I has a question:
I have a website that lacks pictures of banjo models I am now offering because I have not yet built said banjo models.
Would it be an ethical practice to make 3D models of said banjos and use those pictures of the models as the pictures on the website, while EXPLICITLY stating that the pictures are digital likeness of the designated banjo?
Then, once I build each model, I can remove the picture of the model and replace it with pictures of the real physical banjo.
Here's a photo of some hodgepodges banjos I made models of. What do you think?
News programs about REAL trials have ARTIST'S RENDERINGS of real people.
So, sure, why not?
PS: Thank you for even HAVING ethics in this day and age.
I agree with Mike. Also, I don't think anyone would mistake these for the actual banjo, even without your disclaimer. Two suggestions. No modern builder that I know of is producing a Style 6 checkerboard banjo, my favorite. I would think there would be some demand. Also, I would suggest a name change. "What banjo do you play?" "I play a Lemon." Maybe it's an older generation thing, but being a lemon is not a good description for any product. Good luck with your new business.
I know that bakeries use fake cakes & pies for their displays otherwise they would be throwing away stale stuff all the time. My wife used to make fake cakes sometimes for bakeries,
I would use them as long as you include a disclaimer stating that these are representations, not actual banjos.
The question is what is the point? No ones going to buy until they can see and hear the real thing. I think it's going to look a bit weird. Just list them once you've made one. There's no need to get ahead of yourself.
I agree with Bob. There isn't anything wrong with doing that as long as you clearly state they are artists representations of the banjo models you have designed. Once you build them you can remove the disclaimer and all is good.
Hunter - this is my real advice. You have time and lots of it. So slow down. Your at college with limited time to start making banjos as a business. There's not much point listing banjos that are not available on your website or even making 3d representations of what they might look like. But you have time. You have four years to get a workable shop and to make examples of three or four banjos as well as your tone ring. Then in four years you'll be ready to go. There's no hurry here. The banjo market will still be there. You have a four year development period which is much better than most businesses have. And you should be able to pick up some local banjo work in that time or sell some rims which will all be good experience.
The models are neat but I agree they don't really serve a purpose.
Also, once again as has happened before , people are commenting on the 'Lemon' brand name without having the social awareness to acknowledge that this is your surname, and they're effectively insulting your family and heritage by insinuating that it's somehow inferior to other names. I also find this particular example quite hilarious, considering the name of the person who is giving the insult. I think it's a good name, Hunter.
Obviously Hunter, there are at least two schools of thought here. I agree with the others to post images with a disclaimer. As you know, the sales process, fueled by the buyers decision process and due diligence, takes time. Speaking of my own experiences, purchasing a quality banjo has never been an impulse decision. This way you can get in the conversation early and provide a "taste" for what's to come. Once the banjos are complete and the photos replaced, it will strengthen your claim to your original vision of the instruments, thus adding credibility. Yes, another man's opinion, so take it for what's it's worth. I always play better on a virtual banjo than the real thing anyway. ;-)
Hunter. Big mistake to offer something you don't have for sale. Credibility lost in this little world is never regained. The "I ordered a banjo from______ and have not received it yet" is a post that is typically the beginning of the end for a builder. What your approach says is that you can conceptualize different banjos and that you are good with the computer. It does not say to a buyer that they actually exist or whether you are a good builder. You need to earn that stripe.
First, build. Then advertise. Then sell. If you want people to shell out real money, they will want to hear testimonials from credible sources yet. Someone saying "I played two of the Lemon models at IBMA this year and they are killer," or someone posting a video. We need something to prove that you can execute on this business and not just conceptualize it.
All that said, it sure is reassuring to see someone your age with the passion. Listening to the younger players these days, I think bluegrass and its offshoots are in great hands. And you can be their builder. Just take smaller more credible steps. You'll get there.
"Also, I would suggest a name change. "What banjo do you play?" "I play a Lemon.""
If you are so inclined... but your logo looks pretty nice.
Edited by - geoB on 10/21/2020 07:17:50
Keep the name.
Hunter, many of the music stores that sell brands such as Ome, Gold Tone, etc. will do the same thing, show an image and say this represents what you are ordering. The difference is there is a photo of a known product.
Before presenting such banjos I would recommend that you have built one of each model you intend to sell. Photos of actual banjos are better than graphic representations. By making the banjos you also have experience knowing how long it should take before the client will receive theirs. That will also give you an idea of what to charge.
When I ordered my first pro-grade banjo, an Imperial by Ty Piper, way back in 1978, I had a poster showing what it and his other banjos would look like. I had never played one, but reviews in Banjo Newsletter highly recommended his (and several other) banjos. It took about 4 months before I received mine. It included several calls from me to Ty as I had send the full amount and was impatient to play it. My understanding is several people never received their banjos. If you review the forums you'll find many instances of unhappy players who didn't receive their instruments when promised. Of never received their instruments. You'll want to establish reasonable expectations for each customer.
