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Thread: Pickup Pricing

  1. #36
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    The other issue is the particular guitar and associated electronics. Hearing a pickup in one guitar doesn't necessarily mean it will sound identical in another. Secondly, there's the sum of small variations in wire tension, magnet strength and winding patterns that causes differences from one pickup to the next. I have a customer who buys the actual pickups he auditions and has me fit them to his guitars. At least one variable is removed.

    Your pickup 'blind tasting', reminds me of this;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlMwud7SxEA

    EDIT: I'm not suggesting your pickups are Blue Nun, just that when you remove other references people choose what they actually prefer rather than what they're conditioned to prefer.

  2. #37
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    How is everyone setting their pricing?
    Trying to capture a customer base by offering 'artificially' low pricing only leads to losing those customers when the next, and even cheaper company comes along.

    Understanding the market for pickups of similar construction, application, etc ... and then understanding your actual costs are the first steps in accurate pricing. If you're a legit business with real overhead, taxes, insurance, marketing, facilities, etc ... you need to be sure to not price yourself so low that you bankrupt yourself (and possibly one or more competitors) in the process of getting your product out to market. A couple of the 'big guys' who make pickups are also diversified into other offerings, and can 'possibly' afford to gain market share by offering pickups as a loss-leader item because they balance out with significant margin on their other products. (if indeed this is the case) They may instead be contracting some portion their manufacturing overseas in a less expensive location, and keeping costs low by winding 10's of thousands of a coil type at a time.

    As a pickup maker who winds each coil to order, and who needs to make a profit to pay bills, eat, and stay in business ... you obviously will have a cost per coil that is significantly higher. The two products are not the same, and setting pricing of a pickup set that's hand wound to order will always be more expensive than a mass produced machine wound offering.

    Identify early who you want to be as a company - Ferrari, Ford, or Yugo - and then work your business model and pricing to suit. Keep in mind that once you set your business standard (Ferrari, Ford, Yugo) it's near impossible to grow upwards on the ladder of how customers perceive your product offerings. Consider the market perception of Affinity by Squire, and how their offerings will never be perceived/valued the same as a Fender Custom Shop offering. FCS can always have a sale and sell a unit cheaper, but Affinity will never be able to have an anti-sale and sell a unit at a higher price.


    And if you're goal is simply to be a hobbyist who sells to local clients and spend the occasional income to pay for beer at a Friday night poker game, then look at your local market for others who do similar and price accordingly.
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  3. #38
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    "If you're a legit business....."

    That's the crunch. I earn my living from music electronics; I have overheads, equipment to replace, machinery that takes up space and it's really tough. I pay taxes and warrant my work. I take responsibility for the gear I handle and do my utmost to ensure the customer is 100% happy. I pretty much work every hour I can and would perhaps be better off serving burgers. But I really enjoy most of the work, most of the time.

    What I have is my offer. If someone wants a rough idea of what something will cost, I'll let them know and they can walk away if they don't like it. I try to be as fair as I can and don't hold people to ransom. If a customer wants to shop around, then that's business. No hard feelings - I do the same thing. Most of my regulars don't ask for a price beforehand. Maybe they always see that my car is older and has more rust than theirs.

    What some people miss is they confuse cost and value. When cost is the only factor and there's no consideration of skill, materials, experience or knowledge, then unless you're prepared to work for next-to-nothing you're better off letting that one go. Sometimes you can turn someone around - I always take pictures for a new customer to show the processes in getting their job done. Often there's an element of disbelief that a piece of work that appeared so simple could take so much effort. Like asking the person who makes jam to make the jar as well. And the lid. That's the bad side of modern manufacturing - everyone is a consumer, very often with no knowledge of where or how things are made.

  4. #39
    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Achiles View Post
    Big_teee ,in a case like this,placebo effect counts a lot.I show my intruments to my costumers telling them the pikups are Aero,Nord or Delano and they sound awesome.After them knowing the truth it become just ok.
    I never lie about guitars or pickups.
    At times, I'm probably way too honest!
    If I don't like something, or I think it is a POS, I say so! :<)
    But, like I said, I'm retired, and it's strictly a hobby and something to do!
    T
    Last edited by big_teee; 05-04-2017 at 09:41 PM.
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  5. #40
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    big_tee,i donīt lie to my costumers too,itīs just a "quick test".

