Builder S Blues

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Tonedragon, May 14, 2017.

  1. Tonedragon

    Tonedragon New Member

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    Ok I've been doing this guitar & repair thing for about a year, I'm located in a very rural area the music scene died out about 10 years ago. I'm starting to think Im Wasting my time.
    I have been to 1 show and as expected no sales. I did how ever move alot of business cards. So I now have collection of my very own handbuilt custom guitars with boutique pickups. And too of the line everything.
    I have my own guitar design cut out but can't seam to get motivated. I have a stash of real nice wood. Some nice tool n Luthier stuff. But I guess I need encourage ment right now.


    So I'm kinda discouraged. The Philly show might be my next move , the fall show..
    I have only sold/traded two guitars ...during The past two years.
    1-Im tempted to just break down the built guitars and start over.
    2- Stop believing guitar players want good quality instruments & go back to selling shit gear n pedals online Ex Gibson,fender,boss ect.

    Any advice please
     
  2. Tonedragon

    Tonedragon New Member

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    Guess sometimes you have to reply to your own thread.
    It's a lonely life.
    I'm gonna tear one down n harvest the parts. It was my second build and has some top notch hardware.
    So yes. Pulled my head Outta my ass.
     
  3. dewittm

    dewittm New Member

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    Most businesses take 4 years to build before profits can be seen. My guess is guitar building is very similar. Equally, realize one year experiences is 1 year of experience. Most luthiers that you are going up against have more than 10 years at least. Do not get discouraged. If this has to be your income making work I would propose starting on the side of some other job that pays the bills and doing this as a second job: more than a hobby but less than everything depends on it. GOOD LUCK
     
  4. Murkar

    Murkar Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tonedragon -

    Sorry to hear about your experience. How far do you live from a major city center? I went to a few shows and to be quite honest, I never saw many guitars sell in-show. Actually at the Ottawa guitar shows I don't think I've ever seen an instrument sell - mostly people just want to get together, see what's around, test things out etc. (and it does help get your name out there).

    Other people might have alternate suggestions but I would seriously consider finding a large, reliably busy (and reputable - something that has been around a while and won't disappear with your wares overnight) music shop that will sell your instruments on consignment.

    That way you can let them deal with sales and more on what you love. This of course depends where you live; I am a few hours from Toronto and they tell me the turnover rate for instruments at one of the major shops downtown is a few weeks. The shop will charge a consignment fee on top of your charge to the customers so it's good for you, and good for them. That way they deal with the sales side of things - since as a music shop, that's really what they do best.

    Not sure if this will be helpful to you but just my two cents :) I have slowed down my building a lot but when I was building 2-3 a year, my next plan of action was this (after having the same experience as you with sales). I just never got around to it.
     
  5. Murkar

    Murkar Well-Known Member

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    Second note: I just checked your location & was surprised to see you're not too far from me. Ottawa has slim pickings for guitar-shops I think, but you might have luck in Montreal.

    A few hours of show-time is pretty minor compared to a couple weeks in a music-shop, where people specifically go to buy. Definitely worth considering. A quick e-mail will tell you whether they do consignment or not and also what types of fees they'll add so you know what your customers are paying in the end.
     
  6. GuitarBuilder

    GuitarBuilder Member

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    Basic business rule: you must be visible and attractive to prospective customers.

    Either physically go to where they are or develop an online business model. They will not come to you until after you've developed a good brand reputation.
     
  7. Tonedragon

    Tonedragon New Member

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    Thanks for the advice, I'm gonna keep plugging away one guitar at a time. I will be at the northeast guitar expo in CT this Oct.
     
  8. Chris Pile

    Chris Pile Member

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    40 years in the biz here.... best advice I can give you. Once you start making regular cash get a good bookkeeper. They'll be worth their weight in gold once the local gubmint starts noticing you making money in their vicinity. And if you are lucky enough to need to hire someone and get the feds involved, that's when the accountant will save your butt because the paperwork won't triple or even quadruple - it will increase tenfold. At that point you can work at the bench, or do paperwork - not both. Good luck, and don't forget to come up for some air once in awhile.
     
  9. Engin

    Engin New Member

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    Suggest that maybe a simple website might give you some more exposure/reach. In the end your product is what is going to make the sales, the website is just what is conveying the message.

    Good luck.... don't give up.
     
  10. bruce bennett

    bruce bennett Active Member

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    38 year luthier here..

    I hear ya loud and clear..

    I'm grossing 500K now.

    wanna know how I did it.. No problems I'll give it to ya.

    but much of this info is not for the general public.

    email me.
     

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