Poll: Would you be interested in this? and at what price?
Poll Options
View poll results: Would you be interested in this? and at what price?
Definitely Not
0 0%
Yes, as long as it is below £200
16 67%
Yes, i'd pay £200-£300
7 29%
Yes, i'd pay £300+
3 13%
I'd be interested in les paul/PRS style options
9 38%
Voters: 24.
#1
So, recently i've been playing about with a friends CNC machine to build some guitars. I've been having some pretty good success.

I've considered making some "low budget" guitars which are made to be tinkered with and upgraded. So they'll have a good body and neck etc, but the hardware is very basic.

My question is, would you as a guitar player be interested in this? and if so, what price would you be willing to pay for example, a telecaster/strat style guitar, with a maple neck and fingerboard.

Just a note to moderators: I am not selling anything here, and neither am I advertising to something being sold...I am merely trying to find the opinion of the public. I hope this is okay.
#2
$100 would be ideal, if you can still make a profit.

OK, $200 if MIA (or the UK)

It wouldn't even need to come with hardware at all; just drilled/routed for the bridge of choice and a swimming pool route will do for the pups.
Last edited by Black'n'Tan at May 5, 2013,
#3
$100 would only really be possible if it was made out of plywood.

Not sure I could even get the materials for under 100$
#4
Quote by ZodiacGuitars
$100 would only really be possible if it was made out of plywood.

Not sure I could even get the materials for under 100$


Understand, totally.

That's probably why we don't see a lot of this coming out of America or the UK these days.

But it's very cool that someone is thinking along these lines. Sometimes it takes a bunch of good ideas together to come up with something feasible.

What if instead of raw wood you started with pawn shop guitars (that you can get from under $100) and machined them into other shapes and refretted/corrected their necks?

Maybe a few other ideas added to this and you'll have a solid business model. There might be some extra cache from the "recycling" aspect.

But it would be tough at a higher pricepoint when you can buy a halfway decent budget guitar in a pawn shop for under $100 and mod it into something really cool for another $200-$400.

This probably isn't what you want to hear, but I think you do great stuff, have cool ideas, and I'd like to see you succeed. Good luck; I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.
Last edited by Black'n'Tan at May 5, 2013,
#5
Thanks for the great advice and positivity.

I'm thinking I could get a Basswood body, with a maple neck, and all the parts put together for around £100. So to add a profit. $200 is perfectly reasonable
#6
That was the original idea behind Chapman guitars wasn't it? Good body, but everything else designed to be upgraded in order to keep the price down.

He seems to be doing OK with it, so there's obviously a business case there.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
EVH 5150 III LBXII
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
#7
Pretty much I think. I guess its sort of what i'm looking to do...just cheaper than Chapman guitars :P

Correct me if i'm wrong, but a Chapman guitar would set you back more than £200
#8
Just looked it up. £370 for their "ML1" model.

I'm aiming to be able to churn these out from between £200-300 RRP, depending on the spec that the customer requires. While Chapman guitars are semi-mass produced in Korea I believe. I'll be making mine in the UK by hand (with the help of a CNC :P )
#9
Here are some pictures of my build that i've almost finished. Its sort of a "prototype" for building carved top guitars.

Specs aren't anything amazing, as I was just trying to see what I could do:

Basswood body
Flamed Maple Veneer
Basswood neck

Generally, just my attempt at a les paul custom.


Last edited by ZodiacGuitars at May 5, 2013,
#10
Quote by ZodiacGuitars
Just looked it up. £370 for their "ML1" model.

I'm aiming to be able to churn these out from between £200-300 RRP, depending on the spec that the customer requires. While Chapman guitars are semi-mass produced in Korea I believe. I'll be making mine in the UK by hand (with the help of a CNC :P )

They're made by Gould (part of the Barnes & Mullens group I think?).

Here's what I see as the initial problems you'll have with hitting that price range:
1 - Mass production is cheaper per unit.
2 - Korean production is cheaper than UK production
3 - You're starting to hit the price range where the branding matters. Why would people buy a name they've never heard of over names like Gibson Epiphone, Fender Squier and Gretsch Electromatic?

For those reasons, if you're hoping to make a living out of this, I think you'll struggle. You may make it pay pocket money as a part time hobby though.

