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A visit to a Vietnamese Guitar factory


Etienne Rambert
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My god, you are insane. Good luck with the guitar business.


And if you need a neck reset soon, as you stated earlier, after 4 years of owning the guitar, I'm not sure if you saw the symptoms of a "wet guitar" I posted earlier, but that's one of them.


Mercy! A bet with you? On what is now obviously, from your severe defensiveness and terribly rude behavior, just throwing money down a hole... no. But as I said, good luck with the guitar business, hope you make a million, and I hope none of the guitars you sell to the world fall apart or need neck resets in 4 years.


One more repetition, take that Xanax, hell, even
I
can feel red in your face.



Oh by the way, I know your stand on this, but people who have one or more these guitars and are happy with them WOULDN'T all have won a lottery. No need talk nonsense...

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If I thought there was money in selling guitars - I would.

I just don't see any money in it.

 

I thought about importing arch-tops to the US, until Godin came

out with its line. In terms of materials, they're really not competitive.

But the Godin price point is really low & the quality is good.

 

That's the problem.

 

Even though you can manufacture a solid wood arch-top

over here for $150, then you have to ship it 12,000 miles

across the Pacific. Once it arrives, you'd be competing with

a laminate Godin that comes with a distribution network, a warranty

and sells for about $500.

 

Depending on shipping costs, the profit margin would be really small.The big

Taiwanese EBay sellers save on shipping, by shipping from Vietnam to Taiwan,

which is a cheap trip. And then they ship it from Taiwan to the US,

which is also a cheap route. Shipping costs from VN directly to the US are

expensive & make the whole thing cost prohibitive.

 

I'm not Warren Buffet, but I'm smart enough to know I won't make money

selling guitars from here. But if I tried it, I'd go with arch-tops.

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Before being called an idiot, and asked to partake in a very stupid bet, the only reason I posted at all was the comment by Brindeleaf about people needlessly worrying about building conditions. I just don't think that position is a very wise one. Any luthier or repairman will tell you that building conditions and humidity control during the build are most definitely important. I don't understand what is so controversial about that.

 

So I'm really sorry to have gotten into a match with the original poster regarding the importance of humidity during the construction. He chooses to believe otherwise, and so do a few of you. That's cool.

 

If any one of you choose to use your money to purchase a guitar built in conditions that closely resemble a sauna, I say More Power To You! It's a good thing to support the local economy wherever you are. Really and honestly, please understand, I don't care if you do. It's fine with me, and you shouldn't care what I have to say on the subject, it obviously, by wishful thinking, doesn't matter. Is this last bit redundant enough for you to finally understand? I don't care if you buy one of these (one more time for luck).

 

One more time(again!), building a guitar in 80-90% humidity IS NOT A GOOD THING, but if you want to buy one, heck, knock yerself out and do it!

 

Again, please forgive my redundancies, I hope the original poster and the rest understand that all this boils down to is that you don't agree with the sentence above.

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aren`t you guys tired yet? Anyways...8000+ posts beats 117. It is written.

 

Yeah, I am. I suppose conventional wisdom loses this round. I admit defeat. So I say, "go ahead, strap on those cardboard wings, jump off the roof, if you think you can fly, you most certainly can!"

 

I'm off to work, good luck with those guitars.

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Well.....
I certainly didn't mean to bring stir things up like this.
My original comment was to say how good this thread was, and that I was impressed by what I could see and what I could hear of these guitars.


I don't see any evidence at all that this thread was started to sell guitars, except to provise a little publicity for the guitar maker ( I heartily approve!).


As I've said all along... I find it amusing that people want NOT just a beautiful guitar, NOT just hand-made to YOUR specifications, NOT just evidence that these guitars can sound GREAT, NOT just that it's a small family business producing good-quality guitars, and NOT just that all this comes for 300$......IN ADDITION people want first-world working conditions and humidity control....!


