Saturday, 16 Dec 2017

Ho Chi Minh City's "Guitar Street" on CNN

Updated at Monday, 18 Sep 2017, 14:22
The Hanoitimes - The famous paper has just published a story named Sweet sounds on Ho Chi Minh City`s "Guitar Street".
The paper interviews Ton That Anh, co-owner of Duy Ngoc Guitars, about Nguyen Thien Thuat Street in Saigon - where untold number of stores selling guitars located.
As the story begins: "One of the longest-serving artisans on Nguyen Thien Thuat in Ho Chi Minh City, known to generations of musicians in southern Vietnam simply as "Guitar Street," Anh -- who co-owns Duy Ngoc Guitars with his siblings -- has witnessed his share of changes down the years.
And it's clear some are not entirely to his liking.
"Standards have slipped," he mutters ominously, cradling the neck of the beautiful blonde wood Dreadnought copy I have been coveting, from his low perch on one of the tiny plastic stools that are common in the Southeast Asian nation.
"There are too many people making too many guitars and the quality isn't always there anymore," he says.
The instruments at Duy Ngoc typically take around a month to craft. Premium axes with more intricate paint work and details, meanwhile, can occupy four months of a luthier's time. Guitars start at around $200 and go up to around $1,000, which is still a snip when you consider that the equivalent in the West can cost up to $10,000.", the innitial part of the story by CNN.

CNN journalist also decribes some problems due to the business booming at the street.
"There are over 30 guitar shops on a 500-meter stretch of Nguyen Thien Thuat, selling everything from the custom-made acoustic guitars that have made the street's name to eccentrically shaped electric guitars, mandolins and traditional Vietnamese stringed instruments.
Like anywhere else, however, quantity doesn't necessarily equate with quality on Guitar Street: and that is one of the biggest worries for the people who have spent the best part of the past 40 years building and burnishing their reputations.
According to Anh, some of the instruments being sold by Johnny-come-lately competitors are being made from low-quality wood, in a rushed manufacturing process, just to get product on the shelves quickly. The rising cost of rent in this Asian boomtown is also cause for concern.
Even my own purchase of a guitar -- a snip at around $250 -- doesn't seem to lift Anh's mood much.", journalist Duncan Forgan writes.
Cam Anh
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