This guitar costs $15,000

Posts: 9060
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:22 am
Location: Spain, IB

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by simonm » Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:33 pm

Machete wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:15 am
... and it costs around $15,000. How can this be so expensive? That's the cost of a car.
Steve Ganz wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:11 am
As far as comparing the cost to cars... cars are utilitarian.
There are cars and cars. A 15 year old second hand Ferrari can cost $2.5 million. I doubt if that would be described as a utilitarian vehicle. The most expensive Ferraris I could see just now were 5 million euros - " Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta" both are also technically 2nd hand as the dealer has them registered already.

Regarding any hand made classical guitar for $15,000 - if you assume about 200 hours work (including office work to do all the business things) and lets say about $1,000 direct/indirect costs including materials - then you have $70 an hour.

If the price is through a dealer, then the maker might be getting about 8,000 or $35 an hour on the same basis.

If you look at typical skilled jobs in the USA (doctor, lawyer, plumber, electrician and so on), how many bill you less that $70 an hour? Less than $45 an hour?

Posts: 1301
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by celestemcc » Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:22 pm

And... I don't think you can judge a guitar's sound by a recording, especially a concert on Youtube. Hearing it live is best. That guitar may sound spectacular, live (I simply can't judge by the recording, except to say Ana's playing is wonderful). And also, there's so many other factors: is the guitar a traditional build, or a double top? Cedar or spruce top? Sides: Rosewood -- Brazilian or Indian? Maple? Maybe two guitars of equal high value are both wonderful, but one is brighter and one is darker: the one you prefer is the "better" guitar simply because you prefer it.

I've heard lots of expensive instruments, some better than others, but by and large, the more costly ones tend to sound better, sorry to say. I know, the old factory vs. luthier debate. But there's a lot to be said for craftsmanship.
Last edited by celestemcc on Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:18 pm
Location: WA, USA

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by Dmitrypey » Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:47 pm

Don't forget that Ana uses this amazing guitar as a tool to do her job.
If she uses it for 10 years, then she is basically paying $1,500 a year to play multiple concerts and sold out venues.
I am sure that is well worth it for her.
I can understand that it may be difficult for you to realize this while you are playing your guitar in the living room.

I think it was Gernot Wagner who explained why the cost of his guitars is well worth it considering a possible relative short life of his thin topped, DT guitars. A lot of people who play these instruments use it to make a living, the same way you would use a car to do your job.

User avatar
Posts: 1194
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:02 pm
Location: London, Ontario CANADA

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by Beowulf » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:56 pm

I spent roughly $10,000 for an instrument that I had never played and many guitarists do this when they commission an instrument from a luthier. A few people thought I was nuts and recommended that I compare and play a number of guitars from dealers or luthiers that were locally accessible. After playing one instrument for 45 years (cost: $750 in, perhaps $4000-$5000), I knew what I wanted, even though I could only listen to Youtube videos to get an idea of the sound.

The result is an instrument that has exactly the sound and character I want. I love playing on it, my playing has improved by leaps and bounds and I will play it for the rest of my life. Was it worth $10,000? To me, yes! And it is a work of the highest craftsmanship to boot.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

Posts: 4619
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:15 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by riffmeister » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:06 pm

Supply and demand. And what the market will bear. Is why.

Anyone who doesn't think a guitar is worth $15K is welcome to not purchase one. And conversely, anyone who thinks a guitar (like the Redgate, for example) is worth $15K is welcome to purchase one. I'm pretty sure Mr. Redgate has a waiting list for his instruments, so apparently such people do exist.

User avatar
Rick Beauregard
Student tutor
Posts: 1556
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:23 am
Location: Blaine, WA

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:33 pm

I’ve heard Ana play live, in 2015, presumably on this guitar though I can’t confirm it. What I recall was a range of dynamics and tone that I’ve never heard from a classical guitar before. I attributed it to her skills and a very good amplification set up. But the guitar was amazing.

Keep in mind too that Jim Redgate benefits when top talent use his instruments. Think Tiger Woods and Nike. He gets his hats, clubs, balls, shoes for free no doubt. Maybe other top luthiers could confirm, but artist comps go beyond free strings, am I wrong?

The famous story of Manuel Ramirez telling Segovia: “Keep the guitar. Pay me without money,” may not have been the last time a luthier made such an investment. I’d say it paid off for the Ramirez family.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)

Posts: 262
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:43 pm
Location: Dublin/Alicante

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by Mr.Rain » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:27 pm

This is all relative....

The other day a Spanish composer(guitar and orchestra),dropped by my place in order to check my guitar collection(the antiques).

He also checked my other guitars among them he liked mainly a Concierto and a 1864 Torres copy.He had played the original FE-17 before the last restoration(which was sold back in the day for 66k),he shared some pictures where he had it in his hands(also other pictures with Romanillos,the Fletas and many other famous luthiers..)

He asked me how much the Torres costed me,after he played it he said "es una guitarra muy fina"(it is a very nice guitar),he also guessed a was 4 times what I paid for it...

