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NorCalluthier

 

Posts: 117
Joined: Apr. 16 2016
 

Flamenco guitar pricing 

Hello All,

I play flamenco. I don't play classical---though I love it. It seems that flamenco guitars are expected to cost less than classicals. I would love to make flamencos, but the only way I can think of to do it cheaper is to reduce the time I spend on inlay.

The Arcangel that I owned years ago was "full-dress Madrid" as I like to call it---shop made rosette, mitered side and back purfling, butt inlay...That shows that you really care about making a quality guitar, and I'm especially fond of that look.

So, I'm selling my classicals for $5500, and getting it. How much lower do I have to go to make my flamencos saleable? Any suggestions?

Cheers,

Brian
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2019 18:20:18
 
El Burdo

 

Posts: 429
Joined: Sep. 8 2011
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

Might not answer your question, but this is one of the best threads on the foro. It seems not to be just the inlay :-)

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=261713&mpage=1&p=&tmode=1&smode=1&key=seden
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2019 18:58:17
 
RobF

Posts: 219
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

I think if you're getting $5500 for a classical then ask $4500 for an equal quality flamenco. And if you do so, when the client says they can get a factory guitar made by blah-blah-blarpio in Spain or blah-blah-doba from China for less, or that in their expert opinion, if the guitar was was made using anything more than a broken beer bottle and a pair of your grandpa's toenail clippers it's not truly "handmade" then please, do us all a favour, and punch them in the face.

Seriously, if you can get $5500 for your classicals then why on earth should an equal quality flamenco sell for any less? .....*editied by me to remove a bunch of pointless ranting drivel*.... IMO charge $5500 and if the guitars can't sell, then stick to classicals. This race to the bottom is only going to lead to no luthier made guitars whatsoever.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2019 20:48:52
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 2659
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

For me personally I charge more for classicals just because there is more labor involved in the way I build them. More intricate soundboard construction, thoroughly reinforced sides to enhance sustain and projection, pore filling, more elaborate purfling. Comparing my classical guitars to my 2a blancas with stripped down aesthetics there is a week or more difference in labor time. And my regular blancas/negras are somewhere in between.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2019 20:49:47
 
RobF

Posts: 219
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Each of my guitars is fairly unique and I tend to price based on the instrument, although I have a ballpark I work from. What I find frustrating is that for equal quality instruments, there seems to be the perception that the flamenco should cost less, and you have to deal with that perception when interacting with the client. Classical players seem to be more understanding that a good instrument is going to cost money. This is just in my limited experience as a Canadian builder. When I bring a flamenco guitar to Spain there seems to be less struggle, again coming from a fairly limited data set.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2019 21:02:36
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 2659
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

The funny thing for me is that GSI sells my classicals for $5,500 - usually within days or minutes of going up on the site - but people aren't exactly breaking my door down to custom order them from me for $4,600 (though I do usually have at least a reasonable waiting list). Sometimes people need that "stamp of approval" before pulling the trigger I guess.

I actually like that flamenco guitars are cheaper than classical on average. In the flamenco world, traditionally made instruments are still much more acceptable than they are in the classical world, which means less fussy, more direct working methods. Most flamenco makers aren't bothering with Nomex sandwich tops, lattice bracing, raised fingerboards, carbon fiber bracing and all that jazz.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2019 21:53:39
 
RobF

Posts: 219
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to Andy Culpepper

Making flamenco guitars is closest to my heart although, in some ways, I find them more challenging to make than classicals. But, at least for me, classicals are easier to sell and for more money, too.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2019 22:12:40
 
JasonM

Posts: 870
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to RobF

Charge $6000. Then people will think that a Mr. Burns flamenco is worth more.

unless the guitar was was made using anything more than a broken beer bottle and a pair of your grandpa's toenail clippers it's not truly "handmade" then please, do us all a favour, and punch them in the face.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 4:28:59
 
RobF

Posts: 219
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to JasonM

quote:

...if the guitar was was made using anything more than a broken beer bottle and a pair of your grandpa's toenail clippers it's not truly "handmade" then please, do us all a favour, and punch them in the face.


