#1
I'm considering a profession as a luthier. I have some questions and I hope that you guys can answer them. As a luthier about how many guitars could I shell out in a month? How much of a demand is there for custom built guitars? Could I support a family on a luthier salary? How much money do they make? Any luthiers out there, can you help?
#2
Your best bet (starting out) would be to get a job at a guitar store or something. But honestly in todays economy you'd probably end up needing another job to support yourself let alone a family.
#4
Those questions lead me to belive you have little to no build experience, so I would start by building guitars for yourself first, untill you get good enough to know that you can make one start to finish perfect for a customer who is going to pay.

You can go two ways with 'how many guitars can you shell out' you can either run a CNC making simple guitars quicker, you now competing with people like fender and Gibson, which is a bad idea, or you can go for the full blown custom ordeal, and spend ages on the little details making sure everything is amazing, and your looking at may be 1 a month untill you get good enough.

There is a huge demand for custom guitars, there is also a huge amount of better well known luthiers out there.

I wouldnt bank on supporting a family on a luthiers salary untill you have a large customer base, rather have a full time job and build guitars on the side untill you are good enough to do the odd commision.


Unfortunatly all the responces you get will be mainly negative, but its just the truth of the matter, you have to be really good and really well known to stand a chance, or be operating in a place where no one else is and yet there is high demand.




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#5
*waits for ormsby to show up and own TS*

trust me, u dont just decide "im gonna be a luthier". if ur inexperieneced, youll do 1 build a month, and only make like a $200 profit (per guitar at 1 per month). fyi thts about $19000 below the poverty line.
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They stopped asking
#6
Well it looks like the replies are pretty negative. By the way I am still in high school and was seriously considering this profession, I plan to major in music and try to find a luthier school or course and get training then intern for a while before I got started.

I will getting some money at Christmas, How much would an acoustic guitar kit cost? Also how would I go about getting a fan base? What kind of advertising would I have to do?
#7
Quote by Panderan
Well it looks like the replies are pretty negative. By the way I am still in high school and was seriously considering this profession, I plan to major in music and try to find a luthier school or course and get training then intern for a while before I got started.

I will getting some money at Christmas, How much would an acoustic guitar kit cost? Also how would I go about getting a fan base? What kind of advertising would I have to do?

Grizzly sells a decent acoustic guitar kit for $100 but it's partially assembled. I am trying to do this too I want to be build guitars for a living. I don't think it's going to work out though I'm starting to sell mine now. I would start with electrics though.
#8
yeah, everyone wants to be a luthier on these forums, this topic comes up all the time. the only real "luthier" on here is ormsby as far as i am concerned, and he is a work-horse, and probably one of the best solid body guitar builders in the world. if you get really good, you MIGHT get a job in gibson/prs custom shop doing shit work and making 25k a year. basically, dont quit your day job, if you have one.
#9
Kits? Are you serious? Luthiers don't make things from kits...

We make things from trees.

Second, you get a customer base by doing great work for a long time.

Your best advertising will be reputation, but you should know that newspaper ads are either incredibly expensive, or too small to notice. TV ads are thousands, as is any form of noticeable public advertising.

The best thing you can do is word of mouth, or illegally stick up home made ads everywhere.

Unless you are getting $20000 for Christmas (which just might cover your capital), you can't just "start" a business of this type.
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#10
Would a kit, like the one from grizzly be a playable guitar? Or would it not sound good?
#11
Quote by Panderan
Would a kit, like the one from grizzly be a playable guitar? Or would it not sound good?

It's a decent guitar if you set it up right. You've got a long way to go to become a luthier though but it is a start. It's the first guitar I put together I did it when I was 10 or 11 .
#12
Quote by Panderan
Well it looks like the replies are pretty negative. By the way I am still in high school and was seriously considering this profession, I plan to major in music and try to find a luthier school or course and get training then intern for a while before I got started.

I will getting some money at Christmas, How much would an acoustic guitar kit cost? Also how would I go about getting a fan base? What kind of advertising would I have to do?


ME TOOOOOO!!! but i am going for the full blown custom stuff adn i have current ideas neck wise. i am not going to tell these because these r rare one easy tool to get is an automated router machine that spits out like a jillion errorless bodies and neck where you just have to paint them, and install things, finishing touches innovations, etc. i am getting one of the once my company gets off the ground but i need football season to be over. i already have been told that i have good ideas by seymour duncan personnaly and other sweetwater and gc ppl
#13
^There are so many things wrong with what you just said. but the tool is a CNC router. It costs anywhere from $5000 up for a good one, and it only spits out copies of the plans you put in. In short, almost everything you said is some of the dumbest stuff i've read on UG. A CNC does NOT produce errorless copies, it is simply the easiest way to mass-produce. A luthier is a buillder who handmakes guitars. A CNC is a tool for a factory-made guitar, with factory quality.

