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sixesandsevens

Market value for a used Ultimate?

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1 hour ago, cmatthes said:

Ha!  I have the feeling that'll be me as well. My old boss' father died walking to his car after his retirement party at the office on his last day of work after 36 years.

 

I hope that fate doesn't await any of us. That is so sad.

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22 hours ago, django49 said:

 

But at least I am (FINALLY) getting aboard the Shishkov train for a (very) different formula. Now the waiting begins......

 

Double-neck 2tek virt?

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1 hour ago, sixesandsevens said:

Double-neck 2tek virt?

You joke, but...

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On 7/21/2017 at 10:42 PM, cmatthes said:

I feel the same way about mine, but always feel like people don't believe me when I mention how great it is.

It could be there's not enough brand recognition yet (outside of HFC), so maybe the quality is "underappreciated" by folks who aren't familiar with MS's work.

Edited by sonic1974

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23 hours ago, sonic1974 said:

It could be there's not enough brand recognition yet (outside of HFC), so maybe the quality is "underappreciated" by folks who aren't familiar with MS's work.

Yeah.  I mean, if you don't count Hamers that Mike probably worked on, there's less than a hundred Shishkovs in existence, right?

I think the big question is who could we get them in the hands of so that their awesomeness gets recognized?

Edit:  Anybody in the UK have access to Chappers and The Captain?  Maybe Anderton's could become a distributor. :D  Anybody on the west coast able to get one in a Pete Thorn video?  Or Phil X? :D

Edited by sixesandsevens
Anderton's mention.

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For now, Mike isn't geared up for full-scale, mass production, and is working through current and pending orders and some new things. That IS likely to change at some point, but ultimately that will depend on a few factors - mostly being where Mike wants to go.  It would be far more probable to see some review samples out to a few publications in the near future, but I don't think that a dealer distribution network is likely (or practical) any time soon, as he isn't making a supply of stock models at this time.

Purposeful, steady, manageable growth and getting the name and the original designs out there are important.

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2 hours ago, cmatthes said:

Purposeful, steady, manageable growth and getting the name and the original designs out there are important.

Exactly!  Growth for the sake of growth has been the ruin of many otherwise great businesses.  To wit: ever try to make payroll with accounts receivable? Employees are typically less than receptive!  

And then there's just that, the "e-word."  Since Mike is putting out presently what Mike can put out, growth would logically require more help.  Hiring someone to do something adds a whole new level of administrative duties!  If Mike hired one employee he would have to:

  1. establish a Connecticut withholding account
  2. establish a Connecticut unemployment insurance account
  3. establish a federal EIN (assuming he hasn't already), then regularly, as often as he pays his help:
  4. withhold Connecticut income tax
  5. accrue SUTA and FUTA on the employee's wages
  6. remit (typically monthly) withheld taxes along with the appropriate form
  7. remit (typically quarterly) SUTA and FUTA along with the appropriate forms

Given the new level of administrative duties, he would have far less time to build guitars!  

So then he would have to?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Yes!  Hire another employee!  :wacko:

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22 minutes ago, velorush said:

Exactly!  Growth for the sake of growth has been the ruin of many otherwise great businesses.  To wit: ever try to make payroll with accounts receivable? Employees are typically less than receptive!  

Cash flow is the crippler of budding businesses.  But the list of payroll requirements is easily remedied out of house.  Hell, every bank offers basic payroll and bookkeeping services these days.  I used to prepare payroll for nearly all my monthly and quarterly clients.  Now, I tell them a payroll service is cheaper!  As for growth; I agree.  Unwarranted plans for growth that isn't guaranteed is the quickest way down the drain.  I advise keeping a small businesses staff at one or two employees less than you need.  Overtime and long hours for those employed is vastly preferred over reduced hours and lay-offs, when business/cash flow is less than desirable. 

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Mike has a good thing going as he is.

What he does is none of my business but I reckon he'd have plenty of kudos and do just fine as a true custom builder with a number of models and variations, long order books and cult brand recognition.

Not everyone wants to take on the world.

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16 hours ago, DBraz said:

Not everyone wants to take on the world.

Not true:

 

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22 hours ago, cmatthes said:

Purposeful, steady, manageable growth and getting the name and the original designs out there are important.

No doubt.  My point was really that youtube stars are an increasingly critical part of getting the word out about things these days.  I mentioned "distributor" since Anderton's probably doesn't review what they don't sell, but that's only an assumption on my part and they're certainly not the only game in youtube guitar reviews.  :)

Maybe @polara or someone with marketing expertise can chime in, but are there data sets/sources out there to help understand if it's more effective to go through a Premier Guitar type process vs. to get it into Pete Thorn's hands?

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2 hours ago, sixesandsevens said:

No doubt.  My point was really that youtube stars are an increasingly critical part of getting the word out about things these days.  I mentioned "distributor" since Anderton's probably doesn't review what they don't sell, but that's only an assumption on my part and they're certainly not the only game in youtube guitar reviews.  :)

Maybe @polara or someone with marketing expertise can chime in, but are there data sets/sources out there to help understand if it's more effective to go through a Premier Guitar type process vs. to get it into Pete Thorn's hands?

