#1
I hope this is the right forum to ask this

I guess it's not so much a question as a plea for advice?

Over the past two years, I've mulled over several different career choices. And yesterday, it finally hit me. I want to open a music venue here in my new hometown.
I live in St. George Utah. Located 2 hours north of Las Vegas and 5 hours south of Salt Lake City.

Nice place to start and raise and family and also to retire. The thing is, there is not very much for the age groups in between 10 and 65. As I was thinking of what I could possibly do to create a unique venue here, I struggled to think of what I could couple the actual venue with. And then it hit me. I could open a guitar shop right on location. Sales, repair and possibly dabbling in building extremely select custom guitars (think Orange County Choppers with guitars). I'm not planning on opening an entire new line of mass produced guitars such as Ibanez or Fender. But definitely looking to perfect my "look and feel" into projects that I feel would be worth my time and effort.

That being said, I face a dilemma with schooling. I plan on going back to college and getting an associates with an emphasis on Business Management. After that, I would like to attend a Luthier school and learn how to repair, build, service etc. etc. acoustic and electric guitars. Hopefully by then the economy starts to look on the rise and I can find work either out of my own garage doing whatever repair work I could find or attaching onto an existing shop here and getting some experience while finishing my bachelors.

I've read in other places to buy a do it yourself kit and see if I enjoy doing that. Either way, it'll be a costly investment and from what I've read, unless I'm world-class, I shouldn't rely on it being my only source of income, which is where running a venue and adding other services to it comes in.

Any advice on what I'm dreaming of doing is highly appreciated. I'm only a kid (21 years old) and I have plenty of life ahead of me. I'd just like to leave the mistakes at a minimum


TL;DR version:

Looking to learn how to build and repair guitars, open a venue/repair shop. Need advice.
#2
Good luck is all I can suggest. Like any business, the initial cost of capital is insane. You WILL be broke and in debt. You'll probably have to live on Ramen Noodles for a while.

It's a huge investment, and you should really see if you can do something that nobody around you can. You have to stand out. There is way too much to starting a business.

It could be an idea to start a very small shop, but host music venues for free for a while. Once it catches on, charge a small fee.

Other than that... good luck man! If you need guitars to sell... hell PM me I'll whip up a ton for ya!
#3
I think it'd be a great idea. St. George sounds a lot like the town I used to live in. Best advice I can give you: Make sure the venue is multi-faceted. If it's a closed-in club, serve food on non-show days. If it's an outside stage, do an open-mic night or something during the week.

If you can constantly change up what the venue does, you can expect a much wider customer base. More customers=more business=more guitar work. Also, having your own techs on site for smaller gigging bands would also help with the satisfaction aspect. A satisfied band will come back to you for any repairs and orders they want.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#4
you basically just told out my life's dream. I applaud you and wish you the best of luck. also you might want to have some commercial lines in your shop just to boost revenue. a lot of people stray away from custom built guitars because they get very pricey. but selling your own line of guitars is a great idea. the music venue. would you be talking outdoor or indoor. or like and outdoor with indoor capabilities.
Oh Hey look at my signature
#5
Go to local shops and make sure you stock every brand that they don't.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#6
Quote by ohspyro89
Good luck is all I can suggest. Like any business, the initial cost of capital is insane. You WILL be broke and in debt. You'll probably have to live on Ramen Noodles for a while.

It's a huge investment, and you should really see if you can do something that nobody around you can. You have to stand out. There is way too much to starting a business.

It could be an idea to start a very small shop, but host music venues for free for a while. Once it catches on, charge a small fee.

Other than that... good luck man! If you need guitars to sell... hell PM me I'll whip up a ton for ya!


Not entirely accurate.

A "business", is simply where you trade goods or services for money. How big, elaborate, numerous or expensive those goods or services are, is immaterial.

Having a plan is good. If you set out your goals, with timescales you have something to aim for. It is also useful when writing a business plan, when trying to ring money from banks.

So start small. My friend in the USA, started a paintball company from his dorm room in college, doing parts and so on. Now he is probably one of, if not the largest retailer of it's type in the USA or here in Europe.

Get your education. While you are doing that, learn online and from books about guitars, fiddle with some, burn your desk with a soldering iron and start a fire...assuming you don't die, it's all experience isn't it!

From the tiniest acorn, a mighty Oak shall grow....
Quote by Cal UK

...that's what Skeet always says anyway and he's a sex god.


Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list


I support Shay van Fani
I can supply WD Music, ABM and AllParts products to UK builders at DISCOUNTED prices!
#7
Quote by bv310
Go to local shops and make sure you stock every brand that they don't.


Great advice.

Start a new business and stock all the crap that nobody else will, because it doesn't sell.

But yes, finding a niche is good. Put yourself out where others won't to get those weird bits, that others can't be bothered with.
Quote by Cal UK

...that's what Skeet always says anyway and he's a sex god.


Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list


I support Shay van Fani
I can supply WD Music, ABM and AllParts products to UK builders at DISCOUNTED prices!
#9
Quote by Invader Jim
TS, we get a thread like this at least once a week. Matter of fact, this is the second one in 3 days. Use the search link above the first post.

