RAN guitars offline. Did they close? Update: Trouble Relocating

Discussion in 'Sevenstring Guitars' started by chopeth, Feb 16, 2019.

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  1. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    Ya but plenty of builders will you make a headless with any carve and fan you want. Why would you have to have it in a boden shape.
     
  2. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Shameless Contrarian

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    I think it's less "I deserve that" and more "there's no good reason for this not to be an option."
    "Good" of course being a subjective word, what constitutes a 'good' reason to me may not constitute a 'good' reason to you. Case in point, the KL headstock example. Shaping the wood into that specific style is a no-go for you since Ken dislikes it when people do that, and that's a good enough reason for you to not be on board with that idea.
    For someone else, that may not be a good enough reason. It's just wood being cut into shape, and the point of a custom guitar is for it to be custom to what you want, and why should this specific shape be off the table because someone who cut their wood that specific way first wants to be the only one to do so? It's just a personal ethics thing to you on whether or not that counts.

    Another reason for the conflicting opinions is perspective.
    I think your perspective is that you're looking at these guitars as a craft piece, a product rather than a tool- something that has it's own identity. Not unusual for high-end guitars.
    I agree that a Blackmachine is not worth $15k and that a knockoff would likely have more in common with a standard series Ibanez than the real deal, but it sounds like in this case you're more referring to what I call 'gucci syndrome;' where you want the brand rather than the item itself. I don't really care that much about if the guitar I'm playing is a real Blackmachine. It'd be nice, but really the only part I give a fuck about is the design, since that's what drew me to the product in the first place. Assuming the guitar itself is playable enough for it's price point, obviously.

    So while you wouldn't want one of these guitars because to you it would be a phoney, an impostor, something slimy and deceptive, like a stain that won't wash away; to me it's just a tool built this specific way. Like paint on a house. I don't care who mixed the paint- I just want that wall to be grey.

    Not saying you're 'wrong' by any means, I totally get your perspective. Just trying to explain others'.
     
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  3. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    I don't like the analogy though because there's nothing creative about the process that creates grey paint. Whether we're talking Gucci or KL, someone needed to use their brain and their sense of aesthetic to make that design, so it is a reflection of themselves and their art. In the case of something like a Jackson shape, it's easy to imagine how if you asked a thousand people to design a shape, many of them will simply happen to be a Jackson headstock. It's not very creative. But none of them are going to be a KL headstock -- it's too arbitrary.

    As far as "there's no good reason for this to not be an option", the reason is that Ken used his brain to create the design, Ran was not involved in that process, and yet Ran benefits financially from it.

    So in another analogy, "I don't care who built the car- I just want it to look like a Ferrari F40". That's not logic I get behind. If you want to drive a Ferrari F40, go out and earn a shit-ton of money.
     
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  4. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Shameless Contrarian

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    I suppose that's fair- but if I can present yet another analogy, what are your thoughts on art prints?
    I can go on Amazon and get myself a Van Gogh print for $4. Vincent clearly had to use his sense of aesthetic to create that painting since it's literally a work of art, but I don't think that the print would cheapen or lessen the original. I don't think it's wrong for them to exist; why rob the people of something that they enjoy? Why artificially create a void in the market? If I want to look at that painting, why should I need to have millions of dollars at my disposal to throw around? Why should the positive effect it has be limited to the elite when it can easily be enjoyed by the many?

    The Ferrari example is different since the design of the car is part form, part function. You can't just build a car that looks like an F40. Every piece of that vehicle is meticulously designed to account for and fit into that shape. Guitars aren't really like this- except for maybe Parkers :lol:
    I still totally see your point, and I don't even really disagree with it, I just think that this is one of those issues that just comes down to a personal judgement, and either end isn't egregious enough for me to pass any form of judgement on.
     
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  5. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    The problem with the Van Gogh analogy is two-fold:

    1) He died in 1890.
    2) His work is in the public domain.

    A more apt analogy would be to use a contemporary painter who is still making a living off of their art.
     
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  6. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Shameless Contrarian

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    Splitting hairs here, but fine. Take Lena Sotskova instead.
    What if I want a print of Leading Violin or Force of Nature? There are whole businesses who will give you a canvas print of whatever image you send to them and the only obvious legal statement is a disclaimer saying that if you get them sued you're on the hook.