That's a black art there. There are data sets for a lot out there and MAYBE one specifically about the impact of artist endorsements in music industry. But I've been in a HUGE industry for ages and I can't even get benchmarks for leads to MQLs to SQLs to closed deals... lots of watery guesswork.

The last ten years have seen me more in B2B and healthcare marketing, where I've been pretty good at it - last employer's share price more than doubled in the six years I was VP of marketing - but I'd only go into guitars as a hobby or one client (if I decided to hang my shingle again and start a business.)

The number one thing is to know where the unrealized market opportunity is, and then go there AND HAVE THE DISCIPLINE TO STICK IT OUT. And not panic and start trying to sell t-shirts or some shit where you're moving inventory but the cash flow sucks and it diverts you from your core business. 

Opportunity. Like, say if Mike does a survey of his exisiting clients and learns that:

  • Male
  • 40-60
  • Household income of $170,000/year
  • Owns 6.5 guitars

Then he can get some data from industry sources to see how many guitarists fit that demographic (and predictions of the aging population), and thus know how big the possible market is. Potential market is X thousand old dudes like us, then maybe dig more to find sales numbers for Suhr, PRS, Mcinturff, etc. to see their production numbers and then you can make some educated guesses about how many of them already own a Suhr, and are gonna pony up for another axe. Look at your pricing, features, etc. to see if your product competes. Look at their social media strategy, PR, events. 

Finally, half-armed with some risky guesstimates, he could go with a robust social strategy across channels A, B and C, push PR in Vintage Guitar and Premier Guitar once you have some guy like Derek Trucks playing one, and sponsor some event series is gonna cost $X, and finally that's an investment with an uncertian outcome and you're gonna have to realize $Y in firt year sales and $Z in the next.

It's fun but a little scary. 

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Incidentally, I was the first to sell an Ultimate. Bruce and I kept the price quiet then, but okay: I sold No 21 to him for the precise, to the penny amount I paid, + shipping.

Making an extra thousand bucks isn't going to make or break me, and I felt like the whole Ultimate project was an exercise in kind karma on the part of Mike. I didn't want to break the karma, so I just viewed myself as the lucky guy who got to play it a few times before it went on, no loss, no gain.

I wanted to inject some money into what I was sure would be a great business, and even though I don't like big pointy guitars, hoped I'd dig it anyway. I didn't, despite the sound and quality. Felt like I was playing an aircraft carrier. If it had been shaped like a Junior, I literally would have sold all my other guitars, it was that good.

Edited by polara
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10 minutes ago, polara said:

Incidentally, I was the first to sell an Ultimate. Bruce and I kept the price quiet then, but okay: I sold No 21 to him for the precise, to the penny amount I paid, + shipping.

Making an extra thousand bucks isn't going to make or break me, and I felt like the whole Ultimate project was an exercise in kind karma on the part of Mike. I didn't want to break the karma, so I just viewed myself as the lucky guy who got to play it a few times before it went on, no loss, no gain.

I wanted to inject some money into what I was sure would be a great business, and even though I don't like big pointy guitars, hoped I'd dig it anyway. I didn't, despite the sound and quality. Felt like I was playing an aircraft carrier. If it had been shaped like a Junior, I literally would have sold all my other guitars, it was that good.

Interestingly enough...Mike's got some cool stuff in the works that would probably "fit" you better! ;)  

 

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4 minutes ago, cmatthes said:

Interestingly enough...Mike's got some cool stuff in the works that would probably "fit" you better! ;)  

 

I know, and once I know Missus Polara's employment status (anyone want to hire a PhD in biomedical engineering/master's in molecular biology?) I think a call to Mike will be forthcoming. I have a few sort of sexy instruments I can sell to finance it... hhmmm... ivory semi-hollow with TV Jones filtertrons and big V neck. I'm getting a chubby.

Edited by polara
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1 hour ago, polara said:

...even though I don't like big pointy guitars, hoped I'd dig it anyway. I didn't, despite the sound and quality. Felt like I was playing an aircraft carrier. If it had been shaped like a Junior, I literally would have sold all my other guitars, it was that good.

Zactly where I was at.  And I second your "if" - it really was that good! 

1 hour ago, cmatthes said:

Interestingly enough...Mike's got some cool stuff in the works that would probably "fit" you better! ;)  

I just keep thinking about all the very constructive back-and-forth in the old "workingman's guitar" thread.  That was an interesting exercise at the time, but after owning / handling / playing an actual Shishkov (not Hamer) guitar, that thread became infinitely more exciting (not that that is necessarily at all what "cool stuff" references)!  Can't wait to see what he's got in mind!  