I wish I could learn to stop myself before I post stuff like that. Sincerely, if anyone was offended please accept my apologies.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 6:46:52
 
Echi

 

Posts: 559
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

quote:

when the client says they can get a factory guitar made by blah-blah-blarpio in Spain or blah-blah-doba from China for less, or that in their expert opinion, if the guitar was was made using anything more than a broken beer bottle and a pair of your grandpa's toenail clippers it's not truly "handmade" then please, do us all a favour, and punch them in the face.


The problems I can see here are mainly 3: flamenco is a (way) smaller market than classical, with much less money involved.
Second problem is that guitars like the bla-bla-blarpio or other less known Spanish makers may sound better (more flamenco) than a guitar made by Caceres or Barba (not to mention other well known non Spaniard names): and I mean it by personal experience.
Second hand flamenco guitars are very hard to sell at my latitudes.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 8:25:21
 
RobF

Posts: 219
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to Echi

I'm in Granada at the moment and just a couple of days ago had a discussion with a gitano pro player about guitars. He made a heavy distinction about what guitars should be used where. For street playing or for a show in a small cueva where he is concerned about the guitar getting jostled he feels a cheap guitar is more suitable. For rhumba he feels a cheap guitar is also best, the impression I got was it was from both a sonic perspective and fear of damage perspective. He also feels a cheap guitar is simply more sonically appropriate in some situations. He went so far as to ask me if I could build him a "mala" guitar using cheap woods, but we quickly agreed that that would make no sense. He's owned a Negra of mine for a few years now.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 8:37:37
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1408
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

Could it be possible that the secondhand market for flamenco guitars is very different than the classical market?

If you do a good search, and enter the second hand market, it is not difficult to find a good used Granada hand built (madrid build is mostly more expensive because they drift on the classical market, an exeption for Conde) for 2500 euro or less?

Why would I pay more than, 6000 euro is a lot of more money.

Do not take me wrong, if you live in the states or europe, it is not possible to make a hand made guitar for 3000-4000 euro, but Andalucia is very different. For 100.000 euro or less, you can buy a nice house.

So, I think, there are a lot of builders in Andalucia that sets the price. If you want to enter that market, you have to be competetive with that pricing.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 9:27:30
 
RobF

Posts: 219
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to gerundino63

Hi gerundino, I agree the price of a new guitar may sound really high, but we have been talking using dollars and not the Euro. I think when the conversion is done the prices Andy and Brian mention are competitive. From what I've seen here in Granada, nobody is giving their guitars away.

At this point in time, my prices are lower because I am still building my reputation and I also adjust down a bit further for the EU market for the same reason. But my friends here are working to help me change that. There is a bottom line, however, any lower and there really is no point in doing this, making a good guitar actually requires work, as well as the investment in wood, equipment, and education.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 9:45:42
 
Echi

 

Posts: 559
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

In advance, by cheap guitars I mean the old Sanchis Carpio, some Bernal, the early Neronimo Perez etc. and not guitars made with laminate or poorly made.

quote:

He made a heavy distinction about what guitars should be used where. For street playing or for a show in a small cueva where he is concerned about the guitar getting jostled he feels a cheap guitar is more suitable. For rhumba he feels a cheap guitar is also best, the impression I got was it was from both a sonic perspective and fear of damage perspective. He also feels a cheap guitar is simply more sonically appropriate in some situations.

The thing is that flamenco guitar is originally born for those situations, isn’t it?
I think the aspect of being “sonically appropriate” here is the main point, much more than the matter of price. At least for me.
Some of what you call cheap guitars, are not that cheap or so poorly made after all. I find that they just suit better the live purpose than other (more expensive) guitars on many regards (either sonically, or because they have the right pusacion, or because they are more solid and also because because they are cheaper and obviously more replaceable).
There are also some better made and expensive versions of these cheap guitars and that’s exactly why so many pro-players use a certain brand. They just fit better the purpose.
Many good musicians I know and myself (for what matters ) enjoy playing certain expensive guitars (lighter and with more dynamic range) at home but use a different kind of guitar for the stage.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 11:57:39
 
RobF

Posts: 219
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to Echi

quote:

Some of what you call cheap guitars, are not that cheap or so poorly made after all.