Needless to say this guy has several Esteso,and Santos Hernandez on his collection and many other modern guitars(his son is also a professional musician,so that makes even more sense), he knows what good a guitar is, also what is pure marketing (he named a couple of very famous Spanish builders and gave me his opinion with no filters...)

a human
Posts: 584
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 1:37 am
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by a human » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:42 pm

Two concepts: Never confuse asking with getting, and an item needs to please only one buyer.

This is true for all unique items: land, horses, antiques, art, instruments, etc.
1965 Krempel Classical (660ish mm)
The rest come and go.

Posts: 404
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:04 am

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by 2lost2find » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:45 pm

I don't think anybody is disputing Vidovic's abilities. The criticism raised earlier I think had more to do with the fact that she's using those abilities to re-hash warhorses. Is anybody but me sick of the Segovia repertoire? If I never have to hear Recuerdos de la Alhambra or Variations on a Theme of Mozart or Asturias again... it'll still be too damn soon. The fact that she feels the need to keep playing that stuff in order to keep butts in seats confirms that CG audiences are no different than bar audiences demanding Sweet Home Alabama, Don't Stop Believing, and Hit Me With Your Best Shot again... and again... and again.

David Conti
Posts: 291
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:28 pm
Location: indianapolis,IN

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by David Conti » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:06 pm

Well. just be glad you don't play violin or piano, I know someone who paid 20k for a bow! (The violin was 350k)
And how can a 59 les paul be worth over 100k? The market decides. 15k is not that much money and I would say the redgate will be worth more than a 15k car in 20 years.

Jack Douglas
Posts: 1588
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:37 am
Location: Ashland, Va

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by Jack Douglas » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:13 pm

I believe the entire post stems from a question by someone asking why a guitar is worth $15,000.00. He used Ana Vidovic, owner of the $15k guitar he asked about as an example and the post has nothing to with her. I think the question of the cost of such a guitar has been answered, a guitar is worth what the market will bear.
I agree with others that leaving out the name of the artist and Luthier and asking a simple question: ‘Why is a guitar worth $15,000.00’ would be better.
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

User avatar
Posts: 1372
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:45 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by souldier » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:33 pm

This thread just highlights the subjective nature of value especially when it comes to the price of a classical guitar. When I was new to classical guitar, I always assumed that a higher price tag = superior sound. Over the years I've discovered that there are a lot of other factors that influence the price of a guitar. Other factors like the luthier's reputation, factory vs one-man shop, wood species used, historical value, made in china vs made in spain, aesthetic appeal, etc. all come into play and many are willing to pay top dollar for these other factors. A person who is not aware of these things may be shocked when they play a $40k classical guitar and feel that it only sounds marginally better than a $5k guitar, or not better at all.

Personal preferences are highly subjective. When I personally choose a guitar, the 2 main factors that I hold as supreme is whether it has a beauty of tone that grips me and whether the guitar is easy to play. Things like aesthetics, brand, price tag, woods used, etc. are not important to me. This is why I currently play on a guitar only worth a couple hundred dollars and yet prefer it over other $10K+ guitars that I have tried. It doesn't even necessarily mean my guitar is superior to the other guitars, but that my subjective preferences incline in a different direction. This is why I always suggest that when one goes to dealers to test various guitars, that the try their best to put their preconceived ideas aside and judge each guitar on its own merits, assuming sound is the most important thing they are going for.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

User avatar
Posts: 437
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by CarbonElitist » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:03 am

2lost2find wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:45 pm
Is anybody but me sick of the Segovia repertoire?
You're not the only one. I'm sick of it as well. Segovia's contributions to the CG are undeniable. But in this day and age, his transcriptions are the "It's A Small World After All" of the classical guitar world. I'm sick of hearing them over and over again. There are far better, far more interesting compositions.
"If at first you don't succeed, don't go skydiving."
"When I want expert advice, I look at the comment sections on DIY videos."

Posts: 592
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:48 pm

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by hesson11 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:31 am

I read an article recently about the average cost of instruments for musicians of a particular symphony orchestra. It was somewhere around $40,000. Guitars are cheap. Maybe someday this Redgate guy will be able to make some real money. :-)

Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:10 am
Location: Seekonk MA

Re: This guitar costs $15,000

Post by dmcmurray » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:00 am

If you have the chance to play a high end instrument for an extended period of time you may see a difference. There are subtle differences and major ones between medium and high end guitars. Opinions vary. However, we are lucky that high end instruments only cost 10-20,000 compared to many other players. Piano, cello, violin, etc. High end versions of these cost as much as a house. I would also say, buy a car and see what it is worth in 5-10 years, not much. The guitar will hold on to much of its value if it is treated properly.
2013 Connor Spruce/Brazilian
1979 Ramirez 1a Cedar/IR
1996 Carpio Spruce/IR
1998 Joiner Cedar/Maple

Return to “Advice on buying, selling or valuing a guitar”