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Can You Make a Living with the Guitar?

Chuck Anderson

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Chuck Anderson provides career tips for guitarists.

So, can you make a living with the guitar? Well, after 55 years of working exclusively in the guitar world, I can say, yes! I have never had any other type of job.

There are many ways to generate income through the guitar. In this post, I’ll outline some of the many alternatives. You can concentrate on one approach or you can mix approaches.  As documented in my autobiography “My Life in Music”, I went in multiple directions in carving out my living with the guitar.

The first way that usually generates income is performing. Performing runs the gamut from a cover band, to a solo singer/guitarist-songwriter, to a wedding bands, etc. Clubs, restaurants, country clubs, churches, synagogues, outdoor shows, retirement communities are some of the many opportunities to play and earn income.

Teaching guitar at any level is another option for income. Your limit as a teacher is what you able to teach. If you are just starting, you’ll concentrate on beginners at any age. You can teach for a music store, travel to homes or teach where you live.

Buying and selling guitars is another path. You need some investment money to get started but after that, you can purchase more instruments with your profits.

Guitar repair is an excellent direction if you have the skills. Good guitar techs are in short supply and it’s quite easy to build a following for repeat business.

On a larger level, you can start your autobiography school. In this case, you don’t even need the teaching skills yourself. Just hire the teachers, rent some space and market your school to the public.

Chuck Anderson at “My Life in Music” book signing

It’s also possible to generate income as a writer. Whether you write original songs or can create music for jingles or video games, there is money to be made.

There is always the “star” route although it’s the most unpredictable.

Remember that all of these ideas are entrepreneurial in nature. You are basically self-employed and have to generate the work and then do the work. It’s great to be your own boss but it takes hard work and determination to succeed!

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