#1
Does anyone have a rough estimate of how much (in USD) a luthier would make in a year? I'm researching jobs for school.
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#3
I think it varies greatly...


It's not like a job with a stable workload for a lot of luthiers I assume.
#4
Thats like asking how long a piece of string is. Its completely dependant on the market in your area, the competition, your skill as a luthier etc.

Suppose there is the potential to make a lot of money at it, but at the same time, if no one in your area is after a custom guitar, you probably wont make alot.
#5
Quote by Dyers
wut is a luthier? im assuming it has to do with the luthern church


Someone who hand builds guitars and stringed instruments for a living or a side job. I've always wanted to learn the trade myself, I'd love to be able to build my own guitar.
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#6
I'm not sure what average is, but at my housemate's work his boss charged $50 an hour. But the both of them are VERY quite capable. IMHO, $50 well invested at their place for the quality of work they can do.
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#7
okay, say someone were to get a job with gibson or fender mass producing their guitars. Does anyone have any idea? It doesn't have to be the actual number, just a rough estimate. I have no idea at all.

EDIT: Thanks, jedilly
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#8
Quote by Dyers
wut is a luthier? im assuming it has to do with the luthern church

The bullets go in the little turny thing. Load them pointy end first.

Put the turny thing back into the revolver. **** it and place the muzzle in your mouth. Aim towards the back of your head/top of your neck.

Pull the trigger.


...btw a Luthier is someone who builds guitars. Lutes were the predecessors of guitars. Hence lute-thier.

And to address the question they don't make ****.

Plus they are outsourcing it to Asia just like every other decent job known to mankind except for car mechanic and surgeon which they'll figure out how to get rid of, too, eventually.

Have a positive day!
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#9
^ thatd be a factory job. Starting out probably minimum wage, not salaried
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oh and btw how do u put a quote in ur sig??
#10
I'd say anywhere from very little to a plethora. It probably depends on who you work for, your skill level, and how many guitars you build.
#11
In general, not much. Well, they make a fair amount, but unless you're making a lot of guitars or doing a lot of repairs, your profit margin is fairly low. Factory jobs aren't very exciting as you work on one thing all day for several weeks and don't make much doing it.
#12
Depends on where, but I have no figures. Working at Froggy Bottom or Santa Cruz will certainly have a different yield than working at the Gibson factory.
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#13
Quote by Dyers
wut is a luthier? im assuming it has to do with the luthern church

Epic phail.
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#14
Quote by BleedDeathMetal
Epic phail.


I didn't want to say anything thinking maybe they were joking. everybody has to start somewhere.
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#15
My guess is the average production line worker at Gibson USA or Fender in Corona, CA aren't going to make much more money than your average production line worker anywhere else.

It's light assembly work. Maybe $30,000 a year? Probably less.

I'm sure dudes in the 'custom shop' make better cash.. but probably not by much unless they're names have become popular. Like i'll bet Abigail Ybarra at Fender gets paid a lot more than your average pickup winder.

As far as what does a guy at a shop get paid? Well.. if the shop charges $50 an hour, the bulk of that money goes to the shop to pay for overhead, etc. The guy working for the shop generally gets paid either by the piece (called piece rate) or an hourly wage.

Also remember just because folks charge X amount of dollars an hour, that doesn't mean they work or get paid 40 hours a week.

Finally, when it comes to repairs, consider the guitar market is flooded with cheapo instruments, and a brand new US made Fender can be had for just over $500. When stuff is that cheap, most big dollar repairs aren't getting done by repair guys.. it's just cheaper to buy a new guitar or try and fix it yourself. (or sell the broken guitar on eBay to someone who can)

Which means most 'repair' work for your garden variety luither is going to be limited to setups, pickup replacement/upgrades, adjustments, minor things like that.

Big dollar repairs are on high dollar guitars, and most of that stuff gets shipped off to the big name repair outfits. You aren't going to hand over grandpas 1959 Les Paul to the 19 year old kid with a Judas Priest t-shirt at the local mom & pop guitar store for a refret.
#16
Quote by Bubonic Chronic
The bullets go in the little turny thing. Load them pointy end first.

