I recently read a very interesting interview with Dana Thomas, journalist and New York times bestselling author, presenting her last book “Deluxe: How luxury lost its luster”
So I ordered the book and I found a very interesting stories about how small manufacturers, elite taylors and case luggage maker, people working for princes and royals, for wealty choosy and demanding people, offering top know how and ultra specialized hand work, later became big international business completely loosing the point of quality to adopt the economic point of view.
Now luxury is for masses and “products” are made just where it is cheaper to build them.
This reminded me of some recent cases I found of instruments I have seen around.
A customer had his tuner bent on a big brand American guitar.
So I tried to disassemble the tuner before bending it back. Tulip tuners canno longer be opened for repair as they are closed with rivets.So I tried to bend it back, but tuner key is now made of cheap die cast material that breaks when you bend it back.If you have a problem You have to change the set….Ok I will order a set.
Original tuners from the manufacturer cost more than the Shaller version of the same one, but I know that Shaller’s are much better (at least I hope they still make them as they used to do!!!)
Visiting a top Chinese guitar manufacturer recently, I saw they were making another big brand American guitar, but the cheaper sub-brand, with “made in China” spec on the headstock.
Their necks really reminded me of the best maple necks ever made, same as the initial Japan-made series of the same brand. So I gave the company boss my compliments as those necks were better than the originals. But of course the guitars themselves were equipped with very cheap poor quality pickups, tuners and bridges, which ruined the overall instrument even though the necks were great.
Now after few months, I noticed the big brand name replaced the sub-brand labeling with a curious new “made in China” icon.Is there any point anymore of knowing where guitars are manufactured and which are the price points and marketing and so on?
Not if we are talking about “products”. But I am not building “products”.
My aim is to build musical instruments with integrity, consistency of quality and thought/care for the player’s needs.