estebanana -> RE: how to sell guitars (Jun. 17 2021 22:39:14)
This should save Simon the time. It's the conversation pasted back here from the prinatable version-
Guest -> Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 13 2021 13:29:20)
This is an easier question to answer for classical guitars in Wales, but I'm curious from the flamenco luthiers perspective, how do you start out selling your instruments as new luthiers?
I'd imagine this process is easier in Spain where the flamenco scene is largest, but also I'd imagine it's quite different than the rest of the world i.e being able to approach players and just show your instruments relatively easily.
Would love your guy's experience as always
Hwyl fawr butties
Escribano -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 13 2021 13:37:21)
Anders Elliason (for a many years in Spain), as an example, built a following through forums such as this and I made a documentary about him, which didn't hurt at all.
Stephen Hill is based in Spain but was active in the Lewes luthier scene before that and he now runs successful building courses in La Herradura. He also makes classical guitars.
Being in Spain adds credibility and you can find a player to show off your guitars more easily.
Can't speak for others but being active on forums, YouTube and social media is an important way to get your name out there.
Also, being very good at it, approachable, great with customers, reasonable pricing and consistent helps a lot [8|]
Guest -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 13 2021 18:12:12)
Thanks for the reply butty!
I don't know that I will ever make a true flamenco (still undecided) but am fascinated with the instrument and would love an opportunity to learn more first hand about them.
One of the last things you mentioned was price and this is again something I don't quite get with flamenco guitars, I've seen online luthier made Brazilian rosewood negras for €1500 and can't quite understand it. Made in Spain not china and all solid wood. Plus a few extra bells and whistles that set it apart. I'm a new luthier so I charge £1500 regardless of the type of guitar or timbers involved. I'm lucky that I can afford to do this as most people wouldn't be able to live with that little money at the pace I build (family commitments really restrict my output).
So how much do new flamenco luthiers actually charge and how quickly are they working to build their reputation?
Escribano -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 13 2021 18:35:16)
You are going to have to be very good, with years of experience and satisfied customers to command 2500-3000 Euros. One every 4-6 weeks. I can make that in a week in software.
Guest -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 13 2021 19:06:25)
I get what your saying truly.
But it's not about the money for me. I am 31 now and worked a well paid job I HATED until I was 30. I was lucky that by then I had paid off my house cars etc with a nice pension pot and investments to boot. I am now able to care for my son full time (which is my only goal in life) while keeping a few hours a day while he is in school to dream and build guitars. I don't know how much success I will or won't have. I know what I build sounds good but wether that's enough who can say. I hope for the best. Who knows maybe one day you yourself hold one of my guitars and say it's good? Or not?
I know I can accumulate even more money by going and doing another job I hate but honestly, seeing men where I worked die before they saw a penny of their pension with hundreds of thousands of pounds in the bank really put me off. Who wants to be the richest man in the graveyard?
I hope you enjoy your work as I now do mine, and if not suggest that maybe it's not too late for a change?
Hwyl fawr butty
RobF -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 13 2021 21:08:39)
It may be helpful to seek out some of the guitar makers in the South of England and Wales (and further afield, if practical), introduce yourself and see if they are amenable to having you over for a visit.
That is likely the best next step for you, as the makers in your area will be able to outline the demographics that you’ll be dealing with when starting out, as well as possibly give hints on how they developed their careers in your part of the world. They may even be willing to provide you with some contacts.
Be prepared to sing for your supper, or at least pay for supper for them and their families. Pay attention to the layout of their shops and any advice they are willing to give, keep an open mind, and be respectful. If you have an example or two of your work to bring, then by all means do so, and if they are so kind as to critique it, be gracious enough to take the criticism on the chin and bear it.
