Top 10 Ways to Make Money Playing Guitar


make money playing guitar

Ever wondered if you can make money playing guitar? For many people, it’s a lifelong dream to find some way to earn money exclusively from their passion. If that’s you, I’ve got good news for you. You don’t have to become a famous rock star or even a professional musician in order to earn money playing guitar. In fact, I specifically decided to leave those options out of this list.

Instead, these ways of making money playing guitar are simple, and have much lower barriers to entry. Read on to learn to how to turn your guitar playing passion into sweet, sweet money.

1. Play Paid Gigs

How To Make A Living From Your Music
How To Make A Living From Your Music

Think you have to be a pro to play paid gigs? Think again! You can play weddings, bars, restaurants, and other events around your local area. Most of these venues will pay you, or at the very least allow you to put out a tip jar. Sure, like anything you’ll probably have to work your way up to the better paying gigs. But the key here is just to get started. If you’re nervous, start out busking, playing open mics or at small gatherings for friends and family. You can slowly scale up to your gig of choice.

2. Become a Studio Guitarist

Okay, okay, this is the closest one on this list to becoming a professional musician. Studio guitarists come to the assistance of bands when they’re recording an album, and help add guitar parts and solos to the record.

If you want to become a studio guitarist, you’ll have to get at least better than average, and probably pretty good. How good you are will likely directly relate to how much money you can make from doing this one.

How much can you make as a studio guitarist? A truly great studio guitarist can stand to make a good chunk of change: up to $86,000 USD according to ZipRecruiter.

3. Busking

You’ve seen buskers before – they’re those guys playing guitar on the sidewalk, downtown, or in the park. Believe it or not, you can make some pretty decent money busking.

So how much money can you make from busking? Money.com even found that buskers in San Francisco were earning hourly rates that would equal upwards of $40,000 USD a year!

This is a particularly good option if you’re in a big city or large metro area. It makes sense: the more foot traffic you get, the more you stand to earn. It’s a numbers game.

4. Guitar Lessons

Are you good enough that you have the chops to teach someone else? Guitar lessons may be a great guitar side hustle for you. This is a great way to make money playing guitar if you enjoy teaching, or helping others.

The truth is, you don’t have to be a master to teach people things either. In order to teach someone something helpful, you really only need to know 10% more about a subject than they do. If you do, you’ve got enough knowledge to be helpful.

How much money can you make teaching guitar? In the United States, guitar teachers commonly charge an hourly rate somewhere between $40-80 USD.

5. Sell Albums & Records

If you’re good enough that people will pay you to perform at gigs, busk, be a studio musician, or teach them guitar, then you’re probably good enough to make an album. You don’t need to go out hassling record companies. These days, it’s easier than ever to record at home.

Simply invest in some decent home recording equipment, and then record an album and make it available for purchase on popular platforms. You can even get creative and ask people to sponsor you on Patreon or something instead. Think outside the box!

6. Flip Guitars

If you’ve been playing guitar a long time, you probably have insider knowledge on the best guitars and what they should cost. This can give you an advantage if you ever want to try your hand at flipping guitars.

Flipping is simply when you buy something at a lower price, and sell it at a higher price (for more than you paid for it). Look for crazy deals on eBay or Facebook Marketplace, and resell the new model for more than you paid for it.

If you’re new to this, start slow. You don’t want to get caught holding the bag on an expensive guitar that you end up not being able to resell!

7. Become a Luthier

Guitarists know how much maintenance goes into maintaining a quality guitar. If a guitar gets damaged, it may even need professional repairs or restoration. This is where a luthier comes in. Luthiers help maintain and fix guitars.

How much can a luthier make? Anywhere between $30,000-84,000 a year according to Glassdoor.

8. Blog About Guitar Playing

Guess what! My way to make money from my guitar skills is this very blog you’re reading right now. I’m more of an introvert, so in-person lessons aren’t really for me. Instead, I make money playing guitar by blogging about helpful tips, advice, and best practices.

In this way, I also actually end up helping more people than I could if I were giving lessons. If you like writing, this may be an option to consider. Although, more work goes into blogging than most people think, and there are a lot of guitar websites out there, so competition is something to consider before starting a guitar blog.

9. Start A Guitar YouTube Channel

Starting a guitar YouTube channel is what I’d recommend over starting a blog. YouTube is a bit more friendly toward beginners, and you may find your videos rank faster than any blog post would. For a while, I was getting a lost more views on my YouTube videos than I was on my blog.

YouTube is great for guitarists because you can record yourself teaching lessons. In this way, it’s essentially like you’re giving a guitar lessons to 100, or even 1000 people at once! Once you get 1000 subscribers, YouTube will allow you to run ads on your channel, so you can monetize your guitar playing that way.

That said, I’ve found YouTube to be hit or miss. On my own YouTube channel, some videos get thousands of views, and others get next to none. Your mileage may vary.

10. Write a Book

Finally, you can always write a book. Again, you’ll want to have decent writing chops for this. The other thing to consider when writing a guitar book is picking a specific niche. You could write on a specific style of playing, a specific technique, etc. What you don’t want to do is go to broad.

Picking a specific niche will help you find a specific audience of readers who want to know about that topic. Again, you’ll want to consider competition here. Your book will likely perform better if it’s in a niche that isn’t oversaturated.

For example, I wrote my book about buying, choosing, and maintaining a guitar. Pretty specific. It appeals to players who want to know more about how to maintain their instrument through the years.

Most guitar books focus on technique or theory, so this is a niche I thought was underserved. Also, all the stuff I dicuss is stuff that took me a decade to learn on my own, since it is scattered randomly around the internet (or rarely discussed at all). So the book is a helpful, concise resource, which readers always enjoy.

Ready to Get Better at Guitar, Faster?

Whenever you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level, check out a few of my favorite resources below:

The Best Acoustic Guitar Strings – A unique polymer coating makes these guitar strings last for months or even years at a time, making for an exceptional value. They provide the perfect mix of boom, range, twang, and brightness that acoustic music is known for. — CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

The Best Acoustic Guitar – Beloved by everyone from Paul Simon to Gordon Lightfoot, the Martin D-18 is one of Martin’s most legendary guitars ever… It’s an excellent, premier quality acoustic guitar for bluegrass, country, folk, rock and more. This is also what I play myself — CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Chords, Tabs & Video Lessons for 100 Epic Songs – This free guide that I created for fellow guitarists gives you chords, tabs, and video lessons for the 100 best songs to learn on guitar… I spent many hours putting this guide together to help you get better at guitar, faster. — CLICK HERE TO GET IT FREE

Fingerpicking vs Flatpicking Guitar – Learn which picking style is right for YOU by exploring examples, history, and popular players of each style. Discover essential techniques and pros and cons of each approach. — CLICK HERE TO GET IT FREE

Corbin Buff

Corbin has played guitar for over a decade, and started writing about it on Acoustic World in an effort to help others. He lives and writes in western Montana.

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