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  1. #1

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    I check prices of jazz guitars all the time and keep a head full of information. One thing I know for certain very few of the dealers (?)/individuals on reverb or even ebay post what I call reasonable prices. To me I see guitars for sale for years and they don't move. I ask myself this question. Do they really want to sell them or are they just trying to see if someone will come along and they don't really have to sell to make a living?

    Checking the price of Gibson L5 and Super 400's reveals to me inflated prices in most cases. The true vintage ones I can see going for a bit more but frankly I don't think they are selling a thing. If you make and offer which I am not opposed to at all if it is an option it makes you seem like low-baller but frankly I am lost. Maybe these folks are like myself and do not depend on music as such to make a living, either selling or playing guitars. In that case it is just a bunch of individuals that are asking unrealistic prices.

    Ok I have ranted for today.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

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  3. #2

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    What are some examples?

  4. #3

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    Mark

    You have asked a questions that I often wonder about. I had one local dealer tell me the market has really changed in recent years. The message I got is that no one wants to pay more than the lowest price a guitar last sold for on the Reverb site. I had another small shop tell me he tells his friends to sell their archtops now. "That market is never coming back".

    I have a Santa Cruz OM flattop from mid 90s. I have no idea what that guitar is worth. Asking prices for SCGC OM guitars are all over the map. Not sure if the average user can get access to Sold prices on Reverb.

    I often wonder how Vintage dealers do things and make money, whether they borrow the money or take it from their own investment accounts. Vintage stuff does seem to hang around in lot of these shops for years.

    Danielle
    Last edited by DanielleOM; 06-21-2019 at 10:08 AM. Reason: spelling correction

  5. #4

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    ISTM the normal thing on Reverb, ebay, etc is to start with a price much higher than one expects to get, then negotiate down from there. Buyers expect to get a price drop, so if you start with the price you expect to get, you'll end up with less, or not sell at all. It may not be the ideal process, but that's what has evolved, and it's counterproductive to try to change what everyone has become accustomed to. I don't take the posted price on Reverb as the actual selling price. I'm not even sure how you can find the actual selling price for items you don't sell or buy.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    What are some examples?
    This is with a 21% price drop! This ad has been active for years. It used to be over 30 grands. I do have a factory black ES 175, so it's all fine with me if people are paying that price
    1952 Gibson ES-175 Factory Black 100% | Reverb
    Last edited by Tal_175; 06-21-2019 at 05:41 PM.

  7. #6
    Take this guitar for example. Gibson Crimson Custom Shop LeGrand Le Grand 2013 Natural | Reverb

    It does interest me but not at the price at all. I am not in Europe so to me this guitar is maybe $7k to make it a decent deal at least for myself.

    So then we have this. Gibson L5 Wes Montgomery 2010 Wine Red | Woodstock Guitars | Reverb

    insane price and even if new no where near what it will sell for, so to me if the person wants to sell it they better at least drop the price to below $7k for sure.

    I just don't get it at all. I do notice that when things sell the prices are what I consider generally ok. That happens here in the forum on the for sale section all the time.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  8. #7

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    Once professional guitar dealers jumped on the Reverb bandwagon, asking prices skyrocketed. Its the same insanity on Gbase. I have no idea how many of them make any money.

    OTOH...I've found private sellers on Reverb often willing to accept reasonable offers on gear...including archtops.

  9. #8

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    I agree with Gitfiddler. You see the same Polytone amps, for example, hanging around unsold forever, being offered by dealers.

    Meanwhile, a few days ago a private seller offered his late-70s MiniBrute II and matching extension cabinet for sale at a very reasonable price. They were in quite good shape. BAM! sold in a day.

    Yeah, gBase has really elevated into the stratosphere over the last decade.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt View Post
    What are some examples?

    1956 Gibson L7 CN, Blonde (#GAT0119) | Garys Classic Guitars & Vintage Guitars LLC


    These have been listed for sale * at this same price * for at least five years ! I found one exactly like it - - with a period McCarty p/u - same condition and paid $5000. - -3+ years ago.

    Was offered $3000. ( !! ) for that same guitar on a trade last year at Dave's, and was recently told by another dealer here that he'd have a hard time getting $4000. for it.

