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Anyone waiting forever for a guitar?



  • Posts: 3,732

    To me it's not even the length of time. Plenty of builders who have years long waiting list. It's the flakiness that would bother me, "your guitar is almost ready" and then... crickets.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,194

    I do think we need to be a little careful to judge here as we don't really know what went on. The wait does sound excessive but if there was a lot of back and forth brainstorming during the design process and if this one has some unique features that will extend the build time considerably. For example, if the luthier has to build unique jigs/fixtures (if it isn't one of their 'stock' designs) or if there is a lot of inlay/cosmetics, etc. Design changes mid build can really set the process back time wise too.

  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 168

    I can see this from both sides.

    Shelley Park is working on a new guitar for me that has some secret special sauce features and it is supposed to be finished this winter and she is usually very prompt. I am in no rush - I just ordered it in the spring and I have a guitar to play in the meantime. Its all paid for except shipping and I'll probably hazard the border and all that requires to go pick it up since she is only 3 hours north of me. But I am not going to pester her with requests for updates, etc. This will be the 2nd from her. The last guitar was brilliant but due to a shoulder injury I couldn't play the Favino-sized body. The new one will be one of her Encores with a soundport, and a slightly thinner body that will feel much more comfortable.

    Meanwhile I am just 3 instruments (flutes) away from being totally caught up with my own instrument making queue. I should be mostly done this coming week, unless Monday's booster shot lays me low. The Pandemic has been tough for many makers, myself included. Although these instruments are made usually in isolation, the lack of being able to make up for that isolation with social activities has kept me and many others from facing their work benches. Add to this the occasional pesky client and one's reaction can be to simply shut down for a few days or more. Promises are impossible to keep though many of us try to be on the optimistic side of tings - only to get into trouble.

    This is sort of the normal existence. Add to that clients who are similarly affected by the Pandemic. Last year many of our clients suddenly were sitting at home with time on their hands and everyone suddenly thought that pressuring the makers, asking them to send out their instruments sooner was a good idea. And this was while some of us were suddenly dealing with major supply chain issues and all of us were dealing with shipping issues - especially when shipping internationally!

    One emergency I faced was the sudden run on African Blackwood Squares. This is the wood "du jour" for Irish flute making and I have been lucky for years to have a large pile nearby in Portland to get it from (Gilmer Wood Company). Because of the still in-effect CITES restrictions for the raw material and the fact that none is coming out of Africa, added to several wood turners and ornamental turners suddenly finding themselves with time on their hands, there was a run on it. I was able to score some for myself and for another flute maker on the East Coast before it was all gone. I had to borrow some money to afford enough for the remainder of my career.

    I have wanted to catch up to my queue for years - and then simply make inventory to sell, focusing on the instruments that I want to make. I was wearing my hands out with my most popular flute and stopped taking orders for these over a year ago. And then there was a client in Nova Scotia who was under the mistaken impression that I was going to call her with a monthly update who cancelled her order in April. She then had cancellation remorse, and asked if there was ay way should could get her flute some 3 weeks later (it was in progress). At the time it was taking over a month for packages to clear through Canadian Customs - this this was an impossibility. She was nasty and unreasonable enough about it that I was happy to cancel and refund her order. It less such a stressful bad taste in my mouth that I stopped taking orders entirely, except on a very limited case by case basis.

    With less and less clients waiting I have fewer people asking when their instruments will arrive. Its increasingly peaceful and these days I wake up a little more inspired to get out into my workshop and work on things. I am glad I no longer have a 1-2 year pile of commitments!

    Thus I would recommend giving the makers a break. We are trying to finish instruments but like everyone else we are stressed out and burdened by the realities of this Pandemic and these times, and increasingly burned out. The last thing we need are people getting impatient on us.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 274

    I was not "pestering" anyone; and it was a standard order. A year ago I was told it would be shipped the following month.

  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Hoyer, Epiphone x2, Burns x2, & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    edited November 2021 Posts: 796

    Thanks for your explanation of the problems from the 'other side' , but notwithstanding your personal issues, the delays as explained by the original post would still seem excessive and there can be no excuses for repeated promises not kept. Covid may have caught some by surprise at the beginning of last year, but it is now late 2021 and most of us have learned to deal with what we have (or don't have) and claims blaming delays on it the virus longer have any credibility. The luthier in question must have realised that either he (or she) could or could not complete the order on time long ago and I can see NO excuse for still keeping the customer waiting with false promises. It just sounds like either deliberate BS or very poor time management.

  • Posts: 3,732

    Let me ask this our builders friends: were you ever in a situation where you told the customer the instrument will be shipped out in a month, then a year later you still didn't ship it?

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 168

    All the time. Especially when a client starts asking questions frequently. Commonly one finds oneself spending as much or more time answering emails for such inquires, or care instructions (why they never read the ones that are provided is beyond me). Again the result is that we go work on something else, especially if it allows some productivity and peace of mind, and especially if that client even borderline becomes annoying. Things are still generally difficult with the pandemic - Germany and Austria are shutting down and your statement that "most of us have learned...." simply doesn't hold water.

    Add to that things like Kyle R. getting off and the Proud Boys saying its time to start stacking up bodies of Liberals. Add to that peope who simply refuse out of stupidity or whatever to get vaccinated, prolonging the misery for everyone. Add to that shortages of everything. Add to that our dynamically changing atmosphere. In the Pacific Northwest June which is usually a very productive month was all but impossible with a heat dome above us. Recently its been endless rains, flooding and wind. If anyone is under the impression that we have learned to deal with this crap or are simply not affected by it - well they are far from correct. Most of us don't bury our head in the sand and in some places the sand has all washed away!

    Remember that it was only in late Spring - just 6 months ago - that most could finally get vaccines - before then it was like living with the prospect of ending up in the hospital with a tube shoved up ones' throat the week that you needed to get that guitar sent off - or dealing with someone in your close friends or family that was in this situation. And now it appears for some that the vaccine immunity may be waning. I am getting my booster shot tomorrow. I suspect this will become an every 6 month thing or yearly like the flu shot.

    While it would be lovely to connect everyone as soon as possible with their instrument of their dreams so they can enjoy playing music to get some peace, realize that the makers - many of which who are too worn out at the end of the day to make music themselves and are resigned to making the hardware for others to enjoy - are simply burned out and still under siege. Some makers shut down to a greater degree than others - some by going into hiding, others such as myself simply refusing to commit to any more orders period. Some are broke due to having spent money on supplies or survival and would like to pay back their deposits - but have no possible way of doing so. Even many retailers are finding they can't get instruments to sell, or basics such as strings. Some of these are stuck in container ships.

    Times are hard and this is not a happy industry right now.

  • cmcmurphy22cmcmurphy22 New Bumgarner, Zwinakis
    edited November 2021 Posts: 31

    Rittenhouse verdict....really? You’re gonna go there with it?!?!

    and the vaccines don’t work. It’s bullshit.

    cbwimAndrew Ulle
  • Posts: 3,732

    Interestingly enough guitar sales in the past two years have never been better.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 441

    Man, I hope this forum doesn't devolve like EVERY other forum I've ever been part of. I've only seen it here once or twice from a couple of people that have since disappeared. That's all I'll say about that.

    That being said Cbwim makes a couple good points about mental health and stability, financial or otherwise, of our good luthiers. Fair points.

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