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Thread: Production in New Hartford

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW63 View Post
    I read that Ovation is once again making Adamas guitars, there high end stuff. Around 3 grand a guitar. Using an online inflation calculator, that's less than they used to MSRP for. Just two models, though.
    Yes they have a new small custom shop in the area and I think that their MSRP is much higher than that. At NAMM they also showed some new models and that they are doing repairs there.

  2. #12
    Thanks for the insight guys!

    Here's a video I found where Ren Ferguson discusses his experience with Gibson, but also shares thoughts on Guild and New Hartford, It's a pretty entertaining story, and if you have the time I would encourage you to listen the whole thing. But, if you jump to 15:58, you'll hear how he joined Guild and his comments on the production and closure of the New Hartford factory.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzbf...ature=youtu.be

    Through this interview, and other sources, it seems the luthiers in Connecticut & Ren did a great job of raising the bar when came to quality and craftsmanship. I've been very impressed with every New Hartford guitar I've seen to date. However, Ren also explained how the cost and process of delivering this quality didn't align with the returns investors expected. In my experience patience for profitability is directly influenced by speed of returns.

    So, it really makes me wonder how many of these guitars were made in New Hartford?

    Do we have people on this forum that worked in New Hartford who can provide more details on productions numbers?

    With fronobulax's guesstimate of 500 units ramping up to 3,000 units four years later, and right before they closed the factory, it makes you wonder what the investors expected?

    To help put it into perspective, here's a link to an old discussion thread from the acousticguitarforum where they're talking about production volumes of various guitar companies.

    https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=217903
    Last edited by GuildInAtlanta; 01-24-2020 at 06:10 PM.

  3. #13
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    That video has been discussed before. It is a critical piece of history. It it part of a three part series and when it first came out parts would sometimes disappear from public view, presumably because Ren was expressing honest opinions that bothered people who had the clout to get it pulled.

    Since Ren alluded to conflict it should be obvious that there is another side to parts of the story. FMIC had employees from several subsidiaries at NH and chains of command and authority were not always clear. There were people with the charter to run the plant, regardless of what brand guitars were being made. Ren had the charter to make Guilds at that plant. Guild was the "big dog" but there were times when the answer to "who's in charge?" had to be worked out on a case by case basis.

    Ren claims the factory was running in the red. Other sources claim it was profitable. Since the closest thing to an official statement that I can recall gave a reason as "not profitable enough" it really doesn't matter. The factory was clearly capable of making more guitars than it did. The decision not to do so was almost certainly market driven, IMO.

    FMIC treated production numbers like a trade secret so it is unlikely that you will ever get more than informed speculation. Employees might have had to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to receive severance pay.

    If better estimates are that important you might see if Cordoba is willing to share. They presumably needed to know production numbers so they could estimate the warranty liability they incurred when they bought Guild. If the log book/ledger did not go into a dumpster or someone's private collection then Cordoba presumably has that as well. But the reported experiences are that Cordoba is much more concerned with selling new guitars than they are in the historical aspects of Guild.

    I once estimated a production of 25,000 instruments for a near peak year at Westerly. I probably was corrected but I don't recall that so I'll repeat the number. But that suggests a good year at Westerly produced more Guilds than all the years at New Hartford combined.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member adorshki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post
    If better estimates are that important you might see if Cordoba is willing to share. They presumably needed to know production numbers so they could estimate the warranty liability they incurred when they bought Guild. If the log book/ledger did not go into a dumpster or someone's private collection then Cordoba presumably has that as well.
    That same thing occurred to me yesterday, too, along with the already raised issue about Fender's treatment of those numbers as coinfidential, so would they have possibly kept it?
    Particularly since it wasn't Guild-specific?
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post
    But the reported experiences are that Cordoba is much more concerned with selling new guitars than they are in the historical aspects of Guild.
    Consider that CMG themselves haven't seen a need to update the s/n chart which they themselves provide a link to, with their own s/n system or decoding key.
    I wonder if there's anything to be read into that fact or is it simply a matter of priorities. (Which is understandable since I myself would prefer to see them concentrate on getting as many US built models to market as possible. I can wait for an s/n decoder.)
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post
    I once estimated a production of 25,000 instruments for a near peak year at Westerly. I probably was corrected but I don't recall that so I'll repeat the number. But that suggests a good year at Westerly produced more Guilds than all the years at New Hartford combined.
    I don't ever recall seeing you corrected on that, and your methodology seemed sound to me at the time.
    (Pun fully intended. )

    I think this thread is a suitable candidate for a sticky because a good recap of New Hartford's Guild history as well as most of the issues that affected it's fate are gathered here in one place.
    Just not sure what sub-forum might be appropriate for it.
    Last edited by adorshki; 01-24-2020 at 11:22 PM.
    Al
    "Time May Change the Technique of Music But Never Its Mission " - Rachmaninoff
    My 1st Guild: '96 Westerly D25NT "Hally" (10-31-96 stamped on heelblock)
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    All bought new!

