The Vintage Guitar News and Views – March Edition

There have been many changes in the acoustic guitar industry through the years, some good, some not so good and some were really bad. For the most part the old adage that “necessity breeds invention” holds true. Take the use of Mahogany wood for example.

Mahogany wood was once viewed as inferior tone wood to be used on acoustic guitars, but was accepted and used as a replacement for Brazilian rosewood at times. One large guitar maker even used birch wood ( although called maple) for the sides and back of some of its guitars. But, back to mahogany. This wood was found to have properties to better the construction of guitar necks , because at one point in history acoustic guitar necks were made of cedar, spliced together. So instead of several pieces of cedar to make a guitar neck one piece of mahogany wood because of its strength could now be used and made it possible to construct the neck and peg head out of one piece. Mahogany also gained acceptance for the back and sides of acoustic guitars.

Another replacement or change that happened was the replacement of Ivory , also a widely used material for bridge pins, binding, bridge saddles, and nuts, decoration and sometimes complete custom fret boards. this was slowly replaced with a celluloid material commonly referred to today as “ivoryoid”. With the advent of longer fret boards to facilitate players needs and demands and with the wider usage of steel strings Acoustic guitar builders slowly adapted to the placement of interior neck reinforcement. This helped keep the neck straight due to the tension created by steel strings. Using everything from ebony to steel and finally the adjustable “truss rod ” we know as a standard feature on guitars today. Which are still being refined on modern guitars.

The change from “gut” or “Nylon” strings to steel strings also created other changes in acoustic guitars. The greater tension placed on the guitar tops, bracing and bridges on guitars of “oldie” required makers to change or alter the interior body bracing for the acoustic guitars tops and also change the size “footprint” that the bridge made on the top of the guitar as well, all leading to a better built and sometimes better sounding acoustic guitar.

During the late 1960′s and early 1970′s the tone wood from Brazil became harder to get and after it came under government control it became quite expensive also. Acoustic guitar makers scrambled to get as much as they could and started to utilize the remaining Brazilian rosewood that they already had. Such is the case for the emergence of smaller pieces being used to create the backs of some acoustic guitars (3 pieces instead of 2 larger pieces), and a shift to Indian rosewood as well. As in regards to experiments with tone woods, builders used and are still doing so, more laminates, exotic woods and indigenous wood species in an attempt to replace the lost Brazilian rosewoods, But hey that is another edition of the vintage guitar news and views altogether. This article is not meant to be all inclusive or the definite last word on the subjects covered, but rather an informative and entertain look at the different aspects of guitars and the vintage guitar market as I see it and as usual this is just my guitar news and views. So until next month may all your days be memorable, all your friends stay true and all your riffs be killer, Greg.

A Plethora Of Ways To Profit From Marketing Your Business Online

Are you looking for a real way to grow your business, get more leads and generate more sales? Let me say upfront, you can’t wrestle with your business and achieve a clear victory without marketing your business online. Don’t swat at me quite yet — I have my reasons which you’ll soon see.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 10 years now and I have a lot of experience growing businesses. Throughout all the business growth, I’ve been testing each method to find the best ways to improve business. I discovered that marketing your business online is the most effective way to gain popularity and attract a flock of eager buyers shopping for what you offer. Although there are still offline techniques available for growing business, many of these methods are waning and can sink your bank account. Especially when your business is quite young, you usually can’t afford to use high cost promotion methods. At times like these, can you risk investing in advertising with questionable return?

One of the greatest offline marketing business turn-offs today, consumers no longer accept intrusion marketing. They are not waiting to be told what is available for purchase. Instead, think about your own habit. When you get the whim to acquire something new, are you more likely to Google for it or scan through Yellow Pages?

Luckily, the Internet makes it possible for everybody, even those with tight budgets, to market their business online via websites, blogs, video, social media and social networks. Are you serious about serious business growth? Are increased sales and more of your best customers acquisitions that drive you through your business day? I suggest you consider marketing your business online. Perhaps the greatest thing about this is that it’s considerably less expensive to market your business online than ineffective traditional marketing ever was.

