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Noah Scott

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  1. Working less than a mile from one of the three main schools in the U.S. at a shop that employs many graduates of said school, I can tell you that many graduates of that school who manage to sell instruments post graduation find incredible downward pressure on pricing. There are far too many trade instruments competing and winning against journeyman instruments. The more astute maker realizes that to sell instruments, at any price (and maybe break even on the first five sales), they need to quickly to step up their game as quickly as possible. I sold one instrument right out of school at $3500. ten years ago. I sold a recent graduate instrument at $4000 a year ago. I was the salesperson on the one I made, and the latter was much nicer than anything I made in my first 20 instruments. I have sold some journeyman instruments at a point where I know that the maker is not going to pay the mortgage from this alone. It costs money, time, and sweat to get on the map as a maker. That said, once you complete a program with a sound foundation and you trudge through the dark period, you can make a living. I do think that any school which cheapens the work of real people working hard in the field by giving away "credentials" for time served or money paid cheapens the value of the time those who have walked down this road. 4 weeks? 3 years? I made my career switch 14 years ago, and I still consider myself a journeyman. I sell what I make and while it helps, the mortgage is paid by the other hard work I do in my field.
  2. Commonly done to resolve the 5ths on a cello.
  3. Wow, My first thread was a bit of a hit.... Good thing I took a day off after posting it. @ the skiing fiddler- I only sell through shops, but I set the prices through consignment agreements. I do adjust my violins as long as needed- If my violin sounds good it's the best advertising I can have. I do not cover maintenance. As I sell my instruments through shops, they sell under the shop's trade-in/return policies. I haven't heard of one on the secondary market yet. I also don't entertain a waiting list- Had one once and it was way too frustrating. @ Sean- Since I also have a day job- albiet in a violin shop, my need to sell wholesale is less. I try to realize as much income out of them darned things as possible. You chose a different route in school- admirably, but one I was afraid to broach (not many can afford the time and patience to try to make a living off of building alone). I make my living solely in the violin business, but a lot of it is on the business side. Still, I budget my making into my houshold finances, so my need to sell is strong as well. Still, as an American Maker, I consider myself rather reasonably priced.
  4. I'm curious if we could start a discussion on how makers price instruments without disclosing what we sell the fiddles for. I'd like to focus on the factors that other makers use in setting a price. To date I've priced my instruments based on a few factors: What did it cost me to make the instrument, both in materials and time? What are my contemporaries charging for their instruments (by contemporaries I'm referring to people in the field with comparable experience and education)? What I feel like my client base can afford. How many instruments have I made, and who plays them. What the rest of the violin industry is doing (where do old instruments, commercial instruments, other makers fall compared to my instruments) I also try to make my violins sound better than anything else in that price point, and to that end I usually compare them against much more expensive instruments when adjusting them (aim high in sound). I offer lifetime adjustments on my instruments because if they sound good the instruments I have out in the world are my best advertising. Thoughts? Any other makers use different parameters? Is there anyone out there who thinks they are selling their to low? Anyone surprised by how much they earn on an instrument? (not likely I know)
  5. My favorite listing is for John Caston: "Caston, John. Lived at Piney Woods (Mississippi), 1850-1860 Left-Handed fiddler fiddler having remarkable dexterity in jig playing Made a few primitive fiddles for the generally shiftless and uneducated natives."
  6. We have one here at the shop and it really is a useful tool, both for diagnostics and condition reports. 2 complaints center around the packaging- it's a good ten minutes to get all of the cable neatly stored in the case in order for the case to close. Second, the power supply to the light sources is a bit cumbersome.... but te resolution and over all ease of use beats the old fiber-optic endoscope we used to use. I believe the lower price was a pre-sale offer. We bought two and sold the other one to a colleague because it seemed like such a good deal.
  7. This parallels an idea that's been kicking around my noodle box for some time. In the past (and present) there have been some experts who have earned the right to the title of expert, but who later start passing suspect documents. Be it through aging or a slide in ethics some later papers are always suspect by certain authors. It would be interesting to compile a database of who wrote clean papers and for how long. Might be a bit awkward though....
  8. Thanks for the links- This helps. -Noah
  9. We're currently in need of a large case big enough to hold 8-12 violins for exhibition. I've seen some come through the shop on occasion. Does anyone know of a source? Noah Scott Seman Violins
  10. I'm a graduate of CSVM. No boiling method taught. NS
  11. For my part, I went to a school and graduated with a diploma. I entered school hoping to learn how to make violins as a hobby (I already had a career). I graduated, set up my shop in house, and puttered around for a month. One month and a day after I graduated I got offered the part time rental bench at a local shop w/o even looking. That part time job grew into a full time job where I don't have to deal with rentals, but I don't work on (real) instruments as much as I like, but then again I kicked the old day job to the curb.... I found that exploring every opportunity is the best way to make it in the violin business- It's how I've found success here at the shop. I still make, but it's at home in my studio. I make money off of my making, but the shop is by far where I make my living. My boss pays a living wage and while my wife works, I'm the "bread-winner". I have benefits and I'm profitable for my employer. I do "ok". That said, of the 8 people who started in school with me, 4 graduated and only one graduate is still working in the field full time (me). One of the people who didn't complete the coursework has become a full time maker, but he's had to put his time in as well. This is not easy, and you don't get rich. Makers should do this because they love the making. It takes time, but someday I hope when I've put in my 35 years to reverse the ratio of shop time to studio time..... I just thought a perspective from someone who has less than ten years out of school might help. -NS
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