And custom guitar prices:
I've been building guitars for some years now. Prices are one of the hardest things for luthiers (and most artisans) to talk about. But here is how I am presently working things: My most economical guitar right now (today, early 2003) is $4,600 Can dollars plus case. (that is about $2,700 U.S. ) That guitar is a Flamenco. It is a fine guitar, but is a little faster to make than a rosewood guitar because, using cypress for back and sides means I don't have to pore fill (no large open pores as in rosewood). And also this style of guitar traditionally has less ornate purflings, bridge etc. than some others guitars. The most often ordered guitar is an Indian rosewood/Engelman spruce Classic guitar is 5,000 Canadian dollars, plus case & any applicable tax.
Generally, my guitars are about 5,000 to 10,000 Canadian dollars. Often a customer works his/her self up to spending 5 K or so, but then can't resist adding some options making a few changes while waiting for their guitars turn to be built ......and over a few visits we, together design a truly one of a kind instrument.
As well as some very dry, stable Spruce, Cedar, Mahogany and Indian Rosewood, I have in stock woods such as Flamed maple, Hawaiian Koa, African Blackwood, and many others. Options such as Brazilian Rosewood, and African Blackwood can add $1500 to $3000. Prices are affected not just by rarity but also because some woods are harder to work than others...for example although there are no large open pores to fill, Big leaf maple shows the tiniest flaws in sanding, especially when French polished. (But then the light refraction of French polish on Flamed Maple also adds a depth to the finish that no other finish can!)
There are numerous options that I could list and worry and fret over additional costs....... Sorry just can't be bothered! If you want something different and the cost isn't really significant to me.... then you probably won't pay much extra for it........ Eg: so you want a 640 or 660m.m. scale fingerboard instead of a 650. My cost is nearly the same. Or perhaps you prefer Rosewood or Kingwood binding instead of Ebony binding; I have these in stock & the cost to me is similar.....so I may not need to charge you more for it.
A very short course on 'Luth-speak', and repair prices:
Here are some definitions (so we can talk the same language)..
'Intonation' and 'Compensation':
Now, on to some repair prices..
Here is the usual waiver
This Spring of 2003 Common Repairs 'price guide', is intended to give customers an approximation of prices. Final prices will vary somewhat, depending on the instrument's age, condition, value, quality and stability of previous repairs, etc. I've noticed that some luthier's published prices are much higher than mine (and I am sure some are lower) ...but many of the more expensive luthiers are from major American port cities and I think it's a cost of living thing that probably evens out over all. I certainly am not trying to 'undercut' anyone! I am quite busy enough already thank you and I really am not interested in those customers who are looking for the cheapest bargain work instead of the best work.
Acoustic 'Set-ups'6 string guitar $75
12 string guitar $90
- supply and install new Phos. Bronze strings
- adjust truss rod, as necc.
- clean frets and fretboard
- check out tuning machines
- check nut
Banjo, Mandolin, archtop guitar $80
- also includes locating bridge for best intonation
Electric 6 stg guitar $85
Electric 12 stg. guitar $135
-also includes adjusting saddle heights and locations for best playing action and intonation.
Pickguard, steel. stg. guitar, remove and reglue $75-100
-glue and cleat every inch, per inch $15-25
Fret & Neck work:
Complete Fret Dressing
-includes:-leveling, recrowning, and polishing $100 - 125
- includes: removing old frets, a light sanding of the fingerboard, installing
new frets, and then a 'complete fret dressing' as above:
-$75 and up
It is a good idea to seal the broken finish on a repaired neck or body crack, to protect it from spills, humidity, oil, etc.. Respraying large areas of the body with lacquer (or worse yet refinishing) will negatively affect tone, and is not recommended !!
Pick - Ups, and Installations:
I am often asked 'How much do I have to spend to have you put in a pick-up'? I Generally respond 'How unhappy with the sound do you want to be'? Due to widely varying expectations, it is very difficult to recommend any electronic pick-up. In spite of this, and because of demand from good customers, I generally stock and install the following pick-ups:
Dana Bourgeois TMC______$250. _$325. Installed
Highlander IP-1_________$225.___$300. Installed
Highlander IP2____$300______$375 installed
Highlander mic (for use by itself or with IP2)__$275
These pick-ups are capable of very good, reliable performance, and are even a very good value for most of us. For different reasons, they are both quite finicky to install and get that performance,sometimes requiring a return visit for minor "tweaking." In spite of that, most, (but not all) of the customers I have installed these for are very happy with them in every way. (of course I can't guaranty either of them at all, if you choose to install them yourself.) Fishman and Miniflex, and other products .
"The last case you will ever need"I am a dealer for Calton Cases of Canada. It is the opinion of many professional players and certainly myself that these are simply the best instrument cases in the world! This is as close to 'airline proof' as you will ever see. These cases shouldn't be confused for the ill-fitting generic 'one-size-fits-all' versions of Fibreglass cases.
Calton Cases have a very strong fibreglass exterior, and the padding and very plush lining is custom fitted to fit each specific instrument, one instrument at a time! It does take about 15 minutes to even measure up an instrument for a case and over 6 weeks to deliver. There are numerous options that cloud the issue of price, but some are under $400.00. US dollars (what is that? about 7,000,000 Canadian?). E-me with your snail mail address if you'd like me to send you a Calton brochure.('treeware'). And tell me what your instrument is so I can give you a current price.
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