Acoustics get expensive very quickly.......

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  • That's great @ThorpyFX ;; - I bet it thrashes more expensive guitars.

    I agree with the point about expensive guitars not being needed/used on famous records.. I think the same about amps and effects and even mixing/mastering... 

    @AuldReekie is the Larry the "worst" of that bunch?
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    @AuldReekie is the Larry the "worst" of that bunch?
    I suppose that it is, but I'd prefer to word it as the others being better guitars - which they should be given the price differential.  I think my McIlRoys is about £3K new, Forsters are considerably more expensive.  My 12 fret Model C would be about £5K and my model G in Brazillian and bearclaw spruce, would, I reckon be between £7-8K and my SC Tony Rice about £4K.  so comparing the Larrivee to these is unfair.  What I will say is that at comparable price point, I'd have a Larrivee anyday over a Taylor.  And I'm not the only person who likes Larrys.  When I put my Larrivee C09 up for sale in "Strung Out" in Glasgow, Graeme Duffin of "Wet Wet Wet" bought it. I've had my OM9 longer than any off my other acoustics and I doubt that I will ever sell it.
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 603
    I think the thing with a lot of these guitars up above the £5k bracket is that it's not just about build, it's about design & build working together, whereas up to that point it's mostly about build - better woods, better care in fit and finish but basically old designs in terms of bracing and materials, with perhaps some minor tweaks.

    But then when you get up into the acoustic price fuckoffosphere (ignoring guitars which are expensive because of crazy adornments etc) you find innovative bracing patterns, body shapes, different scientific approaches to rigidity, double sides etc, in the pursuit of delivering things that traditionally patterned guitars don't. Maybe that's the tone, characteristics of the note attack and sustain, or consistency of timbre from the bottom to the very top of the neck across all strings etc etc. And then the build is about using whatever techniques and materials are needed to bring the design to life without compromise. It's not hard to see how the $$$ rack up really.

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  • For my money .. still can't beat Larrivee. Honestly think they're the best bang for buck out there. Tried some £8k (!!) guitars that I thought were "meh!" 
    @thomasross20 I love my L'Arrivee L-01 (it's a Canadian-built special run of the L-03 they did for Japan, almost no decoration and no binding). 

    However, you might also like Furch/Stonebridge when looking for VFM, playability and a decent sound. 
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  • FloofFloof Frets: 14
    ThorpyFX said:
    I'll have to read this thread. I do wonder just how much better a £kkkk acoustic is compared to a £1k model, for example. 
    Me too..... however having played a brook torridge at £2500 I’d struggle to exploit the benefit myself as I just don’t have the subtlety and nuanced ability. 
    Nor will you develop it on a Encore @ThorpyFX   ;-) 
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  • ThorpyFXThorpyFX Frets: 3545
    Floof said:
    ThorpyFX said:
    I'll have to read this thread. I do wonder just how much better a £kkkk acoustic is compared to a £1k model, for example. 
    Me too..... however having played a brook torridge at £2500 I’d struggle to exploit the benefit myself as I just don’t have the subtlety and nuanced ability. 
    Nor will you develop it on a Encore @ThorpyFX   ;-) 
    i do not need tempting any more!!!! although a larrivee would be nice.... especially as they have been to space
    Adrian Thorpe MBE | Owner of ThorpyFx Ltd | Email: thorpy@thorpyfx.com | Twitter: @ThorpyFx | Facebook: ThorpyFx Ltd | Website: www.thorpyfx.com
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  • @ThorpyFX ; there's a used OM02 at coda for £650!
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  • nkforsternkforster Frets: 22
    edited October 2017
    The price of a guitar is based on two things - supply and demand.  A maker can only make so many instruments in a year. That's the supply bit. Now  demand - it is based on lots of things - tone, wood, workmanship, playability, but most of all  - the perception of others. 

    When I started working for Sobell in the late 80's a guitar from him was £880, or was it £820? I forget. Yes, the guitars got better as the years went by, but more importantly, the demand for his work increased. This allowed Stefan to steadily increase his prices.

    Price is the only tool a maker has to control demand. 

    Neither Sobell and Monteleone are young men anymore. Both have done well from instrument making and have made many fine instruments. Unless they have been foolish with the money they have earned, neither should be under any financial pressure nor feel the need to compete in the current market.  I imagine that both have reduced the supply of instruments compared to when they were younger.  If the demand stays the roughly the same, their prices will reflect this. 

