Are Guitar Players Generally Financially Poor?

The Angle

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Having done the motor sports thing for several years, playing guitar is way, way less expensive.

I always look for bargains on my gear. Not because I couldn't afford to pay full price for American-made custom-shop rig if I chose to, but because a) I enjoy the bargain hunt, b) I enjoy working on used and lower-end gear to make it as top-notch as it can possibly be, and c) I'm not a good enough player to really benefit from a high-end instrument. I have a $1,200 US Standard Tele, a $400 Classic Vibe Tele, and a $180 Bullet Tele (none of which I paid full price for; there's the bargain hunter). I can feel and hear the differences between them, but if circumstances left me with only the Bullet, I'd still be happy to have it; it's a perfectly fine instrument for my purposes.

I've heard people advise young musicians to buy the most expensive instrument they can afford. I take the opposite view; you should buy the least expensive instrument that meets your needs.
 

sax4blues

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fundamental difference:
those are just leisure activities. music can be a vocation. people rely on guitars to make a living. for musicians the price of guitars, gear, and repairs are the cost of doing business.

when those costs go up, it eats into profits and it impacts people's livelihoods.

people don't have that level of stakes riding on something they do for leisure. unless you are a guide, a ski instructor, or an olympian, none of those other activities are really that important to someone's livelihood.

also, skiing and golfing are traditionally hobbies for rich families. I think if you're hearing someone talking about skiing or golfing at all, they are probably not that concerned about their finances.

it's might be different out in the country or suburbs, but in my experience people from the city who golf or ski are usually on easy street from the get go. they own cabins, pay for expensive country club memberships etc.

not really comparable to a working musician.
I can understand professional costs. I would wonder how many guitars a professional would need over 30-50 years? And if an increase of $100/$200/…… would prevent you from getting a job and/or make a significant change in lifestyle I would reconsider that business.

Am I to understand the majority of TDPRI posters commiserating a $100 increase on Squire Telecasters are professional with their significant income from guitar playing? I’ve known countless hobby musicians with very high skills, but they’re still the same as the weekend scratch golfer.

So this brings me to the observation, similar to yours, which seems to be many hobbyists are on easy street, except guitar players.
 

Jakedog

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fundamental difference:
those are just leisure activities. music can be a vocation. people rely on guitars to make a living. for musicians the price of guitars, gear, and repairs are the cost of doing business.

when those costs go up, it eats into profits and it impacts people's livelihoods.

people don't have that level of stakes riding on something they do for leisure. unless you are a guide, a ski instructor, or an olympian, none of those other activities are really that important to someone's livelihood.

also, skiing and golfing are traditionally hobbies for rich families. I think if you're hearing someone talking about skiing or golfing at all, they are probably not that concerned about their finances.

it's might be different out in the country or suburbs, but in my experience people from the city who golf or ski are usually on easy street from the get go. they own cabins, pay for expensive country club memberships etc.

not really comparable to a working musician.
Yes and no. Yes on the gear, I need it to buy groceries. No on the golf. Good lord do I love to golf.

I’m terrible at it. Truly. I’m the worst golfer ever. For somebody who actually really plays golf, it’s gotta be absolute torture to watch me murder a course. But I enjoy the hell out of it.

Used golf clubs are a far better value than used guitars. At least in my experience. I have less than $200 invested in a used set of clubs, and a bag. When I bought the clubs used 10 years ago they would have been $1k-$1500 new. I garbage-picked the bag, and it’s pretty decent. I don’t even want to think about what a new set of clubs this quality would cost now. As for courses, I’m a lucky guy. I have the Cleveland metro parks public courses, which are amongst some the very best public courses in the country, and cost next to nothing for a day of fun. I can’t afford to go a lot, but I don’t have time either. If I get out a few times a year, I have blast, and spend less than a hundred bucks for the annual experience.
 

richiek65

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*Musicians* are generally poor. *Guitar players* probably not as much. Guitar Center sells the fantasy.

Motorsports is crazy expensive. Especially if you break something.
I tell my wife that she's lucky i didn't head down the motor sport path like some friends and colleagues of mine have done, happily spending 5K on a race meet on a regular basis (entry fees, tyres, rebuild a gearbox/diff/top end/whatever, accomm, fuel etc) on top of the price of the race car, the tow vehicle, the trailer etc.. Sheesh!
 

moonman2

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England
No. Guitars are a luxury item. If you have one and you like it, you are well off. If you have one and love it, you are very fortunate and wealthier than most.
Bingo.

Wealth isn’t measured by the money you have. It’s the material possessions you have. In other words; it’s what you can buy with the money you have.

If wealth was measured by how much money you have; then Venezuelans would now be the richest people on the planet.

————————

My advice is this ....
If you’ve got the money and you can afford to buy the guitar you want; then buy it and enjoy it.
Don’t leave your money in the bank, because your currencies value is being debased by the second.
Spend it and enjoy it.

(Printer goes “Brrrrrrrrrrrrr”).
 
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24 track

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Yes and no. Yes on the gear, I need it to buy groceries. No on the golf. Good lord do I love to golf.

I’m terrible at it. Truly. I’m the worst golfer ever. For somebody who actually really plays golf, it’s gotta be absolute torture to watch me murder a course. But I enjoy the hell out of it.

Used golf clubs are a far better value than used guitars. At least in my experience. I have less than $200 invested in a used set of clubs, and a bag. When I bought the clubs used 10 years ago they would have been $1k-$1500 new. I garbage-picked the bag, and it’s pretty decent. I don’t even want to think about what a new set of clubs this quality would cost now. As for courses, I’m a lucky guy. I have the Cleveland metro parks public courses, which are amongst some the very best public courses in the country, and cost next to nothing for a day of fun. I can’t afford to go a lot, but I don’t have time either. If I get out a few times a year, I have blast, and spend less than a hundred bucks for the annual experience.
I dissagree with you ,........ I'm the worst golfer ,I played once, only once and almost demaculated my boss on the next fairway , he lifted his leg to take a step and the ball passed right between his legs, just about took out his twig and berries, I did say he was on the next fairway, didnt I ? never played again
 

24 track

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what i found when i Had my basement studio in Richmond ( Vancouver) , the bigger the name the harder it was to get them to pay, for the recording time , so i set up a plan , 50% up front to start the project and 50% at mixdown rentals and extra gear was on top , no machines roll untill paid , for students and or some one just wanting a track done I would do recording in exchange for gear , one guys brother was a journeyman electrician, he came in and wired my whole studio for free.
 

Skyhook

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Ain't that the truth. Getting into a student-level bassoon costs about as much as a Murphy Lab Les Paul.
My mom always wanted a bassoon. Unfortunately she never got one.
At least not in this dimension. I'll check the current status when able, but I don't think I'll be able to post an update.
 

Sounds Good

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I have a fair amount of gear but i always look for bargain prices, its like my Shawn Lane guitar i only paid £700 for and it was like new. I have about £20000 of gear in total and maybe paid out around £7000 for it all over about 11 years of playing, with a 5 year break in the middle so i did not purchase anything then.
 




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