The prototype looks good though, if you think you can create a quality product that looks like that at the budget you're aiming at there's bound to be a market for it somewhere. However, in order to create a market you may be better off coming up with your own design rather than trying to compete against all the millions of other LP copies that are already out there.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
EVH 5150 III LBXII
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
#11
Quote by ZodiacGuitars
So, recently i've been playing about with a friends CNC machine to build some guitars. I've been having some pretty good success.

I've considered making some "low budget" guitars which are made to be tinkered with and upgraded. So they'll have a good body and neck etc, but the hardware is very basic.

My question is, would you as a guitar player be interested in this? and if so, what price would you be willing to pay for example, a telecaster/strat style guitar, with a maple neck and fingerboard.

Just a note to moderators: I am not selling anything here, and neither am I advertising to something being sold...I am merely trying to find the opinion of the public. I hope this is okay.


Too many factors to say for sure... from playability, sound and how good it holds up. I thought about doing something like this myself, but the only way to make it worth while is to buy the hardware in bulk. Another option would to offer kits without the electronics and hardware. It would make nice projects for those who want to make it their own. jm2c
"I don't want to be hostile. I don't want to be dismal.
But I don't want to rot in an apathetic existence either.
"
-Maynard



| |
#12
Okay, I may look into making "guitar kits" then

If I could remake the Les Paul on a reasonable scale, without any paint or any parts. With a set neck. What would people be willing to pay?
#13
You can get basic kits from £50 upwards....and they include all the parts.

I suspect you may get away with charging £100ish if the body was particularly good.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
EVH 5150 III LBXII
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
#14
Looks alright, though basswood for the neck is a very poor choice. Basswood is nowhere near tough enough to be used as a neck wood; in fact it is pretty much the worst wood you could have possibly picked. Necks really do have to be made out of very strong woods like maple, mahogany, pau ferro, canary, wenge, rosewood, ebony, etc.

As for this as some sort of business model, you need to look at this as just being for the UK. By the time you work in shipping and importing, it's not worth pitching these to Americans. America already has loads of companies making replacement parts and guitar kits at all price ranges, from under $100 through to a couple of grand. Trying to add to their pool would just be a big headache and a waste of time.
Western Europe is poorly-served in these regards. I'd start out small then move up to higher-quality parts once you've got yourself established. To use Chappers as an example again, his first guitars were MIC and the second lot are now MIK. If you were to start off with basic woods and standard parts—Strat parts made of basswood, alder and maple, for example—then you'd probably see a fair few people hitting you up and then you can progress from there. Going for LP designs is a fairly good move, since LPs are some of the hardest models of guitar to get parts/kits for, though people do tend to expect a little better quality from LP parts than they'd accept for Strat or Tele parts.

Check out axesrus, allparts, wdmusic and northwestguitars for an idea of how much parts currently sell for.

Personally, if I was going to pick up a blank, unfinished LP body and neck that was made of cheap to average wood, I'd probably not be willing to spend much more than £200 for the pair. That would have to include really good fretwork on the neck and all of the most pain-in-the-arse routing and drilling already done. But that's just me.

I'd recommend you look into altering the designs, too. Gibson can and will shut down anyone making totally-accurate copies of their products (in fact, they are obligated to take action against such things). Same goes for Fender, PRS, ESP, Ibanez and whoever else. Companies have to protect their products. You can avoid all that by simply making the cutaway a slightly different depth or making the 'horn' sharper, making the body slightly offset or any number of other things. This could also bring in more customers; if you offer things like a design with inherently better fret access, or a thinner and lighter body, there may be people who will pay extra just to have an LP-style guitar with those sorts of features.
As someone working on a line of guitars themselves, I'm pushing to not copy any existing designs at all and only go for entirely original and practical ones. Simply copying what everybody else already does can only take you so far.

Oh, and if you do do PRS-ish parts, good on you. That's a market that isn't catered for at all outside of Warmoth and Vintage.
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
A child is trafficked and sold for sex slavery every 30 seconds. Support Love146.
Last edited by MrFlibble at May 5, 2013,
#15
On my "LP" models, i'm planning to shave the neck join down, so it almost looks more like a neckthrough for better higher fret access. Also the posibility of adding a belly cutout on the back of the guitars.