GIVE THE GUY A BREAK......!
:facepalm:



You didn't stir anything up. :) We all know who stirred things up. :facepalm:

The overwhelming majority of viewers and posters here have enjoyed seeing this guy's work... even me. :wave:

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If possible, a guitar should be assembled in an atmosphere containing less moisture than the atmosphere in which it will finally consistently be. As a general rule, it is best to build guitars in a dry environment because swelling is less of a hazard than shrinkage.



Yea I do agree with this as it follows along with my previous post. The point I was trying to make is with the humidty amount.

The assumption that wood acts in a linear fashion in response to humidity is wrong. Wood will change a lot in the low humidity conditions, but not in response to high humidity conditions. The amount it changes from say 10% to 25% humidity is a lot but the mount it changes from say 50% to 65% is almost non-existent. This is especially true of hardwoods like rosewood and mahogany.

So basically assembling a guitar in some place with 85% humidity gets you the same stable relative results as building one in 50% humidity...But take both guitars into really low humidity for a length of time and they'll suffer...in similar fashion. Most ominously by cracking.

As for assembling a guitar in low humidity conditions, there's less risk of major problems like wood cracking after assembly when used someplace in higher humidity...but because wood reacts in greater amounts in that area, you can get bigger fluctuations in action/relief etc. for smaller fluctuations in humidity...so you have to pay attention to it closer when building and afterwards shipping the guitar someplace....hence these varied opinions on humidity. It depends a lot on the location of the build.

It gets even more complicated than that:

Newly milled wood, even if it's been kiln dried reacts differently to humidity than old wood. Old wood is more stable. One theory as to why has to do with the water tied up inside the wood cells. You can measure the moisture content of new kiln dried wood and 50 year old aged wood and they will both have the same moisture content.... but because the old wood has freer flow of moisture inside and outside the wood cells (the so called intracellular and extracellular water) it's more stable and less prone to cracking or changing from fluctuations in humidity. It's also the reason some luthiers prize wood that's been dried from long term storage instead of seasoned quickly from kiln drying.

A few weeks ago, word spread on the internet that there was a shed in Nashville that had inside 500 Gretsch Astro Jet and Corvette electric guitar bodies left over from the 1960's.
The owner of the shed was selling them for $50 each. Now these are huge
one-piece solid Honduran mahogany bodies pretty much fully shaped. All they needed were guitar necks. I snapped up ten of them.

Now this shed was pretty much outside to the elements. For 30-40 years. There were a few of naysayers complaining that the wood would be useless....rotted, cracked and unusable after being left like that. I'm happy to report that that's not the case. Mahogany was the wood used to build the Spanish armada. It's very stable in contact with water. After cleaning off the dirt and water marks...the wood was fantastic and quite stable:

the shed they were stored in:

large_DSC_6261.JPG

the bodies:

100_3871.jpg

and a few of those same bodies after being dusted off:

1271701856.jpg

DSC06317.jpg

DSC06313.jpg

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It would be interesting to hear about how those Gretsch bodies ended up in that shed.




Apparently the story goes that they were obtained from Grestch by a company called "Sho-Bud" that had some loose affiliation with Gretsch. I had a "Sho-Bud" aluminum volume pedal once that fell into my lap that was made for pedal steel guitars. It was a collectors item because it was identical to Gretsch's version but rarer. I sold it on Ebay for a nice price. I think around $200

I think basically Sho-Bud might have manufactured pedal steel equipment for Gretsch

I'm a little vague on the exact specifics of the deal because Gretsch actually bought the Sho-Bud company in the 1970's. Perhaps the bodies were part of the payment to the Sho-Bud owner? The Astro Jet and Corvette weren't a big seller and I'm sure Gretsch was happy to get rid of them. Personally I love them as a platform for modding guitars. You get basically a body aged for decades that's one piece Honduran mahogany with a glued in Honduran mahogany neck. Basically the same thing as a 60's Gibson SG for peanuts.

I think the reason they weren't big sellers was because the Hilotron pickup, which is great for hollowbody guitars, wasn't well suited for solid guitars. Kind of thin, tinny and not hot enough for rock unless you overwound it. But a useful vintage sound and if you install other pickups they really rock.

