Cloutier Guitars
1976 - 1998
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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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