    There often comes a point when a maker hikes their price up specifically to cut demand down.  If you're in your 60s or 70s or older, you've no debt and money in the bank, it makes sense to stop making so much stuff and just make a handful of instruments a year, and get paid well for them. Monteleone is a good example. I believe he charges around $45,000 for a mandolin. It's quite possible he doesn't get many or even any orders at this price, but even if he gets one a year, that's a nice reason for him to put an edge on his chisel. 

    Likewise, my prices have risen steadily since opening my own shop. Not by as much as I'd like, but then there are a lot more makers around than you could ever have imagined. But they've gone up nonetheless. Demand for my work has outstripped supply.  Ten years ago my Model C was about £3250. Now they are around £5500. 

    But if you look at the "fancy" guitar market in general, you'll see prices have gone down. I was talking with one of the main US "boutique guitar" dealers last year - he pointed out that the average price he sells a guitar for is exactly the same as it was ten years ago. $5000. So taking inflation into account, that's a price drop overall.  But then there are a lot more makers and more guitars available used than there ever has been. At the same time, those with the buying power - the "baby boomers" are quite literally dying out.  Yes, some younger players are buying handmade work, but they don't buy as many as the older generation or spend as much.  So it'll be interesting to see how the handmade guitar market changes in the next few years....

    Nigel
    www.nkforsterguitars.com
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  • :) :) Great post!

    Played some great guitars at @AuldReekie's tonight (and he is a great player - good alternative tuning work - proper acoustic player!). In terms of acoustics... was it the two Forster's near the window? The one on the right... was the best guitar in the room, in pee-brock tuning. Highly resonant. I forget the guitar that was in open-C (???) behind the door but that sounded great.. Dreadnought too big for me - best for strumming. And not a slight to any of the higher-end models but the Larry held it's own. When he played my own Larry, it still sounded like music to my ears. And I learned something.... unless my ear needs to develop, I do believe I prefer the sweet highs/mids of a mahogany guitar. I think mahogany is best for fingerstyle while warmer/bassier rosewood is best for strumming (the opposite of what most folk say).

    Fancier woods I've tried on other guitars... none made too big an impact on me. But when I picked me OM-02... and played another mahogany guitar with spruce top recently.. the sounds really resonated with me. I've yet to try cedar top (which I understand ages quicker, getting to a more developed sound quicker). And as stupid as I may come across for saying this, I never realised before that a guitar top will darken over time. It's almost a shame as I like the colour my OM-02 is right now! 

    I also realised recently that whilst I initially thought I'd prefer a cutaway in an acoustic... I've found I actually do not prefer that at all. I love the OM shape, full-body, 14 frets, and think I have a decent grip on the sort of woods I like (though I've not been to an acoustic super-store...).
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  • ThorpyFXThorpyFX Frets: 3545
    nkforster said:
    The price of a guitar is based on two things - supply and demand.  A maker can only make so many instruments in a year. That's the supply bit. Now  demand - it is based on lots of things - tone, wood, workmanship, playability, but most of all  - the perception of others. 

    When I started working for Sobell in the late 80's a guitar from him was £880, or was it £820? I forget. Yes, the guitars got better as the years went by, but more importantly, the demand for his work increased. This allowed Stefan to steadily increase his prices.

    Price is the only tool a maker has to control demand. 

    Neither Sobell and Monteleone are young men anymore. Both have done well from instrument making and have made many fine instruments. Unless they have been foolish with the money they have earned, neither should be under any financial pressure nor feel the need to compete in the current market.  I imagine that both have reduced the supply of instruments compared to when they were younger.  If the demand stays the roughly the same, their prices will reflect this. 

    There often comes a point when a maker hikes their price up specifically to cut demand down.  If you're in your 60s or 70s or older, you've no debt and money in the bank, it makes sense to stop making so much stuff and just make a handful of instruments a year, and get paid well for them. Monteleone is a good example. I believe he charges around $45,000 for a mandolin. It's quite possible he doesn't get many or even any orders at this price, but even if he gets one a year, that's a nice reason for him to put an edge on his chisel. 

    Likewise, my prices have risen steadily since opening my own shop. Not by as much as I'd like, but then there are a lot more makers around than you could ever have imagined. But they've gone up nonetheless. Demand for my work has outstripped supply.  Ten years ago my Model C was about £3250. Now they are around £5500. 