I've actually looked into PRS style models as well. I might get working on a prototype PRS model
#16
I wouldn't mind paying more if you give us the option to choose certain things. It would be cool to be able to choose if you want binding, inlay style/material, pickup layout etc... You could charge extra for certain options like belly cuts or neck carves/joints and make the stock option more regular for traditionalists like me.


You can even do things like sell the guitar without a finish or just with oil but have other finishing options available for a fee.
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#17
I would stay away from the LP Custom look if you're using rosewood for the fretboard. It looks insanely cheap.

I don't have much to contribute, I would never go for this sort of thing.

Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#18
That is actually just a cheaper piece of Ebony, which hasn't been "ebonised" like most guitars are these days. Its a common misconception that ebony is black all the time. Its far too stripey to be rosewood
#19
Yep, shame on me. I thought it wasn't rosewood, but I wasn't sure what it was, so I just said rosewood based on color. I know ebony isn't actually black, I've just never seen ebony that light before.

I should have just said light hued fretboards.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#20
Yeah, I should have "ebonised" it. But it was only a prototype attempt anyway, so I didn't think it was too important.

Doubt i'll even be selling it
#21
not sure of the market in UK , but why build cheap to compete with china ?? ... seems like the market is flooded with "cheap" guitars ......

why not build quality for a good UK price ??.... get a few guitars out there to some smaller stores , make it a custom made to order only, and come in at a price equivilent to a Fender American standard in UK but with custom shop quality .... shield pick ups and pots , ect and go for high quality , sell it to some smaller stores and get your reputation up , cater it too the smart people that don't blow there money for name brand but will for quality and detail , just worry about the local UK musician's
#22
Quote by ZodiacGuitars
Yeah, I should have "ebonised" it. But it was only a prototype attempt anyway, so I didn't think it was too important.

Doubt i'll even be selling it



save that guitar !! .... its a first , if you ever end up being a big company that guitar will be priceless to collectors
#23
Doesn't Andertons already do this with the ML-1 and ML-2?
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#24
Quote by JustRooster
Doesn't Andertons already do this with the ML-1 and ML-2?

Yep - those are the Chapman guitars I mentioned.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
EVH 5150 III LBXII
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
#25
So 2nd question I suppose...

If you could get a completely custom guitar built for you on a budget of £600. Describe it to me
#26
I think you could get away with being a simpler, less expensive warmoth that sells in the UK.
HILT!

Where's Waldo?

#28
Quote by ZodiacGuitars
So 2nd question I suppose...

If you could get a completely custom guitar built for you on a budget of £600. Describe it to me


Well I'll go with a strat, my favourite type of guitar.
1) Excellent neck and body. That's the thing that matters. People like me replace hardware every day or two but a decent slab of wood counts for something
2) Nitrocellulose lacquer. The best guitar finish
3) From your point of view, skimp on hardware. I normally change much of the hardware unless it's a very high end guitar e.g. fender custom shop
]
#29
If I were to make a Les Paul "kit" with mahogany body, and flamed maple cap, well made and great woods. I think I could turn it around and make a profit for around £250-£300
#30
Quality has to come first, especially for the UK and Europe. Te only good-quality parts and kits are from the US and Canada, which means hefty shipping and import taxes for us (not to mention long waits). If you can essentially do the same thing that Warmoth/USACG/Precision/Musikraft do but locally and therefore get it in at a price below what, for example, a standard body & neck from Warmoth + shipping and taxes would cost, then you're onto a winner.

As for the idea of a "a completely custom guitar built for you on a budget of £600", you shoudl be aware that selling guitars as completed products makes it far more likely one of the companies who think you're ripping them off will come after you. It's why there are so few kit companies and so many parts companies. Parts are easier to get away with.
That said, for £600 all I'd ask is that you do use the best-quality woods possible and that the parts are made to very strict tolerances with excellent fret work. I would not expect to get more than the basic body and neck for £600. Hell, I can spend more than that on pickups and hardware alone, wood be damned. I would be very, very suspicious of anybody claiming to have used good-quality wood in a guitar that comes in at under £600 with any level of customisation and made in the UK.

