Are Guitar Players Generally Financially Poor?

sax4blues

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Almost daily a new thread is started bemoaning the price of guitar related items. As best I can recall this has been way before any current global economy issue.

I can’t think of another recreation population I’m around which talks so much about cost. My individual experience is guitar is more affordable than snow skiing, golfing, mountain biking, shooting. And my guess is motor sports and boating are significantly more expensive.
 

stxrus

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The vast majority of guitar players, both pro and hobbyist and in between, that I know are not destitute. Most are living a decent life, have a decent roof over their heads, food on the table, and clothes on their backs. They may not be wealthy but not destitute
The two local exceptions to this are all self inflicted. They both are talented players (one on bass and the other a drummer) and have been offered help, but refused,or took advantage of the offered help.

That’s all I got
 

Chiogtr4x

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I have more than all the gigging gear I need ( all cheaper good stuff/some used), so the cost of new stuff really does not affect me. ( of course, deals on cheap items will always come into play on occasion!)

But as an old fart, I still remember exactly what.I originally paid for a lot of my own guitars and amps- so I still get sticker shock on today's prices.
A couple of my old references:

1976 Gibson Les Paul Signature $250
1993 Martin D-1 $700 ( w/HSC)
1997 Tex-Mex Strat $349
1999 Blues Jr. ( used)$270
2004 Standard Tele $369
 

Buell

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That's a pretty good perspective, Sax. Just like anything else, you can spend as little or as much as you want on guitars, amps, etc. For me, I would love to own a custom Les Paul just as much as I would love to own a houseboat. But I'm just as happy with the guitars and house I do own.
 

Toadtele

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Two guys I work closely with would be considered wealthy by almost any standards. They both own multiple commercial properties and rentals. They are both fly fisherman. They both complain incessantly about the cost of their fishing gear. I am not wealthy. I am fortunate enough to be comfortable. I have never complained to them about the cost of my guitar gear.
Not sure if this adds anything to the conversation.
 

hnryclay

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It all depends on what level you decide to spend. An arguement could be made that now more than ever you can achieve great results versus cost. There are more options now than ever for guitar players and musicians in general. I dont feel that guitarists in general are wealthier or poorer that the general population.
 

moonman2

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Value is subjective.
However, most people just do not value music / musicians unfortunately.

That’s just how it is.

Even though it takes dedication and skill to become an accomplished player; in the same way it does to become that in any profession .... people just generally don’t value music and musicians very much.
Hence why the likes of a dentist earns more than a guitar player (unless you’re lucky enough to be Brent Mason or Brad Paisley of course).

Supply and demand plays a big part too.
 
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421JAM

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Quality guitars are cheap compared to most other types of instruments. Try finding a good sousaphone or bassoon. Guitarists like to talk, and I’ve found that one of the rules of human behavior is that once you start talking, it’s only a matter of seconds before whining about money becomes the topic.
 

moonman2

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I have more than all the gigging gear I need ( all cheaper good stuff/some used), so the cost of new stuff really does not affect me. ( of course, deals on cheap items will always come into play on occasion!)

But as an old fart, I still remember exactly what.I originally paid for a lot of my own guitars and amps- so I still get sticker shock on today's prices.
A couple of my old references:

1976 Gibson Les Paul Signature $250
1993 Martin D-1 $700 ( w/HSC)
1997 Tex-Mex Strat $349
1999 Blues Jr. ( used)$270
2004 Standard Tele $369
That’s what happens when the government prints money like there’s no tomorrow.
(Inflation).
Devalue the currency and obviously it’s going to require more money to buy stuff.

(printer goes “brrrrrrrrrrr”).
 

Killing Floor

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$500 in 1980s money is $1,700 in 2022 money. And an "overpriced" MiA Tele or Strat is basically that. Fenders have had real price increases through time but they're not really ahead of inflation by a lot.
In 1979 I mowed lawns and washed windows and did kid odd jobs for a year to buy a $750 Colnago racing bicycle. That comparable quality bicycle is $12,000 today at any pro shop. Some guitar related items have gone high and there are certainly greater options for boutique brands but most of the big brands have been pretty steady.
$50 for a Boss pedal in the early 80s is $160 in today's money. A Boss DD8 is $170 and has a ton more features and is overall a better pedal than I could have bought as a kid.
A new SM58 is under $100. They were $80 40 years ago.
 

Stanford Guitar

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$500 in 1980s money is $1,700 in 2022 money. And an "overpriced" MiA Tele or Strat is basically that. Fenders have had real price increases through time but they're not really ahead of inflation by a lot.
In 1979 I mowed lawns and washed windows and did kid odd jobs for a year to buy a $750 Colnago racing bicycle. That comparable quality bicycle is $12,000 today at any pro shop. Some guitar related items have gone high and there are certainly greater options for boutique brands but most of the big brands have been pretty steady.
$50 for a Boss pedal in the early 80s is $160 in today's money. A Boss DD8 is $170 and has a ton more features and is overall a better pedal than I could have bought as a kid.
A new SM58 is under $100. They were $80 40 years ago.
Check out the price of colleges today vs 1979.
 

loopfinding

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For most musicians (not just guitarists) I know, instruments and equipment are big purchases and done pretty infrequently above a certain amount of money. I do know some relatively successful musicians (like, making over the median income, haha), but they didn’t hit their financial stride until their 50s.

The flood of amateurs and youtube promotion makes it seem like buying 1000+ dollar guitars like video games or clothing or whatever is the norm. And it very well may be becoming that way at this point, with the way people run their credit cards up, and the fact hardly anyone makes a living on music alone anymore. The musicians who GAS & spend as much as amateurs that I know are usually fortunate enough to have shared finances with a partner in a “real” career.

Me, I’m an amateur and a bum, so there’s that.
 
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StrangerNY

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The entire time I was doing music for a living I was pretty broke. I was lucky enough to see the internet boom coming and got in on the ground floor, and then I wasn't so broke any more.

I don't really complain about gear prices. If there's something that helps me get the job done, I'll buy it. But I'm past the point of just buying gear for the sake of buying it, so I get to pick my battles in that regard. Back when I was broke it was a lot harder to get gear, but you could get by with less in those days - a guitar or two, a good amp and a couple of effects and you were set.

- D
 




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