy checking out my hand made from a builder in Powell River, BC, it's maple with an Engleman spruce top, just superb, though it's compromised by 3 months in Bali's 85% humidity.

If we can't hook up, that's fine too, I appreciate the address you've already sent, a huge help, thanks a bundle,

regards

Hugo Lachance

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Ha. You are for real.

 

I thought you were an expat -- joking with me.

 

PM me -- I'll give you my email & phone.

 

DHL is expensive but it is worth it. Use DHL.

I use DHL or Fed-Ex.

 

Hey Etienne,

I don't go by that name, but it's a valid variation, my mom's maiden name & using Hugo as I travel, seems easier for Asian's to grasp than Hugh. It'd be grand if you have a listen to my new CD, 5 instrumentals and 7 songs.... under my usual name,
www.myspace.com/hughfisher
(dad's name) you'll see why I NEED a good guitar.

Perhaps we can hook up in Saigon next week when I go to buy a guitar? It would be cool to hang out with someone who's been around there, shopping is not an experience I gravitate to in general, and 20 stores seems overwhelming.

Also, I'd appreciate ANY tips you have on shipping my guitar back to Canada, I'm thinking DHL, but if you have experience or someone else you use, that would be amazing!

On another note or notes, I'm sure you'd enjoy checking out my hand made from a builder in Powell River, BC, it's maple with an Engleman spruce top, just superb, though it's compromised by 3 months in Bali's 85% humidity.

If we can't hook up, that's fine too, I appreciate the address you've already sent, a huge help, thanks a bundle,

regards

Hugo Lachance

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Hey dude, thanks, I'm happy you like it, just finished the CD and have been traveling, so not much feedback. Let me know if you have music posted, I'd like to hear it.

ciao

Hugo

 

You're welcome - it's very good stuff.

 

I've done quite a few songs for the monthly HCAG "VOM1T" sessions ("Virtual Open Mic One Take"). I do mostly traditional and covers.

 

Here is a link to a collaboration with our fellow forumite Samilyn. I recorded the vocal and guitar (1 take) and sent an mp3 to Samilyn, she recorded two keyboard tracks (1 take) and combined them.

 

http://www.box.net/shared/cbzftqpqhp

 

This is just me and my guitar.

 

http://www.box.net/shared/98ixrd8hpi

 

Hope you like them.

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Hugo LaChance is for real. He actually came over to my place.

 

He's an excellent player. I hope to get a video or two out of him.

 

1. He's got a gorgeous hand-made Canadian Maple tone monster, with a Florentine cutaway.

 

a. He has H&H dual pick-up in it. That is the finest acoustic guitar pick-up I have ever heard -- period.

 

2. The Canadian dread (presumably constructed in climate-controlled conditions),

is having trouble with the high humidity of Southeast Asia. Unlike a lot of players who

put humidifiers in their cases, he puts anti-humidifiers in his case.

 

I think he can get it fixed over here. It is a damned beautiful instrument.

And the pick-up is amazing.

 

I've played Baggs I-Beam, K&K Western Mini's & lots of Fishmans.

This H&H is the finest-sounding acoustic pick-up I've ever heard.

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Alas, no videos from Hugo. He's on his way out. He shipped his Canadian

guitar back too. But he browsed the stores on guitar street and ended up

buying a cutaway dread from Mr. Binh. Rosewood B&S and Spruce top.

 

It's got beautiful tone - even w/dead strings. He's gonna take some photos

of it. I gave him some decent EXP 26 strings for it and I unloaded my remaining Martin SP's on him and Mr. Binh.

 

He's a really good player. It's too bad I couldn't record him while he was here.

 

 

hugo%26daface.jpg

 

etienne%26hugo.jpg

 

I hate how I look these days. I used to be a handsome devil.

 

I'm taking my precious arch-top back to the US this Fall.

It's a test. It will stay in DFW area one year -- unhumidified.

 

I need an arch-top in the meantime. I was going to have Binh make

me a big blonde. But then I chanced upon this in his shop.

 

I think I could get it really cheap. I'll bring back a KA pick-up and a new pick-guard.

 

What I like about this guitar is the action. It's got a very fast neck.

