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Making Money


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It's that old joke: to make a small fortune building guitars, start with a large one.

It's a murderous marketplace, though. The best money is probably in guitar repair, otherwise you need to build a fantastic guitar, top notch quality, distinctive enough (but not too much...or not distinctive at all, as many out there make a living building clones), cut down production time so you actually end up making a decent wage, and then you've got to deal with issues like finding and keeping a customer base, etc. etc. etc.

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Hire some Mexicans

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I'm not offended by my MIM strat. Beats the heck out of paying someone for a custom build.

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That was unnecessary and really offensive.

Yeah, pretty offensive. Unless he's talking about those guys from Paracho.... man they work fast!

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what are some good ways to make money by building guitars

Trick question, I say! The only way to make money in this field is to make a good name for yourself unless you're doing "for hire" work for multiple guitar shops in your area. I never plan on making a great deal of money doing what I do, but I'm happy to offer the quality work and put my power tools to work for the time being.

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Hire some Mexicans

That was unnecessary and really offensive.

It's not really that offensive... Down here in good ol' San Antonio something like 65% (I think thats the number, but not sure) of our population is Latino. Everyone jokes about it, but there is no racism hate. I can see how someone how lives up north wouldn't fully understand it because all they ever hear about it is whats in the news.

Back on topic,

Mattia hit the nail on the head. You need a topnotch product, great matketing, and a way to make your topnotch product quickly so you can actually turn a profit.

It's very very difficult to make a living doing nothing but building custom guitars. You have to be totally devoted to it, it's much like an artist, he might make next to nothing his entire life, but he still loves his job. You have to love it or leave it.

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I read the question, and thought : yes, it's very hard to make good or decent money building guitars (and also repairing guitars). Now, what comes to my mind when I think about most of the factory photos I've seen of Fender, Rickenbacker, etc. Why does Fender come to mind ? Because I suspect they make more profit than any other guitar company.

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The real money in repairing guitars is with vintage and high end instruments as well as warranty work. Are you good enough and qualified to do this kind of work? Otherwise, forget it. Over the past few months I've done repair work on numerous guitars, the most expensive was a Larrivee acoustic. I sure didn't make a lot of money, I'm talking 30 to 70 bucks a pop. These were mostly guitars that a regular established "luthier" would turn down because their price would likely be more than what the guitar was worth, unless the owner was fool enough to spend that kind of money or rich enough to pay because of some sort of sentimental value they had for the guitar. But in most cases the owners wouldn't want to shell out that kind of money on a cheap guitar. I only do the work to get the practice. :D

Edited by Southpa
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