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A visit to a Vietnamese Guitar factory


Etienne Rambert
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I'm surprised the thread popped up again. Thanks for all the nice words.

I guess Mr. Binh should become an HC member. I don't think he has

a computer though.

 

Banker knows what Luthier or (Guitar Street) is like.

Interestingly, a block into the street, as you're going north,

you can turn left and you'll be on coffin Street. I forget the

name of the street. But there are three or four coffin-making shops on

that street. It's a short street - only a block long.

 

It makes sense. They make caskets out of the same woods

they make guitars with. The inlay work is similar. So you can

buy a guitar and then go choose your funeral casket on the same day.

 

I'll have to take some photos of that.

 

There is a superstition here. When business gets bad, the casket maker

will start sleeping in his casket until it picks up again.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this thread and I'm glad it popped up again.

 

When I get the bucks, Mr. Binh will build my next git.

 

Marc, when the time comes, would you mind acting as liason for the build? You have a good eye and ear and I'm sure with your help, the new git will be all that I hope for.

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Revive: "Great thread!


This inspires me to find a good luthier in Jakarta, Indonesia (where I'll be going to in a couple of months). Any suggestion?"

__________________

 

No. Sorry. Never been there. I have a friend who lived there

a long time. He thinks Saigon is an easier place to live. He liked

Jakarta though.

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That is very cool that you can take pics in another country and zip them online over here halfway around the world so we can see them. Personally, I love to see pics taken by regular guys overseas like this just to see how the other part of the world lives. Very interesting.

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Sorry. No EBay shop. You can email him if you want.

binhguitar@yahoo.com

 

hey does binh have an ebay site or online site i can check out?

 

new_arrangement.JPG

 

That's my little bed room studio. 3 guitars by Binh.

 

One Guild made in Westerly, Rhode Island in 1997.

 

The arch top BTW, is sui generis. Never heard one like it.

Never saw one like it either.

 

ARCH TOP SOUND CLIP

 

Here's how the Grey Goose sounds, if you're interested.

 

GREY GOOSE CLIP

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Hey,

 

What are the odds he could make a J45 clone for me? I mean, short scale, no frills just dot inlay, an exact specs with adirondack/mahogany etc. If he could produce one I would be VERY interested....no Gibson logo, just the headstock design. Maybe I would supply my own art work for the headstock.

 

Any thoughts? Has he done one before?

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Hey,


What are the odds he could make a J45 clone for me? I mean, short scale, no frills just dot inlay, an exact specs with adirondack/mahogany etc. If he could produce one I would be VERY interested....no Gibson logo, just the headstock design. Maybe I would supply my own art work for the headstock.


Any thoughts? Has he done one before?

 

Sorry. I've been traveling C70.

 

I don't recall seeing a J-45 clone in his shop. I've seen several of the

larger J-200 style jumbos. He's great with those.

 

I won't be back in VN until late August. There is a forum member

picking up a jumbo or a dread from him this month though.

Maybe he'll report. It's a Cambodian Rosewood/Spruce. So it should

have a different sound than the Grey Goose, which has a Cedar top.

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Greets from Aussie, marcellis, this is a really great thread. How much did you get your Goose guitar for? If i want to get my next guitar custom made, you know how much it would cost ? I just want a simple dreadnought like Maton(aussie brand, awesome stuff) , Martin or Taylor. Would the sound beat/come close to those ?

 

My hometown is HCMC so i can order and pick it up when im there for holidays .

Thanks. I had to register because this thread is soooo good.

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People seem to think it`s like ordering from MF..lol

 

Excellent point. Ohmygod is flying in to buy a guitar. That's the safe way to do it. Buying a guitar from Luthier Street is a no-brainer if you're on the ground. It's riskier if you're shipping it 12,000 miles across the ocean. It ain't like dealing with MF. At the very least, if it arrives damaged - you're stuck with an expensive shipping bill back.

 

If it arrives in tact, you've got a keeper for life once you get it set up & put some decent tuners on it. Acoustically, my arch top blows away any I've ever heard or played.

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Excellent point. Ohmygod is flying in to buy a guitar. That's the safe way to do it. Buying a guitar from Luthier Street is a no-brainer if you're on the ground. It's riskier if you're shipping it 12,000 miles across the ocean. It ain't like dealing with MF. At the very least, if it arrives damaged - you're stuck with an expensive shipping bill back.

 

Buying in person sounds like the way to go and probably is less expensive in the long run. One of my good frineds just moved to VN, maybe I need to pay him a visit. ;)

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Thanks for the prompt reply marcellis.

 

I've listen'd to the sound clip it's sound very decent for what you have traded for. Around 5 000 000 VND yeah?

