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Building as a profession

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by The Urbs, May 21, 2004.

  1. The Urbs

    The Urbs

    Feb 23, 2004
    This might be in the wrong forum, but I would like to build insturments as a profession. Is there any tips, guidelines to follow? Tell both good and bad. Thanks.
  2. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    I don't do it as a profession, but I've talked to people that do, and they basically say you eat and breath guitars/basses. I will tell you that there isn't tons of money to be made in the business, but anybody who does this for a living does it because they like it.

    I don't know of any tips, as I don't do it professionally, but what I've done, and think is a good idea, is selling my instruments in a locally owned 'Mom & Pop' music store. I've been buying hardware for my instruments from the store for about seven years, so they really respect me and my work, and say nice stuff about it if someone is interested in an instrument.

    I would like to build instruments professionally myself, and I think custom basses would be the way to go because bassist seem to be more open to the use of exotic woods and designs.
  3. The Urbs

    The Urbs

    Feb 23, 2004
    Money isnt the most important thing. It is something I enjoy. But I would be willing to make both guitars and basses.
  4. Rapscallion2112


    Apr 21, 2004
    ya, im lookin to do the same thing as you. I recently talked to Darrin Huff about an internship kind of thing. He told me he was making basses on weekends and stuff untill he was making enough to do it full time. Im sure there are many other ways of going about it but keep looking.
  5. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Keep in mind that much of what you will be required to do is running a business.

    You'll need to get a Federal EIN number, many suppliers will not deal with you until you do. You'll also need a Sales Tax license for the area you're doing business in.

    Decide on a DBA and register the name, and trademark it as well as your logo.

    You'll need to keep EVERY receipt for everything, all tools, supplies, costs to enlarge and print you designs, the costs of a website, any advertising, business cards, etc. All of your expenses and income need to be calculated at the end of the year for your Tax purposes. Also, create a spreadsheet to track the costs of building a bass. Don't forget to add line items like $20 - $40 per bass for miscellaneous supplies like sandpaper and glue, etc.

    Check with the SBA (Small Business Administration), they'll have a great list of classes to help you wade through many things.

    As far as the actual building goes, how experienced are you with wood working and wood working tools? If you don't have a lot of experience, start out trying simple things like bird houses, etc., and check with your local wood working stores (like Wood Craft, etc.) to see if they know of any workshops or classes you can take. Wood working is wood working, regardless of whether it is a bass or a custom chest of drawers. Also, check for local adult education classes on wood working.

    Oh, and don't forget about electronics and soldering knowledge. If you're going to build and sell electric basses, you're going to need excellent soldering techniques and basic electronics knowledge to wire it all up properly.

  6. Pete skjold

    Pete skjold

    May 29, 2004
    Warsaw Ohio
    I couldn't have said it better. Building the basses must be second nature by the time you call yourself a business. I work at least 50 hours a week and two thirds of that have nothing to do with the actual building . I also have a partner which frees me up to talk to customers, suppliers , and advertisers.

    If it is what you love doing then sit down and map out the steps and then take them one at a time

    Best Regards, Pete Skjold
  7. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Don't forget finishing... It takes alot of skill to put a mirror like finish on such an oddly shaped object, such as a guitar/bass body.