    And Dave's is a good store and fair with his prices. ( No affiliation ). And FWIW, Dave's is a good place to watch prices and availability, because they are offered there for real hard money.

    FYI and hope that helps.

  11. #10

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    One can look at what sold for on EBay to get an accurate picture of value. Asking prices mean very little. Sold prices mean much more.

    My experience is that dealers who are motivated (meaning their cash flow is not where they might like) will take far less than an asking price for an item if so offered.

    If you are not good at negotiating, buy new and keep it forever. The market for used stuff favors those who know how to deal. Always has and always will. Though the truth is that good negotiation skills work well in the marketplace for new stuff as well. EVERYTHING is negotiable.

    The main reason all these inflated prices are out there is the free advertising that the Internet provides. It costs nothing to put a guitar on the web at a nosebleed price and see what happens.

    One should offer what one is willing to pay and not worry about being called a lowballer. The worst that could happen is that the seller will decline. And from time to time, a win-win deal will happen (you know, a deal where both sides are happy with the outcome).
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D View Post
    1956 Gibson L7 CN, Blonde (#GAT0119) | Garys Classic Guitars & Vintage Guitars LLC


    These have been listed for sale * at this same price * for at least five years ! I found one exactly like it - - with a period McCarty p/u - same condition and paid $5000. - -3+ years ago.

    Was offered $3000. ( !! ) for that same guitar on a trade last year at Dave's, and was recently told by another dealer here that he'd have a hard time getting $4000. for it.

    And Dave's is a good store and fair with his prices. ( No affiliation ). And FWIW, Dave's is a good place to watch prices and availability, because they are offered there for real hard money.

    FYI and hope that helps.
    Not to pick on them but Gary's is consistently top dollar, they always do seem to have the blonde's and blonde's undeniably draw a premium, but its hard to say if that premium is reasonable. As your research has shown this example has been on the market for a long long time, which I can only interpret as "he doesn't care about selling it" which I guess is some sort of statement and tells me that some dealers I may never understand. Hanging on to inventory for years and years doesn't make a lot of sense.

  13. #12

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    That's a cool rant. Oooh, prices, me favourite topic.

    First, Gibson Crimson Custom; Gibson Crimson Custom Shop debuted in 2012 and saw a marked price increase in 2014-2015 or so of about 20% to 29%. Gibson dropped MSRP at this time. Natural finish always attracted a premium of about $1500 to $2000 over Antique Sunburst. Couple to that UK VAT of 20% and other duties, shipping and you are looking at a mark up of 25% to 30% in the UK over USA domestic prices. The MAP on a Le Grand Natural was about $11 499 to $12 499 in 2013.

    Then there is the dealer's commission of between 10% and 20% with 15% being the norm. So, that $9799 2013 Le Grand in the USA would be priced at $8082.50. Take away the dealer's 20%, Paypal's 2.9%, Reverb's 3.5% and you are left with $6394.38. OK, about $6400 which sounds about right if you tried to sell it on your own as that is its market value in the USA; a dealer like The Music Zoo would price it at $7680 and indeed TMZ has. I paid $5850 for my 2012 Le Grand ASB shipped from Tokyo, Japan.

    Of course, its being in the UK it makes no sense for someone outside of the EU to buy it as you won't get that VAT and duties originally paid on the 2013 Le Grand back. It only makes sense to someone in the EU as that would be the price he would pay to import one himself.

    Denmark has a VAT of 25%. Assume another 5% for duty and other fees. So, 30%. A 2010 L5 WM Wine Red in mint condition has a value of about $5000; ASB is worth about $5250. $5000 x 1.30 x 1.20 x 1.064 = $8299.20. $9359.07 for a bit of wiggle room-the USD-EUR daily fluctuations may have a part to play in that figure.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 06-21-2019 at 02:16 PM.
    Great Deals with Great Folks: max52 (Guild-Benedetto Artist Award); prickards (Ribbecke GC Halfling); Cincy2 (Comins Concert)

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler View Post
    Once professional guitar dealers jumped on the Reverb bandwagon, asking prices skyrocketed. Its the same insanity on Gbase. I have no idea how many of them make any money.

