How to find a luthier/ what to look for

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by vilk, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Please go ahead and move this to FAQ if you think it's right, but I thought I might get better results here.

    Allow me to preface this by noting that I haven ever ordered a custom anything ever from anyone

    I've had an epiphany the other day that I want to get a custom neck for my Korean import BC Rich Warlock. I mean, there's no way I'll ever land a USA custom with maple fretboard, so I figure this route is the closest there is.

    I tried googling "Chicago luthiers"... but the results are all music lessons and luthiery training courses.

    Does anyone have advise for finding "the right luthier" for my needs? How to search, or maybe one of you guys knows someone?
    You figure if I call up one of these music schools or luthiery schools and say "hey I don't want lessons I just want you to build me a neck" that there's a good probability they will say "Oh yeah sure we can do that" ?

    Will some luthiers be offended if I ask them to make a clone of a well known brand?
     
  2. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Things I'd look for:

    1. Track record
    2. What kind of work they've done in the past (S and T styles versus anything a client can envision)
    3. Do they exist within your budget (the better the luthier, chances are the higher the price)

    Have you researched aftermarket BC Rich parts companies first?
     
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  3. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I'm kinda hoping that it wont be too insanely priced to just get a neck. I mean, if it's anything similar to Warmoth, I think I should be good. I'm not looking for anything fancy just:
    -Maple fretboard-no binding
    -maybe dot inlays, maybe none
    -fits my warlock neck pocket
    -I'll probably ask them to pay special attention to the fret ends

    -----------

    I tried looking up BC Rich compatible necks, but all I find is just used necks. Some of them are really cool, but none of them are maple fretboard. I think the only warlocks to be made with maple boards are US custom shops... and obviously those don't get split apart from the body to be sold all too often... or, at all :lol:

    Does anyone happen to know that there does exist a company making aftermarket BC Rich compatible necks?
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Man, that's tough.

    IMO, unless you personally know the builder, it's going to be some level of risk.

    Does the luthier have to be in Chicago?

    Here's a link to a list of Illinois luthiers: https://www.4allmusic.com/selection...thiers-illinois/285-guitars-luthiers-illinois

    Some are obviously large scale builders; the rest I don't know. It does seem to be getting more and more difficult to find reasonably-priced good-track-record luthiers these days. I think a lot of people are just going the DIY route.

    The only time I got a custom-built local guitar, I did a lot of asking around at music stores. If you check out GC's in town, chances are a few luthiers have been in there at some point. If the employees have been around long enough (ha!) they might be able to give you just enough information to eventually track someone down. In my personal case, the guy I hired ended up coming through for me, and I found him through a retired luthier, who, in turn, I found from a session player who hung out at a local shop and bragged about his custom guitar to the employees there, so the flowchart of tracking this guy down was:
    Music Store Employee > Session Musician Guy > Retired Luthier Guy > Student of Retired Luthier Guy
    As you might imagine, the process took a few months, just to track the guy down, since he wasn't in the yellow pages.

    Hopefully someone on the forum in your area can help you circumvent the wild goose chase phase.

    The only other thing I'll add, is that, if you are willing to open your radius up, you might want to check out Elderly Music in Lansing Michigan. It'd definitely be a long car ride for you, but the place at least used to be a kind of hub for luthiers. Maybe someone in the Chicagoland area is known to them.
     
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  5. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Yeah my next plan of attack after I extract the good info from my SSO brothers is to call up this guitar tech I go to who I know used to work building Lakland basses, see if he knows someone good at guitar necks.
     
  6. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Email usa custom guitars see if they can do it?
     
  7. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    I've tried to find a builder in Chciago without any luck besides Ree Teeter or RT guitars in Oak Park. I met with him at his shop once. Very nice guy who makes some solid stuff, but he makes more traditional stuff. He's also never made a 7 string before, but he did say want to. You can even take a class with him and a build whatever you want with him. If I had the time I would definitely do it. I'd try contacting him and seeing what he says. But that truly is the only luthier I know of.
     
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  8. Mwoit

    Mwoit SS.org Regular

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    look for hot trending luthier complaint threads on social media / here

    -> send email
     
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  9. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Why complaint threads?
     
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  10. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    I think he's just making a joke that there are a lot of local luthier complaint threads on SSO.
     
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  11. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    So I called that guitar tech who used to work at Lakland to ask if he knew someone who builds guitar necks, and he says "yeah, I do" :lol:

    ... you know, I realized the guy is a luthier, but Lakland makes basses, so I didn't know if bass luthiers can switch over to guitar very easily or not, but apparently this guy is a trained luthier who can build guitars just as well. Anyways I wrote him up an email with the specs and he's gonna quote me. I'll let you guys know what he says

    Hey, you guys think this headstock shape is possible without a locking nut?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  12. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Why would the locking nut affect the shape?
     
  13. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I was worried that the angle of the string to the tuner was too extreme

    Remember guys, I'm not a luthier :lol:
    But thank you for letting me post in your forum
     
  14. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    You can add a small metal fixture to press down on the strings behind the nut if it (pitch) ends up becoming a concern, although I would only recommend it if absolutely necessary. Or a string tree if you're worried about the yaw.
     
  15. pondman

    pondman Build Whore. Contributor

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    Should be fine with a decent neck angle.
     
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  16. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Bass Player in Exile

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    The angle isnt too extreme, but if youre still worried about it, you could wind the tuner around the other way on the high strings and it would reduce the angle somewhat. I would also bet you can get reverse geared tuners to make the tuning action consistent. I'm almost positive I've seen them, but if not, I bet hipshot could make you some.
     
  17. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire highway to the metalzone

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    if you're worried then just go for a string tree/locking nut, or get an inline headstock where the strings are being pulled straight from the bridge to the tuners.
     
  18. Soya

    Soya Poor person Contributor

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    Or just build the first headless BC Rich.
     
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  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Ha ha, I'm not sure if the irony was intentional, but that was good either way.
     
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  20. tuttermuts

    tuttermuts SS.org Regular

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    Some things I think off the top of my head:

    -Try to meet the guy in person, back when I started out I met this luthier who advised me not to buy a guitar from him yet. Since I was too young and my taste would still change down the line (boy was he right! The guitar I would have asked back then would've been horrible to me now!). Some guy you just shoot some specs online might not give you that kind of advice.
    -The guy I ended up with I also know in person, same thing. He oftentimes makes decisions for the instrument that I don't think of as being important or that don't make sense to me...afterwards they end up being lifesavers. If you have the right guy on the job, you can count on them knowing what they're doing. Meanwhile I know how to play an instrument and what I like about a guitar, but that doesn't mean I know how one should be put together.

    If you're after just the neck=> could warmoth be an option? I don't know if they do those particular headstocks.
     
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