The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 25 of 46
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    When folks in the forum (myself included) state what gear they are using, Gibson, Gretch, Epiphone and other old standards come up. But I rarely hear of anyone using any of the Boutique guitars that I drool over in the "Coffee Table Books" such as "The Blue Guitar". When I gaze at the creations of luthiers like Kim Walker, Brad Nickerson, Ribekke, Campellone, and countless others I nearly pass out. But does anybody own or play them other than collector's? How would you know which to buy (even if you could afford it)? Its not like you could go down to Guitar Center and try a bunch out. Even the high end shops like Mandolin Bros and J. Hale don't have a complete selection. Do they really sound better than vintage Gibson, Epiphone or Gretch. I know, I know...I'm focusing on the gear too much and not the technique, but you've got to admit...they are wonderful toys.

    Fritzjazz

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I have a Buscarino which is a low-end boutique guitar. It's a cutaway nylon guitar that he designed for jazz players who like the nylon sound.

    I love the guitar and I take it everywhere, but I've got good insurance and don't ever leave it out of the case unless I'm playing it.

    MW

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    I have two "boutique" guitars. I have a custom oval hole M Campellone and a custom oval hole Colletti. Both of these guitars are actually featured on the makers web site in their gallary sections. I also own a Super 400 ces and a custom shop ES 350.

    The absolute best guitar in my collection is the Campellone. It has rosewood everywhere. The back and sides are quilted maple and the top is spruce. I believe teh pup is Kent Armstrong. It sounds and plays wonderfully. It cost me $4200 with the Cedar Creek case. Thats a real deal for a handmade boutique axe.

    The Colletti was made by a small upstate NY luthier , Vinny Colletti. I found him through GBase. I liked the look of one of his models that was being advertised there. It has a lot of special woods like walnut and african blackwood as well as maple, spruce and ebony, all hand made. It is a decently made guitar and it's loud, but has a few things that keep it from being a great guitar. This guitar was also about $4200.

    If you're near Mandolin Bros then there are some othe places to look as well. Golden Age Music in Westfiled, NJ and Guitars and Jazz in Summit as well as Lark Street Music in Teaneck.

    One more thing about the Campellone. I actually bought it to prove that Gibson was nuts and believd too much in their own hype. I asked if they could make an L7C in an oval hole model rather than with f-holes. they said sure but since it would be a one of, the up charge would be $1800. I thought this was outrageous. So I asked Mark what it would cost to have his standard model made with an oval hole. He said "same as with f holes." So I wound up with a bueatiful guitar that was about $1400 LESS than the Gibson and, even had a Kent Armstrong pup (as well as all wood pick guard and control knob)

    My advise to you , go with a boutique axe.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I think you have to rely on knowing someone who already owns one and will let you try it out. I don't even want a custom-build. I'd settle for a Benedetto around the $15K mark - I'm not greedy. We have evn less chance of seeing these guitars out here in Australia because no sane shop owner would tie up $10K in 1 guitar when they could get 15 rock/metal axes and turn them over in a month.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    boutique guitar like a Picasso painting...hang on wall to admire

    non boutique guitar like a set of paints and a blank canvas...create ! !

    only the way I feel about those...

    time on the instrument..pierre..

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    I have owned Triggs boutique archtops in the past, and currently have a Chris Forshage Ergo that was a custom build. I have a buddy who has a Buscarino archtop, and one who has a Campelleone archtop. Both regular players.

    I have been to jazz camp with guys who brought Ribbeckes, Benedettos, and just about every other builder you can name. There seems to be a new one every year. The only one I can think of that I haven't seen in person is Linda Manzer's. Typically these are not fulltime musos, but successful businessmen who's passion is music.
    Last edited by derek; 03-09-2009 at 10:55 AM.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    I don't think I could afford a boutique guitar. That's why I stay with the lower-priced stuff. Except for my Centuras... but Aria's custom shop is about as "boutique" as I'll ever be able to afford being married now. LOL!

    But if $ wasn't an issue, I'd love to get my hands on a Gagnon Composer... And if I had one built, it would just be a customized version of my Washburn J9s... Ebony frets, etc... I just really like the size and shape of a "thin L5 CES". It's all personal, I guess. Maybe if I sell a few... hmmm...!

    Hey, somebody buy my J6 so I can get a "boutique" guitar! Since I don't know squat about theory yet, I'll just have to learn as much as I can about the gear!

