Is the X220 gone?

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Is the X220 gone?

Postby X220 » Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:10 pm

I did a search and skimmed 7 pages of posts, and only saw that the X227 was being discontinued. Did they kill the X220 as well, because I don't see it in the Guitars section anywhere. Can I still order a new one or is it over (again)?
Eagerly awaiting the Kiesel Explorer....

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby dbone » Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:16 pm

That is correct per Spuds post, I would call with card in hand monday if you are serious
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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby X1Glider » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:58 am

A lot of things have come and gone over the years due to lack of customer interest or market saturation. But I have to ask... why not keep it available in the background? It doesn't cost anything to do that. The programs are created already and when an order comes in, gluing on the wings of an X or V is no different than gluing on the wings of a DC or SC. Finishing and wiring doesn't require any special training compared to the other available models. The only issue I can see is that a bigger case is necessary for these kinds of models.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby X1Glider » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:59 am

I'd been wanting a SH7 for a while now and that is gone too. Maybe it will be available later when I'm done paying off the build I currently have in the works.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby X1Glider » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:03 am

As for the X227... well, I wanted that nearly 20 years ago when it wasn't available. And I'd have plunked down a pile of cash for it then. By the time it was available, I wasn't interested anymore. So, sometimes models going away is the customers' fault, sometimes it the company's fault for not giving us what we want soon enough.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:39 am

Note: all of the info below is purely meant to be informational and a part of a discussion/conversation, and not meant to disagree with anybody about keeping older models around. My brain wants to rationalize, so some of this is the just my own speculation...but tried to keep out opinion. Mostly based on things Jeff's said over the past many months:

Cases were a big deal, and a reason why they didn't offer the pointies in left-handed for a good long while, as well. I actually wouldn't be surprised if the V220 and Ultra V were only kept on until they work through their stock of specialty cases. :shock:

Their latest concern is the CNC programs. The way they build their guitars, every configuration of handedness, pickup configuration, etc is all a unique program. With the Aries 6-string, you start with one program. X2 for left-handed. X2 for bevel delete. x2 for 22-fret. x3 for the three available bridges. X5 for HS, HH, HSS, SSS and HSH. So right there, that's 100+ programs, not including extended scale length and multiscale, chambering...for just one model in one string count.

They said they currently have something nearing 7-8,000 programs, and they are trying to get it down to closer to 5K. I couldn't tell you if it's a storage space thing, or simply a production efficiency thing. And it also does take some ongoing work to keep the pricing and available options updated and kept track of as options come and go, and price changes go into effect.

For example, the SH60 was basically a semi-hollow version of the TL60, and there was some fixed $ amount between them. Now, it's been a couple of years since it was retired, and they would have to have kept track of price increases to make sure that they'd be pricing it correctly based on their current costs...compared to a model that was discontinued (so...I guess maybe they would use SCB pricing as the starting point, instead, since it's the closest thing?)...and then also make sure that any current options are available for it. Let's say the SH60 didn't cross paths with the current locking tuners and was only produced with the Sperzel tuners (which I think was the case, but I'm not 100% sure...so they would need to create a new neck program for the SH60 with the current tuners. I'm not saying that this specific example is the reason, but is a hypothetical illustrative scenario of some of the challenges with continuously offering retired models. I'm not saying any body here didn't already go through this same thought process, but I was thinking of it and sitting on a boring conference call, so I thought I'd put it in writing. :lol:
Last edited by spudmunkey on Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:41 am

X1Glider wrote: So, sometimes models going away is the customers' fault, sometimes it the company's fault for not giving us what we want soon enough.


In one of Jeff's livestreams, he literally said, and this is as verbatim as i can remember, "I don't discontinue models...you guys discontinue models!", referencing slow sales of some models. "I love the Xcellerator bass...I think it's bad-ass...but the sales just weren't there."

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:54 am

Point being, that once those programs are created--if they discontinue (or simply stop listing) the product, do they literally delete that CNC data from all possibility of recovery?

