High Quality Boutique Guitars Vs Factory made Guitar
This is a small example of the difference between building a high-quality boutique guitar and a factory-made one. Let’s examine the neck joint.
It takes me a lot of time to create a perfect fit between the neck and the neck pocket.
By saying a “perfect fit” I mean that when I place the neck in the neck pocket I can lift the guitar’s body with the neck, and it will stay intact.
Any gap will result in loss of “energy” or vibration. The guitar’s neck acts like a giant spring along with the strings. A couple of years ago I went to see a small boutique guitar workshop, that was building 50s style Fender replicas.
While I was inspecting the details of a 53’s Tele replica I’ve noticed that there was a gap between the neck and the neck pocket. I knew that these guys were excellent luthiers , so I’ve asked one of them if that was a mistake. To my surprise, he told me that that’s the way they made it during the 50s at the Fullerton factory.
The most crucial thing for a manufacturer is time. and fitting the neck of a guitar takes time, so instead of wasting it they’ve decided to make a bigger neck pocket and to adjust the neck alignment by moving it while it sits unbolted in the neck pocket. That way the neck is attached firmly only at the bottom of the neck pocket. The result is inconsistency in the quality of the guitars.
That is the main reason that you can pick up ten guitars from the same model and some will sound bad and some will sound good.
As for set neck guitars, well, after a few neck resets I’ve made for some vintage guitars, I’ve discovered that many were simply filled with tons of glue to hide the utterly barbaric nature of the work. As a luthier I’m 100% committed to the quality of my instruments.