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What to do with built guitars?

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I'm just wondering what y'all do with all of your built guitars? Do you have a room just for all your guitars or do you sell them? And if you do sell them what did you do with your first ones until you felt they were up to selling standards? 

I guess the reason I ask I'm just about done with my first one which I will never get rid of and then I'm doing 2 for my good buddy, but after that I plan on going hard at this and just build build build to try and figure out my groove and what suits me and of coarse to get better but I don't want to have a room with 20 or more guitars just sitting that will never get used, should I sell them off for what I have in them or how would you even go about pricing them? 

Sorry for the rambling, just some questions I've had running thru my mind for a while. 

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@killemall8 I have been following your In progress builds tho and your work is freaking amazing! You should definitely sell them all and let someone be able to enjoy them. 

That also brings up another question, how do y'all go about getting your name out there and have people wanting your product? Just word of mouth or Facebook or endorsee's? 

@verhoevenc I'm thinking that is what I am probably going to do but how do you know when they are "up to snuff"? Lol I am my own worst critic and in that case I would probably never be able to sell any of them even tho everyone else would probably be completely happy with the quality, after quite a few under my belt that is. 

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I'm in the same boat. You'll always be that person. You wait til other people think they're good enough. Hahaha. Put all the pressure on them :P

Chris

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So far I've kept all nine of my builds with the exception of two, which were always built as giveaway gifts.

When you have them all lined up on the wall it's interesting to see the evolution of your own work. The last two of my completed builds I've felt could probably be sold at a profit, despite the fact that I'm familiar with the minor flaws they contain.

The previous two before that I could possibly sell to break even if I could find the right buyer (ie, pretty unlikely).

The previous few before that are really only there to remind me of where I started, and of things I'm glad I tried so I know not to bother with them again. No idea what will happen to them really. I guess in a few more years if and when they cease being a required fixture on my wall I could break them up and reuse the hardware on something else.

I guess when you feel confident that you have something that could be put out In the open market, and risk it being torn to pieces by critics, and you can prevent an instrument from going out that contains flaws that may reflect badly on your work is when you should consider your wares saleable. I'm only just willing to consider it myself at this stage.

I highly doubt any professional luthier is 100% happy with everything they ever sell. But I would think they are sufficiently satisfied that their customer is happy with the result of their work, and that should  give them the impetus to continue building guitars with a view to getting better at it every time.

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I build things that I would like to play, especially things that just don't exist. I rarely take an instrument through to the finished form, since I take more enjoyment from the design and build process. It's often that I like to see how something would work when realised. For example, I made two 30" scale 8-string guitars back in something like 2003-2004 when extended-range builders were only just keying onto 27". Not saying that I inspired the idea, but it was unknown as far as I am aware. Back then people were hunting around for 27" baritone Ibanez necks because nothing truly deviated from the 25,5" scale length enough to be playable.

I have maybe 12-14 instruments kicking around. Some are partially stripped simply because they don't need to be kept in finished condition. There are maybe 5-6 instruments in various stages of build.

To answer the question, I learn from them once they are "built" and then apply that to future iterations of work; once built they need to be truly something otherwise they end up being responsibly salvaged.

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Very few of my instruments are kept as players; my 5-string Carl Thompson tribute, my 5-string '51 P-bass (I love that one), my 7-string 666mm Ibanez Saber conversion are the only permanent instruments. They passed the test of being actual good instruments with character and that inspiring "something". If they don't play you when you pick them up, I find them a failure.

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6 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Very few of my instruments are kept as players; my 5-string Carl Thompson tribute, my 5-string '51 P-bass (I love that one), my 7-string 666mm Ibanez Saber conversion are the only permanent instruments. They passed the test of being actual good instruments with character and that inspiring "something". If they don't play you when you pick them up, I find them a failure.

Do you happen to have a build thread on the Saber? I am a HUGE ibanez s fan, I've probably owned about 20 of them thru my life and always try to keep 3 or 4 in my stable at 1 time. 

Thank you guys for all of your insight, it looks like I'm gonna need to clear some room in my spare bedroom lol, I have a really hard time doing something and not going all out on it. I personally have a big problem with things not being up to standard and allowing those to be a learning experience vs getting mad at them and just trashing them all together so I need to strive on having as few screw ups as possible that can't be hidden or fixed without being noticeable. 

