Aristides Guitars- how are they made?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Lothar34, May 8, 2015.

  1. Lothar34

    Lothar34 Supporting Member

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    Just wondering if anyone is familiar with how Aristides builds their guitars. I would love to try one out, but I do wonder about the price. Usually with a $3-5k guitar, the money is in a combination of expensive woods and the labor involved. It seems like the Aristides are just poured into a mold & popped out, with minimal labor on the other end. Of course this is just speculation, which is why I ask. But if it really is that easy, why wouldn't they scale up production, lower the price-point & take on wood guitars head on? I know some of the 3D printed guitars are pretty expensive too. I'm guessing there the builders are trying to recoup the capital investment for the equipment (and maybe Aristides is trying to recoup the R&D on the magic material), but in both cases, wouldn't they be more profitable selling more overall volume at more consumer friendly prices?
     
  2. kebotrans

    kebotrans Gold Supporting Member

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    Man I want one of these so bad.
     
  3. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Magic and little elves?
     
  4. The Axecutioner

    The Axecutioner Member

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    I have an Aristides 060 custom which they made me last year, 28th 060 model made and (took 3-4 months to make and get delivered). They are just fantastic instruments and equally fantastic company to deal with, easiest and nicest guitar purchase I've ever encountered. They are made completely from a one piece composite body/neck with a material the founder of the company help engineer called Arium. You can check out a factory tour of how these are made here below. They are unique in tone and playability and don't see how they could make them out of wood or why they would when their guitars sound more vibrant, louder unplugged and have massive sustain than wood. Only the fretboard is wood, mine is ebony. I can't see them making these guitars at a lower price point (I hope they do, as I'd get another in a heartbeat) but as it is I will get another one in a different config if ever I have the money again.



    They are fairly expensive but they are worth every penny. I told them exactly what I wanted on my model, including custom pickup selector/tone/volume placement, I got BKP Blackhawks loaded in mine.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  5. Rayzaa

    Rayzaa Member

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    Interesting guitars. Never heard of them but those are completely different and sound nice. That video was a bit hard to watch with every 5th word being Ehhhhhhh, lol.
     
  6. Lothar34

    Lothar34 Supporting Member

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    I still don't see that much labor compared to custom shop wood working (or those fancy Gibson/PRS finishes) to justify price, but if the market bares it, then I'm very happy for them. Wish the vid had mentioned whether the material would sound as good in various other shapes or if their Jetsons design is functional too. It will so cool if a plastic Strat/LP could out-quack/sustain their custom shop counterparts.

    If this tech is everything it's claimed to be as far as resonance & durability, this could be scaled-up to the point guitars would no longer even need to be made of wood. On a large enough scale, it would be cheaper for someone like Squire to make these than it is to make their current wooden line up. Of course I'm just talking the composite body/neck, obviously an entry level instrument wouldn't have all the high end electronics & hardware.
     
  7. sleep

    sleep Supporting Member

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    There has to be a fair amount of money in R&D and tooling up for the Aristides guitars. Gibson/PRS/Fender are pushing out decades old designs with very slight variations (different electronics, maybe, or levels of "historical accuracy") but basically the same guitars they've made for a long time.

    I imagine there's still a large amount of automation in custom shop woodworking now anyway. I'm a Gibson fan, but I know that what I'm paying for with Gibson and Fender is the name.

    I don't think that the quality of the material has anything to do with whether or not they succeed... it's convincing the bulk of the guitar public that a non-wood guitar is acceptable... many have tried and failed (Steinberger (yes, they still exist as a shadow of themselves), Bond, Modulus, Switch, Travis Bean, etc.).
     
  8. Rayzaa

    Rayzaa Member

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    Your paying more for the name (Gibson,Fender). I'd argue G&L and even Reverend are just as good quality if not better.
    Gibson seems to have lost an edge there judging strictly from reading in here. I could be wrong but I do think the two I mentioned are well built.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
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  9. The Axecutioner

    The Axecutioner Member

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    When watching the factory tour, Erik does explain what goes into making their guitars. Its not just a case of pouring a solution into a mould and voila, one guitar. Firstly, the moulds and tools they use to make their guitars are custom designed and made by themselves. When a guitar comes out of the mould there is a massive amount of labour intensive hand work to make the exoskeleton, rubbing down the body and necks to smooth them out to the point they are ready for the paint and then they have to inject the arium (which they developed) into the guitars. Just like guitar makers like PRS, Gibson., Suhr & Fender using wood who use computer controlled CNC machines to cut the basic shapes and then they hand finish, Aristides is no different except they have moulds instead of CNC. They are a lot greener than wood guitars and they feel incredible to play and very ergonomic with their thinner bodies, they have no neck heel join so ultra comfortable to play right at the high end of the fretboard. Also the composite materials are not affected by weather conditions, the necks won't warp so excellent for gigging and touring guitars, they are a lot more durable than wood as well. The composite materials they use and develop are not cheap either, don't forget they need to make money as well. When you spend the money on an Aristides, once you play one you'll realise the money spent is justified.
     