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post


    I once estimated a production of 25,000 instruments for a near peak year at Westerly. I probably was corrected but I don't recall that so I'll repeat the number.
    Good math, frono! 60-70 guitars/day was certainly a number through Final Assembly in the '90s-2001. I'd say you're right in the ballpark considering all eras of production.
    Last edited by hideglue; 01-24-2020 at 10:02 PM.

  6. #16
    This afternoon I spoke to Guild customer service and they told me the production records for New Hartford were not available, and indicated they didn't receive hardly any records from Fender when they acquired the company in 2014? Oh well.

    I do have an idea that could help add to our ballpark estimates for New Hartford

    Could New Hartford guitar owners look at the tag on the inside of the guitar and provide the details below?

    - Tell us the model & wood used (Example - The tag may list F30 Standard, but you tell us the wood used on the back & sides)

    - First two letters in the serial number
    (it confirms the factory & year produced)

    - The 3 numbers following the letters
    (it corresponds to the day it was built)

    - The last number in the serial number
    (it corresponds to build order of guitars produced that day. So if the last number is a 2 it's the second guitar produced that day)

    Granted this would be a sketchy attempt at best, but would show some trending information to better speculate on how many guitars were produced in a given year, and a cursory view of types of guitars that were built on a given day.

    For example when it comes to build order I know of two New Hartford guitars built in 2012. One was the 2nd guitar built that day and the other was the 4th on another day. So now I have a reference that as many as 4 guitars "could" have built on any given work day in 2012.

    After collecting as much information possible, and if the highest and repetitive number in build order is a 4 I can speculate as many at 1040 guitars (4 x 260 working days) could have been produced in 2012.


    The 260 working days is not a perfectly accurate number, it's just 52 weeks x 5 days a week. I didn't subtract for holidays, plant closings, etc., but if someone can give me insight into that we can adjust the number.

    Well...anybody willing to give it a try? Maybe we can build our own thumbnail sketch of New Hartford production?
    Last edited by GuildInAtlanta; 01-24-2020 at 10:57 PM.

  7. #17
    Senior Member adorshki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuildInAtlanta View Post
    Well...anybody willing to give it a try? Maybe we can build our own thumbnail sketch of New Hartford production?
    I think it might be like herding cats but don't think anybody'd shout it down.
    Al
    "Time May Change the Technique of Music But Never Its Mission " - Rachmaninoff
    My 1st Guild: '96 Westerly D25NT "Hally" (10-31-96 stamped on heelblock)
    #2: '01 Westerly F65ce "Blondie"
    #3: '03 Corona D40e Richie Havens "Richie"
    All bought new!

  8. #18
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Go for it. I've been down this path before and have no motivation to do the work but I will gladly let you do it.

    I will note that in the early days I got the impression than the number of guitars per day was variable. For example they only made 5 guitars in a week but they all were finished on Friday. But I don't have a better methodology for you. I will however throw the BS flag if you get over 500 for the first year and be terribly skeptical if 2013 is much over 3,000. Those are numbers I recall when someone who perhaps should have been more careful was talking dreams and aspirations. We also need to remember that the ledger recorded all brands, not just Guilds.

    Oh yes - you probably want more than the last digit from the serial because there could have been a real good day when they exceeded 10 :-)
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

    '67 Starfire I Bass (Cherry)
    '71 JS II Bass (Walnut)
    '82 B-50 Acoustic Bass (Natural)
    '87 Pilot (Black)
    '13 Newark Street Starfire Bass (Cherry)
    '16 Betts Bass "Walnut Bottom"


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  9. #19
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    Isn't 3000 in a year a bit low? I think there were fewer than 1000 Orpheums built in about 1.5 years, so if Orpheums were about 10% of production then we'd have about 6000 per year. But maybe my estimate for the contribution of Orpheums is off?

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin6666 View Post
    Isn't 3000 in a year a bit low? I think there were fewer than 1000 Orpheums built in about 1.5 years, so if Orpheums were about 10% of production then we'd have about 6000 per year. But maybe my estimate for the contribution of Orpheums is off?
    I think your Orpheum estimate is wildly high but the bottom line is it your opinion against mine. I would also ask whether the 10% estimate is wrong?

    Maybe reviewing https://letstalkguild.com/ltg/showth...eum+production or https://letstalkguild.com/ltg/showth...eum+production I seem to recall another thread but just can find it now.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

    '67 Starfire I Bass (Cherry)
    '71 JS II Bass (Walnut)
    '82 B-50 Acoustic Bass (Natural)
    '87 Pilot (Black)
    '13 Newark Street Starfire Bass (Cherry)
    '16 Betts Bass "Walnut Bottom"


    LMG I, II, III

    This space available.

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