Hi Echi, I think perhaps "cheap" is not the best choice of words, but that is what I think he called them (guitarra barata and guitarra con madera mala). I'm still at beginner level spanish so I dont always get it right. Maybe "factory" or "affordable factory" would be more appropriate words to use.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 14:07:42
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11034
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to gerundino63

quote:

Do not take me wrong, if you live in the states or europe, it is not possible to make a hand made guitar for 3000-4000 euro, but Andalucia is very different. For 100.000 euro or less, you can buy a nice house.


My father was a working pro classical player from 1960s till he died in 1992. Back then he could get a fine instrument for between $500-$2000 max. On average he got $100-$400 a gig.

Today I can get similar quality instrument for $5000-$10,000. On average I make $100-$400 a gig!!!!! Luthiers please complain some more about those competitive cheap Valencia guitars so I can bust out that little sad violin.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 14:57:54
 
flyeogh

Posts: 447
Joined: Oct. 13 2004
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

Living here in Cadiz it does seem to me the market is a bit crowded.

The second-hand market here is very active (largely the guitars are advertised on local web sites) and prices reflect the sick economy. And there is an issue that guitars can have very long lives. Mine are 20, 19 and 13 years old and show no sign of wearing out. Maybe the Luthiers need to build in some redundancy

And there seems to be a lot of Luthiers happy to make the guitar of your choice at keen prices. I can think of 5 with 30 mins and I'm not looking for them.

And as Ricardo suggests Flamenco is not booming. Around here not many get paid to play anything, let alone flamenco guitar.

I chatted to a bar owner on this topic last year. He makes about 30 cents on each small beer. If he pays a musician 40 Euros he has to sell almost 130 extra beers to just break even. If he hired Ricardo he'd be bust

_____________________________

nigel (el raton de Watford - now Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 15:21:39
 
RobF

Posts: 219
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Today I can get similar quality instrument for $5000-$10,000. On average I make $100-$400 a gig!!!!! Luthiers please complain some more about those competitive cheap Valencia guitars so I can bust out that little sad violin.


So, using your numbers, if a typical maker takes 15 days to make a fine instrument then he should be able to expect that 15 × 400 = $6000 is a reasonable price to ask. Sounds about right to me. Do you take requests? Lol
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 15:53:29
 
flyeogh

Posts: 447
Joined: Oct. 13 2004
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to RobF

quote:

15 days to make a fine instrument then he should be able to expect that 15 × 400 = $6000


But Ricardo's middle price is $250 so the guitar should be $3750.

And poor Ricardo has 15 times as much selling to do. And he has travel costs. My sympathy goes with the musicians . Without musicians they'd be no market for instruments.

Glad I chose IT and left guitars/music to be a hobby. I wouldn't get out of bed for $400

_____________________________

nigel (el raton de Watford - now Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 16:15:11
 
NorCalluthier

 

Posts: 117
Joined: Apr. 16 2016
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

Hello All,

Thanks for all the commentary! I think that the wise thing for me to do is regard making flamenco guitars as a hobby that might cover its costs by my having an occasional sale. That would allow me to make some experiments with different woods that I have been thinking of using. The (madera mala) solution to wanting to make a short sustain guitar is in this category. Here is a link to a video that shows Gene Clark's old trick for killing sustain with a piece of tape:



Cheers,

Brian
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 16:18:39
 
RobF

Posts: 219
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

I think you are a wise man, Brian. All the best to you, and keep on loving your craft!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 16:26:49
 
Mark2

Posts: 1460
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

I went to see a play and the cost was about 100.00 a ticket. Some amazing talent on stage including great singers. After I went to see a local band and the cover was 10.00

I concluded that the play offered better value for my entertainment dollar, even at ten times the money.

A friend and I were comparing two handmade flamenco guitars. One cost twice what the other did. I asked my friend which he preferred and he said the more expensive one. I agreed but asked him if it was really worth double. Double??He said absolutely. I agreed with this-it truly was worth double-to me.

My point is top quality is worth way more than pretty good. Same with musicians. It doesn't mean that many musicians aren't underpaid, or that many makers can't sell their instruments for what they are really worth. It's the perception of the buyer though, that sets the figure they are willing to pay. Musician or guitar builder, either way is a tough way to earn a buck.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 17:00:55
 
NorCalluthier

 

Posts: 117
Joined: Apr. 16 2016
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

Hello Rob and Mark,

Thank you Rob for the compliment! I call making guitars my "benign addiction" (:->)...

