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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:33 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Eric Reid wrote:
Hesh wrote:
When I started in this madness around a decade and a half ago there was talk of a "Golden Age of Lutherie" and how the very concept of building one's own instrument was becoming very popular.

Great companies such as LMI and StewMac and others were available to us to spend copious amounts of cash on all manner of cool tools and exotic woods. New companies such as my friend Uncle Bob (I gave him that name and am proud of it) sprung up specifically catering to us and just as specifically in search of the next cool top wood or back and side sets.

The generation of builders before us were fairly well known folks who had already made a mark and some of which were here helping out with encouragement and tolerance... I know that I was certainly helped from a number of directions as a few established builders took me under their wings and helped me out without me even having to ask. I'll always be grateful.

Let's discuss how production instruments have been influenced by the very existence of Luthier built instruments and if my hunch is correct we will learn that Luthiers have had a profound influence on today's market.

With this said what are some of influences that we see in production instruments that were likely started by Luthier built instruments.

As an example I'll offer this one: Exotic woods being used for back and side sets. I never saw much in the way of anything but rosewoods and mahogany from the usual suspects until I started building and had learned about Luthier built instruments.

These days we see Koa, cocobolo and other exotics from companies like Martin and Taylor.

Let's hear some other things that have been influenced by Luthier built instruments?

Thanks


I gather that you're talking about the influence of the luthier-built guitar that has sprung up in the last 40 years or so. If you're willing to go back a few years, a better question might be, "Which features were introduced by the factories"? Luthiers invented the guitar. They pioneered nearly everything that makes a guitar a guitar. As Al Carruth suggests, if you look hard enough, you're likely to find that this decade's new breakthrough first debuted on the catwalk about 150 years ago. Certainly the use of a wide variety of woods falls in that category. Martin built a great number of koa guitars in the 1920's in response to the Hawaiian music craze, but guitars were built by luthiers in the 1800's using nearly every wood imaginable. I found an original redwood upper transverse brace in a Jose Ramirez classical from 1911.

Players also influence the design choices of both luthiers and factories. Martin started using steel neck reinforcements because for many years some players had been putting steel strings on Martin guitars. We talk about "steel-string" vs "classical", but classical virtuoso and composer, Agustin Barrios, was an early adopter of steel strings on his "classical guitar"...decades before Martin began to design it's necks to withstand the tension of the new strings.

I know that wasn't your question. So, to the point, I'll suggest: Nomex double tops. I believe these were introduced by German luthier, Matthias Dammann. At this point they've been used by quite a few other classical luthiers and ateliers, some steel-string luthiers, and recently, some Chinese factories. The advantages of the double-top go away once you spray a thick synthetic finish on the guitar, but that won't stop the "double-top" trend from spreading. Look for a brief popularity of Martin or Gibson "double-tops" that mirrors the Kasha Gibson fad.

Nut compensation would be another example. Whatever your position on the pros and cons of nut compensation, the reverse nut compensation of the G string seen on some factory import classicals should make you wish the subject had never been discussed.


Great post Eric, thanks for posting it. This is the kind of stuff that I indeed had in mind.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:42 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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A year or two ago one of my students brought in a modern reproduction of an Elizabethan 'Bandora': a bass cittern. It was a popular instrument in it's day, but went out of fashion rapidly once the inventor died, and there are no extant originals. Enough good music was written for it that some folks have made reproductions based on iconography, but intonation has been a bear, since it uses metal strings and a short scale.

The one that showed up here had already had the saddle slot filled in and re-cut, and the new slot was so far back that any further movement would be impossible, so we looked at the chances of moving the nut forward. Some experiments with shims under the strings showed that angling the nut by a fair amount (something like 6 mm closer to the first fret on the bass side, iirc!) would improve the intonation markedly, so we went ahead and did that. The fix worked quite well; he gets compliments from everybody who has ever tried one of these things on how nice it sounds, and how well it plays in tune.

Subsequently he started looking up more music and other resources on the instrument to incorporate it into his concert repertoire. Several old wood cuts turned up, and all of them show the nut angled forward on the bass side by a fair amount. I suspect that the originals were built that way, and the wood cuts are not mistakes, but fairly accurate depictions of what the artists saw. Later makers 'knew' that the nut was not supposed to angle like that (doggone it!) and made them 'right', which, of course, ruined the sound and playability. It's at least plausible that nut compensation goes back to ca. 1600, but was unappreciated.

