You will think that what I am going to tell you in this article will be along the lines of recommending everyone to get a luthier’s guitar since, hell, whoever writes this intends to make a living with it. Well, I regret to inform you that my intention is almost the opposite. What I am trying to do is to convince those who really need a handmade guitar, and to “disconvince” those who don’t need it. Call it filtering work if you want, so if you are one of those who need a guitar, this article will help convince you; if you are of the second group, it will provide you with information, maybe some culture to bring up in your “brother-in-law” conversations, and little more.

As you can guess from the tone, in this blog I intend to be rigorous, but at the same time practical and not excessively geeky. I am one of those who think that boring should be a crime. I also warn that I’m giving personal views on the world of guitar and instrument building, so if you disagree with something, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments, as long as -and this I ask please- you try to give reasons for your opinions. Because we are all learners: me the first; but knowledge should be shared, and not simply brandished. So, after all this, let’s get down to business.

Tip: buy a luthier’s guitar if it is a working tool for you

Let’s be clear: luthiers do not build luxury products. What we make are working tools. True, a handcrafted guitar is much more expensive than an industrially made guitar, but we are talking about prices that rarely go below 2500 € for the simplest designs). So what? Then I think that it should be up to the customer to place luthier guitars in the expensive and luxurious box. And in this sense I think that in the case of guitars we should apply more a business vision than a consumer vision. What am I getting at? If your guitar is for you a working tool, then get one from a luthier. Do not hesitate.

And I explain: if you have reached a point where you dedicate a lot of hours a day to the guitar and you are becoming more and more demanding with what you do and what you express with your instrument, with a handmade guitar you will achieve three things:

A guitar that adapts to you, not the other way around

And it adapts much more than an industrial guitar can. Because we are talking about the fact that in a luthier guitar you can choose the size, the woods, the design of the bracing… And what about that? Well, if you are going to put a lot of hours on the instrument, it is very important for you to be comfortable playing it, and one repertoire is not the same as another, one way of plucking the strings is not the same as another? The guitar manufacturing industry can’t get to customize their products so much, because starting up their factories is so expensive, that if they have to make a unit just for you, you’re not worth it to them. That’s right: you’re not worth it to them. The industry, at least in the classical guitar world, is aimed at a more generic audience. Can’t you imagine Usain Bolt running the 100 meter dash in tap shoes?

A guitar that won’t hurt you

Injuries in professional or senior conservatory musicians are far more common than many people realize. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Because guitarists are performers, yes, but also “athletes” of music. A handmade guitar, being custom-made, will give you a plus of ergonomics that, if it will not prevent injuries, it can reduce the risk significantly. Continuing with the example of Usain Bolt, can you imagine him running in shoes that are too small for him?

The contact with the luthier is very important

According to my way of working, I try to maintain a permanent attitude of listening to the client, something that is vital in the design and construction phases. Of course, the luthier is the one who knows about woods, densities, drying times, types of glue? but he should always put them at the service of what the client asks of the guitar. It is also necessary to “educate” the client, in the sense that sometimes it is necessary to make him see that something is not possible, or that more things can be done than the client has in mind. Specializing in this gives many variables that are important when building a guitar. Besides, there is no one better than him to repair our instrument.