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Owning a buisness?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by BassMan257, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Does anyone here actually make guitars for other people?

    I mean, its a long ways ahead... but, Ill be going to college for a few years... and im thinking about you know... having a job on the side...

    i was wondering what anyone here has done in the way of making basses in a buisness type way... any suggestions? tips? did you guys spend alot of money making basses for the cost of parts? is that a good idea?

    just lay it on me..
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    You don't actually read much here, do you?

    [ edit ] Sorry if that sounds abrasive, but if you looked at the threads here at all you'd find both hobbyist-make-my-own-ers, and a fair number of people who do this as a business, some even as a sole source of income. [ /edit ]
    Take a look down to the last paragraph here:
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Melvyn Hiscock says: "the best way to make a small fortune making guitars is to start with a large one." I think that was Hiscock.

    Anyway, eventually you can show a profit, but not likely in the first couple of years. Too many tools and supplies required at startup. Plus, if you're going to college, you'll need space. If you can get free shop access, then maybe you've got a shot. A better tack might be to start doing repair work and hope you can build that on the side with less space and startup cost.

  4. for the time Im in college, i should have a basement...

    are there any sort of threads that cover all the basses(pun fully intended) for nessisary (and some of the ones that make life easy) tools you would need in a shop?

    I figure your just going to tell me to look in the faq and read there... which i will do... right after i post this
  5. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I was about to, but you've probably been there and found them already.

    We all tend to do things a little different, so what's a necessity to one person might be completely frivilous to another. Your best bet is to think long and hard about how you're going to perform various tasks and get the tooling required for your process. There's plenty of expertise here on individual tools, but you're going to have to decide for yourself what's absolutely needed.

  6. The best way to start 'on the side' as you said, is to build a couple of instruments and let your friends see them and try them. Since you won't be making a living at it, you don't really need to put much in. Your friends are bound to be impressed by your work and word of mouth is very powerful, especially if your friends are in the music business as you said.

    A very old friend of mine recently ordered an instrument from me. He is now a very in demand studio and live bass player and he's got a hook up with THE highest profile singer in my country (Dominican Republic). He decided to order one because he knows how attentive to detail I am with the things I do (we go back about 13 years). He's in the music business full time and has already started to spread the word about me. There are about 3 other full time musicians waiting for him to receive his instrument to try my work and decide if they're going to order one, but already they're impressed with the pictures they've seen of my work.

    Sometimes, it's just getting your work in the right hands and keeping a good relationship with your customers.

    Good luck!
  7. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Maybe consider and apprenticeship with an establish luthier as a way to jump-start your career. Seems that a good reputation is the key to building a successful business.
  8. I don't do it for a business yet but i'd like to.

    You kinda need to find out your market place (i.e ornate, top-quality, high priced instruments or simpler instruments that you can sell much cheaper)

    I'm in the middle of some market research myself, to see if my basses are sellable and to who.
  9. yeah...

    I underdstand the "finding your place" deal... but im thinking that im just going to try and have bass designs no one else will have... not extremely intracate, not dull... just different... expensive or cheap will ride on what was used, and how hard the job was... (like a neck thru will be more expensive, as will a semi hollow or extra strings and the like)

    to be honest, i havent even built a bass yet... The concept doesnt seem hard to me, and im decent with my hands... I have a basement with some tools in it, a router, bandsaw, and a couple other assorted saws... and i can get clamps for laminating easy, thats not hard...

    I mean, putting the time in is whats im really going to have to do...

    Ive been talking about it to one of the other bassists at school (and drawing designs in school) and he allready wants me to make one for him...AND I HAVENT EVEN MADE ONE YET!!!!

    I told him that i would charge the price of materials because i havent done any work... and that made him even more excited..

    I mean.... aggg... i dont really know what to do... i just need to get ahold of some cheap alder body-blanks and some cheap neck-blanks... and go to town... i mean, making a simple pbass and a jbass, or even a pbass then another design i have...

    so what am i doing here on the forum... i need to buy some materials...
  10. Keep in mind that most people who want a custom instrument will pay way more attention to detail than they would when buying a coffee table or a bookshelf. They will scrutinize the finish way more than they would when buying a car. Attention to detail will make it or break it.

    Build one first, then ask yourself the same questions after you're finished.

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