 

mynextarchtop.jpg

 

mynextarchtopback.jpg

 

I'm not much on all the bling. But I really love the way this little guitar plays.

It doesn't have the acoustic volume of my big arch-top. But it's a really nifty

little player. W/a pick-up, I think she'll do just fine.

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He came over to the house one night. I was really impressed w/that pick-up

in his Canadian Maple. I didn't see much wrong with the guitar, except that

the saddle leaned forward. I think Binh could have fixed it. But he shipped it out.

 

Interesting -- this was a guitar that would sell for around $4K. And it was

having problems in high humidity. I've never seen anti-humidity patches in a

guitar case. But he had several.

 

He is a REALLY good solo acoustic guitarist. He played some mellow finger-

style kind of music for me that night. He uses drop tunings a lot.

 

I wish I'd recorded him. But we both thought he'd come back the next day.

Unfortunately, he had to split for the beach. Saigon has that effect on some people.

 

One of the songs on his web pages he played for me live is "Bowl of Tears".

That gives you an idea of how his Maple sounds too.

 

Here is his CBC Channel.

 

His Myspace page.

 

The guitar he bought from Binh had great tone. A lot of these local guitars

have great tone. The neck really can't compare to his Canadian Maple or my

Guilds. But they don't have to apologize for the way they sound.

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Interesting -- this was a guitar that would sell for around $4K. And it was

having problems in high humidity. I've never seen anti-humidity patches in a

guitar case. But he had several.

 

Could enlightenment be far away? C'mon, yer almost there.

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May I make a suggestion to all who participate in this thread? I happen to enjoy this thread because I've learned some things, and I thank all of you for participating.

 

My suggestion is that we all take a minute and post an acknowledgement to Neal's point that he has attempted to drill home for the past several months. Maybe, if we do this, it will satisfy his need to 'win', and he just might move on to another sandbox. I'll be the first.

 

Neal, I have heard your point and I understand what you are saying; that any guitar, built in a high-humidity environment, will have a much higher chance of developing structural problems later on. I understand your point. I fully comprehend the theory behind your point. Thank you for sharing your point with me and all the rest who participate in this thread.

 

Now please, your point has been made and acknowledged. Please be so kind as to let the rest of us, who thoroughly enjoy what this thread has to teach us, continue without the disruption.

 

Thank you, Neal.

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May I make a suggestion to all who participate in this thread? I happen to enjoy this thread because I've learned some things, and I thank all of you for participating.


My suggestion is that we all take a minute and post an acknowledgement to Neal's point that he has attempted to drill home for the past several months. Maybe, if we do this, it will satisfy his need to 'win', and he just might move on to another sandbox. I'll be the first.


Neal, I have heard your point and I understand what you are saying; that any guitar, built in a high-humidity environment, will have a much higher chance of developing structural problems later on. I understand your point. I fully comprehend the theory behind your point. Thank you for sharing your point with me and all the rest who participate in this thread.


Now please, your point has been made and acknowledged. Please be so kind as to let the rest of us, who thoroughly enjoy what this thread has to teach us, continue without the disruption.


Thank you, Neal.

 

 

??? WTF was that about Mike? Forgot your meds? Stay on topic, Etty's finally understanding the whole humidity "theory"...:facepalm:

 

And I am out actually, would not have posted again but for 2 things:

1. Etty's acknowledgment of the problems that come with humidity, and a bit of encouragement for him to extrapolate his findings, that you took it wrong is entirely your problem. It was on topic.

2. Your kiss-ass post addressing me, which you stated in a PM that you would avoid doing from now on, not that I'm holding you to it...

 

I truly am sorry for upsetting your little apple-cart. Please forgive me. Pretty please? You can kiss me later.

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Neal, I have heard your point and I understand what you are trying to say; that perhaps guitars, built in a high-humidity environment, will have a higher chance of developing structural problems later on, which may be worth the risk if you figure you can get a handmade guitar built to your specifications by a skilled independant worker who is working for himself rather than for a huge multi-national company (which would only drain off any profits) for around 300$, BUT if you think that's an unreasonable risk/price you are quite welcome NOT to buy one (we're not going to share with you if you don't want us to...).