Carbon fiber and Kevlar are, of course, new materials, and their use is real innovation, since it would not have been possible previously. Paper honeycomb would work as well as Kevlar in a guitar top, as far as I can tell, but the whole notion of the core and skin construction may not have occurred to anybody. OTOH, old lutes and guitars did use soft wood necks with harder veneer skins, but they probably were not thinking structurally.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:13 pm 
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Perhaps the greatest influence that individual builders/Luthiers have had on production instruments has to be the old Burger King... slogan "have it your way...."

If you count the models available from Martin back in the early 70's and then count them now you will see what I mean. Taylor although a newer participant in the industry also has a very broad product line as does even g*bson these days.

My bet is that these makers saw high-end sales going to folks who were well known or regardless of that the high profit models were something that the production houses wanted to retain or gain market share with. As such everyone these days had a signature model and from a player/consumer point of view that's a pretty good thing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:02 pm 
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J De Rocher wrote:
If Linda Manzer came up with the wedge body idea on her own without knowledge of the patent, then it's an independent invention.

So expert in the field with no idea of what has been invented in the field? Confusing.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:30 pm 
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Why this is confusing?

Suppose you are a luthier in 1984. How exactly would you know that the Smith patent existed? Can you point to any guitars produced (widely or even in small numbers) and marketed between 1969 and 1984 that had a wedge body based on the patent? Moreover, before the internet, a patent search required a person to physically go to the patent office in Washington D.C. and manually search documents. What luthier would hire a patent attorney to do that on the off chance there might be a patent relevant to some future idea they might come up with?

Separately, the fact that Smith was granted a patent in no way proves he was the original inventor of the idea. It could very well be the case that one or more people came up with the same idea previous to Smith, but never applied for a patent. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if there was a guitar built somewhere in the 1700s or 1800s that had a wedge body.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:55 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Blaise Mast did a double cutaway in the early to mid 1800's. It looked like an acoustic S.G.

Jay wrote:
Separately, the fact that Smith was granted a patent in no way proves he was the original inventor of the idea. It could very well be the case that one or more people came up with the same idea previous to Smith, but never applied for a patent. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if there was a guitar built somewhere in the 1700s or 1800s that had a wedge body.

That Smith was granted a patent doesn't prove he originated the design, it only proves that Linda didn't.
To my knowledge she never tried to patent it or to keep anyone else from using a similar design. For all I know she could probably care less about getting credit for it. She has certainly built enough interesting guitars to merit the place she holds in the guitar building community.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:08 am 
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I came up with a bracing pattern that i was rather fond of. I even gave it a special term: fleche bracing. . . . . coz it sounds better with a bit of French stuck in there. A year after I had developed the bracing I then learnt that some guy had stolen my idea, an absolute nailed on copy. Just retribution was served because the guy died. . . around 1910. . . .



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:06 am 
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Just when Mr. De Rocher and I had appeared to have cut the correct wire to defuse the big, scary-looking device with the active digital countdown timer, Mr. B stealthily bypassed the sleepy police security team, entered the subbasement under the orphanage, and rearmed the bomb. Is it just me, or does this look more and more like one of those overdubbed Netflix series with dim lighting, excessive perspiration, and heavy rain as the most interesting characters?

So to proceed in an orthogonal direction, and with as much speed as can be mustered away from the location of the pending blast, I wish to thank the gentlemen here that have once again proven that chivalry is not dead, despite a determined and prolonged campaign by those intent on that highly questionable goal.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:12 am 
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I have to say, when I first started building guitars as a young budding college student in about 1990 when the Internet was still a new thing in Ivory Towers I built a classical guitar with... A wedge shaped body. Honest to God scouts honor. Please don't sue me. And to be honest it was an accident. I shaved down the sides too much on the players bass side and thought to myself... Hmmm this could be cool.

I've had arguments with, lets call them open source free thinking people, that think that music itself should not be copyrighted or that anything should be patented because all ideas are collective.

The idea is called multiple discoveries and some famous ones are, theory of evolution, polio vaccination, the jet engine, the telephone and even Einsteins most famous theory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_discovery



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:54 am 
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Woodie wrote:
" Just when Mr. De Rocher and I had appeared to have cut the correct wire to defuse the big, scary-looking device with the active digital countdown timer, Mr. B stealthily bypassed the sleepy police security team, entered the subbasement under the orphanage, Is it just me, or does this look more and more like one of those overdubbed Netflix series with dim lighting, excessive perspiration, and heavy rain as the most interesting characters?"

I like to watch K-Dramas (particularly those by the Hong Sisters) though sometimes you have to skip to the end to avoid the doldrums in the middle.

Woodie wrote:
"So to proceed in an orthogonal direction, and with as much speed as can be mustered away from the location of the pending blast....."

