The Verdict on Sharing Gear Through Fretish
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Case Closed – Sharing Gear Beats Borrowing Gear

A recent piece titled The 7 Laws of Borrowing Gear From Other Musicians was posted to the Reverb Blog.  The vast majority of comments to the blog post were some variation of Nigel Tufnel’s “don’t touch it” reaction in This Is Spinal Tap.  Very few saw the need or had interest in letting other musicians borrow their gear.

The post began with an anecdote of guitarist Larry Carlton showing up for a UK gig and his amplifier not arriving.  Yikes, stressful.  Larry called on his social media followers to let him borrow an amp for the night.

As it turns out, for touring musicians, this is not an uncommon issue.  Two years ago in the summer of 2017, Dweezil Zappa had the head stock of his Gibson SG (in)conveniently removed by the baggage carrying staff of American Eagle Airlines while on tour.  Total suckfest.  But, Dweezil made lemonade out of the lemons that life handed to him.  On Instagram, he listed the next three cities of his tour and asked for fans to let him play their guitars for those remaining shows.  His followers responded with dozen of offers – deepening his connection with the Zappa fan base while giving him something to play on stage.

So, the need for temporarily using other musician’s gear is real and ongoing.  Plus, it can produce win-win outcomes.  Fans get to hear their music and artists get to perform (and presumably get paid).

On the whole, most of the Reverb suggestions were well-reasoned and prudent, especially in the context of borrowing an instrument.  But, what if the model for instrument consumption was about “sharing” (aka renting) – just like exists for homes (e.g., Airbnb) or automobiles (e.g. Uber or ZipCar)?  If sharing was the context, like the instruments listed on Fretish, then some of the laws in this blog post would need an update, as I detail below.

The writer, Rich Maloof, started with “Be selective” as the first law, by which he meant don’t borrow expensive gear.  Well, when you’re on a sharing platform, you should be selective based on what you need to play, not on the value of the instrument.  Why?  Because the value of the instrument is going to be reflected in the price you’ll pay in order to use it.  On Fretish, people who make their instruments available for sharing set their own price.  Generally, this results in higher quality instruments costing more for a sharing (rental) period.  So, a Martin OM-28v would cost nearly $55/night while a Yamaha acoustic would be $10/night.

Because you’re paying someone to play their instrument in a sharing context, then the law to “Acknowledge graciously” is somewhat moot.  Yes, by all means thank the instrument owner for letting you use their gear.  But, you won’t need to buy an extra pack of strings or buy someone cup cakes as a way of paying them back.  You’ve already paid them – with money (which has been done online by Fretish as the payment processor).

The last revision to the “7 Laws” blog post pertains to Rich’s final suggestion, in which he offers two options one could take if a borrower were to damage a musical instrument.  Option B, he says, is that they should flee the country.  NO.  There are not two options – whether you are borrowing or sharing!  There is only one option: You make the instrument owner completely whole.  Because payment information is captured up front from a renter on Fretish, the ability to make the instrument owner whole is fast.  Thankfully, since Fretish launched in 2017, all transactions on the platform have been positively rated and reviewed, with no instruments damaged, lost or stolen.

This court is adjourned.

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Visit the Fretish Booth at the 2018 Artisan Guitar Show April 13 – 15 in Harrisburg, PA

Fretish is proud to be a sponsor of the 2018 Artisan Guitar Show which is being held in Harrisburg, PA this Friday April 13 through Sunday April 15.  It’s a one-of-a-kind event featuring the finest handcrafted guitars ever produced, the visionary luthiers who created these instruments and musicians from all around the globe.  Come join us!