The owner of the shed decided to sell them to Gretsch fans after a deal with Gretsch's custom shop fell through. Personally I think a special edition custom shop Astro Jet would sell well...especially made with original bodies...but all Fender/Gretsch offered him was to trade one new custom shop guitar for the 500 bodies. Pretty insulting. There's a mad race right now to obtain Astro jet necks from luthiers right now. Personally I'm making my own. Some people are trying to make exact copies. Personally I'm more in the hot-rodding camp:

[YOUTUBE]5y8Ds6Cb118[/YOUTUBE]

[YOUTUBE]4k4nZDqGKbQ[/YOUTUBE]

Sorry to derail the thread though...Back to the fighting!

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Yea I own a '79 of the 4 wheeled variety.

It sits in my mother's garage. It works o.k. but eats gas to the tune of maybe 12 mpg. I think maybe only 200 hp too. Most of the problem stems from the fact that it has all of this horrible anti-emmisions crap on it but no fuel injection.

It looks gorgeous though and I keep telling myself that one day I'll hot rod it with a new high performance engine and some upgrades....but that's another Corvette hot rod project entirely

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As long as this thread is officially hijacked by Sayaka Isoyama's friend :cool:.... and it needed to be! My '76.
Sold it last year. All the emissions crap went away replaced with Alum. heads, headers, eldebrock cam. 10 MPG and fast enough. Now no more fightin' about very cool guitars from Viet Nam please.
MVC-061F.jpg

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As long as this thread is officially hijacked by Sayaka Isoyama's friend
:cool:
.... and it needed to be! My '76.

Sold it last year. All the emissions crap went away replaced with Alum. heads, headers, eldebrock cam. 10 MPG and fast enough. Now no more fightin' about very cool guitars from Viet Nam please.

MVC-061F.jpg



Now if I can pick up one of THOSE for 300$, I'll forget the VM guitar for the time being...just one loaded question...'Did the guys who made that car have benches and shoes...?' :facepalm:

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As long as this thread is officially hijacked by Sayaka Isoyama's friend
:cool:
.... and it needed to be! My '76.

Sold it last year. All the emissions crap went away replaced with Alum. heads, headers, eldebrock cam. 10 MPG and fast enough. Now no more fightin' about very cool guitars from Viet Nam please.

MVC-061F.jpg



I hope you didn't sell it to a guy who lives in a low humidity climate. It could crack and fall part very easily. :cool:

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If possible, a guitar should be assembled in an atmosphere containing less moisture than the atmosphere in which it will finally consistently be. As a general rule, it is best to build guitars in a dry environment because swelling is less of a hazard than shrinkage.

Yea I do agree with this as it follows along with my previous post. The point I was trying to make is with the humidty amount.

 

Thanks, that's the only point I was trying to get across. Nice guitars you got btw, thanks for posting those pics.

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Ha!
:thu:
Are we done now?




Thanks, that's the only point I was trying to get across. Nice guitars you got btw, thanks for posting those pics.

 

Hey genius. Can you put your money where your mouth is?

The offer is still open. Someone gets a free guitar.

And we'll see if it disintegrates into dust within a year - or some

other time-fame we agree on.

 

This is a good experiment.

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Hey genius. Can you put your money where your mouth is?

The offer is still open. Someone gets a free guitar.

And we'll see if it disintegrates into dust within a year - or some

other time-fame we agree on.


This is a good experiment.

 

Mr. Genius to you.:poke:

 

You keep harping on this bet thing like I said something about these guitars personally. It's surprising your intimidating manner.

 

Instead of addressing issues such as your need for a neck reset in a 4-6 year old guitar, the post above where the guitar builder YOU QUOTED agreed with the statement regarding build environment. Or instead of just being polite, which I've tried to be, and discussing the issue of construction

 

Please, just so we understand each other, this is my only position, has been my only position, and continues to be my only position or opinion on this discussion (other than you're funny when cornered:p):

 

A Guitar built in 80-90% humidity stands a better than average chance of needing serious repairs sooner, or falling apart, or.. than a guitar built in a 40-50% RH environment.