I thought we were proceeding in an organological direction, without personal prejudice. To see some of the weird and wonderful musical instruments that have been created in the past, check out the books by Tony Cuthbert Baines and Nick Bessaraboff (Bodley).

To Cablepuller - If you are talking about backstraps of the peghead, they have been done by manufacturers of banjos for (100+?) years.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:28 am 
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Quote:
I have to say, when I first started building guitars as a young budding college student in about 1990 when the Internet was still a new thing in Ivory Towers I built a classical guitar with... A wedge shaped body. Honest to God scouts honor. Please don't sue me.


Mr. Smith's patent expired in the late 1980's, so no issue with unattributed/unauthorized use since then. We will let you off with a stern warning. :lol:

Quote:
That Smith was granted a patent doesn't prove he originated the design, it only proves that Linda didn't.


That is the nut of it...in the US, the patent system awards invention to the earliest successful applicant. That said, if my first laughably bad attempt at profiling a rim is any indication, many new builders have at least experimented with 'wedgie' bodies, albeit only until a caliper revealed the issue.

I still maintain that I invented the Manhattan, but will not insist that mixologists accord me credit with a notice attached to the cocktail.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:58 am 
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Woodie wrote:
"That is the nut of it...in the US, the patent system awards invention to the earliest successful applicant. That said, if my first laughably bad attempt at profiling a rim is any indication, many new builders have at least experimented with 'wedgie' bodies, albeit only until a caliper revealed the issue.

I still maintain that I invented the Manhattan, but will not insist that mixologists accord me credit with a notice attached to the cocktail."

I think most of us have stumbled on the "wedge", particularly after motorizing our radius dishes. gaah I have a rim set that has been gathering dust in the shop for several years that is only suited for an archtop at this point.

I used to prefer the Manhattan's Caledonian cousin - the Rob Roy, but lately just drink cheap bourbon unadulterated by other spirits. The only mixological contribution I may have made for society is the "beer float" - a dollop of chocolate ice cream in a pint of Guinness stout, but I have yet to popularize this, so perhaps my fate may lie with that of Mr. Smith.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:35 am 
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The only mixological contribution I may have made for society is the "beer float" - a dollop of chocolate ice cream in a pint of Guinness stout, but I have yet to popularize this, so perhaps my fate may lie with that of Mr. Smith.


Alas...the local Red Robin restaurant chain has absconded with your idea, offering beer floats with Guinness and chocolate ice cream! I will likely have to verify that they have indeed pirated your recipe before complaining to the management, and as they offer another variant of the basic beer float using Blue Moon, it may take some research to determine just how egregious the violation of your intellectual property rights might be.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:42 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Those Pirates! And they have stolen my wife's name as well (Robin)! gaah


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:42 am 
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Woodie G wrote:
That deserves another, Mr. De Rocher! Heaven in a glass.

Here's a drink I invented, Woodie. Please feel free to try it, but I would like credit since its my invention:

2oz Elijah Craig, 1oz Cocchi Torino, 1oz Cynar, 3 shakes Sassparilla bitters. Stir for extended time to open up the bourbon (~60 seconds) using small to medium ice. Pour over a large ice block (square or round). Finish with Fabbri Amerena cherry. I call it the Grendel, given its terminal energy a medium range.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:13 pm 
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Clay S. wrote:
"To my knowledge she (Linda Manzer) never tried to patent it or to keep anyone else from using a similar design. For all I know she could probably care less about getting credit for it."

Not quite.

Linda came up with the wedge idea when she was working on the 'Pikasso' guitar. It was so big and had so many strings it would have been impossible to hold if the bass side was at full depth, so she wedged it. At some point subsequent to that she mentioned the idea to William Cumpiano, possibly in passing.

A few years later a customer came to see him who had a problem with his right shoulder. He needed a guitar that was easier to hold, but didn't want to sacrifice the sound of the deeper box. The way I heard it told, Cumpiano glued a neck to a hunk of styrofoam, and they exerimented with various shapes until the wedge emerged. Cumpiano claimed it as his own invention.

When Manzer heard about it she reminded him of their conversation. Apparently it took a while before she was able to convince him. After that she started insisting that people call it the 'Manzer Wedge', as a way of claiming credit. She never tried to patent it or collect any sort of commission; she just wanted the credit.

One of my students had an uncle who had taken out a lot of patents, and it was something of a family sport to see if they could look them all up. We got to talking about the number of things, like 'fanned frets', that had been patented in the lutherie business because the makers and patent office was unaware of all of the prior art. After all, fanned frets go back over 300 years, and were not used for a long time even then, and there are tons of one-offs, like jfmckenna's, that would count if they had been recorded. My student has patent search software on his computer, and when he started looking around he found the Smith patent.