Mark, I think that you are right-on about the worth of the expensive guitar.

I had my choice of several Arcangels from Juan Parra when he showed up at my teacher's house with half a dozen of them. When he let me play his "personal Archie" aka his "boss box", it was all over. I had to have that one.

It took me a year and a half of phone calls to finally catch him needing money, and I paid him a 50% surcharge over his standard price for any of his others. Worth it? Did you have to ask?

So, I go to some considerable lengths to try to build guitars with that something extra that makes them such a thrill to play. In addition to the big things that I talk about in the My Process videos on my website, I have my 1% list. Those are small things that I think make a difference, but I haven't proven that they do.

I love to teach what I've learned, and lately I've been teaching online using video calling. People do come here to my shop from all over, but that's a major commitment of time and money, and using online video works surprisingly well.

Cheers,

Brian
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2019 18:26:13
 
SEden

 

Posts: 837
Joined: Apr. 12 2008
From: UK

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

Brian,

I wouldn't worry about what anyone else is doing. Sell your flamenco guitars for the price you want to get for them. Hell if you think they are better than your classical guitars sell them for more.

As a point of discussion, I don't see the point in charging less for a 1a Flamenco guitar over a 1a Classical. Especially when the price difference in a few hundred pounds. I doubt it will drive any extra sales. For it to make a difference I would say you would have to halve the price.

_____________________________

Classical and Flamenco Guitars www.EdenGuitars.co.uk
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 4 2019 11:32:56
 
NorCalluthier

 

Posts: 117
Joined: Apr. 16 2016
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

Hello Stephen,

I think you're right. There is very little less work and expense in a flamenco, and if I regard making flamencos as a hobby, I'll not be particularly concerned about when one sells! In the meantime, I'll have the guitar to play! Who knows, I may yet get around to learning Ramon's mineras (;->)...

P.S. My wife and I are anglophiles, and spend our evenings with her reading 19th century English novels aloud. Currently we are on a Thackeray binge.

Cheers,

Brian
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2019 0:47:25
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11034
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

I was thinking.... I rarely if ever see a classical guitar used from favored flamenco builders like Reyes, Conde, gerundino, barbero, Devoe.... anybody ever see a classical player using them? I don’t mean negras either I mean proper classical guitars. Different story for santos, Esteso, archangel, Ramirez, jeronimo Peña Fernandez, where we see almost equal numbers of both. Of course there are lots of classical builders that never touch the flamenco side.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2019 13:01:23
 
Echi

 

Posts: 559
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

Charles trepat once concertised with his orange Faustino Conde with gut strings instead of his Torres or Romanillos...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2019 14:44:05
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2555
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

I was thinking.... I rarely if ever see a classical guitar used from favored flamenco builders like Reyes, Conde, gerundino, barbero.....


Here's a spruce/Indian 1934 Barbero. He was still working for Jose Ramirez II at the time, but he was making some guitars with his own label. This was before he spent time in Santos Hernandez's shop in 1943, finishing some guitars for Santos' widow after Santos died.

Sounds pretty good on classical to me.

http://tinyurl.com/yxqhcmem

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2019 19:32:40
 
etta

 

Posts: 265
Joined: Jan. 20 2010
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

As stated many times, prices equal "what the market will bear." This can get complicated as we know by builder reputation, demand for his instruments, how many other builders are out there. i.e. supply and demand.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 7 2019 17:09:16
 
NorCalluthier

 

Posts: 117
Joined: Apr. 16 2016
 

RE: Flamenco guitar pricing (in reply to NorCalluthier

Hello Etta,

You are right. Free markets are wonderful determiners of what something is worth. If anyone missed "Economics101" in school---as I did---I recommend Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics". Sowell is one of my heroes. Born poor and black in the South in the 1930's he ended up being a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.

Back to specifics. My question is how much can I ever hope to sell my flamenco guitars for. And, that allows for the developing of a reputation over a period of years. I would love to be able to afford to make some flamencos, and I'm willing to work cheap, and to figure out ways to build them faster.

David Schramm says that there is a big market for flamencos at around $1800. Well about the lowest price that I can imagine being able to live with is $3500. Off the top of my head, I think that is not much over my costs, and I live what by today's standards would be called a lower middle class life.

Cheers,

Brian
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 7 2019 17:30:20
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