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  10. Lothar34

    Lothar34 Supporting Member

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    Watched the whole vid and although sanding some resin, putting on a nice fretboard & outsourcing the paint may not add up in my head- it doesn't need to. I also agree that the economy of scale enjoyed by the big names is an advantage (which makes $9k for a custom shop Strat even that much more of a head-scratcher).

    Unfortunately with my chops, I can't even do justice to a $500 guitar BUT if I were to drop $3k on an axe, it would for sure be for something innovative like this & not just a name on a headstock, rare "tonewoods" (don't get me started), or a fancy multi step paint/stain process.
    I'm a huge believer that something out there has to be better than wood and just don't accept that 1959 was the all-time pinnacle of guitar building. But right now that's just speculation/blind faith on my part. Convincing the rest of the world can only happen if these innovations are more widely available for us unwashed masses to test drive
     
  11. The Axecutioner

    The Axecutioner Member

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    When I was looking for that one axe, my money was nearly spent on a Gibson Les Paul standard plus (2014) and I was also looking at Suhr Modern Pro, PRS CU24 and a Fender Custom Shop strat, all great guitars but then my head was turned by Aristides because of the way they were made, the fact you can tell them exactly what you want without extra cost (which is a true custom experience and a lot cheaper than a PRS Private stock or Suhr custom) the materials were a big factor as well and also loved the way they look too.
    Unfortunately I can't see a cheaper model being made by them as each instrument can take months to make and they are getting more and more popular so the waiting list is growing. They've just introduced an 8 string model to their 6, 7 string line as well as the 010 and 020 models which they first introduced a few years ago. Suhr made a cheaper model but had to get a Chinese maker to knock out the bodies and necks. No other guitar maker can do what Aristides does as the their factory is totally custom designed.
     
  12. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    The reason you are interested in Aristides guitars is exactly why I was interested in and bought 3 XOX Audio Tools Handles over a 5 year period. No way are the traditional guitars as refined as these 21st century guitars.
     
  13. dex17

    dex17 Gold Supporting Member

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    I think a lot of the labor is in the tooling ( and the laying of the skin, which is not shown ). Those molds look like they might cost about $50,000 each, to make. Nice stuff.
     
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  14. Lothar34

    Lothar34 Supporting Member

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    I just looked at a few 010 and 020 models for sale on Reverb. Weighing 7.7 to 8.4 lbs is more than I would have expected. Even though I play sitting mostly, still 7.5 is really the upper limit of my comfort level. Axecutioner- how's the weight on your 060?
     
  15. The Axecutioner

    The Axecutioner Member

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    My 060 has a nice bit of weight to it, its not the real light weight type like a Parker Fly (which I was assuming it would be!) I would compare the weight to that of a standard strat. Strapped on it feels part of your body as its a pretty thin body with a nice subtle carve top (like the Suhr Modern carve top) and as such it feels pretty light when standing up playing and very well balanced. I always feel I have to adjust my picking hand when standing up but on this, its just as comfortable standing up as it is sitting down to play which is great if you're a gigging player (I'm not though, just a bedroom noodler but I do stand up when posing in the mirror lol )
     
  16. Jazzandmore

    Jazzandmore Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah this is definitely a big hurdle. blindfolded, a person might love the tone of a guitar, but they then see it isn't using standard materials and a large % would lose interest unfortunately. Some of that is purely conservative nature of guitarists when it comes to materials. Some is due to the "flipping habits" of many who buy a guitar. The "selling potential" is often a big consideration.
     
  17. Ben Furman

    Ben Furman Member

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    The company and technology have been around for a long time. They used to be called "Catalyst" guitars, and there were several models.

    The current shape is a branding/name recognition thing. It's a unique design that is fairly attractive and easy to differentiate, yet it doesn't deviate too much from the norm.

    Pricing is down to what the market will bear and whether the company wants to push volume or quality. I assume they'd rather be associated with brands like Parker and PRS than a commodity guitar company.
     

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