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> Would You Pay This Much For This Guitar?
Chris S.
post Aug 20 2011, 04:04 PM
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Hello,

I've been building guitars for a bit now and have decided to take the risk of starting a small business (I can only pray that it will get me out of my horrible part time job).

The thing is, I'm not sure if people would spend this kind of money for one of my guitars.

Example:

This is the part list to making a strat from my 'Vintage Series':

-Vintage Orange Body - wood is paulownia: VERY light
-Satin maple neck - (neck profile sanded to specs of a 60s strat C-profile)
-Black polycarbonate nut
-6-on-a-plate no-name vintage spec tuners 9mm
-Thick neck plate
-Mother of pearl pickguard and trem cavity cover
-3 overwound pickups handwound to 1963 specs (mid pickup is RW)
-Vintage spec no-name bridge with thicker trem block for more sustain

Those are basically the main parts and hardware used for the strats I build in my 'Vintage Series' - body color and neck wood varies.

The thing is, I would charge $399.99 or about 243 pounds.

Almost all of that is just for the parts, leaving me with a very small amount of profit - and once I get my site up and running so I can do out-of-state/country deals I would offer free shipping.

So I was wondering your opinions on whether or not you would take a shot at buying one of my guitars (hypothetically). If no one thinks its worth the money then I don't feel safe investing too much timeand money into something that just won't work.

Thanks biggrin.gif

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Sollesnes
post Aug 20 2011, 04:14 PM
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Even really skilled luthiers often make guitars beside other jobs. It is a difficult market, and it is not getting easier. In this price range, you will simply not be able to compete quality-wise with companies like Agile etc.
I believe you would have a bigger chance if you offered some choices, giving a semi-custom feel to your guitars. Some intermediate guitarists would find it interesting and fun, while not having to pay too much. Beginners would already go to more known brands, like Squier etc.
Selling enough guitars (especially hand-made in this pricerange) to even compete with actually having a job, will be close to impossible. At least those are my sad two cents.
In any case... if you don't try, you will never succeed smile.gif

This post has been edited by Sollesnes: Aug 20 2011, 04:15 PM
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Bossie
post Aug 20 2011, 04:25 PM
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Well making a living of it is indeed difficult ...but it could be very worthwile after all ! Ofcours advertising and getting the word out is
also important ...(guitar magazines etc etc ..)

But i sure would buy one and if i like it ...i'll promote it in our country!
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Azzaboi
post Aug 20 2011, 07:17 PM
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Sorry to be one to tell the downfall, but some things to think about...

I personally wouldn't buy it, unless it was from a trusted source and fully customised to my tastes. There's too many people out there making fakes and cheapo knock offs, your find it really hard to be trusted unless your have already got rep.

If I was interested, I would probably want to try it out, see how it feels and at least hear how it plays. Ordering online from an unknown source, I would even be more untrusting. Try search for any past reviews from others.

If I wanted a vintage guitar, there would be a certain type I'm after, I would be super picky. Who's you customer target?

Are you sure you can offer free shipping? Cos that might end up being an arm and a leg?

If it does take off, can you make to demand or will it become less of a passion and more generate quantity over quality?

This post has been edited by Azzaboi: Aug 20 2011, 07:21 PM
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Sinisa Cekic
post Aug 20 2011, 09:51 PM
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Never heard about this kind of wood! I researched a bit- "very resonant and super light weight" - which would discourage me from buying :/ ! That first feeling of heaviness in hands is a crucial factor sometimes !


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Mudbone
post Aug 21 2011, 12:07 AM
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For that price there are so many other guitars that offer more. The specs on the one you are gonna build are similar to this one for sale at Guitar Fetish, and it only costs $174.

Personally, if I wanted a Strat for $400 bucks, I would go with the Squier Classic Vibes 50's Strat. Its a fantastic guitar with great pickups. Plus I get free shipping if I order it online. Its also only $349.