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    My teacher Olaf Tarenskeen play´s a Heeres guitar. It´s from the The Hague Builder Richard Heeres and sounds wonderfull. Sadly enough I can´t afford me one. You can hear Olaf play the Heeres guitar on the site from Richard, Heeres Guitars - Custom built guitars

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Nice guitar and Olaf can certainly play. I can see why you'd take lessons from him.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I was speaking to my luthier yesterday about this he builds $5k upwards (Joe Dragony) he has beautiful guitars, he has a site. My take is No guitar sound wise is worth over $5/$6k beyond that it's paying for fluff and name. An archtop at $15/$20k is a status symbol and/or an investment. So one is afraid to take it out of the case for fear they will ding it. I don't buy guitars to collect them, I buy them to play them.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    I don't know at what point a price starts to be too much for an instrument. I build Greek bouzoukis and am starting to build archtops (purely hobby right now and I don't sell them), but it costs about $1,500 for the materials to make an instrument. Granted, I am not buying wood by the pallet or truckload. I only buy enough for one or two instruments at a time, but I buy the best wood I can find. Right now, it takes about 200 hours to make an instrument. I suppose if I was doing it as a business, I would have more jigs and machines and I could cut that time down more, but I don't know how fast you can do it and do really nice work. But say you really had the process down, and could do it in 100 hours. If you charged $5,000 for an instrument, and it cost you $1,500 to buy the materials (forget about electricity, phone, workshop cost, tool depreciation, etc, and cost of marketing, your website, etc.), then you have $3,500 after materials. If it takes 100 hours to make, then that is $35 an hour for your time. I don't think a luthier is working on creating an instrument every hour of his or her workday, because they have to deal with customers, buy materials, deal with the business. If you run the numbers, $35 an hours, minus all the non production hours you have to put in to make the instrument and sell it, it doesn't really come out to that much, which is why most people will tell you that making guitars for a living is pretty hard. When these guys really start to make a name for themselves and can start charging $8, $10 or $15K for an instrument, I think things become much easier for them financially. Like I said, I don't know how much is too much. If somebody sells their guitars for $125,000, maybe it isn't really a guitar at that point, but art or a collector's piece. I am not criticizing those that can get that much for their instruments, because I know what it takes to make an instrument, and the cost of materials, and what I think my time is worth, and honestly, I don't think anybody would pay that much.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    If one charges $10/15K for an instrument though, they have just narrowed and already small market of those that are prone to buy an archtop "jazz" guitar in the first place.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    I think that guys that charge $10 or $15K for a guitar are not trying to sell a lot of units. They have decided that they will make the best possible guitar they can (I hope, at least) and they will use the best possible materials. I believe that they know they are narrowing their market, and that they will only sell very few of these. Only a luthier with a very established reputation of building top quality guitars in sound quality, playability and craftsmanship, will succeed in this endeavor. A relative new comer to the business, no matter how skilled, could not succeed if this was their marketing plan. Who would pay that kind of money for something that was so unproven. However, if a maker has been around for many years and made many instruments, which have increased in value and proven themselves as reliable, beautiful sounding, playing and looking guitars, then he or she might be able to succeed in with that type of pricing structure. They have their market, and they now who their customers are and what they want and what they are willing to pay. In some senses, they also know that their guitars are not only great guitars, but pieces of art and collectors items.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    It's ridiculous (unless you have a ton of money) to spend that kind of money on a guitar. I heard Lenny Breau play a Baldwin guitar, and make it sound beautiful.

    Hendrix used a stock strat.

    I just got a really nice acoustic/ electric (crafter) for $547.00. Beautiful sound, finish, neck.

    a good player can pick up almost any guitar, plug it into almost any amp, and make it sound good.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Very true. a good guitarist can can pick up any guitar and make it sound good. Look at the tele players on this site. They all get great jazz tone out of a 'plank of wood'.

    However, there are reasons why somebody would spend between say $3000 and $12000 on a custom guitar. Mainly tone. A hand carved archtop has a more complex sound. Once your in that ball park you can really hear the difference.

    As far as dollars, I saw a new Gibson Super 400 is for about $12,000. An L5 is probably around $8000. Makers like Bill Comins, John Buscarino and others are getting around that much as well.

    There are some builders that are out of line when they get into the $17000 to 30,000 range. Then you have the museum pieces like D'Aquisto which sell for between $55,000 and $125,000.

    I'm sure your Crafter is an excellent guitar. Have you compared it to a higher end Martin, Collings or Santa Cruz to hear the difference?

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Hi

    No I don't know if they even have such guitars here in central Canada to try.

    I have no doubt that there is a difference, and that the expensive guitars are better sounding, probably much better sounding.

    But I think that If I can't get a good sound out of my crafter for instance, then I'm doing something wrong. And I really admire players who can just grab whatever is handy, and make it sound good. I have known a few players like that.

    Another example, I have a friend, who plays and sings in an acoustic trio, in the swing style. He uses a Harmony arch top that he got for a few hundred bucks. He is a very good musician; the sound he gets from that inexpensive guitar is beautiful. He practices a lot, and is always looking for a way to sound better. (I will admit, he knows a good deal on a guitar when he sees one)

    Another example: Years ago Stevie Ray played here. He was invited on stage while some other band was playing. He took the guys guitar, and bingo, suddenly it was .. Stevie Ray. Gave it back to the guy, and ... you know.

    And I agree that if you can afford it, and want it, it would be very nice to have one of those high end guitars.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    SRV playing a "plank" guitar thru a highly process signal chain is not in the same ballpark as say a Benedetto archtop. typically archtops are played acousticall, or thru amps that are designed to allow the nature of the guitar to shine thru, and not color it.