    But if you look at the "fancy" guitar market in general, you'll see prices have gone down. I was talking with one of the main US "boutique guitar" dealers last year - he pointed out that the average price he sells a guitar for is exactly the same as it was ten years ago. $5000. So taking inflation into account, that's a price drop overall.  But then there are a lot more makers and more guitars available used than there ever has been. At the same time, those with the buying power - the "baby boomers" are quite literally dying out.  Yes, some younger players are buying handmade work, but they don't buy as many as the older generation or spend as much.  So it'll be interesting to see how the handmade guitar market changes in the next few years....

    Nigel
    www.nkforsterguitars.com
    Thanks for commenting, this is a real insight for me, it makes perfect sense that pricing is used as a tool to control the ebb and flow of orders. 
    Adrian Thorpe MBE | Owner of ThorpyFx Ltd | Email: thorpy@thorpyfx.com | Twitter: @ThorpyFx | Facebook: ThorpyFx Ltd | Website: www.thorpyfx.com
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  • ThorpyFX said:
    nkforster said:
    The price of a guitar is based on two things - supply and demand.  A maker can only make so many instruments in a year. That's the supply bit. Now  demand - it is based on lots of things - tone, wood, workmanship, playability, but most of all  - the perception of others. 


    Nigel
    www.nkforsterguitars.com
    Thanks for commenting, this is a real insight for me, it makes perfect sense that pricing is used as a tool to control the ebb and flow of orders. 
    not only that, but some makers achieve a reputation akin to that of successful musicians. Look at the prices Dumble could sell at now, or the prices Linda Manzer can achieve. The same as with friends in my own profession who now earn massive amounts, I just salute their good fortune, and am grateful that someone with talent, skill and dedication was recognised, it happens too rarely

    Away from the superstar luthiers, I have found that the new-value RRP guitars between £2800 and £5500 contain all the amazing acoustic guitars that really impress me.
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  • :) :) Great post!

    Played some great guitars at @AuldReekie's tonight (and he is a great player - good alternative tuning work - proper acoustic player!). In terms of acoustics... was it the two Forster's near the window? The one on the right... was the best guitar in the room, in pee-brock tuning. Highly resonant. I forget the guitar that was in open-C (???) behind the door but that sounded great.. Dreadnought too big for me - best for strumming. And not a slight to any of the higher-end models but the Larry held it's own. When he played my own Larry, it still sounded like music to my ears. And I learned something.... unless my ear needs to develop, I do believe I prefer the sweet highs/mids of a mahogany guitar. I think mahogany is best for fingerstyle while warmer/bassier rosewood is best for strumming (the opposite of what most folk say).

    Fancier woods I've tried on other guitars... none made too big an impact on me. But when I picked me OM-02... and played another mahogany guitar with spruce top recently.. the sounds really resonated with me. I've yet to try cedar top (which I understand ages quicker, getting to a more developed sound quicker). And as stupid as I may come across for saying this, I never realised before that a guitar top will darken over time. It's almost a shame as I like the colour my OM-02 is right now! 

    I also realised recently that whilst I initially thought I'd prefer a cutaway in an acoustic... I've found I actually do not prefer that at all. I love the OM shape, full-body, 14 frets, and think I have a decent grip on the sort of woods I like (though I've not been to an acoustic super-store...).
    I'm not fussed if an acoustic has a cutaway either. Try to find some 12 frets though. I have 2 and they sound amazing, the bridge moves further down the body, and the sound is very different. A cutaway can then alleviate any access issues. I have one with, one without.
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  • Hmmmm....@AuldReekie did the one I'm talking about have 12 frets, I forget? This rings a bell.... 
    FYI 12 frets on parlours I've played... I haven't been keen on, so a cutaway would be required perhaps if going for that. 
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  • Some of these smaller builders.. are selling on their online store for very reasonable prices, actually...!! The problem is that I'd never buy one I hadn't played beforehand..
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 3738
    edited October 2017
    do any small makers offer a home trial?
    round trip postage at shop rates (i.e. £20 not £60) would be worth it
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  • :) :) Great post!

