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Mandolin Cafe Blog

Make a million dollars building mandolins!

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"Psst, hey meester. Over here. Want make million bucks? Build mandolins, guitars, banjos!"

Words posted in a discussion awhile back haven't stopped ringing in my ears. Sadly, they went unchallenged. To paraphrase, so you don't run out to Google it -- some of you will regardless -- when discussing changes at Weber recently (now under the Two Old Hippies ownership) a member angrily declared, "Weber Mandolins now exists for nothing other than the sole purpose of making the Two Old Hippies owner even richer!"

Building mandolins, either en masse or by an individual builder may be profitable for some, but by and large it is not -- let's emphasize that -- NOT a path to wild financial gain. Can you make a living building mandolins? You can, some do, but thinking it's an easy path to six-figure income after expenses and taxes?

Here's a reality: talk to builders. These folks didn't get in it for pure financial gain. They're in it because it's work that has meaning. For some it's a life-changing, even life-saving act in life. Employment that you enjoy and gives your life real purpose. How many of you feel that way about your jobs?

Tom Bedell who regularly has fierce critics in this space may be living the bluegrass musician's dream. How do you make a million bucks? Start with two. However he made his money that's his business, but you don't buy struggling instrument companies with the sole purpose of increasing your financial gain. You do it first because you love the business. Then when you make decisions to keep the train on the tracks, count on receiving equal public criticism by folks that have no financial stake in the matter.

This is not an article about Tom. These companies should be financially viable, and if they are, power to them. They need to be to continue with success. It's also not a statement of financial evaluation of Two Old Hippies, Weber, Breedlove, Collings, Gibson or anyone else. The simple fact is, it's a tough row to hoe selling musical instruments for a living. Get a second opinion next time you hear someone make such a ridiculous statement and don't be afraid to challenge.

The builders I know and talk to couldn't imagine going through life any other way. That's the kind of person I admire.

Still reading? "Psst, wanta make a million dollars? Have a banjo web site I'll sell ya. You can't BEGIN to imagine how much these things make!"

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Comments

  1. Denny Gies's Avatar
    You go Scott, thanks.
  2. billkilpatrick's Avatar
    how to make a million playing 'em - that's the question!
  3. Folkmusician.com's Avatar
    Scott's post here is 100% correct.
  4. Tom Haywood's Avatar
    Right on.
  5. Mgottlieb's Avatar
    When you take the mandolin making out of Montana you pretty much take Montana out of the mandolin.
  6. Mgottlieb's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick
    how to make a million playing 'em - that's the question!
    Become a McArthur Fellow 😊, ⛏&🙄