My plan is to finish the one im doing now, build the 2 prs copy's for my buddy and then go back to my first guitars design and build it over and over until I figure out exactly where I want to go with that body style, it's a really cool design and feels awesome it just needs some tweaking here and there, then once I get that one how I like move onto another style. I'm also really gasing for a extended range 7 string tele so I'm gonna have to throw one of those in there somewhere. 

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It's a really really old job. I think I did that one 7-8 years ago? I bought a second body off eBay, and blocked off the original routs with Mahogany and epoxy as per this tutorial. The body was drilled for a TOM and through stringing, and I made a laminated Mahogany/Wengé neck with an Ebony board, and gave it an angle on the face of the neck rather than in the heel. Pretty straightforward stuff.

s7_21.thumb.jpg.39f5c4d6c6a36256a6175511s7_14.thumb.jpg.931ee2eef45771b6c04a0273s7_11.jpg.00df0d4626da1275d63ea523fe0f3cs7_13.jpg.a235d49effa8339ff1e77d571e1812s7_12.jpg.d609916a71230208079c79ea9adbfds7_7.jpg.dde4057694cfa02e924c9d2e32c9d8b

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I'm happy to help out with that extended range Tele if you need design work. I'll have to open source it though ;-)

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20 minutes ago, Prostheta said:

It's a really really old job. I think I did that one 7-8 years ago? I bought a second body off eBay, and blocked off the original routs with Mahogany and epoxy as per this tutorial. The body was drilled for a TOM and through stringing, and I made a laminated Mahogany/Wengé neck with an Ebony board, and gave it an angle on the face of the neck rather than in the heel. Pretty straightforward stuff.

s7_21.thumb.jpg.39f5c4d6c6a36256a6175511s7_14.thumb.jpg.931ee2eef45771b6c04a0273s7_11.jpg.00df0d4626da1275d63ea523fe0f3cs7_13.jpg.a235d49effa8339ff1e77d571e1812s7_12.jpg.d609916a71230208079c79ea9adbfds7_7.jpg.dde4057694cfa02e924c9d2e32c9d8b

My god!!! I've never seen a s series with a fixed bridge!! That's heaven on earth right there, might possibly be my dream guitar haha! The tremolo on the s series has always been my one turn off. Crap now I may have to tear one of my sabers dawn and get to work lol. 

I am interested in all the help you could give me on the extended range tele, I've never owned a extended range or 7 string so this is all gonna be new ground for me!

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Thanks!

Well that's exactly what I wanted at the time. That and they simply didn't do a 7-string back then. Plus a zero fret. I love building things that don't exist in spite of what might look like a simple copy on the surface. I'd like to make a Saber from scratch to make it better than this one. It's a real challenge in terms of carving though, or at least picking apart how the shape was designed.

There are plenty of Saber bodies going on eBay. Most of them are painted which is a pain....the sealer Ibanez uses is resistant to most things. This is exactly why I'd like to take it from the top.

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Oh yeah I know all about ibanezs sealer!!! I've probably refinished about 5 of them, most of them I just took it down to the sealer and then repainted but one of them was an s series that I took all the way to the wood  because I wanted a natural finish. Sanding thru the sealer probably took me a good week. Swore I'd never do that again, but the end was worth it it was a Japanese body, dyed green bubinga top that was tru oiled, s1620 prestige neck that I sanded the finish off of and tru oiled it also! I wish I wouldn't have sold that one. 

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I originally planned on starting to build my first guitar about 3 years ago but barely even got started on it before I quit. It was gonna be mahogany/ Purple Heart laminate body and saber shaped. Should have finished it!

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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This is the one that started the madness, ibanez s 2075 prestige that I bought almost 15 years ago, this one actually got stolen from me along with 6 other guitars all pristige ibanezs and American fenders. I walked into guitar center about a month after it got stolen and this one and my fender American 50th anniversary strat were hanging on the wall next to each other. Actually had to take guitar center to court to get them back!! Funny thing is I won and 2 years later it was stolen again and never seen again. 