Of course, nearly all business owners have a website. All by itself, how effective has your static online business card been for your business? Among the most effective online marketing strategies is participation in social media and social networks. I have been augmenting my website efforts with social media for over 5 years now and it’s been tremendously effective increasing awareness of my business brand.

Yes, there are at least 101 social media and social networks in which you can participate. Not all of them are equally effective for your business; and to participate in all of them will be prohibitively expensive. So, where to start? Where will it benefit your business most? Of the 101 possible, I recommend all businesses consider these three:

  • Linkedln — The world’s largest network of professionals;
  • Facebook — The 3rd largest “country” in the world; and
  • Twitter — Customers, vendors, partners & competitors discuss you here.

Social media are effective precisely because they empower consumers to participate in business development. What better way to market your business online than to ask your market what it will buy? Once you anticipate for what eager buyers are shopping, place your content there where they will find it and follow it back to your door. Marketing your business online is that simple.

Letting Your Property: Getting Started – Some Things Landlords Need to Know

Becoming a Landlord for the first time is always a daunting experience. To help you prepare for Tenants letting your property here are some practice things you will need to know.

As an overview UK Landlords have a number of responsibilities, to include:

  • repairs to the structure and exterior of the property
  • repairs to heating and hot water installations
  • repairs to sinks, baths and other sanitary installations
  • safety of gas and electrical appliances that you supply
  • fire safety of furniture and furnishings that you supply
  • provision of an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • protection of your Tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme

Consent to Lease

It may be a purpose buy-to-let investment property or it may be your own home. Either way as the owner of this property if your current mortgage is a residential contract you will need to contact your lender and ask permission for the lender to “consent to lease“. Most lenders will happily agree to this, but some may ask for conditions to be attached. Failure to do this is a breach of your mortgage terms and conditions and could lead to the lender terminating your agreement.

Type of Property

Your Landlord obligations can vary depending on the type of property you are letting. In particular if you are letting rooms or flats within a single property this may be considered a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). This being the case you may need to apply for a licence. Regardless of the type of property as a Landlord you must keep your rented properties safe and free from health hazards and comply with all relevant health and safety requirements.

Health and Safety

Gas Safety Certificates are required by law and must be annually re-certified. All gas appliances within the property must be tested and approved by a gas safety registered engineer – formerly Corgi. This is to ensure that no appliances or heaters are leaking carbon monoxide, which is undetectable in the environment of the home. This is critically important as tragic results can occur and you as a Landlord would be liable. You should keep inspection records for at least two years and give copies of the reports to your existing Tenants within 28 days of each check. You should also give copies to new Tenants before they move in. Failure to obtain a Gas Safety Certificate at its extreme may result in loss of life, prosecution, an unlimited fine and imprisonment.

Landlords are also responsible for the safety of electrical appliances. A qualified electrician can provide the required tests. At the beginning of each new tenancy, you should ensure that electrical installations are safe and well maintained. Any electrical appliances you supply to Tenants (cookers, toasters, kettles etc) should be safe for them to use. As a Landlord you should carry out regular inspections of fixed electrical installations every five years. You should also arrange, at least once a year, for a qualified electrician to carry out portable appliance testing (PAT); a safety test on all portable electrical equipment you provide for Tenants, such as kettles. The PAT tester will give you a dated certificate and put stickers on the plugs of appliances to show that they are safe.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are required by law when any residential or commercial property is either sold or rented. An EPC provides information on a building’s energy efficiency shown on a sliding scale from ‘A’ (very efficient) to ‘G’ (least efficient). The EPC also contains a recommendations report showing how you could improve the rating and make the property more attractive to Tenants. The EPC is valid for ten years and can be used for all new Tenants in that period.

Depending on the age and type of your property it may be a legal requirement to have smoke alarms fitted. In the case of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) for example, there is a requirement for Landlords to supply a mains operated interlinked smoke alarm system. In the case of older single family rental properties, technically there is no legal requirement for Landlords to provide a smoke alarm. However, it is strongly recommended that Landlords do provide at least a battery operated smoke alarm or alarms in their rented properties. Where Landlords do provide battery operated smoke alarms they should have a clause in the agreement making it clear that it is the Tenant’s responsibility to check their operation and replace the batteries as and when necessary.