That would be complete insanity. A caveat: I know nothing about operating a CNC.. but I would gather that each one of these model settings are set up like an outline, with suptopical option settings within the primary model setting, with different levels of granularity.. starting with model outline and dimensions, just the shape of the thing (tummy cut delete? bevel delete?).. then getting on to variations in pickup routing, screw holes for bevels or direct mount, one master volume? Les Paul 2v 2 t?

I don't know how much data all of a model with all options comprise, but I think those Haas machines can run off of 2GB+ USB sticks.

Meaning that each instrument is probably no more than a couple of gigs max. The Haas machines can read the data from external USB sticks with CAD style data and transfer that data to the controller to run the machine for that instrument. I'd be loathe to think that the data is only stored on the big unit itself and not backed up elsewhere (ie that they need to delete these programs off the machine make space for other units' programs, and there will be no external backup). So the data consumption argument is not something I really buy. I don't even like the X's but I'd be willing to send them some big USB sticks so they can keep the data and toss it into a drawer for commemorative editions later on down the line when the next generation grows up and goes thru its own hair metal phase and they bring the X's back in 2031! :lol:

spudmunkey wrote:
X1Glider wrote: So, sometimes models going away is the customers' fault, sometimes it the company's fault for not giving us what we want soon enough.


In one of Jeff's livestreams, he literally said, and this is as verbatim as i can remember, "I don't discontinue models...you guys discontinue models!", referencing slow sales of some models. "I love the Xcellerator bass...I think it's bad-ass...but the sales just weren't there."


I partially buy that. That supposes that a company is just a passive witness to act-of-god sales driving according to the cultural meandering of buyers. Companies can and should drive sales with advertising and marketing. Of course, they can't "make" anybody buy anything, especially en masse, and I don't know what Jeff has or hasn't done to drive sales of the X's over the past 6 months or so (I was thinking of the 22's and the conversations we were having about those).
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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby amon » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:22 pm

And they definitely won't sell something if they won't make it. SYMMETRICAL V.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby X1Glider » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:54 pm

Regarding program quantities. There are ways to cut down on that tremendously. So I'll provide an example of something I helped a friend I used to land speed race with back around 2005 for his performance shop business.

I'm a mechanical engineer who's also been programming in G-code on the punch tape, MasterCam and now GibbsCam since the late 80s and 15 years ago dabbled in C+ for a very specific reason...motorcycle performance. Over a ton of hours and and R&D time, we came up with a way to input requirements for a specific customer, all the options, and the code is generated on the spot in about 5 seconds. The programming is done in the background like people do on spreadsheets with fomulae when computing anything from engineering calcs or financials.

This window shows all available Harley Davidson and Buell heads and the options and performance requirements on the valve spring side of the head per the customer. Everything from combustion chamber profile, port profiles, valve seat profiles, squish, decking and such was done on another program at the time.
Image

It all started with this window back in '05. A simple version that started the fire under our feet to add a couple hundred other options into something I can't show in public anymore.
Image

Now, the programs are integrated such that after the combustion chamber side is complete, the program stalls so the head can be flipped over onto another fixture, the operator presses the start button again. The operator's only job is to flip it over and secure the part and press the button.

That's just cylinder heads. Naturally there's a multi-function program for cases, cylinders and other bits and bobs.

Same can be done for guitars. One program for bolt-on bodies, 1 for bolt-on necks, 1 for neck-thru necks and 1 for the full neck-thru assy. No more separate programs to save and no reason for the operator to touch the control panel for more than a second to push start. Just click the radio buttons for all options and it's done.

That's efficient personal attention in a mass production company.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby X1Glider » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:13 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:Point being, that once those programs are created--if they discontinue (or simply stop listing) the product, do they literally delete that CNC data from all possibility of recovery?

That would be complete insanity. A caveat: I know nothing about operating a CNC.. but I would gather that each one of these model settings are set up like an outline, with suptopical option settings within the primary model setting, with different levels of granularity.. starting with model outline and dimensions, just the shape of the thing (tummy cut delete? bevel delete?).. then getting on to variations in pickup routing, screw holes for bevels or direct mount, one master volume? Les Paul 2v 2 t?

