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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:49 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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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

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Last edited by Hesh on Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:27 pm 
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I don't know this for a fact, but I'm guessing the armrest bevel that's now appearing on mainstream guitars came from the small luthier world.

Have any big manufacturers adopted the Manzer wedge?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:41 pm 
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Soundports....


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:44 pm 
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fanned frets


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:51 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Good one J. I believe that you're right that the bevel was an individual Luthier innovation but I don't recall who. I know there are lots of different kinds now too so maybe it's a group of Luthiers that this can be attributed to.

I've not seen a Manzer wedge in a production instrument but hope to one day.

Brad sound ports yep, saw them here first before I ever saw them on production guitars.

Hans yes fanned frets and I'll add that Baritone guitars I saw from individual Luthiers before I ever saw them offered by the usual suspects.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:39 pm 
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Taylor actually introduced me to koa and walnut in the late 90's. Ovangkol for sure.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:33 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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From what I understand Furch Guitars actually do some sort of testing on every individual top. I'm not sure exactly what it is but my guess is they do a quick and dirty deflection testing process to determine target thickness.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:10 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Here's a much more common one. Even a $250 Chinese Recording King as well as many other guitars including many of the imports now come with bone nuts. This was not the trend 30 years ago and my bet is that players see bone nuts as moving on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky (I actually think like I speak so if you think it's rough for you how do you think that I feel.... ;) ).

Wooden bindings are much more prevalent on f*ctory instruments and low and behold there are more than a handful of body shapes now too.

Remember when we used to fight over semi-hemispherical fret ends? Worked on a Collings I-35 (I want one, one of the best guitars from a f*ctory I've very played) it came with semi-hemi fret ends and one of the best hand crafted bone nuts I'ver ever seen on a f*ctory offering too.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:13 am 
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I remember, not too long ago, Taylor refused to offer a Florentine cutaway because it "just takes too much time to make". Now they offer it as an option on some of their higher end guitars, although I am not sure which ones.

I definitely think Luthiers have pressured big box makers to spend more than a few minutes on their multi-thousand dollar products.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:49 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Still none of the factory guitars seem to be going to slotted bridges with solid bridge pins, a shame.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:41 am 
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- Capped x-braces can be seen on some lower-end guitars, which appears to be something adopted by factories from small builders

- I too would love to see the wedged body Smith patent (aka, Smith-Manzer Wedge) used on a factory guitar, but have not seen one to date.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:09 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Marcus wrote:
I remember, not too long ago, Taylor refused to offer a Florentine cutaway because it "just takes too much time to make". Now they offer it as an option on some of their higher end guitars, although I am not sure which ones.

I definitely think Luthiers have pressured big box makers to spend more than a few minutes on their multi-thousand dollar products.


Yep me too.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:10 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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jfmckenna wrote:
Still none of the factory guitars seem to be going to slotted bridges with solid bridge pins, a shame.


Don't quote me on this but the Collings Waterloo offerings I believe have unslotted pins and slotted bridge just like the Kalamazoos did.

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Last edited by Hesh on Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:18 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Grit Laskin has claimed invention of the arm rest bevel. The first time I saw one I thought: "Looks like a Strat!". Given the plethora of variations you can see on historical instruments, I would not be surprised if one with an arm bevel from the 19th century turned up in a museum/collection someplace.

So far as I know it was one of my students who turned up the Smith patent on the wedge. Linda had never heard of it until I sent her a copy. She certainly deserves credit for the independent invention, and for popularizing it.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:58 pm 
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Mr. Smith patented the wedge in (IMS) 1968 when Ms. Manzer would have been in secondary school; on her current web site, Ms. Manzer claims invention of the wedge in 1984. Independent invention would seem to be something more along the lines of both inventors making near-simultaneous claims, rather than a claim of invention two years before Mr. Smith's patent expired.

