No Shortcuts to Quality

Beautiful musical instruments are timeless, and a few posts reminded us that there are no shortcuts to quality. Little details have the unique ability to amaze in both directions.


These reinforcements by Esq Guitars are super classy are should be celebrated. What makes an instrument go from Good to Great? MBAs study companies that grow contagious pockets of greatness. But for the craftsman, sharing small trade secrets is the key.

Looking Through The Lens Backwards: Great to Good

This provocative video compares a Gibson guitar to an imitation from China. Most youtube reviewers comparing imitation guitars aren’t as tough, but this guy colorfully explains how the little things making a Gibson guitar a special instrument, and why the imitation is rubbish.

Learning from a Knock Off

Here is a list that separates an imitation from a classic guitar. Or in reverse, things you can do to make your guitar more Gibson-esque.

Frets and Fingerboard
Imitation – has better material rosewood. Pin router to cut out inlaw which is a less precies. Frets are laid on top. In the end, there are more dead notes, more buzzing and inconsistent fret heights. It requires more effort to play with poorer quality results.
Gibson – Granadillo wood. Precision cut inlaw. No filler needed. Fret end bindings beautfilly fit into the edge.

Tuners Use high quality tuners, not cheap knock offs.

Nut
Imitation is too high, has deep grooves and uneven spacing.
Gibson is lower and cut by computer. No visual grooves, and perfect height.

Pickups
Imitation – Badly set. Angled to strings.
Original – Perfectly level. Matching colors

Bridge
Imitation – Big slots for the strings to sit in

Back & Body
Imitation – 5 pieces of mahagony sandwiched together with thin veneer. Paper thin maple vaneer
Gibson – Solid piece of flame maple

Internal Cavities
Imitation – Slighly offset set screws. Messy internal wiring. Inlay space was poorly cut.
Gibson – Equidistant screws. Well routed internal space with good wiring.

Gibson has launched their own campaign against counterfeit Gibsons. Those details that make the instrument timeless should be celebrated.

At ShapeChangingInstruments we are constantly following music trends, whether it be on kickstarter, 3D Printing, laser cutting or other wordpress makers. Imitation instruments is a trend that will hopefully die a quiet death.

What is your favorite detail/tip that you use in your shop?

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