As far as our armchair MBA discussion of marketing segmentation, focus groups and econometric analysis - I would point out Mike continues to experience a healthy waiting list.  The net result of all of the described effort / expense would likely be: a healthy waiting list.

 

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4 hours ago, cmatthes said:

Interestingly enough...Mike's got some cool stuff in the works that would probably "fit" you better! ;)  

 

Oof.  Not sure if I was ready to read that or not. :ph34r:

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Not that it applies to the question directly at hand... I believe MOST good guitar companies/ good builders build guitars based on some pretty tried and true formulas.  I also have the same opinion of premium car companies.  In that light, a lot of the "custom order" business exists to fulfill what are often vanity projects in which the sum of the parts, as well as the cost of their assembly, can be exponentially more expensive than what is more readily available, while not neccesarily being "better."  Let's use Collings guitars as a for instance.  From what I know about Bill Collings (may he RIP)- he built enough guitars to know what worked.  Right?  

So, if you've got the money to have Ferrari build you a car, with the interior in your favorite tone of peach leather, you've paid a lot more, and what you've got it s vanity project.  A good friend of mine (who has recently passed away...) had a beautiful Porsche Turbo with a custom color interior and exterior.  The exterior was the traditional Porsche silver - with an extra tint of rose.  The interior was two tone leather.  Out of respect for the dearly departed, I'm not going to tell you what I thought of the paint or the interior.  You can imagine that for yourselves. ;)

What makes every one of the Shishkov's I've seen (and the one I've been fortunate enough to play) is that I haven't seen one of them that I wouldn't love to own.  Mike has managed to make sure that everything with his name on it is incredibly special.  That's awesome.

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It's quire simple.  Either you grow slowly and you have all the say, or you receive a capital infusion and are immediately beholden to the person you owe the money to.  Watch Shark Tank, it will explain it to you quickly. 

Edited by Studio Custom

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3 hours ago, srvwannab said:

Not that it applies to the question directly at hand... I believe MOST good guitar companies/ good builders build guitars based on some pretty tried and true formulas.  I also have the same opinion of premium car companies.  In that light, a lot of the "custom order" business exists to fulfill what are often vanity projects in which the sum of the parts, as well as the cost of their assembly, can be exponentially more expensive than what is more readily available, while not neccesarily being "better."  Let's use Collings guitars as a for instance.  From what I know about Bill Collings (may he RIP)- he built enough guitars to know what worked.  Right?  

A perfect example of what you speak, available for sale at my favorite Memphis retailer for a really, really long time:

wildbill-collings_1_.jpg

Quote

This is without a doubt the rarest and most unique Collings CL Deluxe ever built and it is truly a sight to behold. It was special ordered by a gentleman who basically wanted a PRS Private Stock but built by Collings. This guitar took so much time to build that Collings said they will not make another one like it.

You can see the entire listing here.  Martin Music in Memphis - good people there!

But to your point, would this guitar sound any better than the run-of-the-mill (that's kind of a goofy notion for a Collings, but) CL Deluxe?  It looks a bit better (it's extraordinary), but twice to three times as good (equivalent the upcharge)?

Edited by velorush
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If I had an Ultimate, I wouldn't sell it.

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+1 to all of the comments above along with my ongoing gratitude to both Bubs and Shark. I consider myself beyond fortunate to own one of these magnificent guitars and as tempting as it might be to consider offers, #20 will remain a permanent "resident" here in the Wintersphere. Some of Mike's designs posted to FB this year have been blowing my mind and it's only a matter of time before I'm in a position again to pick up the phone and have the conversation I've been dreaming of having. 

 

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15 minutes ago, Winter said:

+1 to all of the comments above along with my ongoing gratitude to both Bubs and Shark. I consider myself beyond fortunate to own one of these magnificent guitars and as tempting as it might be to consider offers, #20 will remain a permanent "resident" here in the Wintersphere. Some of Mike's designs posted to FB this year have been blowing my mind and it's only a matter of time before I'm in a position again to pick up the phone and have the conversation I've been dreaming of having. 

 

I knew it was going to a good  home!  Hope you are doing well, my friend.

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8 minutes ago, The Shark said:

I knew it was going to a good  home!  Hope you are doing well, my friend.

Thanks, brother. And right back at you! I hear there's a lady named "Irma" who's got a bone to pick with the coast. Stay safe, my friend!

 

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7 hours ago, Winter said:

Thanks, brother. And right back at you! I hear there's a lady named "Irma" who's got a bone to pick with the coast. Stay safe, my friend!

 

I've lived here in Central Florida my entire life.  Most of these "Canes" head into the Gulf or are far enough east of me in Central Florida (due east of New Smyrna Beach) that they are a stiff wind and three to five inches of rain.  I have two generators and enough fuel to be self sufficient (under A/C) for eight days.  Jose isn't far behind.  Bring it on.  My guitar rig will be fully functional for the duration.  I'm in the same electric "string" as an Ace Hardware, an Auto Zone and the largest bar in my town.  My power comes on first.  Yup. Yup.

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