I do understand the expense and difficulty of conducting a patent search during the mid-1980's when Ms. Manzer began offering her wedged body guitars, but the USPTO and various commercial free patent databases have been searchable from any personal computer or device with web access for at least the last 20 years. I don't know either Mr. Smith or Ms. Manzer, but I would hope we can honor both Mr. Smith's invention and Ms. Manzer's efforts to popularize it...in this shop, we've gone to referring to the wedged body as the Smith-Manzer Wedge.

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Last edited by Woodie G on Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:17 pm 
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If Linda Manzer came up with the wedge body idea on her own without knowledge of the patent, then it's an independent invention. How long it had been since the patent was granted is irrelevant.

Did Mr Smith reduce his invention actual practice and put guitars out into the world with that feature? How many guitars were built based directly on his idea back in the 60s or 70s?

Guitartists today, and for several decades now, know about the wedge body as a direct result of Linda Manzer's work. For me it remains the Manzer wedge.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:35 pm 
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the first backstrap i had seen was on here, i don't know if it was a luthier invention.
i googled it but couldn't find any history of it.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:47 pm 
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Would something like the Taylor V bracing be considered by a factory without the experimentation of non-X bracing schemes happening in the hand built world? (Honestly don't know) Great topic!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:34 pm 
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Koa
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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. How long it had been since the patent was granted is irrelevant.

Did Mr Smith reduce his invention actual practice and put guitars out into the world with that feature? How many guitars were built based directly on his idea back in the 60s or 70s?

Guitartists today, and for several decades now, know about the wedge body as a direct result of Linda Manzer's work. For me it remains the Manzer wedge.


You, sir, are entitled to call it anything you wish. I believe I'll call it time for a cocktail. Did I mention I invented the Manhattan? Independently, of course. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:03 pm 
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Woodie G wrote:
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. How long it had been since the patent was granted is irrelevant.

Did Mr Smith reduce his invention actual practice and put guitars out into the world with that feature? How many guitars were built based directly on his idea back in the 60s or 70s?

Guitartists today, and for several decades now, know about the wedge body as a direct result of Linda Manzer's work. For me it remains the Manzer wedge.


You, sir, are entitled to call it anything you wish. I believe I'll call it time for a cocktail. Did I mention I invented the Manhattan? Independently, of course. ;)


Why, thank you! Henceforth, I shall refer to it as a wedgie. Me to client: If you like, I can give your guitar a wedgie...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:55 pm 
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That deserves another, Mr. De Rocher! Heaven in a glass.

Attachment:
BlackManhattan.jpeg


Black Manhattan: 2p Bulleit Rye, 1p Averna Amaro, 4 shakes of Fee Bros Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters, stirred for 60 seconds over ice and strained...three Luxardo cherries. There are more expensive ryes, but none that work with the Averna and bitters as well as the Bulleit.


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:58 pm 
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Nice thumbnail there Woodie. I use to do that too. Do you have them on your fingers too?



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:21 pm 
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Woodie G wrote:
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. How long it had been since the patent was granted is irrelevant.

Did Mr Smith reduce his invention actual practice and put guitars out into the world with that feature? How many guitars were built based directly on his idea back in the 60s or 70s?

Guitartists today, and for several decades now, know about the wedge body as a direct result of Linda Manzer's work. For me it remains the Manzer wedge.


You, sir, are entitled to call it anything you wish. I believe I'll call it time for a cocktail. Did I mention I invented the Manhattan? Independently, of course. ;)


Oh you did not Woodie! I heard you traded some beads for the recipe. laughing6-hehe

Fanned frets were another invention that were invented a few hundred years ago and recently patented by someone who caught the patent office asleep at the wheel. Linda Manzer may have popularized the "wedge" but to claim it's invention after being shown a previous patent for it would be a bit bold.

Hey Barry, you could get together with Woodie and do some of that Korean/Japanese nail art:
https://www.pinterest.com/angelaldoyle/ ... -nail-art/
bliss



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:33 pm 
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Goodness, no! I just grabbed one of those royalty-free images off the web because the cocktail looked so, so scrumptious. I'd probably need to engage a hand model given the wear and tear my nails see at work and in the shop.

But seriously, yes...they all match, for at least 15 seconds after I leave the nail salon.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:54 pm 
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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.



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