I spent some time in China earlier this month–what a great trip! The highlight of the trip was stopping by our factory and seeing some of the work on current and new Teton guitar models.
First, I spent some time in Shanghai attending the Music China show (similar to the NAMM show in the US) and did a bit of sightseeing. The best day in Shanghai was visiting The Bund. The Bund is a glimpse into modern China. On one side of the river, right along the waterfront park, sits an eclectic group of buildings representing Romanesque Revival, Gothic Revival, Renaissance Revival, Baroque Revival, Neo-Classical or Beaux-Arts styles, and a number in Art Deco style (thanks wikipedia). These buildings were constructed in the early 20th century. Directly across the river sits the Pudong district, housing massive skyscrapers. At night it is an amazing view. The Bund encapsulates China at this moment in its history–a massive economic powerhouse that is trying its best to hang onto its past. On one side of the river there are beautiful buildings with no more than 6 or 8 levels and on the opposite side there are huge buildings with 50+ floors, with the Shanghai Tower coming in at 128 floors. The Pudong buildings were very impressive, but I really enjoyed walking along The Bund and looking at the older buildings and the amazing architecture.
My next stop was in Xiamen and a visit to our factory. What a change of pace! Shanghai’s population is 14 million+ and Xiamen has a population of just over 2 million. That is still a ton of people considering Idaho has a total population of 1.6 million. But, when you have 1/7th the population, things seem to feel a bit more relaxed. Xiamen is a beautiful city with a ton of history and culture sitting right on the Pacific Ocean.
The primary reason for this trip was to spend some time at our incredible factory. We have been working on new models for 2016 and were able to see some of these finished instruments. It is awesome when you have been developing something all year (sometimes longer) and then you get to see the finished product. It is very rewarding. Plus, being at the factory gave us a chance to discuss things face to face with our luthiers. We were able to brainstorm and develop a new model in about an hour that, back home, would have taken a couple of weeks going back and forth through emails with our ideas and changes.
Being at our factory always reminds me just how much effort and care is placed in each instrument. When we say “handcrafted in China,” we mean it. There is so much individual work and fine detail that goes into each guitar that someone does by hand. Sure, there are machines that do certain general processes, but almost all the small things that make all the difference in a quality guitar are done by hand. I always feel fortunate to be working with such wonderful people who care so much about what they create.
I have many pictures and videos and I would love to share more with you but I am still trying to recover from the trip and I think I have rambled enough for one post.
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