    Is Lena really getting screwed when I say "Wow, that is a gorgeous piece. I wish I could hang this in my studio, but I can't spend my entire annual salary on a painting," and someone says "Tell you what- I can make you a lower-quality, less detailed image that would look more or less the same from a distance for $200."
    You could argue yes on principle and have a point, sure. But realistically in practice, no- I don't think she is. She is no worse off for this exchange, and would not have been better off if it had not taken place.

    I don't think I've ever seen someone get upset about these prints though- because not everyone can afford to cover their house in $40,000 originals and art is still a major piece of culture.
     
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  7. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Further refining the analogy (sorry, but important), I think the more apt comparison is between a living artist *that makes prints* of their original art. Ran making a KL headstock and KL making his headstock are both still in the same medium, take roughly the same amount to do, and likely differ to some extent in quality. The same as you can say to the print you get from a general purpose print shop and a dedicated artist-endorsed print. The latter is more expensive, usually by an order of 3-4x (so about Ran vs KL, as well).

    And in this scenario, I definitely would buy the print from the artist. I eventually grew out of Audrey Kawasaki's stuff but for a long time I wanted a print of hers, but $600-800 was hard to justify. But those that do buy those prints support the artist, and help him/her continue to keep creating. If everyone bought prints from the cheap print shop, it would deprive the creative person of their income that helps them to create, and the world becomes a slightly worse place. In short, if someone creates something "worthwhile", worth copying, then I feel we should go out of our way to compensate that person for their contribution to the world.

    In 100 years when Ken is dead (or has transcended into a being of pure energy no longer burdened by financial worries), if someone copies a KL headstock, I'll think... fine, they liked the design, and what else were they going to do? But in 2019, I think the right thing to do in that position is to go order a KL.
     
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  8. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Choose your battle.

    Are we discussing the legality? Ethics? Economics?

    Getting a knock off is both legally and morally wrong, even if it doesn't have a significant financial impact.

    You're not entitled to the artwork just because you want it.

    Luckily, there are plenty of artists out there, and chances of finding a very similar, yet non-morally dubious/ambiguous piece within your means is very high.
     
  9. c7spheres

    c7spheres SS.org Regular

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    As said above by MaxofMetal:" Getting a knock off is both legally and morally wrong, even if it doesn't have a significant financial impact. "

    I think this is an important point. There is definately a difference between a knock off, inspired or borrowed features, and what design vs what art is. Using a similar idea or elements of anothers idea is one thing. Plagerizing, copying, or ripping off and presenting a guitar as a brand it is not is a knock-off which is illegal. Copying a headstock or building design is patentable, but not illegal to copy. Only illegal to copy and sell as original. It is legal to sell as non original but similar to or superior to the original item with the patent or license holders permission, if applicalble, but only if applicable, then you sould still do it unethically and only if the person who's rights were violated decided to or had the ability to sue, could anything be done about it. Keep in mind that although guitars are art in our's and the luthiers eyes, that are manufactured objects in the law's eyes. To be art, it would have to be sold as or by consensus considered art n the eyes of the law, which is still just manufactured property, but treated differently becuase of things like artistic license vs patent design etc. In the same vain, nobody seems to care except the artists, expecially when it comes to music. There's a difference beteen trying to patent/copyright a I-IV-V progression and an original blues song. That's why theres a million I-IV-V songs and everyone's not suing eachother. They are almost identical, but not really. Juse like these 2 guitars are almost identical, but not really. They both have necks, bridges headstocks etc. Also, once a company gets so big it becomes synonymous with the name, even if it's patented, the courts will make it not longer applicable. Thing like Hoover because synonymous with vacuuming, YoYo's, Asprin etc. All became Genericided? It's a real thing. Google it or Youtube it. See there's an example. Google and YouTube should be Genericided, imo. So no artist or guitar builder or musician has got that big yet, but things like Blues, Classical, Jazz and Rock kinda have. Sorry to ramble. Over and out.
     