Good luck with your venture. I was impressed by the sound of your non-tone ring banjo. Who knows, maybe I'll be a customer some day.
With all of the comments about the name, may I offer a suggestion? I saw your website where it says something to the effect of "Our name might be Lemon but our products aren't." How about using something like "Don't let the name fool you"?It's shorter and a little more catchy.
I definitely intend to keep the name, and I will change the catch phrase to "Don't let the name fool you".
I am going to go ahead and make the models and use those as pictures, while stating they are only computerized likenesses of the real things.
While the models do show my skills with computers, I believe that the two banjos I have already completed at least partially vouch for my skill at building banjos. The next banjo I plan to build is going to be one of the models I offer, the CL-75. Then the next one after it will be the CL-50. Unless someone orders one of the other models first, that is.
I do not believe I am advertising something that isn't for sale. In fact, none of the items on my website are technically "For Sale", but more like "For Order." I don't have enough money to just build 10 banjos for the sake of it and trying to sell them. I have everything I currently offer advertised so that potential buyers can see what I offer, and if they decide they want an ML-500 or a CL-30 or whatever, then I can give them an estimated time, and in that time span, they'll have their banjo.
Honestly this whole "Lemon" thing is kinda funny to me. It really illustrates the demographic of BHO. I don't know anyone under 50 that even uses the word how folks here describe it. It's an antiquated term generally used in the automotive industry back in the 60s and 70s, that basically doesn't exist anymore in the common vernacular.
I seriously doubt anyone would see a brand name of "Lemon" and be turned off. It's an absurd concept. And as pointed out by Bill, it's arguably a good marketing opportunity. Keep the name.
And don't ever let anyone tell you that your family name is something to be ashamed of. The term 'uncouth' comes to mind...
Edited by - KCJones on 10/21/2020 09:49:23
I think the name is catchy. I've never heard of anyone avoiding Hopkins' LouZee banjos thinking that they really are lousy.
Originally posted by Lemon Banjos
I definitely intend to keep the name, and I will change the catch phrase to "Don't let the name fool you".
You'll be getting the bill for my marketing fee soon. :-)
Keep the name.
The logo is great. Love it.
But....Slow down!! It’s a craft and an art form. Enjoy the process. Make a few examples for the fun of it. Get them into the hands of players. Then take orders. But number one, and I mean number one. Focus on your studies and get your degree. After that, you can do whatever you want at whatever speed you want.
Alvin Conder , to your point, one of my mandolin playing friends built an F-5 mandolin. He took a seminar on building by a well known builder (whose name I can't recall). He told my friend to build ten mandolins. And then build ten more. Take what you learned and build ten more. After 50 or so mandolins you'll start to learn how to build a mandolin.
Hunter, now is the time to experiment. Try different things. When you have a chance, contact builders you admire. Maybe (if they have time) they may share ideas with you. Look at as many banjos (Gibson and non-Gibson types). There are a lot of Gibson clones out there. Stelling, Nechville, Great Lakes, Imperial, Hopkins, etc, all make/made their own niches in the banjo world. We are better for them.
I strongly understand the wish to keep your family name on your creations/products, but I have to admit that it instantly conjured up the expected unwanted imagery in my mind.
I'm in my sixties but have to strongly disagree that the term lemon for an inferior or faulty product isn't still in active use in society. In our state we have an actual Lemon Law that give buyers of faulty automobiles consumer protections-in 2020! I very often hear young people saying that they bought a "lemon"...
Louzee did the same for me and even with great player endorsements, etc. Not everyone will appreciate the pun or feel like they want to open themselves up to teasing, etc. at a gig.
So....think it over carefully. " Maybe Lemons are Good for You?" Hunter Banjos has a nice sound to it? You could use a catch phrase/slogan less open to joking around... "The Hunt for Your Favorite Banjo is Over!, etc. Or a combination of both. "Hunter Lemon" Banjos? It allows you to display and market your real name and sound a bit more "artisan". Either in a smaller headstock inlay or a cool graphic design for an interwoven H/L maybe...
It sucks. It's your name and you shouldn't have to feel self conscious about using it with earned pride, but you could achieve the same goal (more or less) with a builder's plaque or sticker with YOUR name as the builder on it and a different name on the peg head? Just a different idea to mull over.
I too, want to thank you for even asking about ethics. It's sadly absent from a good portion of present day awareness/practice! I see no problem showing the "models" as graphics with a disclaimer. Maybe concentrate on building two models to start so you have something finished to photograph/demonstrate before offering more?
I just finished modeling the CL-10. How does she look?
The name "LouZee" - pronounced "lousy" - hasn't deterred Paul Hopkins:
They are great banjos, so why not a Lemon?
'Hoppers D-tuners' 3 hrs
'White Christmas' 3 hrs
'Copper Tree' 3 hrs
'Get this outa my head' 4 hrs