So what can you do? Beat it up, drag it down the road, pour acid on it and call it a relic. Then sell it for a $1000.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Aug 21 2011, 01:58 AM
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You already had very interesting feedback about this.. I could just add that if you feel that you must do it.. do it! go for it..
I don't buy something that I don't know that can't be tested first but maybe you can start gaining a name in your city.


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Bossie
post Aug 21 2011, 06:06 AM
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So go for it and proove them all wrong .. wink.gif

i just read that the wood has been used by the japanese for ages in their musical instruments and is
very light but extremely solid...guess there's a lot of prejudice about it .

I also think it's a sad thing people no longer explore and take chances and per sé need a nice familiar brandname on their low budgets..
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MickeM
post Aug 22 2011, 10:04 AM
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I think it’s a great strive to want to make your own business. But I think you can’t skip the grave yard shift where you spend years of setting up other peoples guitars getting to know your customers.
Well, I think you can make a name for yourself anyway, with murdering commercials that will cost you a fortune.

And with guitars that cheap, who is your customer? Beginning guitarists with no knowledge in guitar gear. I’ll tell you, they’ll rather get a no-name guitar with a Marshall MG beginners pack from any music store with a sign by the door that says “music store”

With any business you need a realistic business plan. Make one that sticks since it goes hand in hand with weather you fail or cussed.
Make sure it’s realistic or you’ll just be fooling yourself. I think people here answered your first question truthfully.
If light wood is your thing, maybe go for an ergonomic guitar. Less weight, thin strings, a lean neck (so you don’t have to twist your wrist with your left hand). Something something. Some fresh ideas smile.gif


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Fran
post Aug 22 2011, 01:27 PM
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Pretty good advice so far.

I would keep that part time job, and spend the rest of my time building a few guitars, see how they sell, maybe online, maybe through some local guitar shops, or even ebay etc.

If you see that it works, then I'd go for it cool.gif


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Sensible Jones
post Aug 22 2011, 06:47 PM
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Having been building since about 83/84 I can honestly say that I've never made enough money from it to give up working! I've done stints as a Guitar Tech and been on tour and earned a living that way but unless you can get orders for enough guitars to cover all your costs, expenses etc it's not easy to make money. Offering some custom options (as mentioned already) is an added bonus, different wiring options, pick-ups, finishes etc.

If I were to hand build a guitar a month that would sell for between $1500-2000 I'd still not be making a living wage after all deductions.

I'm in no way trying to dissuade you from going for it, indeed I support you in your efforts! I would suggest going for a slightly higher end market though. If your mainly doing 'assemblies' rather than 'building' then offer your guitars nearer the $1000 market and use branded parts like Gotoh, Sperzel etc!
Good luck! If I can help in any way just ask!
biggrin.gif biggrin.gif


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audiopaal
post Aug 25 2011, 12:01 PM
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I might buy one if you build something with humbuckers smile.gif
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Chris Evans
post Aug 25 2011, 12:05 PM
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perhaps build us all one each first and we`ll be your endorsers biggrin.gif


but seriously, the advice above is all valid, I would start off offering "guitar services" as a sideline and build up custom that way, building the odd one off special along the way, as customers get to know your work on repairs and customising jobs they may well want to buy a fully built guitar by you smile.gif


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Daniel Realpe
post Aug 26 2011, 01:21 PM
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I think Chris's advice is very good here, you should not only make guitars but also guitar service.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Aug 26 2011, 04:19 PM
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Perhaps you should try to find locally couple of people, show them your work and start small - by doing one custom guitar at a time. Try to find a local famous player, and tell him you could made the guitar by his specs. Calculate the price parts, order, make it, and then charge your fee. This is how many luthiers started. This way you can make better guitars and local famous players will eventually lead to many youngsters coming to you with money asking for similar stuff.

But, your guitar need to be unique. If you are good at making strats, then find guitar players that prefer strats. Also, try to find something that will be on all your guitars, like a familiar shape, contour or signature or whatever.

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Aug 26 2011, 04:19 PM


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