  10. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Shameless Contrarian

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    Overall, I tend to agree with this- but within reason. I don't believe that Lena produces prints of her work- so you're looking at 5 figures or bust for something official.
    What is someone that's a fan of her artwork to do? This is my point- these people fill a hole in the market. To bring it back to guitars, if Doug took the Ormsby route and launched a $1000-$2000 import Blackmachine line, I would absolutely be on board to give people that bought copies instead a hard time.

    But he didn't (understandable), Perry did (also understandable), and while I can't say it's in good taste...I also can't fault him for it; and I don't fault the buyers for buying them (shoot, I have a hype on the way lol). That's really all I'm getting at.
    I'm not endorsing replicas/copies/tributes/whatever- and I'm not saying that there's nothing wrong with them; just that I get it and that I find the whole situation to be...understandable, and not usually worth getting upset over.
     
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  11. lurè

    lurè Can't buy skill so I buy gear

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    Warmoth sells guitar parts identical to Fender.
    Daemoness has made a "copy" of a jackson dinky upon customer's request.
    Ormsby has an entire line of guitar with a blackmachine headstock rip off.
    Ran has made copies of guitar upon customers' request.
    If this is all illegal and ethically wrong then let's go back to lutes. Problem solved.
     
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  12. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    That's because they paid a license to Fender.

    Fender licenses out their designs to several parts makers, and it's not just Fender brand parts but anything FMIC.
     
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  13. nedheftyfunk

    nedheftyfunk SS.org Regular

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    I don't mean to be pedantic, Max, but what you mean by legally wrong? Under whose laws? When RAN was making copies, it was legal for them to make and sell them in Poland under Polish law, even though it would have been illegal for you to import one into the US.
     
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  14. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I was speaking in generalities, and not exclusively to RAN or guitars as the conversation had drifted, but I'd assume that RAN wasn't selling guitars exclusively in Poland.
     
  15. StevenC

    StevenC SS.org Regular

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    He's talking about stealing artwork.:ninja:
     
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  16. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    I know one of those KL-explorers wound up stateside -- dude posted it on harmony central back in the day.
     
  17. nedheftyfunk

    nedheftyfunk SS.org Regular

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    Oh, undoubtedly quite a few of those initial RANs ended up in both the US and elsewhere in the world where it would have been illegal to import them for sale. I remember many of them popping up on forums back in the day.

    Even though RAN sold guitars to people in countries where it would have been illegal to purchase them, the illegality is on the purchaser's end and not the producer's unless the producer is regulated in the purchaser's country. I doubt RAN had assets outside of Poland and so wouldn't have been subject to anyone else's law (bar dubious extraterritorial jurisdiction).

    It's different if the company has assets in a country where it is illegal, as then some aspects of the business is subject to local laws. But even then, in most countries those laws only stop entities producing and selling locally copyrighted / trademarked goods directly for that market, not from doing so elsewhere. That's why if you bring a case of Budweiser from the US to Germany, Anheuser-Busch InBev doesn't get sued for trademark infringement despite Budweiser being another company's trademark in most of the EU. Individuals importing Edwards guitars with Gibson headstocks into the US, but ESP not getting punished despite selling other products would be the same thing.

    Anyway, thanks for the clarification Max, and, apologies for the off-topic to those worried about their deposits. I hope it works out for y'all.
     
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  18. soldierkahn

    soldierkahn BAD MAMMA-JAMMA Contributor

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    nice
     
  19. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I was actually speaking to the buyer end as well (see: entitlement), read the last few posts I've made.

    We're actually in complete agreement. :yesway:
     
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  20. canuck brian

    canuck brian Bowes Guitars Contributor

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    When you hone and perfect your craft only to have some jerkoff say "well, your work is expensive so I should be able to rip it off because i can't afford the real thing". Watching the mental gymnastics of people justifying this is hilarious. It's like saying "I want a Tesla, but I only have Volkswagen money, but since i like Tesla, I should have all the features copied from a Tesla." It actually sounds that stupid. If you want to rip off a luthier because you like their guitars but hate the price, do what I did and learn to build your own - that way you can do whatever the hell you want, including carving your own Enduraneck. If the first thought in your skull is "but that will take forever" or something like that, maybe you'll understand the work and time put in behind building guitars isn't something you should disregard like you are.

    A fan of her artwork can look into legal prints, just like every other person who isn't looking to rip another artist off. If she doesn't make prints, that's her decision, not yours.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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