The completed build in luthery school, accepting custom orders at awesome prices

Discussion in 'Dealers & Group Buys' started by sochmo, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. molsoncanadian

    molsoncanadian Crunchy Riff, Eh?

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    Point and case, do yourself a favour, and start a poll. This poll is purely hypothetical, and should adequately paint a picture, one it seems everyone is trying to paint.

    Set the price at $1300.00 (Easy gents - this is all hypothetical)

    Then ask people, who would you rather have build you a guitar?

    - Pondman
    - Yourself

    I guarentee people would go with pondman vs. you. He (from what I gather) is building guitars non stop.....because he enjoys it. He documents and details his trials and tribulations, failures, successes, and at no point (to my recollection) has advertised his work in the manner you have, yet Im sure theres at least 5 people on this forum who would throw money his way.

    He has an abvious chronological sucession in which his builds improved in quality, design ect ect. You have a single build. It's not rocket science that your offer has been met with some hostility. Especially in light of all the negativity surrounding the word "luthier" period (sorry guys but when I hear words like custom, luthier, run ect ect I just fvcking cringe) - But not to bash the legit guys out there.

    Additionally, one guitar will not suffice in terms of what you need experience with (not negating the time you spent repairing things) Take into account different materials, different techniques, tools ect ect. If someone asked you to do advanced inlay work or binding, could you consciously take their money knowing you have no experience building a guitar from the ground up with aformentioned requests?

    End of the day, just build guitars. Build something worth building, and take your dam time. If you dont have time to do it right the first time, dont bother. Additionally, theres some negativity flying around in this thread (for good reason) however, start building! Post your builds! Include us in your journey. I have seen what ss.org can do to/for a reputation, the positive side of that is you have a place full of cheerleaders (sounds funny but I mean it) and all the wisdom one could ask for.

    Tl;dr, quote my response, tell me to stick it, and prove me/us wrong!:yesway:
     
  2. UnderTheSign

    UnderTheSign SS.org Regular

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    And Dylan too has apprenticed for a luthier before diving into the business. I'm willing to bet he built a dozen or so guitars before starting the Daemoness brand.
     
  3. JoshuaVonFlash

    JoshuaVonFlash SSBRO.org regular

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    You've quoted the wrong guy. :lol:
     
  4. molsoncanadian

    molsoncanadian Crunchy Riff, Eh?

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    good god what have I done.:lol:
     
  5. InfinityCollision

    InfinityCollision SS.org Regular

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    But the money that pays for them is exactly the same. A custom builder might get a certain amount of leeway in exchange for building to a particular spec, but the expectation of quality is still there. I'd even argue the expectation is going to be skewed against the luthier at that price point (ie overly high expecations of quality for the money) - customers are not perfectly rational entities by any stretch. Whether that's fair or not is nigh irrelevant from the customer's perspective.

    At $1300 he's positioning himself against some very compelling production options and not (presently) demonstrating anything that sets him apart from the pack. He's just yet another guy building superstrats and BM-esque guitars. Then you've got the used market... There are some very high quality second-hand guitars going for around and even occasionally below that price point.

    The advice I've read thus far is pretty solid. Build. Build guitars. Build a name for yourself. Grow your business organically rather than trying to rush it out the door on the strength of a single guitar.

    And post your builds here when you do. Even if we don't always buy, we certainly enjoy a little wood porn ;)
     
  6. Captain Butterscotch

    Captain Butterscotch SS.org Regular

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    Not to mention a single guitar that was built under the intense guidance of some experienced luthiers.

    I'm all for supporting growing craftsmen, but a single guitar does not a luthier make. Build more and more and you'll get more and more customers.
     
  7. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah, I'll say this about Brian - a few years ago he had this EPIC looking blue 8 string guitar, and I asked him if I could buy it. He said sure, and then when he finished it up he told me he didn't think it was up to snuff and would be destroying it. Now he's got a couple of his new Flex8s that he's prototyping - and might sell them, or might destroy them. That tells me that whatever does go out the door is rock solid.
    And Tom (from OAF) redid a bunch of stuff on my OAF10 for free because the third part pickups we had weren't to spec.
    These guys have it dialed in - they have very high standards and personal ethics, and that's what makes customers confident in ordering from them.

    I can't remember my point now. :lol:

    But anyway, I will agree with others that if you build some in-stock instruments first, and are 100% honest with yourself about their quality before releasing them for sale, then you will be way better off than taking an order and not delivering in time, or sending a bad guitar out the door. If that happens early in your career, you're toast.
     
  8. sehnomatic

    sehnomatic SS.org Regular

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    You're an entrepreneur at this stage, not a business as of yet. Start local. Build stock. Get out there and convince shops to stock a guitar or two. Getting on to the global scene is going to take growth, you can't expect exponential growth if you start at zero, economics really. With a net reputation of zero, you can't compete with the big boys yet.

    Your instruments may be able to stand toe to toe with the best, but you as a business won't.

