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Gibson Authorized Korina Guitars (Banker)

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by badgerchemist, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. beNsteR

    beNsteR Member

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    here's mine with a Cocobolo fingerboard. it looks, plays and sounds magnificent!







     
  2. Mr. Banker

    Mr. Banker Member

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    Here are a couple of new guitars hot off the press. I was contacted about doing a Lonnie Mack style Bigsby V, pictures below, and followed by a slightly different variation of my own flavor that I’m calling the BigsV. You’ll see both of them regularly, the first guitar is a pure 58 style vintage V with the addition of some TV Jones Powertron Humbuckers and will be on the road with Rival Sons. The second has a set of custom humbuckers based on a wish list I’ve had, it’s an 18k Alnico 8 bridge and 14k Alnico/ceramic neck. All the warmth, clarity, and “Tele on steroids” sound that you’d associate with a vintage PAF, but it holds together and maintains note definition and separation under extreme gain. No squealing feedback with multiple overdrives stacked on them, just massive saturated tone with all the harmonic feedback and overtones you could ask for. That guitar will be out on the road with Mastodon.

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    Hope everyone has a good holiday and new year!
     
  3. Mr. Banker

    Mr. Banker Member

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    Something to start off 2020 with- one piece body made of Honduran mahogany harvested in the early 1950’s, quilted maple top, and a single pickup. This one is a rock machine.

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  4. DevRock

    DevRock Member

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    Holy ****. I LOVE that!!!
     
  5. 67blackcherry

    67blackcherry Member

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  6. GaryMcT

    GaryMcT Gold Supporting Member

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    I hope I run into one of these to try next time I visit a friend in Chicago.

    Where are you located?
     
  7. Mr. Banker

    Mr. Banker Member

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    My shop is north of Atlanta, but I am shipping Korina pairs to CME monthly. I’ve committed 24 of them to CME this year, they most often end up claimed before arrival however and haven’t been making it out to the sales floor.
    Carter Vintage is going to be getting some in the next couple of months as well, so Nashville folks will have a chance to try them out.
     
    67blackcherry, GaryMcT and skydog like this.
  8. DevRock

    DevRock Member

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    Do you have a staff, or is it just you?? That's a nice number of committed axes to have.
     
  9. beNsteR

    beNsteR Member

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  10. magnus02

    magnus02 Supporting Member

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    No way! Didn't realize there were really ANY luthiers here in Atlanta. Do you ever take 'walk-ins' or do you prefer not to host anyone at your shop?
     
  11. Mr. Banker

    Mr. Banker Member

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    Presently, it is only me. I am in the process of obtaining some assistance however. I’ve learned a lot over the last couple years of treating this as a serious venture instead of the side hobby it started as. Number one, it’s not easy making a living doing this, especially on your own. It sounds dreamy, but in reality you either need to sell a lot of guitars at a fair price, or sell a few guitars at an outrageous price. Especially with something like the Korina V’s, the amount of time that goes into sourcing components alone is significant, especially if you’re doing any sort of volume. Things like correct leg rest rubber, original brass ferrules, brass string plates, the correct brass escutcheon pins that attach them to the body, clean, lightweight Korina, none of that stuff is easy to find.

    I’ve started making things like the V string plates myself, out of the proper gauged solid brass, and even that is not very cheap. Just a sheet of the raw material itself is well over a grand, and that’s to have one part made, for one model of guitar. I’m actually going to start offering non-logo versions of those string plates for sale with the brass brads, for folks wanting to upgrade their own guitars with those vintage style parts.

    Back to my point however, I’ve long been a vintage collector, and have spent some silly (to me, anyway) amount of money on guitars. IMO, there is no new solid body electric guitar that should cost more than $6-$7k. You can spec out a build with me and load that thing up with binding, inlays, rare old woods, monster tops, the best of the best of the best in hardware and electronics, and not exceed that price range. It’s important to me that people feel they are getting their money’s worth, and though it’s not easy, it is possible to make that happen and also be fairly compensated for your time and skill as well.