Ignore the goofy pic!

image.jpeg

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Ouch, that's either got to be awful luck or a difficult place to own nice things man. I can understand that Guitar Center wouldn't want to just return it since it's their loss. Generally as a business, looking out for people who aren't putting money into their pockets isn't in their interest. I hate that with a passion. Acquisition and retention means that somebody is losing out somewhere along the line....any ideas on the bastards that stole them? Sounds like they knew exactly what you had, where and how to get it. Close at hand, I reckon.

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Yeah at the time I was living in a small town here in Oklahoma and playing a lot of shows with my band, so a lot of people knew what I had. I had an idea of who stole it the first time and when I found it at guitar center they confirmed that it was him, last I heard was gc took him to court and he didn't show up so ended up getting a warrant for a felony, I still don't know what he did with the others that I wasn't able to find. 

The second time I have no idea who it would have been. But luckily I don't live in that town anymore and not many people know exactly what I have!

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On 3/2/2016 at 0:43 AM, Prostheta said:

I build things that I would like to play, especially things that just don't exist. I rarely take an instrument through to the finished form, since I take more enjoyment from the design and build process. It's often that I like to see how something would work when realised. For example, I made two 30" scale 8-string guitars back in something like 2003-2004 when extended-range builders were only just keying onto 27". Not saying that I inspired the idea, but it was unknown as far as I am aware. Back then people were hunting around for 27" baritone Ibanez necks because nothing truly deviated from the 25,5" scale length enough to be playable.

I have maybe 12-14 instruments kicking around. Some are partially stripped simply because they don't need to be kept in finished condition. There are maybe 5-6 instruments in various stages of build.

To answer the question, I learn from them once they are "built" and then apply that to future iterations of work; once built they need to be truly something otherwise they end up being responsibly salvaged.

You know........you've several times said that finishing wasn't your strongest point. It sounds like you've got plenty of material on hand to shore that skill up a bit.:)

SR

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I think that it is mostly down to the fact that many finishes need a specific work area, and I have always concentrated on working wood. It's definitely an area I'd like to develop. 

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I did, yes. It still needs the fretwork sorting. I might actually end up routing out the back of the bass for a larger control cavity. Thankfully, French polishing is pretty amenable to repair work blending in. Much like nitro if you know how it'll react.

Perhaps I should revisit French polishing now I have a more permanent space set up. Even if it's not being used as a final finish, it's great for sealing and going under other finishes. Shellac is pretty awesome.

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How do y'all go about pricing your instruments? From looking at a lot of luthiers it seems like the prices are all over the place. 

Not that I'm looking at selling any right away but when I do I would like to know it is priced accordingly. 

I can see how materials can affect pricing (the 2 guitars I'm building now, 1 I have $150 in wood and 1 I have $400 in wood) so I could see how that would affect it, but what about labor and profit margin? 

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It depends on how you classify yourself. A proper price for a very basic solidbody which is part of a standard design suite with minimal customisation should rack up at no less than four figures (USD, EUR, etc). That's right at the bottom end. Anything less and one is underselling their time and self-worth. It's also counterproductive since there is no prestige associated with bargain basement customs. Step it up to experienced luthiers on the cusp of "boutique" and you won't see any less than three-four large. Beyond there it's anybody's guess.

In terms of a "how" and now "how much", you pretty much double material costs (including scrap/losses) and add on hardware, consumables, etc. with markup. The rest is time (whether you do a day rate is your call), admin and miscellaneous costings. That's just a very generalised breakdown which you apply to your own circumstance and personal leverage.

Most of the time, the price of materials is negligible in comparison to your hour/day cost.

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@Prostheta thank you for that, that was really great advice! 

As ive said before I'm no where near ready but I would like to get an idea on my future and where I would like to be. 

I would imagine i would end up doing an hours cost instead of days because my building is always here and there and don't have set days that I can put to just guitars with working 2 jobs and all. 

That has definitely given me lots of insight, I was thinking for a very basic run of the mill guitar it would be in the $1000-1500 range but then I got to looking around and there is quite a few company's, mayoness for this example that has a very basic mahogany body bolt on neck guitar that is pushing closer to $3k, but then again they also have to pay employees, rent, marketing and all of that so that's where I started wondering more on the subject. 

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