  6. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Achiles View Post
    big_tee,i donīt lie to my costumers too,itīs just a "quick test".
    A quick test, or just a quick white lie?
    A lie is a lie, here in the south!
    Not sure what you call it where you come from?
    T
    Technicians Run the World, but Bankers, Lawyers, and Accountants, Take All The Credit!
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  7. #42
    rjb
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    A lie is a lie, here in the south!
    Not sure what you call it where you come from?
    "Alternate facts."
    But semi-seriously, I would call Achiles' method a quick "fool" test.
    It can be good to know when you are dealing with a fool. :sardonic:
    Last edited by rjb; 05-05-2017 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Elaborate quoted context for clarity
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  8. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    A quick test, or just a quick white lie?
    A lie is a lie, here in the south!
    Not sure what you call it where you come from?
    T
    A lie is a lie, everywhere!Even here in Brazil.
    Iīm just playing a joke on my costumer.
    The idea is to encourage people to like what they hear from the pickups not from the others mouth.

  9. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    A quick test, or just a quick white lie?
    A lie is a lie, here in the south!
    Not sure what you call it where you come from?
    T
    Strong words Big Tee, and quite out of place.
    What Achilles does is a little Market Research and Psychological test: he is not lying at all because he does not *sell* them under a false name (maybe you do and think others do the same? ) but he first tells them something and as soon as they say their biased opinion he shows them itīs biased, period.

    Please re read his posts.
    jmaf likes this.
    Juan Manuel Fahey

  10. #45
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    "Touché",thanks JM for coming to my rescue,exact wording.
    jmaf likes this.

  11. #46
    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I stand by my integrity statements.
    Name dropping and misrepresentation Does Not Fly Here in my area.
    Everyone here on the forum, is entitled to their own methods, and their own opinions!
    BTW, "Tools and Coil Winding Gear", is a tech forum.
    This OP topic IMO should be in the Lobby, or Storm Drain, and has nothing to do with tools, or coil winding gear!

    GL,
    T
    Last edited by big_teee; 05-11-2017 at 03:23 PM.
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  12. #47
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    So,case closed.
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  13. #48
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    Achiles' shop is across town from me. Knowing him personally I know this was a tongue in cheek thing.

    I don't know how old Achiles is, maybe a bit younger (and same good looks) as Yoda from Star Wars. I know he's seen more than a few presidents sworn in cuz he installed guitar pickups for me when I was a teenager.

    One time I saved a whole year to buy the hottest new pickup I saw on guitar player. Things here in Brazil were rough, we couldn't easily import anything back then. So getting my hands on a pair of the hottest pickups was quite an accomplishment. In fact buying Guitar Player here was an accomplishment.

    But of course I went and destroyed the pickups. I read somewhere that Van Halen did whatever to his windings and I attempted to do the same. And I couldn't get them back together in one piece.

    So I end up in Achiles' shop with a broken guitar and no money. He opens up a drawer and pulls out a double blade humbucker and says this thing is no big brand like yours, but it sounds great. I was skeptical and didn't want it, cuz I hadn't seen it on Guitar Player. Days later I returned, and said gimme that pickup. It cost a fraction of the amazing brand name ones I destroyed.

    I still have that <insert brand name> thing stuck into my guitar, and it's been a while. It still sounds great. Just saying this because I know Achiles from way back and I know he likes schooling younger players that brands and hype do not make up for actual tone.

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  14. #49
    ken
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    I reopened this thread because there were some valid points raised about the pitfalls of charging too much or too little for your pickups.

    This is a very interesting question, especially since there are so many makers out there all competing for the players' dollar. Basically, do you charge more than perceived 'street value' for your pickup and try to sell quality and workmanship, or do you try to undercut mass market prices and pray that you can make it up in volume?

    Also, if everybody (or almost everybody) gets their bobbins, magnets, wire, etc. from the same few manufacturers, how does one differentiate their own creations in the public view from everyone else's?

    Effects pedal makers have the same problem, as there are literally hundreds of clones of Big Muffs, TS-9s and Fuzz Faces out there, all seeming exactly the same except size and paint color. Nowadays, you can have made for you in China PC boards of dozens of different types of effects, all you have to do is populate them and put them in a box and you're an effect guru. I wonder how this will work out in the long term.

