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Letter: Disliking Kasha’s Criticisms

Letter: Disliking Kasha’s Criticisms

by Jason DuMont

Originally published in American Lutherie #64, 2000


Dear Tim/Guild,

In Michael Kasha’s letter in AL#62, he took what I consider a jab at Mr. Ramírez, stating that Ramírez’ 1986 article “Bars and Struts” (Big Red Book of American Lutherie, Volume One, p. 292) “show[ed] how far the luthier’s intuition can be from the mechanics of the instrument.” In typical Kasha fashion, he started with his findings that will soon be published, yada yada, yada. I also read an article in Discover magazine in which Mr. Kasha says that “a prominent builder whose design came to him in a dream, will be surprised when our findings show his guitar has no bass.” It was obvious to anyone in the lutherie community that he was talking about Thomas Humphrey’s Millennium guitar.

My first instinct was to start bashing the Kasha design, his personality, and the pseudo-science behind his ideas. But it dawned on me that this is a perfect chance for me to contribute to the Guild in a positive way. You see, I’m just an amateur luthier, having built only six guitars. I’ve felt I have nothing of technical worth to offer. I am, however, a professional sales representative for the largest musical wholesaler in the country. I can offer some advice to Mr. Kasha as he tries to “sell” his design theories to other luthiers, players, and instrument brokers. Never, never criticize a competitor’s product. It is so low brow! Even if your comments are true, you come across as a negative person and negativity always repels people. If your product is superior, trust that it will speak for itself and others are smart enough to see it. For example, after reading his comments I plan on using the blueprint of the Kasha guitar that I bought from Luthiers Mercantile as a decorative cover for a computer table that I had accidentally spilled India ink on, rather than giving his ideas a go. My loss? Perhaps. But Mr. Kasha’s rudeness simply turns me off. Incidentally, seeing as how he has commented on Mr. Ramírez’ faulty intuition, I’m compelled to ask how many instruments Mr. Kasha has crafted with his own two hands to develop his superior knowledge of guitar mechanics. Surely tactile input from actually working the wood has had some place in his ground breaking theories, hasn’t it? ◆