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To Build Or Not To Build


Dean
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I set in my garage/work shop and work on my guitar build.People stop by and talk and look at my progress.So here is my Question.This is only my second build and this lady wanted to know if I would build her husband a strat.I told her that I did not feel good enough to build for money,and told her I had a guy that could do it .She said she wanted me to do it and watch the progress.I told her I would let her know.What do you guys/girls think?I was thinking I would have her buy the hardware and all and do the labor for free,get more practice.Let me know what you think or any experinces you have had.Thanks Ron

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Easy. Tell the lady that you will not charge her any money up front but you will build a guitar and there is no obligation, if she likes it when it is finished she has the first opportunity to purchase and tell her how much you will charge. If she likes the finished product, great, if not,

a) sell it

:D keep it

c) give it away

d) keep parts, give wood away, try again with new wood

or any other options referred to in PG, :D

but this way you should feel fair dinkum about the whole process and enjoy the build,

good luck with it.

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Tell her no.

This is your hobby, not a show you're putting on for her pleasure, or for anyone else for that matter. Be polite about it of course.

But there are plenty of real luthiers who have put in the time and gained the experience and need the work --and I'm sure she'll find one who will let her stop by to see the progress once in a while.

The way I see it, she's either hoping to pick up a cheap guitar, or she's flirting with you, or both.

Just about every guitarist I know who has found out that I started building guitars has hinted around about getting me to build one for them-- of course, after I point out that the only way this would be worth my time and especially my effort would be if they're willing to pay me a couple of grand, at least, they give up on the idea, pretty quickly too.

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Tell her no.

This is your hobby, not a show you're putting on for her pleasure, or for anyone else for that matter. Be polite about it of course.

But there are plenty of real luthiers who have put in the time and gained the experience and need the work --and I'm sure she'll find one who will let her stop by to see the progress once in a while.

The way I see it, she's either hoping to pick up a cheap guitar, or she's flirting with you, or both.

Just about every guitarist I know who has found out that I started building guitars has hinted around about getting me to build one for them-- of course, after I point out that the only way this would be worth my time and especially my effort would be if they're willing to pay me a couple of grand, at least, they give up on the idea, pretty quickly too.

That is why I tried to point her to a real luthier that has done alot of work for me and gave me the confidence to do it in the first place.She's not flirting with me,she saw my first build and sees the progress of my build now and likes both...but my buddy could do a way better job then me and he does it for a living.I would alway send someone to him first....but she wants me to do it.I told her everything I have stated here,and I told her it is cheaper to buy one new then have me make it.I mite be willing to do it for cost of parts,just for the practice.Not sure yet.

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I would say do it.

but do it cheap, not for free.

you're not supposed to work for free, but u can make a good price. maybe just the price of the parts+wood+100 or 200 bucks, this money would pay some router bits, some sandpaper, help with the eletric bill, and buy you some beers.

but be very clear by saying that you do it as a hobby, and that this is one of your first guitars.

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What if her husband doesn't like it?

Don't you think you should be talking to the person who would actually be using it first?

And if you didn't think to ask that question, do you still think you're ready to build it?

Instruments are very personal things, what are the odds that your wife/girlfriend buys you a guitar sight unseen that you will like it a lot?

How many guitars do you try out before pulling the trigger?

How many get put back on the shelf and why?

People have all sorts of reasons for purchasing things, and if your transaction is to go smoothly, you should be gathering information that will help you make it successful, take nothing for granted.

And you should get paid for this, screw that 'I'll do it for the experience' philosophy.

Other people will assess that as a weakness on your part, whether you realize it or not.

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Heh, if she wants to watch the progress of a guitar getting built, convince her to poke her head around the forums :D It'll save you the trouble.

In all serious, though, I agree with Mickguard and Drak. You know a guy who clearly doesn't do it for just a hobby, and probably needs all the contracts he can get. If she still wants you to do it despite all that you've told her, I think there's something going on that I'm not catching.

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What if her husband doesn't like it?

Don't you think you should be talking to the person who would actually be using it first?

And if you didn't think to ask that question, do you still think you're ready to build it?

Instruments are very personal things, what are the odds that your wife/girlfriend buys you a guitar sight unseen that you will like it a lot?

How many guitars do you try out before pulling the trigger?

How many get put back on the shelf and why?

People have all sorts of reasons for purchasing things, and if your transaction is to go smoothly, you should be gathering information that will help you make it successful, take nothing for granted.

And you should get paid for this, screw that 'I'll do it for the experience' philosophy.

Other people will assess that as a weakness on your part, whether you realize it or not.

Her husband would be totally a part of the build.She told me she would give him the money and have him pick out what he wants.I know this sounds a little strange,she whated this to be a Chrismas present for him.I am hearing everyone,but Iam just trying to make up my mind if I want to do this or not .Believe me I know how personal a guitar is,and that is why I am having a hard time with this.I probably will not do it ,but never say never.

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What if her husband doesn't like it?

Don't you think you should be talking to the person who would actually be using it first?

And if you didn't think to ask that question, do you still think you're ready to build it?

Instruments are very personal things, what are the odds that your wife/girlfriend buys you a guitar sight unseen that you will like it a lot?

How many guitars do you try out before pulling the trigger?

How many get put back on the shelf and why?

People have all sorts of reasons for purchasing things, and if your transaction is to go smoothly, you should be gathering information that will help you make it successful, take nothing for granted.

And you should get paid for this, screw that 'I'll do it for the experience' philosophy.

Other people will assess that as a weakness on your part, whether you realize it or not.