    Ken
    Last edited by ken; 07-11-2017 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Neatness
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  15. #50
    Senior Member salvarsan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken View Post
    Nowadays, you can have made for you in China PC boards of dozens of different types of effects, all you have to do is populate them and put them in a box and you're an effect guru. I wonder how this will work out in the long term.
    Slow decline.
    People who like electric guitars are dying off.
    The newer gen uses sampled sounds in large part because of their ubiquity and convenience.
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  16. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken View Post
    I reopened this thread because there were some valid points raised about the pitfalls of charging too much or too little for your pickups.

    This is a very interesting question, especially since there are so many makers out there all competing for the players' dollar. Basically, do you charge more than perceived 'street value' for your pickup and try to sell quality and workmanship, or do you try to undercut mass market prices and pray that you can make it up in volume?

    Also, if everybody (or almost everybody) gets their bobbins, magnets, wire, etc. from the same few manufacturers, how does one differentiate their own creations in the public view from everyone else's?

    Effects pedal makers have the same problem, as there are literally hundreds of clones of Big Muffs, TS-9s and Fuzz Faces out there, all seeming exactly the same except size and paint color. Nowadays, you can have made for you in China PC boards of dozens of different types of effects, all you have to do is populate them and put them in a box and you're an effect guru. I wonder how this will work out in the long term.

    Ken
    This is exactly it. And I don't have any good answers (which is why I asked the question).

    There is an inescapable ubiquity in "custom" and "handwound" pickups, in so much as most (a lot?) of us are getting our materials from the same places and there are only so many ways to make a pickup. The differences between one skilled winder and the other is a matter of taste and not quality, and I tell everyone who asks why they should buy from me that exact thing. I feel any other answer would be a lie.

    I'm in a precarious position because I built a small, local, business charging a price that I thought reflected my entry into the marketplace and my skill level. Now that I want to step it up a little I can track the fall off in orders when I raise the price of a humbucker by $10.

    I think the only real way to deal with this is to build a brand but this is a decision and a commitment that requires a lot of money and even more time. Advertising costs. Demos of pickups cost. A speedy and responsive website costs. And even with all that in play you (I) am still way behind the big boys. But branding obviously works because Throbak IS selling humbuckers for a lot of money.

    So do you then try to price competitively in the hopes of more orders making up for lower prices or build a brand behind a bunch of hyperbole and at least a little bs and make one humbucker for every 3 or 4 you'd otherwise have to sell to make the same amount?
    Last edited by jrdamien; 07-11-2017 at 06:06 PM.

  17. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrdamien View Post
    This is exactly it. And I don't have any good answers (which is why I asked the question).

    There is an inescapable ubiquity in "custom" and "handwound" pickups, in so much as most (a lot?) of us are getting our materials from the same places and there are only so many ways to make a pickup. The differences between one skilled winder and the other is a matter of taste and not quality, and I tell everyone who asks why they should buy from me that exact thing. I feel any other answer would be a lie.

    I'm in a precarious position because I built a small, local, business charging a price that I thought reflected my entry into the marketplace and my skill level. Now that I want to step it up a little I can track the fall off in orders when I raise the price of a humbucker by $10.

    I think the only real way to deal with this is to build a brand but this is a decision and a commitment that requires a lot of money and even more time. Advertising costs. Demos of pickups cost. A speedy and responsive website costs. And even with all that in play you (I) am still way behind the big boys. But branding obviously works because Throbak IS selling $270 humbuckers.

    So do you then try to price competitively in the hopes of more orders making up for lower prices or build a brand behind a bunch of hyperbole and at least a little bs and make one humbucker for every 3 or 4 you'd otherwise have to sell to make the same amount?
    Other members pricing should not be posted here.
    This Thread still has nothing to do with Tools, and coil making gear, and IMO should not be here.
    Pickup pricing is up to the individual seller!
    Technicians Run the World, but Bankers, Lawyers, and Accountants, Take All The Credit!
    Keep Rockin! B_T
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  18. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    Other members pricing should not be posted here.
    This Thread still has nothing to do with Tools, and coil making gear, and IMO should not be here.
    Pickup pricing is up to the individual seller!
    I "fixed" the price reference, although it was just a guess.

    If the thread belongs elsewhere shouldn't a mod move it elsewhere?

    Pickup pricing is obviously up to each seller. What's that got to do with the discussion of it, though?

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