|The Green Machine in its original state|
|Decided to thin the neck while re-fretting|
Further more this has got me thinking about direction, it has always been my plan to grow SBC in to a self-sufficient company, more over, I would love to grow SBC in to my only job. But this gives me a problem with direction. We have started batch producing guitars (or rather Hob's has, while I work on the customs and business stuff) to help us up production and keep end costs down.
But we find ourselves at a fork. We are very reasonable for handmade guitars (don't believe me, check out our SB3 pricing guide) but sadly, this competitive pricing is based on getting ourselves known, which kind of leads me to the ultimate point. I've never wanted SBC guitars to be in the 3-4k plus market, preferring to stay more accessible, without compromising quality. but that is hard to afford to offer in the UK, without living off of beans and mouldy bread at least, so...
1, Look at something like the Chapman Guitars business model, UK designed but not built. This would probably mean some fairly terrifying business loans, or selling our designs to someone, but this would keep us to a similar mark-up, albeit, customs which we so enjoy would probably be out of the window.
2, We find a UK business partner to make the rough bodies, and we continue with the customs, and put together the batched guitars. I like this idea, and I think I am leaning towards it. My worry is that this may compromise quality on some of the lower end models, without someone who knows what to look for in the wood, when making the blanks.
3, We keep doing what we do, but we dramatically up our price. Yep. Its a completely hypocritical thing to do, in mind of where we started the conversation on affordability. But in terms of accuracy, and taking our time to produce great guitars it makes sense. This works well for many great UK builders, but the problem with this is SB3. We realized something, our core concept for SB3 has shifted in its development. We realized recently that SB3 is not just a aesthetically tweaked Tele, but an ergonomically updated workhorse guitar with modern engineered parts for session musicians, touring artists and all round passionate guitarists, with an emphasis on comfort/playabilty, reliability, and versatility (and sound, although I would class that a s part of the versatility). It is the sort of guitar a working musician may invest 1-2k on, particularly if it can be provided to his spec (or a passionate player may splurge out on) but it is not (in my opinion) a 3-4k plus guitar (although, I don't believe there are many guitars truly worth this, save for maybe Strandberg and a handful of other fantastic builders) and was never designed to be manufactured as such.
Ultimately, I think we will head somewhere between 2 and 3. This realisation has completely up-ended my business plan.