Her husband would be totally a part of the build.She told me she would give him the money and have him pick out what he wants.I know this sounds a little strange,she whated this to be a Chrismas present for him.I am hearing everyone,but Iam just trying to make up my mind if I want to do this or not .Believe me I know how personal a guitar is,and that is why I am having a hard time with this.I probably will not do it ,but never say never.

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To build or not to build...That is never the question! You will build, and build you shall. If your making a guitar and it was just a one off thing, then no. But you have an obvious interest in the luthiery sciences and will be building another one regardless. You have one thing now that many of us do not, an excuse to build. I would definitely go with what Muzz said. Go piece by piece with the guy work on it a little and ask for no cash upfront. In the end if he says no, then you got that guitar out of the way and you probably had fun doing it. Few of us could be called luthiers, many of us could pull off the technician title, but all of us build out of compulsion to feed a hobby. I guess its how you feel personally. Maybe you don't like the guy. But if you are indifferent, maybe you could end up with another who shares your interest and the forum will gain another member!

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Ok, From what I make of this, you question your ability to make a quality guitar for them. If the whole motivation for doing this is to do them a favor (which is what it sounds like you are trying to do), then you should do what you have done and aim them at a person who has the ability to do the job right. The only reasons for having you do this will either be to save money in labor (which is at the risk of the product), or to fund your practice. If they are wanting to give you a Christmas present and cut you a check to fund a project with no expectation of recieving anything then go for it. If not and you want to give this a try to see if you can do it, then build it funding the project yourself and produce a guitar. If it turns out well then offer to sell it to them. If you want to give it to them for the cost of materials or if you want to include a value for your labor give them the asking price and that will be that. If you approach this any other way you are offering to meet an expectation that you are not sure your abilities are up to. If you are not interested in building a guitar that meets the specifications this person is looking for, I would not do it (as it may just be your personal guitar if it does not turn out just right). Even if you build this with your own money, there is still a likely expectation that it will be available as a Christmas present and if it does not turn out well (meaning you can't offer to sell it to them) you run the risk of hard feelings.

Peace,Rich

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Few of us could be called luthiers, many of us could pull off the technician title, but all of us build out of compulsion to feed a hobby.

To be considered a good technician requires more experience and knowledge than a person who can build a guitar (MUCH broader training). Repair skills are unique, and often times complex or greater in difficulty than starting from a clean slate. Many of us could probably hold our own making adjustments for setups, but likely would not come close to the speed of a good technition. I would figure the greater majority of us are no where near qualified to make substantial repairs on valuable or instruments of historic significance. I hold highly skilled technitions in the highest regards, because I am just no where near their level of either experience or knowledge. That is just my take, but I would also point out that I wouldn't call many young fellas tweeking setups in your corner guitar stores "good technitions" either.

I think I could hold the title "compulsive hobbiest", and pretty darn proud of it :D .

Peace,Rich

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It’s called balanced expectations. So the wife has seen your work and she likes it. Have her bring the husband by and have him check it out. Let him play one.

Balance their expectations off of the work you have already done and be clear with the husband that you are newer to building and still honing your craft but you’d be happy to build him a guitar if he still wants it.

Sit down with him and get an idea of what he likes. If it’s within your skill range, go for it. Don’t commit to a neck through if you aren’t sure how to make one.

If everyone knows what they are getting into before it starts I see no harm in you making a little money for your efforts.

As for pricing; I give a standard discount to very close friends and the few that stuck with me and played the sub par crap I put out in the early days of my learning process (no forums when I started!) Those people earn it and I can afford to take a cut because this isn’t my primary income.

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Speaking as someone who's currently building a guitar for someone else who asked me to:

1. I made it clear that although I'm confident in my abilities, I am not a professional at this (at least not yet...maybe someday).

2. I funded the project myself and asked for nothing in return until it's done and then only if I think it's good enough. (He had a body blank and some hardware in mind, and sent that to me. I told him I'd send the hardware back and pay for the body blank if things didn't work out.)

3. I specified that it will most likely take me months to finish it.

4. Most importantly, if either of us decides at the end that it's not what he wants or I'm not happy with it, we part friends, I pay for the body blank and give back the hardware, and he owes me nothing.

Everything's gone exceedingly well so far, and I'm very proud of and happy with the project so far. Best case, that continues and we're both happy. Worst case, I pay for the wood, send him the hardware, and keep the guitar.

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Speaking as someone who's currently building a guitar for someone else who asked me to:

1. I made it clear that although I'm confident in my abilities, I am not a professional at this (at least not yet...maybe someday).

2. I funded the project myself and asked for nothing in return until it's done and then only if I think it's good enough. (He had a body blank and some hardware in mind, and sent that to me. I told him I'd send the hardware back and pay for the body blank if things didn't work out.)

3. I specified that it will most likely take me months to finish it.

4. Most importantly, if either of us decides at the end that it's not what he wants or I'm not happy with it, we part friends, I pay for the body blank and give back the hardware, and he owes me nothing.

Everything's gone exceedingly well so far, and I'm very proud of and happy with the project so far. Best case, that continues and we're both happy. Worst case, I pay for the wood, send him the hardware, and keep the guitar.

I am liking this advice very much....and will probably be the way I go if I do the build.Weaponepsilon YOU ARE RIGHT IT DOES GET IN YOUR BLOOD and sometime I get my blood on it.I am way harder on myself then anyone else will ever be,that's a big reason I really want to think about this before I descide.I do have backup as my friend is a great builder and would help me if I got in a bind.(and yes he would be paid for his help) I do not use people even friends.Thanks to everyone for your input,keep it coming.

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