Market saturation point?

Long time lurker, first time poster. i see a lot of vendors of CBG on places like eBay, Etsy, etc. Not being a long time CBGer, I have to ask the experienced sellers here; Is the market in the USA on the upswing, down swing or still untapped potential? 

Is CBG market saturated or is there enough demand to increase the supply and still hope to make a buck or two? 

market trends anyone?


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  • My 2 cents....

    Yes....the market is "saturated", if you're building 3 string fretless, stick in a box, slide CBGs like everyone else is.

    No...the market is no where near saturated if you differentiate yourself from the herd by building something unique , of  better quality and you market you butt off.

    That's what I think. I could be wrong, but I'm usually right on Tuesdays.  LOL

    the best, Wichita Sam 

  • Thank you all. This has been an interesting discussion. As with selling anything, know the market, find the niche, try to grow the niche. Unlike other product categories, the CBG community seems like the type where expanding the pie rather than fighting for a piece of it is the way to go. Support each other and all CBG vendors benefit.

    Good chat... 

    • I enthusiastically agree, it's important to get out there and play them, hand one over to someone who can wail on it, promote them and show the world how much fun it is to have one. You don't have to build a watch. I believe a nicely made simple introductory model at a fair price will go a long way to put these guitars in their own spotlight.
  • I'm going to "chime in" again on this thread.  TattooedAxe says that cbg's are looked at mostly as a novelty.  I believe he is absolutely right.  And us builders are mostly to blame.  I'll probably ruffle some feathers here, but as long as we continue to build guitars out of poplar sticks glued to old kitchen appliances, car parts and other objects de junk they will remain novelties.  I'm sure the first violins were "novelties" until Stradivari and his folks started to take them to the next level.  It takes me about 40 hours labor to build a guitar.  But I've seen folks brag here about how they built ten guitars over the weekend.  What could they possibly be building other than novelties?  In fact, I saw a guy on ebay once who is building guitars that you don't have to worry about putting a scratch in it because they are already beat to shit.  He also claims that his kits are provided with plenty of "wiggle room".  I guess we all know what that means.     

    I know by the amount I charge for my guitars ($260 to $320) and the fact that I have to turn people away that there are a lot of people who want to take CBG seriously.  I've tried in the past to find someone here who builds guitars of similar quality and design as mine who I could confidently refer people to, but couldn't.  Now don't get me wrong.  I am by no means claiming to be any sort of "craftsman" or building anything better than anyone else.  I'm just a guy with a hobby making a lot of saw dust. I'm just saying that if we as builders took it a little more seriously, then maybe other people would as well. 

  • Here's my humble opinion.  For over three years I've never been able to keep up with the requests I receive for guitars.  Most of my customers are first-time buyers (the others are folks looking to upgrade).  So I have to assume that the market continues to grow.

    I don't do Ebay, Etsy, craft fairs, sell out of the trunk of my car, etc. and sell exclusively through my website (  Don't just think "USA market".  Probably about 30 percent of my sales are to overseas customers.  A website allows you to reach that increasing market as well. 

    If you build what people want there is enough demand to sell guitars and make a buck.  But as already stated here, it needs to be a hobby you love first.  The rest will follow. 

  • Here's the deal from my perspective... Sure, the market on eBay and Etsy is flooded in general with all sorts of craft related items (... and yes, I am sorry... I may have just lumped Cigar Box Guitar building in with making crafts... but the crafts your Mom/Grandmaw, kids/grandkids make are nowhere near as sophisticated as some of the most simple of Bottle Lamps sold on Etsy/eBay (let alone the simplest of Cigar Box Diddley Bows)).

     I make and sell all sorts of stuff on Etsy (shameless plug here:  There are plenty of people taking old-looking books and cutting them into block letters, but that doesn't stop me from selling a ton of them.  The same goes with hollow book safes, vinyl record bookends, and Cigar Box Guitars (and related items).

    Now... for my super secret, secret to being marginally successful ('cause let's face it... I don't make enough on Etsy to live off of, but enough to be able to stick back half of my profits, and have fun buying more stuff to make more stuff with the other half)... You ready for that secret now?  ... Be Different...

    Now how different you are is up to you, but I find simply trying different things than others... or even taking others ideas and trying to put my spin on it... that makes things somewhat unique... and unique (or nice) enough someone is willing to pay for yours versus someone elses.

    The other thing is not to gouge your prices. No one knows me. Because of this I can't command big bucks for my items unless I have something truly special (and even then... I have been trying to get $200-$250 for this Lightsaber Lunchbox Guitar since I built it last year and have only had one offer for $100:  The neck freaking glows in the dark people!

    To better answer your questions in a shorter, more succinct fashion...

    It all depends on your demographic. Where I am in NC (near Charlotte) not many people have ever seen a CBG.  Some folks have heard of them, but not ever played or seen one. Craft markets for me (selling crafts and not CBGs) have not been a good use of time for me (I waste 3 days of the Craft Fair, and months of work in prep) to make $150 to $200. Because of this my "Boss" (wife) prefers I make things to order.
    Online is sporadic and inconsistent, but has been much more profitable (an not such a waste or time).  Also, you can pace yourself, experiment, and find your niche.

    Bottom line: These guitars (and amps if you are thrifty) don't cost hardly anything to make.  If you are thrifty, and make good use of your chargeable time, you can still make decent profit on a guitar you charge $75 to $100.  Your profit margins may not be huge, but what's the matter with making 1½ to ? times what you have into the project. You're guaranteed not to lose any money. The flip side is you have to enjoy doing it. Unless you become famous and are able to command high dollars, or sell a lot, then this isn't a "get rich quick" system. 

    If you want to try it out, you almost owe it to yourself to at least try it. 

  • all i  know  is  ,  it's a good time to  buy  .

    get in on  it  now  ,   

     here's  my  site

    see what i  did  there  ?  ;-)


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