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Thread: Some instruments take time to sell

  1. #1
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Some instruments take time to sell

    Limited mandolin content.

    I just got word that a viola I built in 2010 while working at a violin shop as a restorer and maker sold this week. It is a welcome development in these uncertain times.

    I always wondered why it was not being chosen (besides being a viola) but the new owner contacted me and said he is very happy.

    Any others who have had new builds that have taken a long time to sell?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Some instruments take time to sell

    Charles, if you sold a viola this week, it will probably account for at least 25% of the viola market in 2020 for the entire United States. Violas are like mandolas, most folds don't really know what they are. (Arguably, that's also the case with mandolins, but that's another thread.)
    David Hopkins

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  5. #3
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Some instruments take time to sell

    I think it's just part of the business, many times I have seen mandolins advertised as "shop worn" at a discounted price in an effort to move them along. Actually that happened in my case. I am not complaining.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Some instruments take time to sell

    There's a fellow in these parts who specializes in the Viola da Gamba. That's pretty much the definition of a narrow market niche. But he builds on commission and they don't gather any dust.

    Congratulations on your sale. Patience is all.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Some instruments take time to sell

    Viola is an under appreciated instrument. Used primarily in chamber music and symphonies, the type A parents always aspire that their talented little ones will be the next Joshua Bell, so they steer them into violin, where the competition is stiff and the successful are few. My daughter, whose older sister is a cellist, wanted to play viola from the get go, and was talented enough to earn her doctorate in performance. She is now one of the many who are now unemployed musicians in LA, except for skype lessons. But builders that specialize in viola do find their fans. My daughter recently shopped the $25,000 range, quite a modest price level really, and competition was fierce for her business.
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  10. #6
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some instruments take time to sell

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Any others who have had new builds that have taken a long time to sell?
    I said in a post a while back that when I build a new mandolin, I don't care if it sells. I build them to be fully saleable and fully competitive with anything on the market. And I advertise some of them for sale here and other places. But... Over a decade ago I worked at a full service music store - the only one in this small town in the Atlanta market. A town that takes pride in it's bluegrass and country music recording artists. Bluegrass jams took place at the store. Mandolin lessons were taught by a very good player. I sold guitars every day. A few nice new and used name-brand sought-after mandolins hung on the wall, almost always for a year to a year and a half before someone bought them. I've observed this same pattern in numerous music stores. It's the metric I use for selling mandolin family instruments. The last mandolin that I built and sold through a music store was there so long that I forgot all about it. And, by the way, none of mine have sold through the Cafe ads.

    Currently when I build one that is not commissioned, I keep it at home and play it from time to time. I tweak the setup over time to tune it in for different players. I get to watch how it opens up, how the finish matures, how the brand of tuners works, etc.. And most important to me, I have the privilege of playng some very good mandolins until they sell. Two years seems to be about the average time for these. But that's perfectly OK by me.
    Tom
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  12. #7
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some instruments take time to sell

    You can never tell what will sell right away, and what will take time. I had a "no frills" electric mandolin that hung around for a while (much less than a year though), when it did go the buyer was dead keen and it went in a flash. Anything that's "niche" just has to find the right buyer, like buses you get none for ages and then 3 come along at once.... 'tis always the case.

    Footnote: I don't build electric mandola's though unless I'm commissioned - now those probably would stick around a while

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    Default Re: Some instruments take time to sell

    Congratulations! I once bought a Taylor 714 built in 1996 new in 2008 or 2009. It was hanging on the wall at Harry and Jeannie West's store in Statesville, NC, alongside a wall of Martins, and was the last of their Taylors from a prior contrast to sell. It just wasn't what most of their customers were looking for, and it also needed some set up (the saddle was sanded too low). I actually had a new saddle put on immediately afterwards, and it played/sounded great, and was a nice alternative voice to my dreadnaughts. I played it until I sold it just a couple of months ago as part of our downsizing efforts.

    Congratulations on your sale!
    Chuck

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