To the TS, luthiering is not a profession you can just think of and then BAM you're making enough money to support a family. It's an artisan craft that takes years of practice and trial-and-error to get good at. I'm just starting and I can see how much work is going to be involved in it.
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Last edited by bv310 at Oct 14, 2008,
#14
TS your not going to get any glowing its a great career to jump into and make a killing. Theres alot of demand for custom guitars but there are also alot of people who dont want to pay for them. And it would take a long time to build a reputation to be able to charge top dollar and get it.
#15
^Why isn't he going to get any glowing?

I want glowing
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#16
Well as soon as I get the 100$ I am going to order the steel string kit from grizzly. I think this would be a good project for a first timer with no experience. Right now I don't have enough money for anything else because I'm buying a new acoustic guitar.
#17
I think you should do some research. I also think you should look into it financially. If it takes you a while to get a 100 bucks, I think there is more to worry about.

Start with a solid body, and research all the processes enough to be able to do every part by yourself. Everyone seems intimidated by the neck, I didn't think it was such a huge deal.

Plus, an internet based forum isn't where you should be asking these questions. 95% of the members here haven't made much more complex things than a lego starship. But then again, 95% will install their opinion regardless of their knowledge.

Instead of buying the kit, go to a lumber dealer (Not Lowes or Home Depot) and buy some Alder or Poplar for the body, and grab a piece of maple for the neck. Then, make a guitar. The wood cost will be under 100 dollars, and if it isn't, go somewhere else. With all of that, you can make a body, and a neck. Then just buy the little things, like frets, fretboard, and all the hardware when you can afford it.

Oh, and don't rush, you will mess up!
#18
just move to west australia and work for perry.

but only if j00 h4z teh 5k1LLz0rz

/thread.
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#19
Quote by ohspyro89
I think you should do some research. I also think you should look into it financially. If it takes you a while to get a 100 bucks, I think there is more to worry about.

Start with a solid body, and research all the processes enough to be able to do every part by yourself. Everyone seems intimidated by the neck, I didn't think it was such a huge deal.

Plus, an internet based forum isn't where you should be asking these questions. 95% of the members here haven't made much more complex things than a lego starship. But then again, 95% will install their opinion regardless of their knowledge.

Instead of buying the kit, go to a lumber dealer (Not Lowes or Home Depot) and buy some Alder or Poplar for the body, and grab a piece of maple for the neck. Then, make a guitar. The wood cost will be under 100 dollars, and if it isn't, go somewhere else. With all of that, you can make a body, and a neck. Then just buy the little things, like frets, fretboard, and all the hardware when you can afford it.

Oh, and don't rush, you will mess up!


Well financially I think I would be fine, right now I have no money because I still live at home with no job or allowance. But I thank you for your advice I will research this and go to a lumber store for some wood.

Are there any websites for luthiers or luthiers in training, that provides information?
#20
www.projectguitar.com is invaluable to an aspiring luthier. it's got enough to get you started and has walk-throughs on building guitars. I'd say build one for you first, then see how it turns out before you start thinking about being a luthier
R.I.P. Les Paul, 1915-2009

A man chooses, a slave obeys.
#21
not that i know...

but it would also require a very stand hand, being familiar with things like routers, templates, painting, soldering etc... And being able to choose, pick, and find some amazing woods.

Also patience. I was looking at one of ormbsy's threads and I think there was a post where he dropped the neck, and it chipped and did another neck all over. But he does some amazing and beautiful work.
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#22
Quote by ohspyro89
I think you should do some research. I also think you should look into it financially. If it takes you a while to get a 100 bucks, I think there is more to worry about.

Start with a solid body, and research all the processes enough to be able to do every part by yourself. Everyone seems intimidated by the neck, I didn't think it was such a huge deal.

Plus, an internet based forum isn't where you should be asking these questions. 95% of the members here haven't made much more complex things than a lego starship. But then again, 95% will install their opinion regardless of their knowledge.

Instead of buying the kit, go to a lumber dealer (Not Lowes or Home Depot) and buy some Alder or Poplar for the body, and grab a piece of maple for the neck. Then, make a guitar. The wood cost will be under 100 dollars, and if it isn't, go somewhere else. With all of that, you can make a body, and a neck. Then just buy the little things, like frets, fretboard, and all the hardware when you can afford it.

Oh, and don't rush, you will mess up!

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA!! +99

anyways, im very interested in guitar building. what i would like to do is go to college, maybe becoming an engineer and build guitars on the side, then if i get good enough to were i can make some good money building guitars id make the switch. i realize that this is pretty unrealistic but we'll see what happens. till then ill just build them for fun. although i still havent built a guitar yet, i really want to, would like to do one next summer.
Last edited by necroscience13 at Oct 15, 2008,
#23
Hmm i have been comtemplating the same path... What i would like to know though is does anyone have any experience with the various Luthiery schools in the US, such as the Galloup School etc...