I don't know how much data all of a model with all options comprise, but I think those Haas machines can run off of 2GB+ USB sticks.

Meaning that each instrument is probably no more than a couple of gigs max. The Haas machines can read the data from external USB sticks with CAD style data and transfer that data to the controller to run the machine for that instrument. I'd be loathe to think that the data is only stored on the big unit itself and not backed up elsewhere (ie that they need to delete these programs off the machine make space for other units' programs, and there will be no external backup). So the data consumption argument is not something I really buy. I don't even like the X's but I'd be willing to send them some big USB sticks so they can keep the data and toss it into a drawer for commemorative editions later on down the line when the next generation grows up and goes thru its own hair metal phase and they bring the X's back in 2031! :lol:

spudmunkey wrote:
X1Glider wrote: So, sometimes models going away is the customers' fault, sometimes it the company's fault for not giving us what we want soon enough.


In one of Jeff's livestreams, he literally said, and this is as verbatim as i can remember, "I don't discontinue models...you guys discontinue models!", referencing slow sales of some models. "I love the Xcellerator bass...I think it's bad-ass...but the sales just weren't there."


I partially buy that. That supposes that a company is just a passive witness to act-of-god sales driving according to the cultural meandering of buyers. Companies can and should drive sales with advertising and marketing. Of course, they can't "make" anybody buy anything, especially en masse, and I don't know what Jeff has or hasn't done to drive sales of the X's over the past 6 months or so (I was thinking of the 22's and the conversations we were having about those).

It's not a storage space issue. It's likely an issue that someone has to wad through all the files and select what they need at a given moment.
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If I can read between the lines of what Spud said, I'm guess the work is being done pancake style. The select one program and cut the outline, then layer on another program to eith round or bevel the edges, then layer another program for body cuts, then for pickup routs and control holes, etc. A layered approach like that is time consuming.

I don't know that they were promoting those models they just took away. They were simply sitting on the list. Truth is, the 80s are over and that is when I first bought a V and an X in 92. When I got into 7 strings in 2000 and was still playing out, I'd have bought a X227 then. Now, I'm 50, don't play out anymore and the audience just wouldn't "get it" like 20 years before when the cool shapes of BC Rich, Jacksons and Washburn were normal to see. It's a timing thing IMO. Now, ergonomic guitars are "in."

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby spudmunkey » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:51 pm

I have to assume it's another example of them being "stuck" continuing their existing methods. Everything from how the programs are made, to how their online builder has to be set up due to the option codes, etc. I'm kinda reminded of the "pot roast principle."

It's one of those things where it wasn't a big deal when they only had a couple hundred programs with their limited offerings, but now that they have SO many more options, and designs, their old work-flow methods in terms of the IT aspects just aren't scale-able and can't seem to keep up.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby spudmunkey » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:54 pm

X1Glider wrote:If I can read between the lines of what Spud said, I'm guess the work is being done pancake style. The select one program and cut the outline, then layer on another program to eith round or bevel the edges, then layer another program for body cuts, then for pickup routs and control holes, etc. A layered approach like that is time consuming.


Actually, I meant the opposite...doing it "pancake style" would greatly cut down on the total patterns needed. It seems like it would only effect the timing if they couldn't load up multiple successive programs to run one after the other. If I understood jeff right, they have a single program for every combination of options.

One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HH
One program for a right-handed 22-fret Aries with HH
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HH and 26.5 scale
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HH and 26.5 scale with bevel delete
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HSS
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HSS with bevel delete
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HSS with 26.5 scale and bevel delete

...now duplicate all of those with the floyd...and again with the Hipshot trem...and again for multiscale, etc...and then there's chambered and non-topped bodies, etc...and then again for HSH, and then duplicate all of those for left handed.
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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby Toptube » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:26 pm

: I'm sure that a lot of this stuff is actually part of what's going on.