 

Please explain to me what is controversial about that statement, and where you get the idea that because I stated the above that all of a sudden there is a challenge that involves me sending money to a stranger.

 

Sorry to rain on your parade and all that, but there will be no "wager", not sure why you're so obsessed with that, and your wishing does not change the validity of that statement in red up above. Good luck with your neck reset, here in the states, that's a 3-500$ job.

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"...there will be no "wager", not sure why you're so obsessed with that, and your wishing does not change the validity of that statement in red up above. Good luck with your neck reset, here in the states, that's a 3-500$ job.

 

:thu:

 

By-the-way, neck issues are a red herring. They have nothing to do with humidity.

Where are necks are set by hand, without precision machinery, you're more likely

to have neck issues down the road. That has to be measured against the tone &

the value of the instrument. It has nothing to do with relative humidity.

 

 

That guitar wasn't made in Binh's shop anyway. Binh rescued it for me

after another luthier cracked the top. That's a different story. It's still

the best-sounding guitar I own. The strum is absolute velvet.

 

That bet is still waiting for you champ, whenever you get flush. I'll be here waiting to win the lotto.

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Where are necks are set by hand, without precision machinery, you're more likely

to have neck issues down the road. That has to be measured against the tone &

the value of the instrument. It has nothing to do with relative humidity.



That guitar wasn't made in Binh's shop anyway. Binh rescued it for me

after another luthier cracked the top. That's a different story. It's still

the best-sounding guitar I own. The strum is absolute velvet.


That bet is still waiting whenever you get flush. I'll be here waiting to win the lotto.

 

Well, I suppose obfuscation is your only option at this point.

 

There are issues with the statement you made concerning neck resets. That's just plainly false in so many ways, one stated in the quote above, in red and bold. If you are equating precision machinery with a straight edge and other hand measuring devices...

 

Here are 2 examples for you in my experience. I have a '37 Martin 00-17, purchased in '94. It was a little high on the action, but not terrible, I decided to have a neck set and refret in '95, hey it was 58 years old! As you know, once you get a neck off, you can tell if it's been done before, and this was the first neckset in 58 years. In the last 15 years, it still needs no neck reset.

 

1937, precision machinery involved a straight edge and a ruler, and the new reset involved the same. No robots that I know of are involved in the neck construction process, so what precision machinery are you referring to?

 

Another of my guitars- 1969 Guild F-112 12 string model. I bought this in '92, good 12 string, no problems, but decided a reset would be a good thing on this by now (1996) 27 year old workhorse, it was the first neckset, again. I'm still playing it today, it's great for fingerstyle, etc.

 

Maybe in 1969 Guild had all those fancy unknown precision machinery you refer to.

 

But they were built well, in controlled environments.

 

So, lets sum up here for a moment, my contentious friend,

 

1. Your angle at this point is to infer that I'm somehow a hollowman for refusing a bet involving sending an amount of money to you in Vietnam. That is just foolish and not worth even asking anymore, ok?

2. You like pretty guitars and they kill Guilds. Well, they ARE pretty, and if they sound good to you, who can argue?

3. You are fiercely loyal to your friend. I understand and admire that.

4. Guitars built in a wet environment stand a greater than average chance of needing serious repairs. Especially when moved to a dryer environment. This is the statement you apparently have issue with. I still don't know why this statement is so controversial with you.

 

Best of luck, they are gorgeous guitars, I believe you when you say they sound good, I admire the small business run by this gent and wish it success, but I stand by that little, small, tiny statement that you find so insulting.

 

I know this is another long post, but please don't forget to read it all, boring and repetitive it may be. Though I suspect I'll be confronted yet again with the "wager", as that seems to be your current obsession and attempt at bullying a poor widdle newbie like me.:lol:

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