 

Is there any chance you know the price of a custom-made one ? Like:

Soundboard "AA" Grade Solid Sitka Spruce

Back Solid Maple

Sides Solid Maple

Neck Maple

Fingerboard Rosewood/Dot Inlays

Finish (Face) Satin

 

With a custom headstock ? :D

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I remember reading this thread and not getting a chance to respond, so I'm glad it popped back up again. This is truly one of the most intriguing and informative threads I've ever read. Thank you Marc for the photos and for sharing your experience. Those guitars look great and I'd happily play the heck out of Mr. Bihn's guitars :D

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Thanks for the prompt reply marcellis.


I've listen'd to the sound clip it's sound very decent for what you have traded for. Around 5 000 000 VND yeah?


Is there any chance you know the price of a custom-made one ? Like:

Soundboard "AA" Grade Solid Sitka Spruce

Back Solid Maple

Sides Solid Maple

Neck Maple

Fingerboard Rosewood/Dot Inlays

Finish (Face) Satin


With a custom headstock ?
:D

 

5 million VND is less than $300 USD these days.

I don't know if they'll build from scratch for that.

Maybe. But you can certainly buy a guitar with

your spec's for that price.

 

The Maple guitars are the best-sounding guitars

in VN. For some reason, a lot of them are tone monsters.

Maybe it's the high humidity.

 

I've got a VN Rosewood B&S/Spruce top here in Louisiana that's really

sounding good now. It's been sitting in a case for 3 years.

 

I've always liked VN Rosewood. It's very different from any

other Rosewood, both in it's reddish tint and its tone.

 

If I were you, I'd get a flat finish. If you live in dry Oz,

you should avoid shiny finishes. And you definitely should

keep a humidifier in your case.

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ill prolly ask mr Binh thru email. is there any chance that he check his email box frequently?

 

Climate in Australia is really dry yeah, so i think most of the guitar here has normal finish (i dunno how to call it, definitely not shiny glossy). Like Maton 325 or CW80 guitar. I actually like those finish better. They call it satin finish on their site =)

 

vietnamese Rosewood ? Do you know how they call it in Vietnamese. I actually like the look of the Cambodian Rosewood, not sure about the vietnamese one though.

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Wow. I know this thread was posted some time ago, but I'm just looking through it now... Fantastic pics! :thu: And the skill exhibited here is really just amazing.

 

As for the "sweatshop" comments, I just could not disagree more. It is rather silly and fanciful to apply American factory norms and standards to other parts of the world as a basis for moral judgment. It is ludicrous to think that every factory on the planet should either spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment or simply not exist. Not existing as a business is not an option. Things are extremely tough in many parts of the world, and these folks are doing the best they can. They need to make a living. I'm sure they are proud of their skills and the quality of work they turn out, as they should be.

 

For anyone who fancies himself a champion of third-world human rights, you don't advance your cause or improve the conditions of those you ostensibly support by shunning their work because it is not produced in conditions identical to what you're used to here. Try asking the people you think you're defending whether they'd prefer OSHA-approved conditions or food for their kids. Commerce will eventually improve working conditions by increasing revenue and creating competition that will require employers to attract skill with higher wages and better conditions; shunning commerce, on the other hand, will not translate to improved conditions. It will just translate to people being out of their jobs.

 

The United States wasn't sprouted from the cosmic womb with the working conditions we consider to be the standard today. We went through a long, nasty, bloody process to get here, and "here" is still very far from perfect. It is terribly arrogant to expect countries far less wealthy than our own to operate precisely as we would.

 

How the hell do I order one of these things?

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@knockwood: I believe you can contact him through email and order with him. I think he will ship it overseas as well. Last time i went to his shop he was packing a guitar to ship overseas. Not sure about cost and risk though =)

 

He just told me that a custom made one would cost a minimum of 3 to 5 million dong (around 200-350 USD) depend on the specifications, wood type ...

 

Still waiting for his reply on my spec. I'll post that on here when i got it. :thu:

 

Proud to be a Vietnamese hahaha.

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I haven't seen Binh in a few weeks.

I know an HCEG forum member just swung

by to pick up a guitar he'd spec'd.

 

Everybody should remember:

 

You're not ordering from Musicians' Friend here.

You're not ordering from a large manufacturer.

So there is a need to be realistic.

 

1. Count on the guitar needing a set-up.

 

2. Count on changing the tuners.

 

3. Count on high-shipping costs.

 

4. Make sure you specify action & saddle height.

 

---

 

If you do those things & IF the guitar isn't damaged in shipping,

you'll have a great instrument.

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