Cumpiano guitars Cumpiano articles archive Make a guitar with William
My guitars can be found at times stocked in small quantities, usually in ones or twos, in several stores around the country. These stores are often chosen for the relationship that has developed between myself and their owners, or because of a reputation that they have built over the years for their special knowledge and understanding of hand-made, one-of-a-kind string instruments. A list of stores which carry, or have carried Cumpiano guitars in the pastand the specific Cumpiano guitars that they may currently have in stockmay be difficult to keep updated and accurate. With this in mind, I offer a list of these stores and the kind of guitar or guitars which were most recently shipped to them, and which they may still have available. You will have to contact them individually to verify price and availability.
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CUMPIANO "WEDGE" & CARBON-FIBRE GUITARS
Over the last two years, in partnership with the extraordinarily skilled guitarmaker, Harry Becker, I have been developing a line of extremely innovative instruments known as "wedge" guitars.
Mr. Becker and I are both graduate Industrial Designers (Pratt Institute 1968, Ba.Ind.D) as well as experienced guitarmakers, and we came together to solve a number of problems which guitars have historically posed for players, applying an ergonomic or human-factor design approach.
These new instruments address the problem of guitar-related playing injuries, a serious, debilitating and progressive problem which dedicated players eventually contract from playing the guitar for many hours every day. The "wedge" is also found to be extraordinarily comfortable by non-ailing guitarists as well, without paying a penalty in the power or beauty of the guitar's sound. An orthopedist commented that for the non-ailing guitarist, playing the "wedge" could be of "prophylactic" value, that is, as a preventative influence against the problem occuring in the future. The guitar was reviewed in an article published in "Acoustic Guitar" magazine.
The Cumpiano/Janes Graphite Soundboard: Several models of the Cumpiano Wedge guitar also incorporate Williams compression-molded carbon-fiber-laminate soundboard (for which he holds a patent along with graphite industry technologist Rich Janes), which offers a beautiful alternative to traditional soundboard materials, and which do not share their propensity to shift, crack and distort over time.
Cost: The final design consideration was that these instruments were to be moderately priced (under $2500), relative to the fact that they are made individually in small quantities. This factor entails a necessary simplification in their design and appointments, but no compromise in their quality of sound, materials or finish.
These instruments are being made in small batches in our shop and can be purchased off the shelf as they are available, or ordered on a reservation basis (see ordering details below). Some of these instruments will also be available from one or more of the stores described above.
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CUSTOM CUMPIANO GUITARS
William will continue offering individually handcrafted guitars made in the American, European and Latin-American traditions, on a tailor-made, custom basis. Prices for made-to-order steel string guitars begin at $2800. Prices for classic guitars begin at $3500. They are available in a wide variety of materials and configurations to suit the owner's preferences. Delivery of these instruments varies according to Williams work load and teaching commitments. An instrument can take four to six weeks to complete from the time that it is begun, but it may take as much as six months before the buyers particular commission can be attended to. The order in which commissions are begun is determined by the order in which commission deposits are received, so if you are seriously planning to commission a Cumpiano guitar, it is advisable to reserve your position in Williams work list at the earliest possible time.
Find out how to commission a Custom Cumpiano Guitar
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HOW TO ORDER A CUSTOM CUMPIANO GUITAR
Commissions for custom made instruments usually follow this sequence:
1- The buyer contacts me by phone, email, or makes an appointment to visit my shop
2- Preliminary discussions regarding design, materials and appointment are begun. An approximate commission price is proposed.
3- Before any further detailed discussions can proceed, a deposit representing a third of the proposed commission price must be paid. At this point, the commission is entered on my building schedule and an approximate delivery date is established. Details are subsequently established precisely after one or more additional conversations.
4- I submit by mail a commission contract specifying final cost, features, appointments, materials and design of the commission and applicable refund policies. Signed copies are exchanged.
5- Contact is renewed when construction of the buyers instrument is about to commence. The instrument is actually begun after I receive a second payment representing 50% of the balance of the final costs specified in the commission contract minus the original deposit.
6- When the instrument is completed, the final balance becomes due before the instrument is delivered. If the instrument is shipped to the buyer, a check for the final balance must be received before shipment. The check is held uncashed until the buyer receives, evaluates and approves the sale. If the buyer does not accept the instrument for good cause, the final balance check is returned immediately upon receipt of the instrument in saleable condition.
Either because of skill or luck, (or a combination of the two), in almost three decades of professional guitarmaking, I have never had an instrument refused or have had to refund a commission fee, either due to the instrument not passing muster or from neglecting a feature which was originally requested. Indeed, every one of my instruments have met or surpassed their buyer's expectations! However, there is always a first time, and I know that potential buyers need understand what my refund policy is, so that they can decide the nature of the potential risks which are indeed involved.
I feel that I risk that the buyer will not be able to pay for the instrument when it is completed, and that I may end up owning an instrument that has an unusual or unpopular design feature that I will find difficult to resell. On the other hand, the buyer is certainly entitled to the perception of a risk that the instrument may not appear in a timely fashion, or even appear at all, or that it will be a disappointment when it does appear. Thus I feel that it is reasonable that these risks be shared between maker and buyer in the following fashion (the following is included in the commission contract):
"If the finished (completed) instrument is deemed to be a disappointment for a clearly articulated and well-defined reason ("I don't know, it's just not right for me" is not a valid reason), I will cheerfully refund the already-proferred payments in the following manner and under the following conditions:
Final payment: returned immediately upon receipt of the returned instrument in a saleable condition (note: all shipments to and from the maker must be adequately insured!).
Second payment: the middle payment made at the time that the instrument was begun will be returned in full to the buyer within sixty (60) days.
First payment: the original commission deposit will be returned to the buyer upon the resale by the maker of the instrument at the originally quoted price."
"If the commission must be cancelled before the instrument is finished (completed) because the buyer or the maker realizes that the buyer is unable to pay either the second or final payments, the following considerations apply:
The instrument has not been commenced: previous payments will be refunded in full within ninety (90) days.
The instrument's construction has already commenced: because of lost opportunity costs, time spent, and materials used, 50% of the second payment only will be returnable within ninety (90) days. Buyers simply cannot cancel a commission which has begun with a demand that the payments be returned immediately and in full.
If due to illness or accident, fire, earthquake, civil insurrection, etc., the maker himself is unable to complete the instrument, the earlier payments are returnable within ninety (90) days.
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