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Witkowski guitars


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Someone introduced me to this fellow`s work a couple of days ago. He`s from Poland, has been making guitars since he was a teenager. They are very reasonably priced and his site has a series of videos (about 8 mins. each) that show the whole

guitarmaking process from start to finish.

 

http://www.witkowskiguitars.com

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

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Make you realize how much work goes into an electric guitar. I won't ever complain about price again. :)

 

A handmade guitar. ;) Anything you get from Gibson, Fender, etc. that wasn't made in the custom shop takes a lot less work than this! They use CNC routers to rough carve the bodies and necks. P'ups are wound by machines. They have a small army of workers to produce these instruments. It's nothing like the crafting done by Mr. Witkowski. He and those like him definitely deserve high praise and compensation for the instruments they produce! :thu:

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Make you realize how much work goes into an electric guitar. I won't ever complain about price again. :)

 

A handmade guitar. ;) Anything you get from Gibson, Fender, etc. that wasn't made in the custom shop takes a lot less work than this! They use CNC routers to rough carve the bodies and necks. P'ups are wound by machines. They have a small army of workers to produce these instruments. It's nothing like the crafting done by Mr. Witkowski. He and those like him definitely deserve high praise and compensation for the instruments they produce! :thu:

 

But are Witkowski's guitars really better? just because the components are made in ways modern CNC techniques left in the dust years ago. Witkowski doesn't hand wind his pickups by hand either. Just about any neck profile can be duplicated by CNC and those profiles are available on production guitars. Because he uses antiquated wood working methods building solid body guitars has no effect one way or the other on the end product. Hollow bodied guitars are a different story. I remember when CNC took hold of the Wood Die Model Makers trade in the automotive design process, it was the best thing that ever happened to that part of the design development process, the model makers where retrained to be programmers or setup people and machine operators and the mind numbing hand built process came to a deserved end! Why do makers of hand made guitars deserve more compensation? is it because they choose to work in ways that are antiquated, just for the exercise?

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That's not entirely true, Lee.

 

Gibson still hand tunes the shapes of bodies and necks because the technology does not replace a human's touch in the process. They use the technology to rough only... but that does speed the process considerably. Gibson bodies are supposed to be tap tuned for resonance, even solidbody instruments.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Ok NEIL, but I don't understand why they only rough in the necks with CNC? If I wanted to duplicate a profile, no matter what the degree of surface complexity was, I could do that very easily. I would scan the neck and translate that into code and NET cut that same profile anytime I needed it, the only kind of pre finish required would be to wipe over the surface with .006 burnish paper...Done! If a human produces ONE product I can duplicate that work immediately and it will be precisely the same in every way. LINK: http://157.158.19.167/papers_amme05/1418.pdf?PHPSESSID=ab39f85004c5b7c553aed47fdf8268e5&PHPSESSID=1724c63dd3199ab0e1d840b979cff924

 

 

 

Duplicating complex shapes

 

High density, true surface information permits exact duplication of complex shapes. Digitizing eliminates the inaccuracies of mechanical probe offsets, deflection, vector analysis, and probe size or shape. Laser scanning non-contact technology also allows difficult materials such as clay, fabric, wood, foam, plaster, glass, metal, and plastic to be scanned without damage to the surface of the object. A laser beam is projected from the sensor head onto a scanning object. The object scatters the light, which is then collected by a video camera located at a known triangulation distance from the laser. Using trigonometry, the 3D spatial (XYZ) coordinates of a surface point are calculated. The charge coupled device cameras 2D array captures the surface profiles image and digitizes all data points along the laser. With specialized inspection software from solution partners, the laser scan data can be easily compared to a CAD file enabling deviations from nominal to be graphically displayed. Other software programs allow NURBS surfaces to be applied to the scan data to create a CAD Model of the scanned object. STL and CNC toolpaths can be derived from the scan data for duplication and manufacturing.

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This is not about one technologys superority over another but rather about the process of bonding with your custom made instrument. It starts with your first contact with the luthier, is he an accessible person easy to communicate with? Does he understand what you're looking for? Once you make a decision the waiting begins. Anticipation. You get progress reports, pictures of your guitar in different stages of manufacture are sent to you. You celebrate when "Ready to ship" notice arrives. All the time you follow your guitar being born you are already bonding with it. You think of a name. It finally arrives and you unpack it. Don't tell me your heart rate is steady as a rock and hands don't shake ever so slightly and you're excited. You play and you tell the luthier how happy you are.

 

Try this with a CNC machine and an assembly line? OK, so I'm an old school romantic and I like my pants hand made by a human tailor too.

Alex Niemand

Tubewonder Amps

Life's a party but you get invited only once

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"OK, so I'm an old school romantic and I like my pants hand made by a human tailor too."

 

So it's a bit like buying one of your amps? for me, I supply the human interaction when I play it. I could see and agree with you possibly on acoustic or even a acoustic electric instrument, but not on a solid bodied electric, to me that is just silly.

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"OK, so I'm an old school romantic and I like my pants hand made by a human tailor too."

 

So it's a bit like buying one of your amps? for me, I supply the human interaction when I play it. I could see and agree with you possibly on acoustic or even a acoustic electric instrument, but not on a solid bodied electric, to me that is just silly.

 

Watching an artisan craftsman has always fascinated me, perhaps because my great grandfather was a real watch maker.