But

I think that ultimately, Jeff wants to offer stuff which is going to sell. An existing model, especially an older one, isn't really costing them money. But, it's not making any, either. And they need to make money, in order to cover costs for new offerings. And this company is rich enough that its better for them to pull stagnate models and turn around and make new ones. Not every new model has been a success. But most of them have, for years now. So, keep turning em out.

The Xccelerator in particular, may have never even recovered its cost (it certainly has not sold well). So it really is actually better to just generate excitement with a new model, which has a good chance of selling well.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby Doctor Turn » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:11 pm

spudmunkey wrote:
X1Glider wrote:If I can read between the lines of what Spud said, I'm guess the work is being done pancake style. The select one program and cut the outline, then layer on another program to eith round or bevel the edges, then layer another program for body cuts, then for pickup routs and control holes, etc. A layered approach like that is time consuming.


Actually, I meant the opposite...doing it "pancake style" would greatly cut down on the total patterns needed. It seems like it would only effect the timing if they couldn't load up multiple successive programs to run one after the other. If I understood jeff right, they have a single program for every combination of options.

One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HH
One program for a right-handed 22-fret Aries with HH
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HH and 26.5 scale
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HH and 26.5 scale with bevel delete
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HSS
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HSS with bevel delete
One program for a right-handed 24-fret Aries with HSS with 26.5 scale and bevel delete

...now duplicate all of those with the floyd...and again with the Hipshot trem...and again for multiscale, etc...and then there's chambered and non-topped bodies, etc...and then again for HSH, and then duplicate all of those for left handed.


That would be so insane, it almost boggles the mind. Each possible permutation of every single guitar must constitute it's own model, without any selections for customization? Do you know how many pre-made programs that would come out to, based on how many models exist, then with how many possible combinations of all the available options? How many hundreds, thousands of individual programs with everything all together?

So you're saying he can't go-- 1) RH Aries, a) select [25.5" scale], b) [with bevel], then 2) select [HH], then select.. etc etc on down the line? That there are no options within a given model available when setting up a job? That each guitar permutation must constitute its own finite and inflexible guitar, and cannot be "built" within the larger outline of the model? That predefined selections are not available to be loaded in for each guitar to cut down on a crazy number of "models" that the operator has to flip thru?

That's one of the craziest uses of programming, if true, I've ever heard! Where did you hear Jeff saying that?

My only overriding idea is that none of this milling info is going to be discarded when a unit is considered "discontinued."
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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby spudmunkey » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:48 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:So you're saying he can't go-- 1) RH Aries, a) select [25.5" scale], b) [with bevel], then 2) select [HH], then select.. etc etc on down the line? That there are no options within a given model available when setting up a job? That each guitar permutation must constitute its own finite and inflexible guitar, and cannot be "built" within the larger outline of the model? That predefined selections are not available to be loaded in for each guitar to cut down on a crazy number of "models" that the operator has to flip thru?


Not every permutation, only the ones that would necessitate a different CNC program. For example, a different fretboard wood wouldn't require it, for example. But, that would explain how that have nearly 8,000 programs. If I remember right, he said for one specific model alone, there was somewhere around 100 for the body. I want to say it was the Aries, but I don't remember for sure.

Doctor Turn wrote:That's one of the craziest uses of programming, if true, I've ever heard!


I don't disagree. :-p

Doctor Turn wrote: Where did you hear Jeff saying that?


In a few live videos, and the one I'm thinking of where he described it and mentioned the number of programs they had for one specific model was...I wanna say about a month ago, with a 2-week margin of error.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby X1Glider » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:50 am

That really is an insane way of programming. A file for every possible permutation.

If I had 1000 programs for every possible mod to a Sportster head, the guys would never get anything done.

Every possible configuration is in 1 file. Just select the options in the window and press GO. It does 1 side and pauses, flip it over and press GO again.

