I have learned something after working on thousands of guitars over many years. And that is, when it comes to guitars, or any stringed instrument, they are all different. And the reason for that is because they are made of wood. And woods are all different and unique and continue to change over time. This applies to any instrument, but I will focus in this section on just guitars to make my point.
You can take two identical guitars, built on the same day, at the same factory, made from the same pallet of wood, same strings, same hardware, and they’re gonna have subtle, or even more noticeable differences in sound and/or feel. Again, that’s because they are made of wood. And, wood, even from the same tree, is gonna have differences in the structure of the grain. These differences will have an effect on the way a guitar sounds, the way it performs, the way it feels and even how much it weighs. Not only that, but guitars will in fact change over time because even though the wood is dead, it will still continue to change slightly or in many cases drastically over time. These changes can be bad but can also be good for the guitar’s sound and play-ability. It all depends on each individual guitar.
But how many people actually have guitars that all came from the same factory on the same day? Even if you did, they would be slightly different one from another because they are wood.
The reality is, we all have guitars that came from various factories or builders from various parts of the United States and/or from various parts of the entire world. And not all guitars are made of one type of wood. All guitars are made of many different types of wood as well: Alder, Maple, Rosewood, Mahogany, Ebony, Pine, Poplar, Walnut, Spruce, Bubinga, Purpleheart, Koa, Cedar, Ash and on and on and on. And each one I just listed also have multiple sub-species. So we’re talking hundreds, more likely thousands of types of wood.
Guitars are not only made from different trees, but different trees of all different ages. Some trees younger, some extremely old. Some trees come from dry deserts, some from extremely wet rain forests or swamps. Some trees are smaller, some are massive.
So, all the endless varieties of wood, make all guitars different and unique, one from another. Kind of like people.
Now, the reason that I went to this length to make this point, is so that someone won’t be surprised when one of their guitars plays and feels one way, but their other guitar feels a little different. Hopefully, this will help some of you understand why this is.
But here’s something else; not only are guitars different, but guitar players are all different as well. People are all different sizes, different size hands, different attack styles (how hard or soft they hit the strings), different players like different gauge strings, some like super low string action, some not so much, and different people like different guitars.
All these things, guitar types, wood species, people, etc., etc., call for special, custom attention to each guitar. And this is where I’ve learned to meet each guitar and owner, right where they are, and treat them with individual care, and not a one size fits all approach. I believe this is one of the reasons that my customers tend to be so loyal.