 

Well, just for comparison: Ruokangas - no videos just photos. I think you'll like their process better. They do the "old school manual thing" only where it really matters for precision and repeatability.

 

As for buying my amps: I do all assembly by hand but subcontract transformers, metal and woodwork i.e. chassie and panels, my head cabs are made by a furniture factory and are delivered to me naked. I dress them up. PCBs are also subcontracted as they are double sided through plated but all components are manually soldered as well all wiring. I deliver directly to dealers and you can buy from stock and take it home. There's an option for a customer after having tried the amp at the dealers to request some individual tweaks. That's when the direct interaction between customer and myself begins. The amp gets delivered to customer through dealer in the end. Ah yes, I sign and name each amp after a protected bird.

 

 

 

Alex Niemand

Tubewonder Amps

Life's a party but you get invited only once

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HAHA! OK next customer from New Jersey will get a Turkey Buzzard!

(This species is far from being known throughout the United States,

for it has never been seen farther eastward than the confines of New Jersey)

 

Peregrinus has already landed at MakenMusic in Chicago

Alex Niemand

Tubewonder Amps

Life's a party but you get invited only once

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I was a little bit...I guess surprised is the word, to see him wind the pickups by machine. Still, calling a method `antiquated` can come around and bite you right where you sit.

How many autotune fans here-show of hands? how about sampling-paying all those real musicians is kind of archaic, yes? In fact, why should I go see a band at all-same singer all night, breaks between sets, broken strings. Point being, I`d rather support an artisan than a programmer. Besides, makers who use all the latest methods don`t always produce consistently great guitars.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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i would say a hand crafted guitar would be more desirable due to the fact it is built as a unit, as opposed to parts created by machines and then randomly assembled by people trying to achieve a certain speed to please the shareholders.

when the real emphasis is on productivity any real involvment in the instrument dissappears.

CNC wasn't introduced for anything other than increased productivity.

which was originally used to lower costs, but now it is for increased profit.

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If you watch all of his videos, you will see that he builds necks and bodies completely separately, one component has nothing to do with the other except for the body neck pocket cavity's dimentions matching the mounting area on the neck. There is no process difference between what he does and what large manufactures do. The neck must be fit to the body cavity,using shims, exactly like large manufactures do. If it's a glued in neck he has to follow the same process as anyone else does no matter if he's a custom builder or not. But finally, we have no idea whether his instruments are good or not, nobody we know has one. Yes it looks like allot of work, and it is, the point is that it does not have to be and the results are not necessarily better!
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an electric has accoustic properties that are important IMHO.

a custom built instrument is built specifically as a unit not an assembly of random parts. that is why they should demand a premium price.

making a single instrument doesn't mean it cannot be made precisely.

 

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I don't think it necessarily a difference between hand or machine made. I thinks its about the amount of care that will probably go into a guitar made by a craftsman. Someone who puts his own name on something rather than some giant corporation's is going to go the extra mile to make sure its right. Sure a handmade guitar can be a lemon, and a factory made one a gem, but chances are the handmade one will be better.
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Ellwood:

 

My comment was not made to start an argument about which is better, however, I will chime in here since I started it. I don't care if a machine made it or not, someone had to build the machine or the guitar, either way, it is a lot of work.

 

I don't care what is handmade or not. I see anything that is handmade as archaic and hobbyist, like you, and if a machine can build it better, fine. The only people complaining are unions and those who value "small business America," aka America via 1830. But that's another topic for another forum.

 

Point is, a guitar is a guitar. No matter how it was made it is a lot of work. Otherwise, I'd have to build it myself, and believe me, that would be much harder and longer than buying anything built by hand or machine.

 

And I do not buy the argument of the comparison to musicians. Musicians are artists, and just like poets, writers (my profession) and other such careers, they will never be replaced by machines, no matter what you may think. 100 years from now, I promise, people will still line up to buy tickets to a Led Zeppelin tribute band or wait outside a bookstore for a bestseller.

Shut up and play.
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"a custom built instrument is built specifically as a unit not an assembly of random parts."

 

I know you think that MUST be true, but it is not! There is essentially NO design interaction between the design of the neck and the body itself on a solid body guitar! as I said before, the neck pocket IS the common ground, there is the interaction. The neck is NOT part of the design, any neck on a solid body guitar can be fitted to any solid body guitar! it is only the neck pocket that is critical! The shape of the body, the contor of the body, any detail in the body or control cavities are of NO importance except the neck pocket! There is a formula that has to be followed no matter if it's CNC controlled or it's manually controlled, it does not change! The is a specific ratio in length that must be kept no matter what the method off assembly is.

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Acoustic instruments where never a part of this conversation.

 

See, I feel solid body electrics ARE acoustic instruments. To me, a non-acoustic instrument is a synthesizer. Every Korg Triton off the assembly line is going to sound like every other Triton. Not so with solid body electrics.

But this is a detour in the thread.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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Yes Scott they are, they can be heard without electronics , there is a audible tone present, they have acoustic properties. but someone here said they where tap tuned! like the process that a builder goes through when tuning a acoustic body, and I flat DO NOT believe it! not for a second! you can pick a known tone wood for the body, that's fine, but beyond that, there is NO control of the tone through the woods on a solid body electric!
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