Put the turny thing back into the revolver. **** it and place the muzzle in your mouth. Aim towards the back of your head/top of your neck.

Pull the trigger.


...btw a Luthier is someone who builds guitars. Lutes were the predecessors of guitars. Hence lute-thier.

And to address the question they don't make ****.

Plus they are outsourcing it to Asia just like every other decent job known to mankind except for car mechanic and surgeon which they'll figure out how to get rid of, too, eventually.

Have a positive day!


You realllly don't have to be a dick to a person if they don't know what a 'luthier' is.
#17
Most luthiers make so little that they have to have another full time job just to pay the bills. The lucky ones (it's not always about talent) make a butload of money. If you are good at what you do and can invest the time and money it takes to get a workshop running and develop a name for yourself, then you can make a modist living but you won't get rish off the business. Most people that do it for a living are lucky to call themselves middle class.

Working for Gibson or fender is not the same as being a luthier. These people make typical factory wadges so I would guess that you could expect to start at $18,000 to $20,000 a year depending on your experiance.

It's never a good idea to get into something like this for the money. If you do you will just be disapointed.
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#18
Quote by Bubonic Chronic
The bullets go in the little turny thing. Load them pointy end first.

Put the turny thing back into the revolver. **** it and place the muzzle in your mouth. Aim towards the back of your head/top of your neck.

Pull the trigger.


If everyone who didn't know what a luthier was (that means including EVERYONE who doesn't speak english) was forced to kill themselves, the world would be populated with a couple of luthiers, some guitar geeks and maybe one woman at best.

That was ridiculously uncalled for man.
#19
It depends on a heap of factors, as a lot of people have said. I know guys like Ormsby had a huge outlay to get the gear and skills required to build guitars as a single job, but now he has an excellent reputation and everything he needs, I'm assuming he's making a decent amount of money (while putting a lot of work in).
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#20
Maton, Australia's largest guitar maker, who build guitars ranging from $700-$4500 (aussie dollars, lets just say they are the aussie Martins, kinda), pay their employees minimum wage. As an eighteen year old, thats $11.12 per hour (aussie dollars). To relate that to world incomes, a can of coke here is $2.80, and a big mac meal is $6.50, a movie ticket is $14. There roles are very simple, eg: they might be taught how to sand braces, and thats it. They dont get taught how to do an entire guitar, just one small part of it. Same goes for the gibson and fender factories, taylor, PRS, etc etc. There is nothing unusual about this rate of pay, or type of work, compared to other companies around the world.

I pay my assistant nearly double that, but i expect him to have more ability than a drone that works on the same task day in and day out.

Fact is, most luthiers are not even making enough to go full time. In my home state, there are 19 (at last count, 18 months ago) 'luthiers' who are charging for building guitars. Of those 19, only myself, and two others are full time. One has been in the business for over 30 years, and still struggles to sell a guitar.

I was lucky that i had a little bit of money saved, so i could go full time, and not worry about an income for a little while. It paid off. But, to get where i am now, i had to spend a LOT of money, and basically didnt spend anything on myself for years. Everything i made was invested back. I had to even move back into my parent's house for a while, to save a bit more.

But, income is totally irrelevant. There is not a single luthier out there who does a bad job, who is making a living long term (lets say 5+ years). Reputation is everything. If they arent any good, they seem to change directions and do something else (eg: used to make acoustics, now makes lap steels, or maybe just parts for guitars) to find the income. But, if they ARE good, that still doesnt mean they will make it. Building a business and career as a luthier is equal parts business skills, marketability, hand skills, location and luck.

Having said all of that, i do know someone who has been offered $100,000 a year to work for a certain company in their custom shop. So, the rewards are there if you can get it all right. But, thats just a rumour

Regards,
Perry Ormsby

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Last edited by ormsby guitars at Feb 20, 2008,