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Hobby or career?


PRSpoggers
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1 hour ago, PRSpoggers said:

I am torn between either luthiery just being a hobby or making it into a career. I could work at PRS guitars since I live 45 minutes away from it, but I want to make money so I can thrive in life. What is my best path?

Go to school, get a Masters degree minimum in a field that is useful. "Not Art". Make guitars as a hobby, enjoy the $$$ and life.

We had a guy here on PG, that had his Phd in Astro Physics. He worked for the Carnegie Melon Institute of Technology and the Smithsonian. He was one of the first persons to discover that water was in the moon rocks we brought back in the 60s. He built some beautiful guitars. :)

Or follow the path of guitars, Like PGs own Rhoads56 Now known as Ormsby Guitars. :)

mk

 

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If you want to make money, leave guitar building as a hobby.

If you work in a big guitar building factory you are factory worker having your own dedicated task as part of the chain. Factory guitars aren't made from scratch by one person. Instead there's a group of specialists who do the one task they're assigned to. So instead of a "guitar builder" you can be a "buffmeister", "neck sander", "CNC coder guru", "designer", "wizard of clearcoat", "fretmaster", "hygiene technician"... Usually an apprentice starts by sweeping the floors and even that can be done wrong! The friend I've often mentioned was given a tad more difficult task as he already had 1½ years of luthiery school behind him: He was given a pile of CNC carved bodies from which he had to carve and sand the connecting bridges off.

As @MiKro said there's success stories as well. To make a living as a private luthier isn't easy, though. Even if you have designed the ultimate guitar which you can build as perfect as humanly possible they still may not sell as players just want "the authentic ****** sound". That's why PRS guitars are pretty cheap as second hand items. They're good but they aren't iconic.

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How come it just happened that the luthier friend just visited us today, it's been about a year since his last visit. Knowing that he still has contacts to his previous workmates in a guitar factory I told him about this thread and my comment about specialized tasks. Well, his answer wasn't what I expected!

If someone in the smallish factory said that his job was boring, the other workers told him to enlist himself to PRS as they were in need of a 320 grit sander. Yes, they really have sanders for every grit! They also have separated fret levelers, fret crowners and fret end rounders. Only in their Custom shop you may be allowed to sand through all the grits by yourself. Maybe.

There's currently open vacancies as for sanders, both first and second shift:

Essential Duties and Responsibilities’ of  Manufacturing Production Positions (Sanders)  (include and other duties may be assigned) 

  • Specific duties appropriate to the specific job will be reviewed during the interview process
  • Able to stand for long periods of time 
  • Close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust and focus
  • Regularly exposed to moving mechanical parts; fumes or airborne particles and vibration
  • Able to lift 15-25 pounds (depending on which area you are hired)

Requirements: 

  •  To perform well in production position, we require self-motivated, team oriented individuals with a passion to help out when needed and are willing to adhere to the quality standard of PRS Guitars.
  • High attention to detail, a desire to work with your hands is key!

Education and/or Experience:  High School Diploma or General Education Degree (GED); Trade School/or Luthiery School a plus

  • Woodworking experience and an interest in hand crafted products a plus
  • Guitar players - guitar aficionados and general guitar & music appreciation is always preferred!
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I'd go for a sane job that will eventually drive you insane, and then you balance it out with filing, sanding and routing through wood until you have a guitar. As folks here said, working in a huge factory isn't as romantic as you imagine it. As a student (12 years ago) I worked in an ice cream factory. To this day I am an ice cream addict, but that job almost killed the love I have for ice cream haha. I also used to ride and compete professionally at some of the most amazing skateparks across Europe, had sponsors... did that for two years, and the day I quit my sponsors and went back to college, is the day I remember as the day when riding was fun again. 

Now I do software engineering form 8-16 and I love my job, but what I love even more is taking a break from it and go to the skatepark to ride for myself, or go to the attic and bring some new guitar ideas to life. I can not imagine riding or guitar building as a full time job, I think it would suffocate the passion I have for those, but as a hobby, they are just the perfect thing to have next to software engineering. :) 

EDIT: but then there is also this:
Ergonomic Guitar Build - In Progress and Finished Work - ProjectGuitar.com

I think these are the beginings of Stranberg Guitars, one of our own. And Look where he is now :D but he doesn't produce them by himself now, it's a huge operation... so again, probably not the romantic path you have in your head. 

Edited by Gogzs
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On 12/28/2020 at 11:38 AM, Gogzs said:

I'd go for a sane job that will eventually drive you insane, and then you balance it out with filing, sanding and routing through wood until you have a guitar. As folks here said, working in a huge factory isn't as romantic as you imagine it. As a student (12 years ago) I worked in an ice cream factory. To this day I am an ice cream addict, but that job almost killed the love I have for ice cream haha. I also used to ride and compete professionally at some of the most amazing skateparks across Europe, had sponsors... did that for two years, and the day I quit my sponsors and went back to college, is the day I remember as the day when riding was fun again. 