    Played some great guitars at @AuldReekie's tonight (and he is a great player - good alternative tuning work - proper acoustic player!). In terms of acoustics... was it the two Forster's near the window? The one on the right... was the best guitar in the room, in pee-brock tuning. Highly resonant. I forget the guitar that was in open-C (???) behind the door but that sounded great.. Dreadnought too big for me - best for strumming. And not a slight to any of the higher-end models but the Larry held it's own. When he played my own Larry, it still sounded like music to my ears. And I learned something.... unless my ear needs to develop, I do believe I prefer the sweet highs/mids of a mahogany guitar. I think mahogany is best for fingerstyle while warmer/bassier rosewood is best for strumming (the opposite of what most folk say).

    Fancier woods I've tried on other guitars... none made too big an impact on me. But when I picked me OM-02... and played another mahogany guitar with spruce top recently.. the sounds really resonated with me. I've yet to try cedar top (which I understand ages quicker, getting to a more developed sound quicker). And as stupid as I may come across for saying this, I never realised before that a guitar top will darken over time. It's almost a shame as I like the colour my OM-02 is right now! 

    I also realised recently that whilst I initially thought I'd prefer a cutaway in an acoustic... I've found I actually do not prefer that at all. I love the OM shape, full-body, 14 frets, and think I have a decent grip on the sort of woods I like (though I've not been to an acoustic super-store...).
    The two guitars nearest the window are both Forsters.  The one you preferred was the 12 Fret model C which is in pibroch (bagpipe) tuning DAAEAE.  Comparing the two Forsters is difficult as they are differences between them, not just the woods, but (a) the Model C is a 12 fret and as others have quoted on here, that makes for a different tone and (b) my model C was made in 2006, Forsters sound opens out considerably over a few years, moreso than any other make off guitar I have owned, something that Nigel also commented on when he was doing a set up on it about three years ago.  The Model G is a much younger guitar so have to make allowances for that. I do feel that if anything,while the model G has a "softer" sound it has more overtones and possibly even more repsonsive than the model C.  I have been lucky to play a few high end UK hand builds and something I have noticed is that each luthier has their own signature sound.  That was definately a big factor for me choosing Forsters but in addition, their build quality is 10/10 in every aspect and none of the other small builds I played matched Forsters in terms of complexity of tone or responsiveness and that is quite a statement given how good these other guitars were.  Nigels guitars are expensive ,not for a reason but several reasons.  
    The Dreadnought is a Santa Cruz Tony Rice, best dreadnought I have either owned of played, but moving to the Larrivee theme -if the Larrivee TSB SD50 had had a slimmer neck I would never have sold it and bought the Santa Cruz.  It was an awesome guitar and I much preferred it to the equivalent Collings I played at the same time.  It was a mahogany backed guitar and there are many on the Larrivee forum of the opinion that it is the wood that they do best.  You can get soundclips of different models on the Larrivee forum
    The other guitar was the McilRoy A30 which I keep in CGCGCD
    Off the tunings, DADGAD is good both as an accompaniment tuning and for finger picking.  CGCGCD and DAAEAE are limited chordally but great for picking
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  • Ah McIlroy, that's the one!!

    I need to do a broad online search and narrow this down, then make some trips in future and get this done. This could take 2+ years from now to get it in my hands. But for now I shouldn't spend too much time on it.. but this is super interesting.. I think my best bet is to visit a few of these acoustic superstores..
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  • I used to have a retuned patch on my vg88 that was AEAAAD, which I called my Pat Metheny patch: it did lovely textural guitar that would simply be impossible otherwise. I'm quite interested in DAAEAE now, which gauges are you using (and what is your EADGBE gauge for reference)

    My favourite alternate tunings are currently

    DADGAD - I keep a lovely Avalon in this, and a 30 inch scale electric (but dropped), plus a strat with trem!!

    DGCGCD - on my 1 7/8" nut Larrivee SD60 - 12 fret slope shouldered dread
    this is the "Rain song" tuning

    DGDGBD - open G, I have an Avalon on this duty

    Fifths: Alan Arnold Beltane 29 Inch scale:    G D A E B F#
    This grew from my enjoyment playing a Tenor guitar tuned in 5ths, 
    I now have a Fender Mandostrat too
    You can play such different stuff in 5ths, it's a real revelation
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  • kjdowdkjdowd Frets: 603
    The North American guitar sell a few pricey acoustics (https://thenorthamericanguitar.com/)

    if if I ever had the money I'd def give one a go, but often wonder who buys them. Still not knocking it - undoubtedly beautiful instruments and whatever makes you happy I s'pose. 