 

I understand your (painfully repeated) point. I fully comprehend the theory behind your point (although others have made rather interesting ones about the nature of wood and the long heritage of wood-working in high humidity countries). You can now stop sharing your point with me (because sharing TOO MUCH when people don't really want you to, has led to vast amounts of problems for many people who now inhabit many of the prisons around the world), and all the rest who participate in this thread with rather impressive tolerance and/or amusement.

 

Now please, your point has been made and acknowledged as far as it's ever going to be. Please be so kind as to let the rest of us, who thoroughly enjoy what this thread has to teach us, continue without the disruption.

 

I couldn't have said it beter myself Gull...!

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(because sharing TOO MUCH when people don't really want you to, has led to vast amounts of problems for many people who now inhabit many of the prisons around the world), and all the rest who participate in this thread with rather impressive tolerance and/or amusement.


Now please, your point has been made and acknowledged as far as it's ever going to be. Please be so kind as to let the rest of us, who thoroughly enjoy what this thread has to teach us, continue without the disruption.


I couldn't have said it beter myself Gull...!

Why on earth would you think I'm sharing with you two? Are you that full of yourselves that you feel you both are speaking for the 37000+ that have read this thread? Guys, take it down a notch..

 

 

Boys, did you not read the post up above where Etty was seemingly confused that a 4K guitar would have problems in the humidity that is is prevalent in Saigon? Did I bring that up? No. I only encouraged him to think a bit harder and to use a bit of reason. This is what forums are for. On topic, in the discussion, no harm, no foul, no hard feelings toward Etty, or anyone else.

 

I'm fine with leaving your discussion, I have no dog in the fight, and no interest in senseless arguments, but you two just dragged me back in. You can't be that dense to believe that your words (so wonderfully sculpted, btw, both of you) would leave me hanging my head and saying to myself, "oh gosh, I'm ruining their good time". Sorry boys, post at me, flame me in a "polite" way, I'll respond.

 

If you were smart, you'd ignore this post, quit trying to kiss Etty's ass by your misguided defense, and leave it be. But I wager that you are not that smart, and I am guessing that soon, someone else, as misguided as you two, will chime in too. Perhaps by the end of this one, it'll be the #1 viewed post at the AGF.

 

Jeebus christ, you'd think I farted in church.

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so, gutars built in high humidity will suffer in dry climate. geez, that is worth a prize.

guitars built in low humidity will suffer in damp climate, another nobel prize.

guitars built in climate-controlled mid-humidity will suffer - as by logic of deduction - all the time.

if those vc guitars are only half as good as the rumors are, i rather buy a case humidifier than another overpriced mass-market instrument.

where else can i actually specify everything, gave it hand-built and ... and that indeed is a very valuable and important point for me ... support some business in an emerging country?

the few quid you pay for a built-to-order guitar is what keeps a family business alive for probably a month.

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Ah good, our resident consumer activist is still launching jeremiads against

Vietnamese guitars. He's enjoying the thread too. He just has a different way

of enjoying things than most folks.

 

so, guitars built in high humidity will suffer in dry climate. geez, that is worth a prize. guitars built in low humidity will suffer in damp climate, another nobel prize.
guitars built in climate-controlled mid-humidity will suffer - as by logic of deduction - all the time.

 

And NeilP is here to make us suffer all-the-time.

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I remember a guy in a different forum who was obsessed with a big Russian airplane,

the Ilyushin 76 Water-Bomber.

 

It didn't matter what the thread topic was, somehow, this guy would always

steer the thread around to talking about this gigantic airplane & how superior it

was to any American fire-fighting aircraft.

 

People were baffled. OK. it's a great airplane. Now -- can we get back on topic?

 

Neil reminds me of that guy. So here's a pic.

 

ilyushin_il76_candid.jpg

 

These water-bombers could come in really handy, if Vietnam went through a dry

spell and all these small guitar factories without climate control started blowing up.

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...if Vietnam went through a dry

spell and all these small guitar factories without climate control started blowing up.

 

Yeah, when stuff starts blowing up, especially guitars, people start losing favorite body parts. Just imagine if it was a guitar factory!

 

The maiming, the humanity.

 

Not good. Not good at all. :p

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