While personal artisanship has become a rare commodity in today’s era of mass production, there are a myriad of reasons why many individuals still choose to buy handmade over machine-, or factory-made products. Many of these reasons appeal to emotions, and the desire for novelty and the distinctness inspired by craftsmanship.
This is particularly true, in music where it's all in the details – and the very subtle differences matter. For instance, a musician might argue that the construction and materials have a considerable impact on the musical instrument, and is reflected in the playing experience, tone, and sound quality.
So, is there something inherently different about handmade musical instruments as opposed to those on the assembly line?
Let’s take a look at electric guitars, which essentially create music that’s already a combination of the mechanical elements to create phenomenal sounds human hands alone cannot.
Many factory-made electric guitars are as good as the handmade ones considering that machine precision allows for master strokes beyond the capacity of hand-crafted work.
But one major difference of commissioning hand build electric guitars is the outstanding craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail.
Why Handmade Electric Guitars Are King
What exactly are the benefits of a handmade electric guitar compared to the mass-produced ones? Let’s take a look at the advantages of handmade guitars below.
Factory-made electric guitars are very standard in their features. The choices you have are typically limited to the number of models that a certain factory can produce – generally very few in a bid to maintain consistency and minimize production costs.
Comparatively, a handmade electrical guitar is going to get you customized details, exceptional craftsmanship, made-to-order tone, and heirloom quality
This means that more care is taken starting from the selection of wood and the parts/hardware, as well as more attention to every detail when finishing the instrument to produce the best sonic qualities possible.
As a result, handmade electric guitars made carefully and skillfully offer consistent excellent tone, exquisite craftsmanship, high playability, and lifetime warranties, with the maker keeping the musician’s best interests in mind.
The best handmade electric guitars will reflect their real value. There’s no exaggeration when we say a guitar that’s really made well almost plays itself.
Skilled luthiers aren’t concerned about optimizing their workflow, or making easily reproduced products quickly. The ideals behind them making the instrument is quality of sound and playability. Often, these craftsmen are themselves, artists.
When an electric guitar is built for you by someone who loves his craft, a lot of time and care can be put into each. Hence, not only do hand-built electric guitars consistently sound better than ones that come from the more automated factories, but they’re also pieces of art - they can be timeless.
It's easy to say that handmade guitars would be more prone to inconsistencies, especially given the varying levels of expertise between builders. But aren’t factories operated by people as well? Ultimately, the human element is there, and a luthier will have spent years mastering his craft so that in the end, you see very little difference that the human element has on the electric guitar.
Final Thoughts: Handmade versus Factory-made
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or are just getting serious, an above-board electric guitar will absolutely, positively make you play better. A serious player needs an equally-serious guitar. So, then which benefits a musician most, a handmade or factory-made guitar?
Apparently, it might seem like handmade ones win hands down. However, there are important factors to bear in mind before concluding that a handmade guitar is a worthy investment. There are factory-made guitars that are as good at a bargain price. Moreover, handcrafted guitars retain the most value when you make the most out of the endless choices of options and customized features. If these don't concern you at all, grabbing a well-made electric guitar from a retailer may be the best decision you can make.