Reached a crossroad, opinions welcome

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Jeff Pierce
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:26 am

Reached a crossroad, opinions welcome

Post by Jeff Pierce »

After building 5 electric guitars, I am at a decision point; stop building or find something to do with the guitars besides hanging them in my man-cave. I enjoy building things and I find guitars to be particularly good projects; complex enough to be challenging, beautiful to look at, functional, not so large a project as to be overwhelming or to take up more space than I have. The problem is that I don't play guitar and it seems silly to keep making them as wall-art. I have made a few tentative attempts to sell them, with seemingly no interest. I am uncomfortable with the idea of actively promoting my work because I know it is not professional luthier quality (yet). I have thought about possibly giving them away if I could find the right recipients who would appreciate them. I spend about $700 in parts and material building each one, so that would get expensive. Advice?

Mike Conner
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Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:12 pm
Location: Murphy NC
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Re: Reached a crossroad, opinions welcome

Post by Mike Conner »

Jeff, I have built 10 instruments as a hobby. I do have the advantage that I play them, so they can be more than wall art. I have the same feeling about selling them - I am not at the pro level that would justify promoting and selling my work, and that was never my goal or motivation. Some of the instruments were built specifically as gifts, and an acoustic-electric archtop guitar and a squareneck resonator were built built for me to play at church.

Please don't take this as negative or critical: It's natural to think of the cost invested in each instrument, but if they were built as a hobby and personal enjoyment for you, then the money was already spent for your entertainment and it is not loss if you give them away.

I have experienced many times that there are people, especially young ones, with a desire to learn but not the means. A gift of an instrument to them would be priceless, and could bless their lives in a lasting way. The satisfaction you would get from pouring into someone's dreams in that way is beyond words.

If you feel like gifting them would be fufilling, I would suggest you talk to music ministers at local churches, or music teachers at local primary or middle schools. They would know of deserving students with ability or talent that would be greatly blessed by your support.

If you have some instrument setup, adjustment, or repair talents there is always a need for that for existing instruments in churches and schools. That is another very fulfilling outlet for our luthier abilities.

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Peter Wilcox
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 am
Location: Northeastern California

Re: Reached a crossroad, opinions welcome

Post by Peter Wilcox »

I too have many instruments hanging around. I play music - bass and reso, used to jam and gig before covid, and I play guitar for my own amusement. But you can only play so many instruments, and the extra ones take up space. Those that I've sold I did to friends and fellow musicians, at cost. I've donated some to charity auctions through my daughter, and I plan on doing similar donations with the rest. I've exhibited a couple in local arts council shows.

For me it's been an enjoyable hobby, and has partially financed itself, which is all I could hope for. I am retired, live in the boonies, don't drink (any more), do drugs or go to bars, hardly ever eat out or go to movies or other entertainments, or travel to exotic places. Luckily my wife has hobbies too, and likes to watch TV. :)

So I'd suggest, if you can afford it, to donate your excess guitars to some worthy causes where they will do the world some good, and might even find owners who enjoy playing them.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

JC Whitney
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Reached a crossroad, opinions welcome

Post by JC Whitney »

… and if you donate to a charity, take the tax deduction and put that money into the next build.

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Bryan Bear
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:05 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Reached a crossroad, opinions welcome

Post by Bryan Bear »

I agree with much of what has been said here. I don't sell my instruments. I mostly give them away. Often I make them as gifts for specific people. I am lucky enough to have enough people who mean enough to me and who also would appreciate having one of my guitars. I also give some to charity.

The way I look at it, the costs to me in materials and tools are the cost of having a hobby that makes me happy. There are plenty of hobbies I could have that would cost as much in general but would not have an item to show for it at the end. If you are content to spend $X on a wall hanging guitar for the joy of making it, then it is a small leap to spend $X on your hobby and donate the item at the end.

Right now I am finishing a guitar for a dear friend of my late brother. He is taking up guitar and really wanted something I made. He keeps wanting to pay me for it but it really is cheaper to give it to him instead. I don't have to worry about real costs or costs of my time. I can just make it at my pace with him in my mind and heart and gift him some of my hobby time.

I bet you could find a local charity you believe in that has fund raisers. A hand made guitar by someone connected to the charity in some way makes a great raffle or silent auction item at a fundraiser.
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Clay Schaeffer
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Reached a crossroad, opinions welcome

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Hi Jeff,
Guitars like Bella are ART and should be considered and sold as such. As a relatively unknown artist $5K might be a reasonable asking price. If you are consulting with a good player who can point out any possible improvements in their playability (if needed) so much the better.
If old Detroit Iron and bananas taped to the wall can bring hundreds of thousands of dollars then a collection of unique "one off" guitars hanging in a gallery seems reasonable (even if they don't sell quickly it will get them out from under the bed and improve the feng shui :lol: )

Jeff Pierce
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:26 am

Re: Reached a crossroad, opinions welcome

Post by Jeff Pierce »

That is quite the compliment, thank you so much!

Clay Schaeffer
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Reached a crossroad, opinions welcome

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

I've sold a few instruments through a small local art gallery. They were fairly standard acoustic types (for which I won't claim any real "artistic" merit -unlike yours) and they did sell eventually. People who frequent art galleries are often just buying something unique to own and display. If it offers other opportunities for their enjoyment so much the better.
So I offer that as something for serious consideration, as well as a compliment. Nice work!

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