How to Make Money Playing Guitar: 10 Crafty Ways

make money playing guitar

Written by: MT Team

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

What if I told you that you can make money playing guitar? That all you need to do is follow the right steps and you will be able to make some side cash.

Although making money playing any musical instrument can sometimes be difficult, with a little creativity and the ability to think outside the box, you can certainly make some extra cash.

In this article, I’ll show you how to make money playing guitar with 10 different methods and examples.

1. Become a Sideman

As a guitar player, you can sell your services as a sideman for hire. A sideman is simply a professional guitar player that hires his or her services to others and gets paid as needed. With such a side gig you can be sure of making some extra cash simply by hiring your services out to occasions such as a show, a tour, church services, or even as a backup player for a singer or local band.

Depending on your level of expertise and professionalism, you could realistically make $200 to $450 per show.

Action Steps:

  • First, start by making a list of events and shows within your community that will need your services.
  • Then pitch your services to the event managers and the organizers of such events.
  • Make sure you acquire business cards before the event and hand them out to anyone interested at the event to help spread the word. I would recommend using NFC business cards for this purpose

2. Become a Performer

This is probably one of the most common ways that you can make money as a guitar player. You can start by performing and playing live in venues such as bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and music festivals.

Apart from the money you get paid to perform, there are other benefits to performing live. For example, you get to meet lots of other like-minded musicians, you get to learn how to handle performing in front of a crowd, etc.

Also from performing at entertainment venues, you may also come across more opportunities to perform at other events such as festivals, weddings, or other functions.

Action steps:

  • Make a list of event centers in your community that you can play for. This might be a daily show or once-a-week kind of arrangement.
  • Pitch the managers and ask them if they will be interested in having you play for them.
  • Remember that you might have to play some free shows before you start getting paid.

3. Try Busking

Busking is simply the act of performing in public for tips. This is one method that might not be suitable for everyone but if you are good enough and you choose the right locations then it is a great way to make some extra cash playing guitar. 

This guy here says that he made over $21 an hour playing his guitar on the streets of San Francisco. If you have no problems with it then I see no reason why you should not give it a shot.

4. Become a Salesman

Let’s face it, you might not want to be a stage performer forever. One way you can retire and still make some money from your knowledge of guitars is to go into sales.

There are so many retail stores that will value your knowledge and will pay you on a commission basis for every sale you make.

As a player, it will be easier to demonstrate the gear to your potential customers and make the sale as opposed to someone who doesn’t know much about guitars.

Read Next: 15 Best Guitars for Beginners In 2022 (Acoustic & Electric)

5. Become a YouTube Product Specialist

With the rising popularity of online videos and YouTube, you can leverage your guitar-playing skills and knowledge on this platform. What you can do is start a YouTube channel and then contact as many guitar manufacturers and brands and offer to review their products on your channel.

As you start to build a following and have people watching your videos, you can then set up an affiliate agreement and get paid a commission on every sale you make through your channel.

This can be a much more lucrative option than the retail suggestion mentioned above since your videos have a much broader reach allowing you to engage with thousands of viewers. All you need to succeed in doing this is to make sure you are really knowledgeable and comprehensive about the gear you want to review.

Action steps:

  • Contact as many guitar manufacturers as possible. You can do a Google search to get their contact information.
  • Create a YouTube channel.
  • Pick a regular schedule and upload your review videos (once a week is a good start).

6. Become a Teacher

This is one way to make money playing guitar that gives you a lot of fulfillment and freedom. As a teacher, you can opt to teach a beginner’s class or an advanced class. Heck, if you’re good enough, you might even be able to land a deal with a popular online guitar lessons provider to record lesson videos.

If you are someone that loves passing on knowledge and knows how to break down complex subjects into smaller steps, then you will definitely love teaching.

As a teacher, all you need is your guitar, some sheet music, and an empty space. You will also need to market yourself to get students. You can start by putting up a website and then print fliers and hand them out around your community.

You can also do an advert in your local newspaper, radio station, or run some simple social media ads. This will help spread the word and get your name and brand out there for people to contact you. If you decide to become a teacher, remember that it’s better to teach smaller classes where you can really impart knowledge and follow the progress of your students.

Action steps:

  • Make sure you understand that teaching is all about patience
  • Decide on the number of students you want in your class
  • Pick one method of marketing and get started with it

Furthermore, if you just can’t seem to get enough enrollment from students just around your community, consider setting up Skype lessons. This will allow you to reach out to students all around the world. Online video and audio quality has improved greatly over the past few years so all you really need to get started is a decent computer and a strong internet connection.

7. Record Your Own Music

Another way you can make money with your guitar is by recording your own songs. Whether you’re a solo musician or in a band, when you record your own songs, you can earn money from CD sales at performance venues, online, and even in stores that agree to stock your album.

All you need to do is to book a studio and get started with recording your own music. If you find out that studio sessions are too expensive, then you can record your music at home with a basic DAW for beginners.

8. Become a Composer

If you have the necessary skills and the equipment, you can try your hand at composing as a commercial songwriter or film composer.

As a composer, you can also license your work out and get paid a royalty every time your work is used. Although getting started might be a little difficult, it can really pay off when your work is used in a movie or any film production.

9. Publish Educational Resources (Books/Blogs/Videos)

There is a market for instructional and “how-to” materials. With your knowledge of guitars and how to play the guitar, you can write a book, start a blog, or create educational videos online to help teach others.

  1. For creating a book, getting started with this is not as difficult as it once was. With the internet and services like Amazon Kindle, publishing a book is simply all about writing it, designing a cover and uploading it.
  2. As for a blog, you can start out by getting some cheap hosting, setting up a WordPress site and just start writing content. Make sure you write valuable content that is beneficial to the reader so that search engines like Google will start ranking your articles on their results page. You can then begin to monetize by displaying ads on your site, affiliate links, or by partnering with other websites. This blog for example is something I started to share what I know about guitar and has turned into something much bigger than just that.
  3. Lastly, you can create educational videos and post them either on your YouTube channel, website, or create a full course and offer it on an educational platform such as Udemy.

10. Transcribe Music

If you are someone that likes listening to music, then you can make some money transcribing music for companies. 

Bear in mind that this involves long and tedious hours of listening to music which may become repetitive. The major benefit is that you get to train your ears and at the same time make some quick money. For this, you can offer your services on sites like UpWork or Fiverr.

Final Thoughts

There are so many ways you can make money playing guitar. While some might be fun and very interesting, others might be a little boring and tedious.

Hopefully, in this article, I have given you some ideas to help you get started. Simply pick one method that appeals to you and go make some money with your favorite musical instrument.

About MT Team
Posts on all things related to instrument education, gear reviews, and so much more. Written by the MusicianTuts editorial team.

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