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I can't say I disagree Wes. I'm merely surprised that certain things they do are the things normally avoided, such as masking off parts for safety and adequately supporting the workpiece. I can't say I build better instrument than they do, however when I build I try my damnedest to avoid silly things like marring a finished fingerboard when fret dressing or slipping with a overtorqued screwdriver and stripping the head of a tuner locating screw.

To me, the little things are the bits that mean the most and often the things that are overlooked in the finished product. I am sure Höfner put out great instruments to customers, but if I were wearing my business troubleshooter's hat I would weigh up whether these potential problems are impacting the end product. Perhaps it is cheaper to run out the instruments at speed, warts and all. Maybe that is a more profitable approach than the "slow, considered and perfect".

Oh I don't know. :D

I just wouldn't take a hammer to a guitar.

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This is an old company that's made a lot of instruments (and a few of them have helped directly affect the course of musical history). My guess is once you find a formula that works you might be hesitant to change it. There's also a lot of buyers out there that want the "authentic" original product and watching the video gives me no reason to doubt McCartney's bass was built in a VERY similar manner, possibly with some of the same jigs and tooling.

Why are these guys so fast/good? They are factory workers! They have a quota to fulfill and each person is responsible for a single task or small range of tasks. I worked with a few ex-Gibson Custom Shop employees years ago at First Act. These guys were insanely fast and efficient at certain tasks because they had come up through the factory doing that work all day every day for years. A few people might make it all the way to the custom shop and eventually be responsible for an entire instrument from beginning to end. They always made a delineation between the factory people and the custom shop people though... you might spend 30 years installing frets and get very good at it, but that doesn't necessarily make you a guitar builder.

I'm with Prostheta, most of these hand methods aren't worth the risk in my book, but I am impressed with the skill, history and the system that these guys are working inside of.

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Well,I just use the same fretting method to easily fret a board in about 20 minutes,and that includes the side beveling.Of course it won't work on a bound board exactly that way,but I think I could just nip the tang in the right spot and leave the crown intact long enough to hammer into the board,then cut it...

The main thing is that having the wire still as part of the roll while hammering it in makes you more easily able to keep it from flopping over and marring the board,so it is less risky,not more so.

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