If you do go ahead with this, I suggest you hit up Wudtone (finishes and limited hardware) and The Creamery (pickups) as they are other UK-based companies making top-quality parts at a comparatively low cost, when you look at their competitors.
Yes, I know everything. No, I can't play worth a damn.
A child is trafficked and sold for sex slavery every 30 seconds. Support Love146.
#31
I bought an Axl BadWater SRO for just under $200 with the original idea to make it my project guitar which is underway right now. Make the basic construction solid and some nice and/or unique finishes and it's a good idea.

I bought the AXL mostly because I really liked the "distressed" finish on the guitar, haven't seen that anywhere else. All of the hardware is distressed as well, but the quality of the hardware is just not up to par. Ultimately I will also be replacing the neck with a custom order from Warmoth as long as I like everything else I finish for the body. (hardware, electronics, pick guard). I might have kept the neck except I want a fat profile and it seems every inexpensive model guitar available has a thin profile neck... I might keep it just to try my first attempt at fret replacement tho...
#32
please dont put any hardware on it at all. No point wasting money on you buying hardware if its meant to be upgraded. Put in stuff like the nut, truss rod, and good frets. But dont waste money on stuff people are gonna throw out anyway.

If that extra 20 - 50 quid that it costs you to put on hardware was spent on the quality of the fretwork, the wood or the finish then i think people would be alot happier
#33
i didn't read all the way through, kind of for a reason. this way i am not swayed by anybody else's thoughts. there was a company that did that a long time ago, included everything but came unfinished. it was $200 if i recall and it was shit. i finished it with a relic guitar (only way to make it passable from a finish perspective, think i sold it for about the same, but it did look decent after the work.

if i want a strat, to do something with, i see MIM's <$250 most every day, a lot of them are in nice shape. i would be secure in that.

if i wanted to do a strat or tele and pick it up so cheap, i would sell off the parts if i planned on keeping it, and upgrading. then you would have something decent, and upgrade as money comes in.

if can find one for that price and can play it in my hands, i would do that. if i wanted a LP i would just buy a faded gibson. they can be found for <$500 and are pretty good for the money. i have seen some with flaws, but not too many, i have one LP and a SG that are both faded and have treated me great.

also as far as supestrats go, i have gotten three prestige ibanez for $380, $500, and <$700 (2570EVSL, 1570 3550MZ respectably). hard to beat.

i just don't think it would be worth your time/energy/money etc. it would be cool to do a few, but don't quit your day job. the maket is rough and people are on edge.

and IMO your biggest competitor for ultra low budget guitars SX, dougless agile, etc. they are pretty cheap, i wouldn't buy one (don't need one) but a lot of people swear by them, and people that are fans of those brands may just go for one of those with common positive opinion and swap from there.

but then there is a croud of people that love DIY type stuff and it could be great for them to finish.

if i were to buy one, the ONLY way i would do it is if it was just a body and necks (better have a damn nice fret work), routed for what i want.

$150 i may consider.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#34
Sorry i've not been replying regularly, as i've been busy setting up things and implementing everyone's ideas.

To explain my plans simply: I'm making a UK version of warmoth, with better prices. Mainly to supply to the UK, and maybe further afield.

I'm currently working on a website which will be a mixture of blog/shop/community. I'm planning to put a forum together so customers can chat to each other etc. (not sure if i'll be allowed to put the link of the website in this thread when its ready)

I'll also work on the ability for members of the community to send their "for sale" items to me via email and i'll stick them on the site for better visibility.

Working on the SEO at the moment, under the main search term of "custom guitars"

if anyone is interested in emailing me regarding this "plan" then please contact me either via PM here, or by email at zodiacbusinessinfo@gmail.com

Thanks for all the great input guys
#36
Depends on what you're buying. However, i'm aiming for prepainted guitar bodies to be £80-150 dependant on woods. Necks to be dependant on pre-cut or not headstocks.

Prices will be revealed closer to 'release' so to speak. However I don't expect the prices to vary much from these predictions.
#37
There is now a Zodiac Custom Guitars website. However, it is still heavily under construction. I'm hoping to get it semi-ready next week.

I'm setting up some "How-To's" on the blog as well. Hoping to make 2 blog posts a week