The value of “handmade”

We often find the label “handmade” in all kinds of objects, from food to cars, to musical instruments, of course. But what this label means? Because “handmade” it seems that defines very well how it has built something, but really built this article using only your hands? certainly not. Has any machine involved in the process? surely yes. How many people have participated in its creation? A, two, twenty …? Given all these variables, how should we interpret this message?

Of course, to say that something is handmade can be a marketing tool that makes the product look better, more exclusive, unique, there are few equal units. The problem is that the term has a very ambiguous interpretation and administrations provide these labels of “product
artisan “or” hand-made “following certain criteria poorly defined to companies that request it, sometimes even for large industrial productions. Consequently, many artisans lost (lose) any interest in obtaining these labels. (On the website of Artisan Center of Valencia you can get information about one of these labels and how to get it)

But then, and talking and musical instruments guitars and specifically, what about guitars luthier, are made by hand? Are they better ?, are usually much more expensive than guitars built in factories, then they should be better, right? Well, it depends. Of what? Because of how they have been built. In a factory they can be built very good guitars and instead a luthier or guitar could also build a pretty mediocre guitar. Everything will depend on how the knowledge and the tools available are used each time. Far from throwing stones at me on my own roof, I firmly believe that an individual can make a guitar than most guitar made in factories. Not because he works with his bare hands, then surely you use power tools and some machines. Actually their potential is that he, and he alone, will perform all the construction processes. Let’s see what their strengths are facing the most industrialized or serial productions:

Passion. Yes, it matters. Very much. Always it works much better someone who puts not only their time but also all their effort, interest and dedication in each process of construction. It also will not hesitate to spend time observing, detail, think … whatever it takes, so that the result is perfect.

Involvement in the whole process. The luthier designed the instrument you want to build, will personally select and buy the woods, chosen for each instrument, initially dimensions, shapes them, the mountains on his guitar … and just knowing them very well. In this way it is able to make the best of them to optimize the final result. These different parts of the process become a global all offering many views the builder and allows it to act at all times so that the end result is the best, or at least as close as possible to the idea you have in mind .

Constant quality control. The guitarrero defines a level of perfectionism that he alone controls. He makes and monitors. No delegates. His name will be on that guitar and is ultimately responsible for all aspects, sound and aesthetic. But it is not only responsible, also knows very well everything that happened during the creation so it can respond firmly to any doubt on the quality of his work. Certainly it will make sure to get only the best results.

Higher level of customization. This does not mean that the guitar will be better or worse. Only that will be better adapted to the guitarist, who can choose or alter some features of the instrument to suit your preferences and needs. For example, you could modify the throw rope, distance between strings, height thereof, thickness of the handle, nut width … also other aesthetic elements, but surely the guitar already has an aesthetic to want to change it in every guitar defined. Anyway, absolutely all elements of the guitar could discuss and evaluate. This is possible because each instrument is set individually. However, it would be difficult and expensive to make these changes in a production.

guitarrero relationship – guitarist. The instrument in the hands of the interpreter is a complete tool of expression. Expression of feelings and emotions that need to be transmitted. This is not easy and musician working a lot to get this language to communicate through music is. A key aspect is to know the tool you choose, know very well. And you will learn more and better if you share certain ideas or philosophy with its creator, if he has seen the construction or even if you have been involved in this process.

This is what it means to me that a guitar is made by hand, or that is handmade, or that is “luthier”. Guitarrero be more than a job it is a way of life. And this brings value to the instrument that goes beyond a label or a necessary symbolic price

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