    I always find it amusing when this topic comes up with guitar players. We are so completely spoiled. Ever try to buy a decent violin, viola, double bass? How about a good sax or bassoon? I had a karate student who was a bit of a protege on the violin, and his parents bought him an instrument that was equal to an upper end Mercedes.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    An instrument won't transform you into a good player if you don't put the time in, of course. That said. There is nothing like a good archtop, which does one thing and one thing only: T-O-N-E! Notes that are clear, dead center spot on, fully resonant and intonated, throughout the full spectrum of the instrument.

    Another perspective: instead of being afraid of taking it out of the case in fear of it getting dinged, I think otherwise: when you have something this beautiful sounding, why would you want to put the instrument down and not play it?

    Tone is more than your amp and gauge of strings. It starts from the wood.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    It's interesting that the top builders, like Linda Manzer, have waiting lists that are years long, and the list of their customers includes a who's who of top players. It's like anything - the final increments of perfection cost more than the whole rest of the process. To go from 90% to 95% takes as much effort as going from 0 to 90%.

    I don't like the term "boutique" guitar, it implies an inherant frou-frou-ness that isn't accurate. I use the term "luthier made", if I use a term at all. Here's an analogy - I race cars as well as play guitar. I know lot's of guys who race cars like Mazda Miata's and love them. I know lots of other guys who race cars that cost a half million dollars and are professional racers. Both groups have a lot of fun - Mazda Miata's are factory made guitars, the half-million dollar purpose built racecars are Luthier-made guitars...

    Brian

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Zoom Zoom Zoom

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    I think that the "tone is in the fingers" type of thinking is true, but I do agree, like some others here seem to, that it only goes so far. The way I see it, it's only logic that a guitar (especially acoustics/archtops) with better construction and materials is going to make you sound better. Things like say, the tight but warm bass response found on higher end models to me just make it a lot more enjoyable. Sure you can play jazz on any guitar, but to me, it does get more enjoyable if the sound is rich and complex, and this unfortunately accompanies a higher price tag.

    Regarding the differences between a 3-6k guitar and a 15-20k or higher guitar, I have no clue since I've never played one in the latter category. I wouldn't ever spend that kind of money, simply because I would be too afraid of playing it I think, and heck, it's an incredible amount of money for an added value I am skeptical of. I do believe you pay for the name, but I hope the instruments also sound better. but 15k's worth better..? I couldn't fathom that..

  23. #22
    I would like to add my 2 cents. I think that cmkaco is correct when he says that these handmade instruments are actually fairly well in line with costs of things like wood and highly skilled labor. He also mentions economy of scale by mentioning that he can't buy truckloads of wood and therefore likely pays more per unit for decent tonewoods. And let's be honest, there is little doubt that the top notch handmade Benedetto or Campellone will be superior in terms of both tone and playability.

    However, when Gibson charges as much as the handmade specialty builders, they are milking the well known name and using economies of scale to line their pockets. At this point we as consumers need to be sufficiently educated to look at that Gibson and say "that's overpriced, and for the same money (insert luthier here) can build me a better guitar, or he can build me that one for less." (My electric guitar is a Tele thinline style with Duncan humbuckers, 2 vol 2 tone with coil splits, mahogany body, gorgeous spalt maple top, figured rosewood fingerboard and custom f-hole design which was built by rahanguitars.com for a little over a grand. Call the Fender custom shop for a quote on that!) Anyway, that's just me venting a little. I'll go back to being calm now.
    Last edited by mydoglikessalsa; 03-11-2009 at 02:03 PM. Reason: Form

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mydoglikessalsa View Post
    I would like to add my 2 cents. I think that cmkaco is correct when he says that these handmade instruments are actually fairly well in line with costs of things like wood and highly skilled labor. He also mentions economy of scale by mentioning that he can't buy truckloads of wood and therefore likely pays more per unit for decent tonewoods. And let's be honest, there is little doubt that the top notch handmade Benedetto or Campellone will be superior in terms of both tone and playability.

    However, when Gibson charges as much as the handmade specialty builders, they are milking the well known name and using economies of scale to line their pockets. At this point we as consumers need to be sufficiently educated to look at that Gibson and say "that's overpriced, and for the same money (insert luthier here) can build me a better guitar, or he can build me that one for less." (My electric guitar is a Tele thinline style with Duncan humbuckers, 2 vol 2 tone with coil splits, mahogany body, gorgeous spalt maple top, figured rosewood fingerboard and custom f-hole design which was built by rahanguitars.com for a little over a grand. Call the Fender custom shop for a quote on that!) Anyway, that's just me venting a little. I'll go back to being calm now.

    I completely agree. And I would suggest that those who doubt have yet to play a Benedetto, Manzer, Ribbecke, et al. Btw, does you dog REALLY eat salsa? If so, does he/she have a heat or brand preference?

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    I was curious if it was to eat or dance to

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW400 View Post
    I was curious if it was to eat or dance to
    Hey yeah! I didn't think of salsa music. Maybe the dog has a thing for Latin beats?