    I’ve dabbled in custom builds and vintage restorations for a good while, and have observed the behaviors of buyers as well as the behaviors of small builders and larger manufacturers. A lot of people have gotten it wrong, and are still doing so. Much like the world of musicians, I’ve found many builders are amazing at making guitars and ****** at business, or great at business and so-so with the guitar side. In some cases, really ****** at both of those things. I am fortunate in that I am a guy with an MBA who spent the majority of his career as a Corporate Banker, advising businesses and helping them grow and navigate the various pitfalls that come along with that growth. In this industry especially, it’s very easy to find yourself in an unsustainable situation, or build too much hype and buzz around a product that ultimately disappoints. Guitar buyers are a fickle bunch, but in general, I believe that folks in this market expect to get a high quality product, within a reasonable time frame, have open and honest communication throughout the process, and feel like they are involved in the creation of their instrument.

    So, I approach everything with my primary goal being highly satisfied clients. My literal nightmare is someone having a bad experience and telling all of their friends. Plus, it’s just smart business. Being a collector myself, I know our crackhead tendencies when it comes to guitars, and a lot of folks are repeat buyers, especially when they have a great experience. It would seem otherwise, but this really is a very small community, and a bad reputation will absolutely destroy you.

    So to bring an end to the longest answer ever, I am a very small operation, and am presently working to grow smartly, with assistance in some key areas. I have no aspirations of managing a massive company, nor do I want to be removed from the creative process of building and find myself doing fretwork, or worse, paperwork all day. At most, I will work with 2-3 key retailers, allowing time to focus on direct orders and working on crazy custom builds with clients. It’s the one thing I’ve found in life that I truly, genuinely, love to do everyday.
     
  12. Mr. Banker

    Mr. Banker Member

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    Typically no, but with a little advance notice folks are totally welcome to stop by and try out some guitars, provided I actually have any available. It’s rare that I will have a guitar finished or in process that’s not already spoken for. I do not have any sort of brick and mortar retail presence however, nor do I do any type of repair or setup work for the general public, so I don’t often have visitors outside of regional folks coming by to pick up a guitar. I do have a pretty killer studio/guitar cave with a pile of vintage amps, so testing out guitars through a variety of rigs is usually encouraged if someone does come by. My time is pretty limited these days, but as long as I know ahead of time I will always do my best to carve out an hour or so to hang and show you around.
     
    GaryMcT likes this.
  13. Mr. Banker

    Mr. Banker Member

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    [​IMG]

    You should be seeing a review of this particular guitar in a pretty well known publication in the coming months. It’s an original model, and solidly represents the vibe and spirit I try to incorporate in my guitars.

    And yes, ABR bridges are often flipped the other way around. I find, with soapbars in particular, saddle adjustment is a hell of a lot easier with this orientation. And I’m a firm believer that vintage style ABR bridges sound and function best when they are sitting low, so string contact with the adjustment screws is not an issue as my neck angle/fretboard height are intended to accomplish that while still allowing a range of height adjustment. This one has action right at 1.4mm at the 12th fret with room to go up or down.
     
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  14. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Love the german carve! Rosmeissl salutes you!
     
    WornFrets and Mr. Banker like this.
  15. DevRock

    DevRock Member

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    I wasn't expecting such a long answer, but GREATLY appreciate it - as that's even more of what I was looking for. As someone who aspirations to be a successful, small builder (I don't want to be PRS either), this is tremendously insightful. Thank you!
     
    Mr. Banker and Texas like this.
  16. Mr. Banker

    Mr. Banker Member

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    Just sent this one out the door. Early 50’s harvest Honduran, flame/spalt maple, slim SG style neck profile, and a set of my new high output PAF style pickups.

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    Dave Weir, willyboy, magnus02 and 6 others like this.
  17. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

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    Wow! I thought these Authorized by Gibson models were going to wear the Gibson signage.
     
  18. edwarddavis

    edwarddavis Silver Supporting Member

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  19. Mr. Banker

    Mr. Banker Member

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    Nope! I have their Authorized partner logo on my COA’s, but everything that leaves my shop is 100% my own. It works out wonderfully, as I am not bound within the confines of Gibsons design aesthetic, but can use the basic body and headstock shape as a canvas to build upon.
     
  20. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

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    Awesome. That guitar is absolutely beautiful! Love the TRC!
     

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