Personally, I’m short on philosophy, I seem to be most comfortable with trying to provide practical problem solving advice to new makers, with the hopes of helping them develop a luthier’s mindset, rather than to provide cookie cutter types of solutions. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I should keep my involvement on the Foro to that narrow path, so that’s about all I can or will offer for now.
johnguitar -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 13 2021 21:44:50)
As in anything these days, if you want to sell something you need to get on people's radar. You can interpret that as "being aggressive" with your sales techniques, flooding the internet with photos and videos or convincing a well-known player to be seen with your guitar. It is very easy to make a beautiful webpage and call yourself a "master luthier" but that is why so many people do it and therefore it gets them nowhere. My experience working in Spain is that unless you are a player and take the guitar to the peña and allow it to be passed around it is not easy to get exposure. You have to be pushy but there always seem to be two or three hobby makers for every one player and the hobby makers have no qualms about insisting that the players try their guitars. I always feel like players get way too many people wanting to show them guitars one on one. This is not to mention that there are obviously great makers here and competition is stiff, so no, not easy.
If you are like most of us who work with our hands you will have trouble selling yourself (this is what selling a guitar comes down to) so your best bet is to find someone to do it for you. A player who loves what you are doing or a shop which will buy your guitars have been by far the most important factors for me. Interest in my flamencos went through the roof after I started selling them at the place in Santa Monica and the german flamenco shop. I had a player too that helped me sell quite a few flamencos to the people around him. I don't think he is that great a player but he was influential. And right now the guy with the shop in Madrid is loving my flamencos; see the video in this thread. http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=335640&p=1&tmode=1&smode=1 This shows you that they will do a fantastic job of promoting you if they like your work.
estebanana -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 14 2021 1:42:50)
Since you ask.
Build a few first. Make them reductive, simple binding and make a rosette by studying 1920-1950’s Santos- Esteso- Barbero rosettes
Do Not Make a negra- use cypress. Make the heel sexy, study Arcangel.
Don’t show your stuff to a dealer before you figure it out, nor should you let dealers see guitars you make quickly for your buddies. ( that’s a past mistake of mine)
Only show them your most formal work, otherwise they will form an unfavorable opinion about you. The incidental nuance and evidence of a guitar being made that we find so charming in antique guitars is of zero interest to modern dealers evaluating contemporary guitars. Everything had to be slick. Flamenco guitars are in some ways harder to make than ‘classical’ guitars because anything can pass as a classical to the right players. Flamenco guitars have a narrower envelope.
The curiosity of making a flamenco guitar should be the motivation, not the sales aspect. Think about how this project could inform your ‘classical’ building rather than whether you can sell them. As least for the first one. If curiosity isn’t the motivation the guitar will have no mojo.
Ricardo -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 14 2021 15:56:33)
1. Work with good players and let the players try out new versions of your build and as the work improves, so grows your reputation prices go up and after several guitars you start to get a wait list going.
2. Sell one to a rich lawyer/doctor for inflated price and watch as his enthusiastic rich buddies line up to get one for their closet. Put a gold star inlay in the headstock and call it “elite model”.
Either path works.
Tom Blackshear -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 14 2021 19:42:33)
What do you do when a guitar maker rings your door bell?
Pay him for the pizza.
It's always best for most builders to keep their day job and enjoy building guitars as a hobby.
I did and enjoyed a long association with it without starving; owned a carpet cleaning company, sometimes earning $3,000 a day doing flood work.
Stephen Eden -> RE: Actually selling guitars? (Jun. 15 2021 8:52:34)
First thing when selling guitars in the UK is to forget about flamenco guitars. We are far to close to Spain. If flamenco is your thing then build one, learn from it then build a better one. You'd be able to sell them fairly easily for under 1k on ebay. At the moment I'd say my flamenco guitar to classical guitar ratio is 1 in 10 to 1 in 12.
Best bet starting out is classical. In the UK you will need to focus on shops really. That's where you will get most of your exposure. So London guitar studio is now the main shop in England. DK guitars in Glasgow is starting to look pretty good and a fairly new one is classical guitar Academy. The most well known one Kent guitar classics is closed now as he retired.
Other than that get in to guitar expo's where you can show your work along side other builders and more people will be willing to at least have a look. Most of them have a makers show case now where a pro will play your guitar in front of an audience for a piece or two. Don't go in expecting to sell anything unless your work is exceptional at an exceptionally low price. After a few years of doing it you will start to get noticed!
Hope that helps