Details:

https://artisanguitarshow.com/

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New Rule: Fretish Listings Require an Image and Copy

Being the first music instrument sharing platform is a little like being part of the Apollo space program.  You are blazing new trails.  Using the best information and systems available in the 1960s, the Apollo astronauts achieved the incredible goal of landing on the moon.  But, they also had to learn on the fly and make rapid changes along the way.  When the Apollo 13 mission suffered a near catastrophic blowout, they had to come up with a completely new approach in order to return safely home to Earth.  And while, thankfully, Fretish hasn’t suffered a blowout, we do want to make continual improvements to the service so that guitar players and instrument owners have the best possible experience.  So, with this preamble to provide some context, today we are announcing new rules for posting instruments for rent or sale on the platform.

Starting on March 27, 2018, all new instruments listed on Fretish will be required to contain the following elements:

  • At least 1 quality photograph of the item which is being offered for rent or sale.
  • A minimum of 10 words to adequately describe the item being offered for rent or sale.
  • Completed set up of payment options – either through Stripe or PayPal – so that prospective renters can submit a rental request and you can get paid.

These are just the minimum requirements.  It is in an owner’s interest to provide robust descriptions of their instruments.  Multiple photographs are better than one.  A full set of specifications is preferable to ten words describing an item.  By following these best practices, you’ll get more:

  • People viewing your listing on the homepage or in search results
  • Clicks to view the instrument details page
  • Transaction requests and, thus, money paid to you

What happens to older listings which do not have all of the above requirements?

These owners will be individually contacted by Fretish and asked to update their listings.  Because these minimum requirements were not explicitly spelled out at the time of their instruments being posted, they will be allowed to keep their listings up.  However, to restate the obvious, with sub-optimal listings, they are unlikely to get:

  • Clicks to their instrument details page(s)
  • Rental requests
  • Paid

What happens to new listings (after March 27, 2018) which do not meet the minimum requirements?

These owners will be contacted letting them know updates are necessary and must be carried out within 24 – 48 hours.  If the required elements are not in place after being contacted, the listing will be “closed”.  The owner can go back and relist a “closed” post once the required elements are added.

Have further questions or want to inquire about something completely different?  Drop us a note here.

 

How To

How To: Find Cool Guitars and Gear for Rent in Locations Beyond New England

A big challenge faced by new marketplaces – like Fretish – is to generate sufficient “supply”, so when consumers arrive at the site they actually have stuff to consider renting or buying.  Supply, in the case of Fretish, equals musical instruments – very nice guitars, basses, amps and more.  Fretish started in the summer of 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.  And as you would expect, the instruments listed and the visitors to the site are primarily from New England.

We are now faced with an interesting problem – a good problem, really – which is that people from around the world are learning about the first peer-to-peer music instrument rental marketplace.  They want to play cool guitars and gear in the comfort of their own homes – whether that’s in Chicago or the UK, France and New Zealand.  However, they don’t see gear listed in these areas (yet).

So, how to address this challenge?  Increasing the amount of advertising is the most obvious answer.  And that is something we plan to do in the months ahead.  But, to really grow an audience on a sustainable, global level, there needs to be a groundswell of positive word of mouth by musicians.  “Hey, you’ve got to check this out” resonates more when it’s coming from a peer (or multiple peers) than from some TV ad running on the Olympics.

Below are some ways to help grow supply on Fretish.

  1. Tell Your Friends About Fretish – In person and via email*
  2. Contact people who have listed cool instruments (ones that you are interested in playing) on sites like Craigslist – especially, people who have described in their listing that they really don’t want to sell their instrument but need money.  Ask them if they would consider renting the instrument to you through Fretish.  Explain that they can A) join Fretish for free, B) list for free and C) keep the instrument and make money by renting it out.
  3. Follow Fretish on FB/Twitter/IG
  4. Forward the Fretish How It Works video to fellow musicians
  5. Forward the Fretish for Guitar Builders video to luthiers you know
  6. Visit Fretish.com
  7. Like and Tweet Instruments on Fretish to grow visibility on social networks
  8. Register with Fretish (it’s free).
  9. List an instrument for rent.  It’s free too.  Plus, when your peers see that you’ve listed gear, then they will follow suit.
  10. List an instrument for sale.  Ditto.