Some companies can provide both EPC’s and Gas Certificates.

Marketing your property to find Tenants

Deciding on the rental income you think the property can achieve can be done by looking at similar properties for rent in your area or looking on-line at property listing sites. You may wish to engage a traditional letting agent who will value and market the property for you. More Landlords these days are turning to online letting agents to find Tenants for them, because they offer tremendous value for money in comparison to traditional agents. Of course the Landlord has to take on a bit more work, but all services from managing a property to inventory check-ins can be arranged through online agents at very competitive rates.

Viewings can be done by an agent or by the Landlord. The advantage of this is that you actually get to meet the Tenants in person and this can provide re-assurance and peace of mind. Some agents offer a virtual viewing service where they will attend your property, make a short video of the key features and post the video in a YouTube style format on their site. Tenants can then view your property at any time from the comfort of their own computer.

Tenancy Agreements

It is now much easier to deal with all the legal aspects of letting with a lot of good free advice for Landlords on the Internet, in particular A tenancy agreement is a property rental agreement, which is a legal agreement in writing that sets out the rights and responsibilities of both Landlord and Tenant in a contract. Landlords can either pay for a solicitor, estate or letting agent to draft a tenancy agreement, although it is possible to obtain free tenancy agreements and do them yourself. A tenancy agreement as a minimum should include:

  • the names of all people involved
  • the rental price
  • the deposit amount and how it will be protected
  • the property address
  • the start and end date of the tenancy
  • any Tenant or Landlord obligations
  • which bills the Tenant is responsible for
  • how to pay the rent
  • whether the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done
  • who is responsible for minor repairs
  • whether the property can be let to someone else (sublet) or have lodgers

Tenant Deposit Scheme

Deposits by law have to be registered with an appropriate holding scheme or indemnity scheme within 14 days of the tenancy commencing. This is a legal responsibility for the Landlord. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is free to use and offers very comprehensive dispute mediation if this should occur.

Tenant Credit Check

As a Landlord you will want to make sure that Tenants can pay their bills. The best indicator to find out if Tenants are financially able to pay their rent is to obtain an assessment of their credit rating. Agents can do this as well as facilitating bank references, employment references and personnel references, although the best assessment will be a credit check report.


It is strongly recommended that Inventory check-ins and check-outs are done. Another top tip is to have the property professionally cleaned before the Tenant moves in and they can pay to also have it professionally cleaned when they move out. This tends to avoid any disagreement over how clean the property is expected to be.

Full Property Management

You may want to manage the property yourself, but you may wish for this to be done by a third party. Full property management services can be responsible for monthly rent collections and any maintenance or repairs that may be required during the tenancy. This is especially helpful if the Landlord lives a long distance from the property or is abroad.

Ending a tenancy

Landlords can end an assured shorthold tenancy at any time usually after six months, but so as long as any agreed fixed term has ended. There is usually a two months’ written notice period for the Tenant of the date you want the tenancy to end.

If a tenant refuses to leave, you cannot evict them yourself, but you can apply to the county court for an order to get your property back. If you have a written tenancy agreement and you have given the tenant notice in writing that you are seeking possession, you can use an accelerated possession procedure, which avoids the need for a court hearing.

Access to your property

Remember that if at any time you need to visit your property then the usual requirement is to give the Tenant at least 24 hours notice. Landlords have no legal right to immediate entry unless there is an urgent necessity to do so, for example a flood or a fire. The key here for positive Landlord and Tenant relations is good, clear communication between the two parties. This will often prevent misunderstandings and lead to a successful rental of your home.

How to Start a Lifestyle Business?

Has it ever crossed your mind what actually constitutes a lifestyle business? Many people normally dream of a lifestyle but lack the true understanding or have a concrete plan. This is a very important subject because there many people join network marketing businesses with dreams of fancy lifestyles but with absolutely no understanding of what it actually takes in order to succeed in this business.