Damn Jim. cutting the guy down. big bad Jim crushing this man's dreams. No I'm only fooling with you. You are a very helpful guy.
Oh Hey look at my signature
#10
Skeet, I didn't mean for him to stock crap. In my town, the two shops only stock a small handful of brands. These do NOT include: Ibanez, Gretsch, Epiphone, PRS, Martin, Seagull, Godin, and lower-end Fenders.

Ampwise, the two of them only stock Marshall, Krank, Vox, Fender, and Orange between them.

For anything else, people have to drive an hour and a half (or more) just to buy them. If a shop opened up here and stocked even half of the brands that are missing, they'd be able to turn a good profit. If they offered lessons, they'd have that niche cornered as well.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#12
Quote by Skeet UK
Great advice.

Start a new business and stock all the crap that nobody else will, because it doesn't sell.

But yes, finding a niche is good. Put yourself out where others won't to get those weird bits, that others can't be bothered with.



Tons of local music shops i've been to only stock the most mainstream of mainstream guitars, MIM Strats, Gibby SGs, etc.

Selling lesser known high quality guitars to avid guitarists is a great way to get your business noticed.
#13
Quote by Schism1985
Tons of local music shops i've been to only stock the most mainstream of mainstream guitars, MIM Strats, Gibby SGs, etc.

Selling lesser known high quality guitars to avid guitarists is a great way to get your business noticed.


This seems to be the opposite problem of my local music store. They mainly sell expensive high end stuff and a little bit of low-end stuff (and a bunch of Spiders) with not much stuff in between. Good thing they take orders.
Last edited by TheLetheProject at Aug 4, 2009,
#14
I'd love to find anything other than low-end and extreme high-end crap in this town.

Seriously, the one place had a Gibson Darkfire (new Robot) and an Epi Special II SG, but no Gibby Studios, Standards, or anything under $2500 or over $200. It's weird as hell, but kind of makes sense. They try to cater to beginners and experienced guitarists, not interemediates who aren't entirely sure what they're looking for, but know to test stuff out.
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#15
My apologies to Jim. I have a one track mind and didn't think to use any search function beyond Google. I've been around forums long enough to know to use it. My fault.

Anyhow, we have three guitar shops here. They are all limited selections and unfortunately I feel comfortable at one of them. There's a really nice shop that sells nothing but home-built stuff and I'm afraid to breathe in there, much less ask to play anything (which they forbid anyway). The other is mainly a family oriented instrument rental shop. The third shop, the one I'm comfortable at, is simply not run very well and stocks a poor selection of instruments most of the time.

I know I can create a niche for a music venue with two stages for larger and smaller acts, and possibly have a convertible cultural hall for school dances, receptions and the like for income while the touring summer bands retreat home for the winter. I know I can have an in-house recording studio, guitar shop and be open to selling instruments for the bigger grands such as Fender, Gibson and Ibanez. I know I can sell my own limited line of guitars.

That's what I envision and I'm not afraid to attempt to build a multi-faceted facility that will be unique amongst the legions of Guitar Centers of the world. If the passion is there, I am beyond positive that I can accomplish it.

I have friends going into restaurant businesses and amp and pedal building businesses. I have a strong network already to establish something that can take me places and hopefully attract customers from 2-5 hours away.

I just have no idea where to start besides college and luthier school.
#16
crawl before you walk.

maybe start out as a booker for a local venue or rent out a vfw every month for a show. start small and learn the ins and outs of the business. while you do that learn how to build/mod/repair/setup guitars. set owning a business/venue as a target goal in 10-15 years when you can afford it or the debt that comes with it. plus by then you'll have already done all the "rookie" mistakes and been involved in that industry long enough to know the things you need and the things you dont. plus you'll have 10-15 years of networking under your belt.
#17
Yeah, In my town we have two music shops, both of them only stock really crappy begginers gear or stupidly expensive high end gear. Which to me, from both a customer and a business point of view, makes no sence what so ever.

So selling midrange good quality gear that not cheap and tacky but also not thousands of moneys would be a good idea.
"In modern music, a lot of people are really stuck on the example, asif it were the idea. It takes millions of examples to articulate an idea, so don't get stuck on the f*cking example." - Joshua Homme, 2008.
#18
If I were you, I wouldn't just stock every squier and epiphone beginner guitar you can get, but more check out a bunch of different lesser known brands which do good quality gear. Then you can ensure the kids and other beginners that your lower priced stuff is definatley worth it. I hear Tokai do great stuff in the £355 range, which I'd say is just above beginner stuff but you could definatley persuade them it's worth it. And I'm sure there are some other cheaper stuff which is alot better than just the expected squier strats and epi lp specials.

Not entirely reveloutionary advice but I thoguht it wouldn't hurt to post it.
Quote by WtrPlyr
Quote by alans056
Maybe the price tag is clouding your judgment ?
yeah probably. Or the circuits.
#19
If you really want to learn how to create guitars, see if you can learn from Dan (the owner of dans guitar repair) right across the street from sonic and the pottery store with the signs talking about pot.