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* This pre-drafted email below could be used to describe Fretish to your musician friends.  Make sure to BCC all of the people you are sending this to (for privacy and common email etiquette).  And feel free to adjust to your own “voice”.

Proposed subject and body copy:

Subject: Sharing new musical community/marketplace called Fretish.

Body:
Hello.

I’m writing to pass along information on a new guitar community and marketplace that I think you might appreciate.

I recently discovered a peer-to-peer guitar rental marketplace called Fretish at http://fretish.com. It’s a bit like Airbnb, but instead of renting out your extra bedroom or guesthouse, you can list that extra guitar from your collection that regularly goes unplayed. In fact, with the extra cash earned by renting out some of your gear through Fretish, you could add to your guitar collection. You also have the option to list your instruments for sale.

There’s no cost to join Fretish. There’s no cost to post an instrument for rent or sale. You set the price for renting your instrument. You can set dates when your instrument is not available for rent. And you can define the terms of who you will rent to (example: must be smoke-free, climate controlled environment; rental provided only under supervision, etc.). How does Fretish make money? All transactions made through the site have an 11% processing fee, similar to how a consignment shop works.

So, how is Fretish a community? Music brings people together. And that’s what Fretish strives to do. Fretish is a community of, by and for musicians. It is built upon the principles of respect, honesty, encouragement, trust and discovery.

For more details, visit https://fretish.com/en/infos/how_to_use.  Or, watch this How It Works video.  Have additional questions?  You can write to Sam T, founder of Fretish, with questions here: https://fretish.com/user_feedbacks/new.

Thanks,
[Sender Name]

========================================

Finally, the more Fretish knows about where you are located and the type of gear you are interested in playing, the better we can target our marketing efforts.  So, if you have the time and interest, please consider following these additional steps:

  1. Contact us – https://fretish.com/user_feedbacks/new
  2. Tell us:
  • Where you live
  • Which music-oriented YouTube Channels you subscribe to
  • Which music-oriented Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts you follow
  • The names of any off or online publications you regularly read/watch/listen to
Interviews

Fretish Founder Podcast Interview with Guitar and Music Institute

Looking To Make Some Money From Your Instrument? Fretish May Be The Answer! That’s right guys, if you have a bunch of gear or perhaps a guitar or two that is not doing anything, then this is the podcast for you. We will be talking to Sam Tharp who runs a bustling new business out…

via Episode 23 – Interview With Sam Tharp Of Fretish – GMI – Guitar & Music Institute Online Guitar Lessons — GMI – Guitar & Music Institute Online Guitar Lessons

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The Fretish Blog

My name is Sam.  I live and work in Boston, Massachusetts.  I started playing guitar in 1986, shortly after I went to see Journey play in concert.

I launched Fretish in the summer of 2017.  The premise of Fretish is straightforward: give musicians a platform for sharing musical instruments with one another.  Like other “sharing economy” platforms (Airbnb, et al), Fretish allows users to list guitars and gear for short term rent, handles payment processing, supports ratings/reviews and offers tools for communicating with prospective renters.  You can also sell gear outright through Fretish.

The purpose of this blog is to complement Fretish “the platform” with:

  • How-To guides for the various customer segments including instrument owners, guitar builders and renters/buyers of musical instruments.
  • Interviews with musicians, guitar builders and music industry professionals.
  • Product reviews / demonstrations.
  • News of Fretish events or upcoming features.

The Fretish blog will NOT cover:

  • Tablature.
  • Lessons.  (At least not on a regular basis.)
  • Forums.

There are a multitude of excellent resources for teaching music/songs and sharing information about specific brands and models, so Fretish will try to stick to our proverbial lane.

Should you have questions about this blog or the Fretish service, please contact me here: https://fretish.com/user_feedbacks/new