Yet another luthier hangs up his tools - Jemsite
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
 
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Angry Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

I was after a body to make a better type of Strat and stumbled across this site:

http://www.area51customs.co.uk/index.html

The stuff this guy makes is very high quality but because of cheap Chinese ebay bodies etc he can't compete with their prices even though his are made from quality wood and handmade by himself, PLUS he has a stunning range of swirl bodies from everything like USA strats to 8 string guitars!

Currently he is having a massive sale of his remaining bodies very heavily discounted, which is where I picked up a spectacular poplar strat replacement body with recessed jack socket and extended neck access for £80!!!

Take a look:
http://www.area51customs.co.uk/fsstrat.html#4

Seriously I think it is a very big shame when homegrown luthiers like this are forced by the "ebay obsessed" community to stop hand making quality guitars and bodies/necks because people would rather spend 100 bucks for some low grade crap of an auction site
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 04:45 PM
 
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

The cheep aftermaket bodies are not from China, they're from Illinois.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 05:01 PM
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

Both bodies are CNC cut, not handmade. When competition is too stiff, lowest price usually wins. That's the way the world works.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 05:43 PM
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

Commoditization enters into play more often than not, especially when humans don't offer tangible benefits vs robotics. 3D printing and CAD is going to revolutionize things soon, until then handmade is moot, probably worse.

We need humans to manage & setup but unfortunately robotics/computers are better for the nitty gritty like cutting bodies/necks/pockets. Lets be real, you want a CNC body/neck or a "hand carved body/neck". Auto-pilot or fatigued human flying a plane day after day after day? Robotic-assisted surgery or shaky/tired human holding cutting tool? Some services are better with less human involvement. And the price drops quickly once they are automated... glen
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 05:52 PM
 
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

As an aside - Lets say for a moment that his bodies really are handmade, and fantastic in every way.

His website is ****ing awful. Lots of luthiers websites are awful, but I think this is where a lot of luthiers completely shoot themselves in the foot.

Imagine walking into a guitar shop where the guitars are all crammed into one corner of the shop and to get to them you have to clamber over the amps. Then to get a member of staff to help you you have to ring an obscure bell thats been placed over the front door for some reason.

You'd say this shop must do no business thanks to their ****ty storefront, right?

Well what is a luthiers website but an online storefront?

The web savvy generation have been dealing with volume retailers like amazon and supermarkets for years - There are established ways of laying out product that we've learned make sense and help us find what we need.

When a site doesn't lay out their info in this intuitive way, even if there aren't many products, it just feels super cheap and tacky - like the business must be a 2 bit operation run out of a shed and why would you trust an operation that small with hundreds of dollars of your money?

The only way those companies get out of that negative impression is by HUGELY favourable word of mouth marketing - it works. Sometimes. But the thing about word of mouth is that you either need to be the FIRST to get that word of mouth, and therefore your name out there, or you need to be the absolute BEST at whatever you do - to get those customers to talk about you instead of just continuing to recommend the status quo.

Or you could make a nice website and a lot of that hurdle to success is dealt with already.

I know a lot of people are going to point out that IbanezRules is far from the pinnacle of web design and still trades more than enough to keep Rich busy - Well he's doing the word of mouth thing, but he's unquestionably THE ibanez guy. Nobody knows more. All recommendations go to him. His customerbase trusts him so implicitly that we RECOGNISE that his website being the way it is, is purely the result of being so good elsewhere, that the site has to take a backseat to actual work.

Startups don't have this luxury.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 06:00 PM
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, the site has to take a backseat to focus on what really matters, the workload. Yes, it needs a total revamp and it will come, just very slowly. As awful as it is, thankfully it at least functions, but quite embarrassing the couple emails a week I get that start with "is this site still in business??"
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 06:09 PM
 
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Thanks for the kind words. Yes, the site has to take a backseat to focus on what really matters, the workload. Yes, it needs a total revamp and it will come, just very slowly. As awful as it is, thankfully it at least functions, but quite embarrassing the couple emails a week I get that start with "is this site still in business??"
It more than works. Your site isn't bad. There's lots of good information on there and it's not hard to find what you're looking for.....well, the parts list could be easier ......it could use a 'dressing up', but as far as function, it's certainly not "awful".
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 06:13 PM
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

I haven't worn a dress in many years, so let's not go there! If anybody has noticed though, it's almost complete with every guitar in inventory posted on the pages with large picture folders of each. I just bought 37 seconds and another 5 firsts came in so I'm way behind the curve again, but they'll get posted as soon as I can work thru them all!
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 07:45 PM
 
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

I concur that your site isn't actually bad in terms of function. When I say it isn't the pinnacle of web design, I mean that there are simply new technologies that would probably improve some things.

Streamlined back ends to simplify adding/removing/recategorising stock and posts for example. Dropdown menus and simplified rear graphics to aid in getting new visitors to relevant sections quickly, etc.

None of these are things your site doesn't already have solutions for, just they're older solutions that are harder to maintain and use from your position as owner/operator.
Straight HTML to list new guitars and make new posts about things like NAMM isn't fun compared to a simple WYSIWYG text editor like this Vbulletin form. Image galleries being in a folder space rather than a navigable gallery, and so on. (Admittedly, I know you probably keep those galleries like they are to save on bandwidth from loading a ton of thumbnails on certain pages)

The main things you could improve about your website are either purely aesthetic, or about reducing your own workload a bit in the longrun :P

NB: I am not a web designer, if anyone is, why are you not offering your services to Rich?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 08:57 PM
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarBizarre View Post
(Admittedly, I know you probably keep those galleries like they are to save on bandwidth from loading a ton of thumbnails on certain pages)

The only assumption you can make is it's probably technical inability
And the reason it's WYSIWYG is because I don't have to be a web designer and can do all the updates I need to, more difficult or not, it's got to be easier than learning to do it all over a different way

The changes coming will be a new header with drop down nav, maybe some background and color changes, just cosmetic but at least it'll look more 21st than 20th century
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 09:05 PM
 
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

I can design a motherboard, or a 'simple' CPU, but I'm lost designing a web site.......but if I'd taken any classes on web design I'd offer my services to Rich in a heartbeat. But alas.....that's just not the case..........besides; he wants me as a 'secretary'.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 09:29 PM
 
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

At least he dosent want to see your tube socks

All I know is that Ram stands for "random access memory"

I think richs site is really good, although the parts section is a bit erratic but that adds to the fun of it! Wait no, it's terrible, because he won't sell me the last sure grip trem arm sleeve.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 09:32 PM
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

I only keep that on there to keep the part number so I can ask them to reissue someday.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 09:35 PM
 
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

Oh, he's already made it pretty clear he wants to see my 'oranges in tube socks', and there was a ladder mentioned a few times.......it's a long/short story. Just search my name and 'ladder' on the forum, you'll find it, if you're that bored that you're interested, that is. LOL
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2014, 09:39 PM
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Re: Yet another luthier hangs up his tools

When life gives you oranges in tube socks, make orangeade!
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