When I sent a copy of it to Linda she responded that the reasoning he'd used was the same as hers. When Novack patented the 'fanned fret' idea he was thinking about the effect of the 'zip tone' on the sound of the string. This was quite different from the reasoning behind the fanned frets on the old Orpharions, which were simply an effort to get decent low tones from plain metal strings that could still be fretted. You could argue that his invention was something different than that of the older instruments, since it was aimed at a different issue, even though the solution was the same. Manzer and Smith was more of an example of parallel reasoning, and so was pretty much the same invention. I'd class beer floats with ice cream in the same sort of group, but lower; small minds in the same gutter....



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:31 pm 
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"I'd class beer floats with ice cream in the same sort of group, but lower; small minds in the same gutter...."

Just remember Al, when you are lying in the gutter you always have something to look up to! laughing6-hehe

As to my thinking about fanned frets, it doesn't matter what the thinking behind it was if the solution is the same. If you use a hatchet as a hammer it doesn't make it not a hatchet.
If Manzer wanted the credit before she was aware of the Smith patent, I suppose that might be somewhat reasonable (even though she had used it on a unique bizarro instrument, and Cumpiano was adapting it to what is arguably a different instrument and different reasoning ("medical"problem) as you say. If it was after she was aware of the patent, then shame on her.
My own take on intellectual property rights arguments is that they mean more to the "haves" than the "have nots". The Chinese having been "have nots" don't seem to give them much credence. Oh! And they may use my recipe for a beer float all they want, without attribution. [:Y:]



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:47 pm 
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Seriously...ice cream and beer is a brilliant combination! Coke and root beer float aficionados know exactly what carbonation and near-freezing temps do to the texture of ice cream; replacing the overly sweet, sugar-laden soft drink with a nice dry stout balances the flavors, while still resulting in a super-creamy texture. The barely there hop flavor in a dry stout goes well with the chocolate flavor of the ice cream, much as a stout-flavored simple syrup makes an Old Fashioned something quite special versus the usual mundane sweet element in that cocktail.

Lower, smaller minds? I think not!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:00 pm 
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And would he also deprive children of the taste experience of that wonderful confection Malted milk balls! fie! fie on that! pfft



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:18 pm 
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Actually some very high end nano breweries out my way are doing summer floats, with 13% ABV stouts and locally made ice cream. They are a delicious treat, and superb when top-shelf ingredients are used.

Thankfully we don't have a community of lutherie where crediting "inventions" is a requested norm. I certainly refer to where I learned something or got an idea ... but remember: every single thing was invented by someone at some point. And as evidenced by Al's well-told story, by several people over and over again. Imagine if we had to reference everything to the original / parallel / who was first / what's legitimate / whose side are we on originator(s) of everything we employ.

In modern context Manzer popularized the wedge. Frankly that's far more impressive than coming up with the wedge body - like most things, the idea is 3% of the problem, the 97% is getting to market - she popularized the solution and that is quite an accomplishment. For anyone that thinks I'm joking, I'd suggest coming up with an original idea (it's not hard), show it here, then popularize it. We'll check back in ten years to see how it went.



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:44 am 
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Decisions, decisions...Grendel vs. Manhattan...or is that more a case of Grendel vs. Creedmoor, Mr. B?

I agree that Ms. Manzer would get far more mileage out of claiming that she successfully brought the wedge to market and popular notice versus continuing to claim invention...Henry Ford did not invent the gasoline-powered automobile, but I wager that many of us cannot name who did without a quick web search (and a forehead hand-slap as the names register).

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:44 am 
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Benz?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:30 am 
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Quote:
Benz?


Usually referred to as the first - but since others were headed that way.....

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:17 am 
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Woodie G wrote:
I agree that Ms. Manzer would get far more mileage out of claiming that she successfully brought the wedge to market and popular notice versus continuing to claim invention


Maybe it's my morning martini, but I don't see how that would work. As things are now, I think pretty much anyone who actually knows what a wedge guitar body is also knows what a Manzer wedge is and that they are the same thing. Seems like her mileage is already maximized.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:30 am 
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A lot of inventive ideas came out of the Toronto Larravee group because Larrevee himself was inventive.Aside from the Manzer Wedge, many have credited Grit Laskin with sound-port, but Laskin has always said the first one he saw was by Sergei DeJonge. The DeJonge's have been credited by many to have invented the latticed bracing concepi. A very interesting group to read about.

Having lived a number of years in the West Indies, I can say that Guinness and vanilla ice cream has been around for at least a hundred years.
Not so popular with the younger generation though.



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