    I always think just look at what some people spend on bikes/watches etc. Much better spent on a guitar... 
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  • I used to have a retuned patch on my vg88 that was AEAAAD, which I called my Pat Metheny patch: it did lovely textural guitar that would simply be impossible otherwise. I'm quite interested in DAAEAE now, which gauges are you using (and what is your EADGBE gauge for reference)


    I use a regular set of 12s for DAAEAE; the 4th string holds the 5 semitone drop remarkably well
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 3738
    edited October 2017
    I normally use this site to check out what gauges can work:

    http://vinic.free.fr/strings/


    floppy 5th and 6th string are killers for me: I use 11s, so use thicker strings for dropped bottom strings

    so for DAAEAE, for the same tension as 12-60 tuned EADGBE on 25.5 inch scale it gives:
    68, 46, 46, 24, 18, 12
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  • 11s for me.. easier on the hands..
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 603
    edited October 2017
    The String Tension Pro web app from D'Addario is an awesome tool for working out string sets assuming your string tastes are relatively mainstream (i.e. there's no round core calcs). It allows you to select your guitar's scale length and any tuning and then shows you the tension of each string depending on gauge and you can play with all the variables:

    http://www.stringtensionpro.com/


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  • Lewy said:
    The String Tension Pro web app from D'Addario is an awesome tool for working out string sets assuming your string tastes are relatively mainstream (i.e. there's no round core calcs). It allows you to select your guitar's scale length and any tuning and then shows you the tension of each string depending on gauge and you can play with all the variables:

    http://www.stringtensionpro.com/


    great idea, but it's miles off on some of the things I tried
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 603
    Lewy said:
    The String Tension Pro web app from D'Addario is an awesome tool for working out string sets assuming your string tastes are relatively mainstream (i.e. there's no round core calcs). It allows you to select your guitar's scale length and any tuning and then shows you the tension of each string depending on gauge and you can play with all the variables:

    http://www.stringtensionpro.com/


    great idea, but it's miles off on some of the things I tried
    That's interesting. What was the scenario?
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  • I need to try some 12 fret models going by what's been said about better tone and ease of playability.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 2785
    I need to try some 12 fret models going by what's been said about better tone and ease of playability.
    The best sounding acoustic I ever played was a 12 fret Santa Cruz slot headstock OOO.  It was out of my budget (around £2800 around 15 years ago) but I don't feel too bad about it because I didn't like the neck much.

    At a slightly lower price point, Furch/Stonebridge sound very good.  The higher end Martins with scalloped forward shifted bracing are normally very, very good as well.  Santa Cruz are great but some seem to be better than others.  I'm not a big fan of Collings though.

    British builders like Brook and Atkin are really good as well.

    The other lesser known maker that comes to mind is a Czech company called Rozawood.  They were at the Olympia acoustic show a couple of years ago.  Stunning guitars.
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  • thomasross20thomasross20 Frets: 3481
    edited October 2017
    I believe I did try Furch and/or Stonebridge (they're the same, right? Something rings a bell...) at one shop in Glasgow and while very good and for a good price.. I still have to say I preferred the Larrivee (sorry for sounding like a broken record)!
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  • I used to have a retuned patch on my vg88 that was AEAAAD, which I called my Pat Metheny patch: it did lovely textural guitar that would simply be impossible otherwise. I'm quite interested in DAAEAE now, which gauges are you using (and what is your EADGBE gauge for reference)


    I use a regular set of 12s for DAAEAE; the 4th string holds the 5 semitone drop remarkably well
    I just tried DAAEAE, with 11s
    I like it a lot
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  • The fact for me is you don't need a 5k guitar to sound good, literally no guitar player I am into uses a boutique acoustic they all use either Martin gibson or guild, (and some takamine) and those sound as iconic as the songs played on them,  for me technique and your own skill when it comes to your fingers has just as big a part to play, 
    I saw an interview with Chris Difford who was asked about his acoustic guitar.

    "I went to see James Taylor once and he sounded fantastic, so I spent ages looking for the same guitar he had. When I finally bought it, I was really disappointed, it didn't sound that good at all.

    Then I realised it wasn't the guitar, it was me. The reason I don't sound like James Taylor is because I can't play like James Taylor!"
    If you must have sex with a frog, wear a condom. If you want the frog to have fun, rib it.
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