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:08 pm

spudmunkey wrote:
Doctor Turn wrote:So you're saying he can't go-- 1) RH Aries, a) select [25.5" scale], b) [with bevel], then 2) select [HH], then select.. etc etc on down the line? That there are no options within a given model available when setting up a job? That each guitar permutation must constitute its own finite and inflexible guitar, and cannot be "built" within the larger outline of the model? That predefined selections are not available to be loaded in for each guitar to cut down on a crazy number of "models" that the operator has to flip thru?


Not every permutation, only the ones that would necessitate a different CNC program. For example, a different fretboard wood wouldn't require it, for example.


Just caught this part of the reply.

Of course that's what I meant. We're talking only those options that have to do with the CNC machine. necessitating an adjustment vs the usual ebony/rosewood/etc overlay board.. (Although a 1pc maple neck would require it, since it would not mill out an area for a fretboard overlay on the neck carve.. unless Kiesel doesn't do 1 pc no-separate-fretboard necks made of maple--or the occasional rosewood, which I doubt we'd see much of). But yeah, with the CNC machine programs, we're talking about things that affect CNC programs. :lol:

But seriously.. It's one of the craziest uses of what is supposed to constitute a time saving convenience via programming I've ever heard--and I can't for the life of me imagine that having guitars built out like an outline, working in from shape/scale length, then contouring the outline (bevel/tummy/droptop/etc), multi or standard, then pups and pots, is not possible so there's one master program for each models and then options as you work in each layer.

The opportunities for granular mistakes doing it that "everything-preset-model" way is huge, by the operator accidentally missing some aspect of an option pre-built into that particular given program that doesn't match the order. But even more than that is the PIA aspect of it.
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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:17 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:The opportunities for granular mistakes doing it that "everything-preset-model" way is huge, by the operator accidentally missing some aspect of an option pre-built into that particular given program that doesn't match the order. But even more than that is the PIA aspect of it.


Feel free to ignore the rest of this post because there's no actual in formation here. :lol:

I have zero reason to believe anything below has any basis in reality...but I enjoy thinking about these things. In my head, when an order is generated, the options selected results in a string of option codes starting with the model number. Office furniture is like that: You select the product line, then you select the version (task, guest, etc), then select back height, then select tilt mechanism, then select arms, then seat depth slider, then the seat fabric, then the casters (carpet or hard floor), etc etc... And in the end you have a code that reads "ALSTV1B-200-T5-R5-147-S101-14C". Not all that many years ago, the GIS page was like that. No photos at all on the main page...if I remember right it was just a string of option codes text, and a price. It was things like "DC127T-NIN-RNC, etc etc". Yes, there was still a photo when you clicked the link, but unless you had the option codes memorized, you wouldn't know what any of the guitars would look like until you clicked on each guitar's link.

I would imagine the person who initiates the build enters that number, or at least parts of it, to search for the correct program. So while it's an added data entry step with an added chance for error, the alternative would be to pull up the order number and let the system provide them with the programs based on the build codes...whether it's saved in a directory somewhere or generated in real time, that would eliminate any errors from someone entering a code wrong. So...while more 'safe', the process in and of itself doesn't seem like it should cause any slow-downs, even in the most rudimentary, manual systems. :think:

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Re: Is the X220 gone?

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:21 pm

Right--the operator is punching in a "search string" to match one out of a pre-existing long list of all the different model possibilities, to set the machine up to mill the guitar the customer wants.

The problem there of course is all the laborious clerical work of building out all of those preexisting models in the system to insure you've got every single possibility covered, so it's not possible for an operator to enter a search string that's valid that won't find the pre-created model for it.

That's such a crazy amount of pre-creation, whereas the precreation of just the selectable possibilities, which can then be mixed to "build out" every possible combination is far less, and more efficient work.

Sure, you can search out a person's license plate by just entering the license plate. That's simple. But the difference of two types of preparation beforehand: entering into a creation system just the alphabet, and then 0-9, to be able to create a new license plate, as opposed to every possible pre-existing combination of numbers and letters than can fit on a plate, that must be precreated in advance to be able to make a new plate: that's an enormous difference in work! That's sort of the nature of the difference between a "model creation system" and "every model precreated."

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