In fact, most people are lured to become members after seeing a slick presentation or being persuaded by friends or family member without the slightest idea of what they are getting into. This is why they get disillusioned when they do not notice tangible results for their efforts.

Cash Flow

Cash flow is one of the most important aspect of any lifestyle business. It is cash flow that pays your bills and determines your lifestyle. If you have huge cash flow your business will definitely thrive. On the other hand, if you lack cash flow, your business will most probably collapse.

Digital Products

Traditional network marketing companies selling physical products only give out 5% to 21% commissions depending upon the achievement level of an affiliate. Digital products companies selling information and entertainment products give out as much as 50% to 100% of their profits to affiliates. They can afford such high commissions simply because after their initial development they do not incur any additional costs e.g. manufacturing, distribution or warehousing costs. Importantly digital products can be delivered instantaneously which is an important criteria in today’s instant gratification world.

Digital products can also be sold to clients anywhere across the globe. With digital products the entire world becomes your oyster while in the case of physical products, companies have to seek local government approvals to set up infrastructure e.g. warehouses and distribution channels prior to finally launching their products into the market.

In case of a physical product network marketing company, whenever any country opens up for business you are forced to travel and physically launch the product in that country. This process requires a lot of effort, time and is very expensive.

Most physical products have safety issues and need to be demonstrated to new clients and affiliates for proper usage. This is a time consuming process as the training new affiliates is real hard work. The above reason explains why not a single product company will encourage affiliates using a blog or website for marketing the business due to fear of product misrepresentation.

Traditional network marketing companies only allow you to promote the company’s affiliate website which takes the sting off your e-commerce marketing effort as thousands of other affiliates are also promoting the same website hence significantly reducing your chances of ever standing out from the crowd.

Remember, digital products have no safety issues hence most internet based companies understand and encourage e-commerce and help you with global marketing.

The basis of a lifestyle business lies in selling digital products that pay higher commissions, have global markets open instantaneously and the business operations can be automated.

Retention Rates

Retention of affiliates is another important aspect of network marketing. It is pointless to join a company with very poor affiliate retention rate. This is because your hard work will go to waste if large number of affiliates drop out from the business. It is impossible to have a lifestyle business with a low affiliate retention rate.

Physical product companies have an average retention rate of approximately 8%. In case you are an outstanding leader with a great training program then chances are your retention rate will increase around 10% to 15%. These are industry standards.

Building a network with high attrition rate requires extreme hard work and persistence. If you wish to earning a lifestyle income through network marketing then your retention will have to be closer to 100%. Also ensure that your business is sticky to avoid having affiliates dropping out. This is only possible if affiliates start making money within couple of weeks if not month of joining the business opportunity. It is obvious that no one will drop out of your organization especially when they start seeing cash flow and profits from their business.

Profit Sharing Model

Innovative companies are offering profit shares in order to improve retention rate of affiliates. Profit sharing helps new affiliates earn money even if they don’t sponsor anyone. What’s more, once a new affiliate makes money it becomes much easier for that person to refer and sponsor more people into the business.

100% Commissions

This is another business model that works perfectly with lifestyle business model. Believe it or not some innovative companies are offering 100% commissions on sale of their products. By simply making a single sale affiliates are able to recover their initial investments and with their second sale they are in profit.

Residual Income

The business that you choose to join must guarantee you steady cash flow and also build residual income if you are to create a sustained life style. Remember, smart businesses are those which not only create cash flow but also guarantee quick residual income.


Applying leverage can help reduce your time and effort consequently making a lifestyle business possible. Without leverage you will not be able to enjoy your wealth or have free time to pursue other dreams. To have leverage you’ll need to have technology and business systems. Every successful business has proper systems put in place. Systems give you the leverage to enjoy lifestyle business.


The business you join must embrace the principle of simplicity. The business may be complex but it should be easy to operate on a day to day basis. This is actually the reason why McDonald franchises are so successful. It’s because of simplicity. A business should be designed by a genius to be run by ordinary folks.

The Right Team

Joining the right network marketing team is the highest leverage you can apply in your business. This is because a professional team gives you support, training and the necessary systems for not only you to succeed but also the prospects you sponsor into your business.