Now I do software engineering form 8-16 and I love my job, but what I love even more is taking a break from it and go to the skatepark to ride for myself, or go to the attic and bring some new guitar ideas to life. I can not imagine riding or guitar building as a full time job, I think it would suffocate the passion I have for those, but as a hobby, they are just the perfect thing to have next to software engineering. :) 

EDIT: but then there is also this:
Ergonomic Guitar Build - In Progress and Finished Work - ProjectGuitar.com

I think these are the beginings of Stranberg Guitars, one of our own. And Look where he is now :D but he doesn't produce them by himself now, it's a huge operation... so again, probably not the romantic path you have in your head. 

The guy who started .Strandberg* guitars started on here!?!?!? Wow!

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On 12/26/2020 at 9:55 AM, Bizman62 said:

How come it just happened that the luthier friend just visited us today, it's been about a year since his last visit. Knowing that he still has contacts to his previous workmates in a guitar factory I told him about this thread and my comment about specialized tasks. Well, his answer wasn't what I expected!

If someone in the smallish factory said that his job was boring, the other workers told him to enlist himself to PRS as they were in need of a 320 grit sander. Yes, they really have sanders for every grit! They also have separated fret levelers, fret crowners and fret end rounders. Only in their Custom shop you may be allowed to sand through all the grits by yourself. Maybe.

There's currently open vacancies as for sanders, both first and second shift:

Essential Duties and Responsibilities’ of  Manufacturing Production Positions (Sanders)  (include and other duties may be assigned) 

  • Specific duties appropriate to the specific job will be reviewed during the interview process
  • Able to stand for long periods of time 
  • Close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust and focus
  • Regularly exposed to moving mechanical parts; fumes or airborne particles and vibration
  • Able to lift 15-25 pounds (depending on which area you are hired)

Requirements: 

  •  To perform well in production position, we require self-motivated, team oriented individuals with a passion to help out when needed and are willing to adhere to the quality standard of PRS Guitars.
  • High attention to detail, a desire to work with your hands is key!

Education and/or Experience:  High School Diploma or General Education Degree (GED); Trade School/or Luthiery School a plus

  • Woodworking experience and an interest in hand crafted products a plus
  • Guitar players - guitar aficionados and general guitar & music appreciation is always preferred!

They have people for specific needs, but I feel like doing one thing for 8 hours a day, 40 a week would just make me hate it. My eye doctor has a nephew who works at PRS and he's a sander and she says he loves it. I still gotta look around

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11 minutes ago, PRSpoggers said:

I feel like doing one thing for 8 hours a day, 40 a week would just make me hate it. My eye doctor has a nephew who works at PRS and he's a sander and she says he loves it.

That clearly tells that no matter what you do you can either hate or love it. It's a matter of personality and attitude. Some people are built so that they are happy to see what they achieve no matter if it's the same day after day, week after week. A job well done is their goal and reaching it makes them happy. Some are happier with a constant change.

There's a young lady I know who used to work at the grocery store, being the delight for both the customers and co-workers. After a decade she then tried telemarketing for some months but no matter how social she was, it just wasn't her place. So she went on the conveyor of a medical device factory with strict hygienic restrictions. She said that it's very refreshing not to have to worry about her looks wearing the mask and cap and lab coat.

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15 hours ago, PRSpoggers said:

The guy who started .Strandberg* guitars started on here!?!?!? Wow!

Yeah, really cool to see where Ola came from and where he is now. He even did an interview (or well, drunk coffee) with Ola Englund, the famous metal guitarist that also has his own guitar brand now (Solar guitars). Quite interesting talk, might help you see one of the paths you can go down with your guitar building career. Both of them even mention Project Guitar at some point in the interview. Really worthy watching. But yeah, in the end, it really depends on you and your personality. I could never see myself becoming master grit 400 sander, I'd rather chase goats trough mountain ranges than sand for a living, but that's me. To you it might be the best job ever. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind building a guitar a month for a customer or two here and there. 

COFFEE WITH OLA - Ola Strandberg - YouTube 

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Experience my examples prove pleasant activity not so very pleasant to become business activity. Person of great creation ability to be rare as person of business. Thing of enjoy transformation to bloody pain with accounts due, government tax burden office works, products dead time line, special equipment. Much more. No time do what you are good for and love best. I believe two best separate.

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On 1/4/2021 at 11:40 AM, PRSpoggers said:

They have people for specific needs, but I feel like doing one thing for 8 hours a day, 40 a week would just make me hate it. My eye doctor has a nephew who works at PRS and he's a sander and she says he loves it. I still gotta look around

I become belligerent and unreasonable when 8 / 40 .  Attention span of two hours for all things. Work or pleasure. Job description this thread sander at PRS I fail every specification except education degree. Would not like job. Hate fumes and particles. Unable to stand 8 hours, Unable to see or focus well long. All fail. They must continue without myself.

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