1976 - 1998
In 1998, or about then, I had decided that I would stop building
guitars and hold a "Dutch auction" online to sell the dozen Cloutier
guitars that I had at the time.
|Dutch auction - A type of auction where the auctioneer begins
with a high asking price which is lowered until some participant
is willing to accept the auctioneer's price. The winning participant
pays the last announced price.
Twelve brave souls took a chance in buying a guitar on the internet
from an unknown luthier. I enjoyed talking to all the guitarists
who called or emailed from all over the country asking questions
about my guitars. And I still have some of the comments from some
of the buyers on the "Some Owners" page.
Thanks goes to Russell Letson for suggesting the idea of a Dutch Auction and helping spread
the word, as well as Greg Friedmann.
During the course of the guitar auction, I was occasionally asked
why I was getting out of the guitar-making business. My answer
was: How do you make a living building and selling guitars at
the prices these finally sold? Of course I do believe I had a
good product that satisfied a special niche. The problem was more
a matter of not getting the word out.
I was not terribly broken up about deciding to stop building instruments.
Although very enjoyable, my years of designing and crafting guitars
was a lot of work and I took the responsibility of making instruments
for others seriously. If I had been able to make a better living
from it I may have continued a while longer. During the auction,
I often sold my guitars at minimum-wage prices. I can't complain
because getting up in the morning to do work you love is sometimes
much better than money. -- Steve Cloutier
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