    I wish you luck, remember, growing fast is also a bad thing. We've observed this far too many times.
     
  9. ormsby guitars

    ormsby guitars SS.org Regular

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    Took me six years to turn a profit, despite two wood based apprenticeships, awards for my work, business background, and a fully stocked workshop.

    Taking your time, paying your dues, and learning the pitfalls = much more success in the long term. Fast tracking your business in this industry, without any real experience (one guitar built that was guided by others) will only hurt you in the long term.

    As others have said, build stock guitars (but don't sell through stores!), and increase your client base naturally via reputation, before jumping in at the deep end.

    As your reputation grows, so will your income and business. Without a reputation you have limited business growth unless you compromise with things that will ultimately limit your growth later.
     
  10. Jay Jillard

    Jay Jillard I make things.

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    I sold the 2nd and third guitars i ever made, and it almost killed me as a business.

    Recovery is obviously possible, but its better to do things right the first go around.
     
  11. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    FYI, he's taking a nap for spamming the classifieds. One build under the belt and already telling folks he'll build them guitars when they're looking for Mayones, Jackson CS, etc. :shrug:
     
  12. asher

    asher So Did We

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    :scratch:
     
  13. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Pro-Builders, as in folks who sell thier builds for profit, can't use the regular marketplace for thier own builds. :yesway:
     
  14. asher

    asher So Did We

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    Oh, sorry, I know that - not quite the right smiley. That was directed at his judgement, not you guys :lol:
     
  15. MF_Kitten

    MF_Kitten Set up us the bomb

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    Nice guitar. Looks very tastefully done, and very cool. But don't charge more than a few hundred bucks for your builds. Not now.

    What I would do, is build replacement bodies and do repair work, and then move into doing necks. Then you can start offering necks and bodies. Then you can start offering to assemble the parts for the customer, to make guitars out of them. Then you can start doing your OWN designs. See where this is going? You have to EARN it. Going to school does not make you good at building guitars, just like driving school doesn't make you a good driver. Experience does.

    You need experience. Lots of it. Start small with replacement parts for guitars, then build your way up. Many have started their business that way, and have made their way up to full custom shop.
     
  16. sochmo

    sochmo SS.org Regular

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    Thanks so much for all the valuable advice over the years guys, Ive got a few things up my sleeves coming out soon!
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
  17. P-Ride

    P-Ride SS.org Regular

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    Nice one.

    As someone who is pretty good with his hands, but has no formal woodworking training, how much training (hours/week and years) might be required to get to the point of building decent instruments for myself?
     
  18. Jaek-Chi

    Jaek-Chi SS.org Regular

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    Good to hear dude! Keep at it, keep building, keep getting better.

    I'm someone who is simply a player. I'm pretty average at restrings and setups let alone full repairs or builds, so this comes from someone with no passion or feeling behind the 'building' side of things.

    I think the most valuable point i've seen come up is, even though you'll want to get your name heard, keep in mind that if say your first 10 builds aren't really that great, and the next 100 are out of this world, it's going to be hard to hide those 10, because people will be talking. It only takes a few peoples bad experience to sway people. I know if i read 2 or 3 bad stories about a luthiers work i'd steer clear with absolutely no other knowledge. That's a little naive because it could in fact be a case of the example i've used, but that's irrelevant in a buyers mind when they could be spending lots of their hard earned cash.

    Without naming names there is a builder with a huge reputation that i wouldn't take a guitar from if it was free and ready to pick up in a week. Because of the horror stories i've seen first hand, when people who trust my opinion and judgement ask me for advice cause they want a custom, i do what i think is right and steer them clear, and towards people i've had the best experiences with. I now have a large group of people whose minds have been pushed elsewhere after hearing about things. It only takes one or two incidents man

    It's a cruel thing to get into, so the only thing i could say is just keep at it, do your best, and keep producing quality work. Chuck all guitars up in the luthier section and show off the work. I would imagine after a matter of 5 or 6 quality guitars you'll have people PM'ing you for guitars!

    Keep at it brother!
     
  19. sochmo

    sochmo SS.org Regular

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    Your gonna wanna get the fundamentals of woodworking down (How to safely use routers, sanders, hand tools like chisels, etc) which are all like mini art forms in themselves. Then id say pick yourself up a good luthery book and start customizing axes, thats what I did for 6 years before deciding to enter luthiery school!

    As far as timeframes I would say with the proper guidance you can learn to build decent instrument in around 6 months. Thats 6 months full time in a woodshop with a professional looking over your back though!
     
  20. P-Ride

    P-Ride SS.org Regular

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    Yeah I'm just doing soldering and shaping nuts currently, although do bits of woodwork around the house.

    My next plan is to start on a couple of kit guitars, just to become familiar with doing finishes.

    My housemate (a product designer) and I are both keen to take woodworking classes if they come up in my area though. I might then be in a position to start shaping bodies and gradually build my skills from there.
     

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