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Code Of Ethics (for Instrument Makers)

Hari Seldon

Member
Messages
2,460
An idea regarding ethics in guitar making.

Yesterday (26.8.20) I was watching Juha Ruokangas' livetalk "#14 - Weekly Wednesday Live with Grit Laskin - Factory vs luthier.. what's the real difference? Pt.1" on YT (link).
(edit: incorrect link replaced)
During that talk an issue came up that reminded me of this tgp thread (the one about the nightmare with a certain guitar maker) and other similar threads.

In short: Some years ago the canadian luthier Grit Laskin wrote the so called "ASIA Code Of Ethics". ASIA stands for "Association Of Stringed Instrument Artisans" (web site).

In the light of the troubles with a small number of black sheep in this business I think the following code of ethics could be beneficial as a benchmark. As a reminder for a maker as well as an orientation for a customer what he should be expecting.
Maybe put it as a sticky in this forum?

(This is not about Ruokangas or Laskin Guitars, even if my own and many other's experience with Ruokangas Guitars always confirm the high standard that is stated below.)

Here it is:

****

ASIA CODE OF ETHICS

The aim of the Association Of Stringed Instrument Artisans is to cultivate professionalism and integrity in the field of stringed instrument making and repair. Therefore, as a member of A.S.I.A., I subscribe to the following code of ethical behavior:

I will honor my craft by continually striving towards the refinement of my skills, the broadening of my knowledge, the improvement of my services, and when and where it is appropriate, generously sharing my knowledge with others.

I will compete fairly and honorably with colleagues by not denigrating their achievements, or otherwise interfering with their client relationships. Rather, I will work with them to foster charitable and collegial relationships.

I will undertake only those tasks or commissions which are within my level of skill to complete. I will not misrepresent or overstate my level of competence.

I will honor my contractual agreements and warrantees whether expressed verbally or in writing.

I will treat my customers fairly without regard to their own achievements, or the value of their instruments.

I will spare no effort in resolving disputes which may arise between myself and my customer. To that end, I will grant my customer the benefit of any doubt whenever I am approached with reciprocally constructive and genuine intentions.

(This document is a print of a brief presentation by Grit Laskin two decades, or more, ago. It was the opening message before the Saturday night entertainment at ASIA Symposium. From time-to-time I look at this statement, and remind myself what we’re all about as an organization. It seemed important to place it here, and reflect on our sense of self, and purpose.

Guitarmaker 76 Summit 2011)
 
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silverhawk

Member
Messages
326
Grit is a great guy and an incredible artist. He and I spoke often at ASIA conventions back in the 80's and 90's. I was a charter member of ASIA, and the last man to join the group of luthiers who made up the steering committee. It was a more worthy organization than the other at the time, but by now they are both essentially the same people and the high standards of ASIA have become watered down by amateurs instead of the professionals who started it.
 
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Jazzandmore

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,403
Thing is the code you list should be something everybody who works should live up to. No matter what your job is, you should always be the best you can be, and do the right thing because you have a strong moral compass.

Of course this is unfortunately not how many people operate. Whether that is from upbringing or personal choice.
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
It's an excellent code of ethics written by an outstanding artist!

I had only a brief experience with ASIA back around 1989-1990 or so, and it was a good one. At that time I was working with Michael Dresdner, a brilliant man who was involved in ASIA to some degree. At that time we were building the Ken Smith line of electric basses, and we were the first subcontractors that CF Martin had ever used in the history of that company. It was a good time. I remember attending the ASIA Convention in Pennsylvania at that time.

It's true that the basics of ethical behavior shouldn't need to be written, but there are sure to be some who would benefit from such a written reminder.
 

Ruokangas

Member
Messages
186
Thanks @Hari Seldon for sharing Grit's 'Code of Ethics' here.

It's true that the basics of ethical behavior shouldn't need to be written, but there are sure to be some who would benefit from such a written reminder.
So true - shouldn't need to be written, but... :) Grit's original idea was that luthiers who share these values would put that code as a big poster printout on their shop wall so the customers would see it. Well, these days a lot of things happen online without the customer ever stepping into the luthiers' shop, so maybe an idea to "frame" the code additionally on the shop website. Hmmmm...

I'll be continuing these conversations on YouTube a few more Wednesdays. Today John Page and I will continue on the same theme as Grit and I started, the factory manufactured vs. luthier built - is there a significant difference that matters from the perspective of the player? Subjective, sure - a swamp of a topic, indeed... but fun! :)
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
Thanks @Hari Seldon for sharing Grit's 'Code of Ethics' here.



So true - shouldn't need to be written, but... :) Grit's original idea was that luthiers who share these values would put that code as a big poster printout on their shop wall so the customers would see it. Well, these days a lot of things happen online without the customer ever stepping into the luthiers' shop, so maybe an idea to "frame" the code additionally on the shop website. Hmmmm...

I'll be continuing these conversations on YouTube a few more Wednesdays. Today John Page and I will continue on the same theme as Grit and I started, the factory manufactured vs. luthier built - is there a significant difference that matters from the perspective of the player? Subjective, sure - a swamp of a topic, indeed... but fun! :)
Hoo-rah! for your online conversations with Grit, and I look forward to watching!
 

silverhawk

Member
Messages
326
I had only a brief experience with ASIA back around 1989-1990 or so, and it was a good one. At that time I was working with Michael Dresdner, a brilliant man who was involved in ASIA to some degree. At that time we were building the Ken Smith line of electric basses, and we were the first subcontractors that CF Martin had ever used in the history of that company. It was a good time. I remember attending the ASIA Convention in Pennsylvania at that time.
Yes, indeed - Dresdner was incredibly knowledgeable, especially on the subject of finishes. Grit Laskin and I had a conversation about Michael when walking from a bar back to Dick Boaks' house (a former church building).

Grit stated that he believed that Michael understood finishes down to the molecular level. Later, I visited Michael at the Ken Smith plant and repeated Grit's compliment. Michael just smiled and said, "I understand finishes down to a spiritual level."

Of course, Michael went on to a position as writer for Fine Woodworking magazine, eventually accepting a position on the masthead as I remember.
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,863
I may well have been at the shop when you visited!
I remember Boak's house well. What a cool place!

Michael absolutely did understand finishes down to the molecular level; he's responsible for my ongoing fascination with finish chemistry, and so now I too know.
I owe him a lot for steering me in that direction 30 years ago.
 




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