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  1. Very well said. Particularly concerning the task of making instruments for musicians. Musicians are the end customer. They are being tasked with an exceptionally difficult and demanding work... playing in an orchestra. Playing an instrument, in front of an audience, without making a mistake, sometimes for hours on end, is excruciatingly challenging. If we don't understand the pressures that they are under when they perform this task, we are not going to be much help to them. We need to provide musicians a benefit. That's what they are coming to us for. How can we help them exceed in their already difficult task? We need to understand their pressures, and craft instruments that help them exceed in their own craft. I suppose the only way to do this, is to sit in the drivers seat. We need to be in orchestras and understand what that experience is like, and only then we will know how to craft an instrument for a musician that will provide them benefit.
  2. That's a very encouraging story HoGo.
  3. That's a good point too. If it's obviously a good instrument, it will sell. It will speak for itself. With that being said, is it fair to say that some of our work is better than other pieces of our work? Not every instrument we produce is a masterpiece. Even looking at Strads life work, we can say that certain instruments are better quality than other instruments. The really great instruments are always easy to sell. What about the ones that we recognize as being slightly lesser quality for whatever reason? Maybe we didn't use as nice of wood. Maybe the varnish didn't come out the way we hoped. Maybe it's a little too bright and we wanted a darker sound. Do we still sell these instruments, even if we think they are not our finest quality level of work? I'm sure Strad attempted to sell his instruments no matter what because he was working to put food on the table... as are we. Just curious what our thoughts are about this topic, as it's something we all have to face in one way or another, as instrument makers. I suppose, one approach to rectifying this issue is price. If we feel something is not the highest level quality of our work, should we lower the price? And, likewise, if we feel it is a masterpiece, do we raise the price? Or, do we have a "lemon closet". Just don't sell instruments that we deem to be of lesser quality.
  4. That's a good point. Humility is always a friend and so is critical feedback.
  5. Hi Manfio, This is excellent advice. Thank you for taking the time to craft this response. I have heard that selling a violin is just as hard as making a violin. I am not very experienced in salesmanship, to be honest, but you have to start somewhere I suppose. I will probably need to nash my teeth a bit more and work on selling instruments. I think my target audience will eventually be the same as your target audience, but I will need to start by selling to students.
  6. I have a question that seems to not be discussed very often, but seems quite important. How do you sell your own handmade violins? It seems there could be many approaches that a luthier could take to selling their violins. A luthier could make a website and post pictures on their site and try to popularize the website. You could go to musical tradeshows and sell them there. You could become involved in musical communities and get to know violinists, and sell them directly to musicians. You could strive to win an award at the VSA and grow your reputation through this channel. You could sell directly to dealers. What is your opinion about the best approach for selling your violins? Or do you use many of these tactics and more? I am a professionally trained student, but breaking out into the market seems a little difficult. Thanks for your help!
  7. OK, I see what you're saying. I'm more interested in certificates from living makers. I am a violin maker, and I was thinking about providing a certificate of authenticity when I sell my instrument. Is that a common practice? I was thinking along the lines of purchasing a new Rolex watch. With the watch, you receive a certificate of authenticity, or some sort of paper work that the owner generally retains to verify that the watch is authentic and it was purchased on a certain date, and other people who have purchased the same model Rolex watch will have the same paper work. It goes along way providing the paper work along with the watch if you want to sell the watch in the future. If you have the paper work with the watch it also makes the watch more valuable, and in some cases people with original paperwork can sell the watch for double the price. It lends credence that the watch is not a fake.
  8. Did you receive a certificate from the dealer or from the actual maker? Duane, are you speaking to certs from a dealer or an authenticating service?
  9. Does anyone here provide a certificate of authenticity with a fiddle sale? When you buy a Rolex, you get a box and papers that prove authenticity and provenance. Is it a good practice to provide this with a fiddle? If you do provide this, how does that work if you sell through a dealer? You just send the deal the cert, and they provide it to the customer? Would dealers have a reason to frown upon this practice?
  10. Thanks for this information Julian! I didn't realize you could deduct purchases from several years ago. That's good to know. I have several wood purchases I would like to deduct once I start getting some actual income.
  11. Thanks for all this information. It is very helpful and gives me a good list of things to look into. One thing I'm wondering about is if I need to have a certain amount of income from the business before I "declare" it a business, because it seems that it could collapse under it's own weight before it gets off the ground if I hire lawyers and take out insurance. All I will have is 60k for startup funds. I was hoping this will last 3 years. I would be paying myself $400 per week. I know that's not going to get me very far, but I think that's all I can muster. I'm assuming the first year will just be for making, because I won't have anything to sell until the first batch are made, so I probably wouldn't declare it as a business until the second year. I probably need to have a certain amount of income from the violins in order to be able to pay for taxes, and lawyers and insurance before this will work. Obviously, I'll need a certain percentage of that money to be profit so I can keep going as well. It's a lot to think about. I wonder if maybe I shouldn't plan too much for it, and just do it and let the chips fall where they may as necessity arises.
  12. For those of you who have made violin making into a small business, were there resources that you used to learn how to do this? I know about violin making, but I don't know anything about running a small business. Did you watch youtube videos or read books in order to learn how to do this? I'm concerned about taxes, creating an LLC, cash flow, dealers purchasing instruments, marketing, ect. Did you fly under the radar for the first couple years until you got established a little bit?
  13. I wonder if something like this would work for the flood light: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Warmoon-Outdoor-LED-Flood-Light-50W-Warm-White-3200K-Waterproof-Security-Lights-with-3-Prong-US-Plug/464060495
  14. Yes, I tried a white sheet over an iguana light, but it did make the problem worse. It reflected over a much larger part of the violin. It did also make the wood look kind of flat. I will try the floodlight method. Thanks for mentioning this Michael!
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