    OTOH...I've found private sellers on Reverb often willing to accept reasonable offers on gear...including archtops.

    Interesting perspective. Local shops have told me Reverb has brought selling prices down. However the conversation was not limited to high end archtops. I do note Reverb automatically treats an offer less than 65% of listed price as a lowball offer.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ugarte View Post
    Not to pick on them but Gary's is consistently top dollar, they always do seem to have the blonde's and blonde's undeniably draw a premium, but its hard to say if that premium is reasonable. As your research has shown this example has been on the market for a long long time, which I can only interpret as "he doesn't care about selling it" which I guess is some sort of statement and tells me that some dealers I may never understand. Hanging on to inventory for years and years doesn't make a lot of sense.

    I know Gary and he really does not care if he sells guitars. My take is he does other things for money or has and now plays in great guitars. With him I know the story. Otherwise I would love to have his Albanus guitar one of only 2 or 4 with special headstock. But at 12k$ it won’t be mine. Frankly to me it is worth $7500 but I cannot see then it selling to fast. I should mention this is a killer guitar all Albanus guitars are sound generators
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  16. #15

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    Deacon Mark,

    That Albanus is a beauty.

  17. #16

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    Gary Dick has the nicest guitars. He only offers the ones in best condition. If I don't want to play the lottery I will buy from Gary Dick as I know they will be perfect. That is Gary's spiel. For that, he charges a premium and deservedly so. The other guy is Larry Wexer.

    That said, it is not impossible to score a good deal off Gary Dick. A few years ago, Gary had a 20XX Super 400C ASB with a Lollar Fingerrest Pickup for sale. Gary wanted $8450 for it. It was in splendid condition. I thought I could get it for lower elsewhere and declined the offer. It was sold shortly after and I have been on the lookout for one ever since then to no avail. They are rare as hen's teeth. $8450 was a fair price for it after all. That Lollar Fingerrest P90 alone is about $475 to $575 if Jason agrees to make it for you today.
    Great Deals with Great Folks: max52 (Guild-Benedetto Artist Award); prickards (Ribbecke GC Halfling); Cincy2 (Comins Concert)

  18. #17

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    Some prices may be unreasonable but many buyers are just a pita. More often than not it is not about the guitar at all, it's all about the price. People are not buying an instrument, they are buying a price. A bargain they can brag about. If you really want a guitar because it speaks to you it just doesn't matter if you pay 100 bucks more or less, especially if the guitar is unique or at least very rare. But people always want to negotiate as if their life depends on it. After that, they go out and spend their money unreflectingly on unnecessary stuff like too expensive food and stupid luxury goods. But guitars need to be the bargain of the century on principle. I usually tell them to pay or leave, I'm not willing to sell for less than what I think my guitars are worth. If I don't sell them I keep playing them.

    On the other hand, I think the market will be flooded with high end archtops in the next 30 years. And not many buyers around. Yet. But todays younger generation will get interested eventually.

  19. #18

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    Yep, those are pretty high prices above, but like someone said, make em an offer. Or buy new, like I do.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    I know Gary and he really does not care if he sells guitars. My take is he does other things for money ....
    Well, at least now I know Gary D and I have something in common -- I don't care at all if he ever sells any guitars either.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
    ISTM the normal thing on Reverb, ebay, etc is to start with a price much higher than one expects to get, then negotiate down from there. Buyers expect to get a price drop, so if you start with the price you expect to get, you'll end up with less, or not sell at all. It may not be the ideal process, but that's what has evolved, and it's counterproductive to try to change what everyone has become accustomed to. I don't take the posted price on Reverb as the actual selling price. I'm not even sure how you can find the actual selling price for items you don't sell or buy.
    I understand what you're saying. But I know someone who bought and resold guitars...more than a few actually. And each guitar they listed was priced to SELL. And each guitar sold for the asking price. Sellers have different selling philosophies.

    When I observe those pie in the sky priced guitars I immediately think - for display purposes only, not for sale
    When I got pretty good I went on the road with a group - We starved - Wes Montgomery

  22. #21

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    While I'm rather a 'bottom feeder' when it comes to archtops(always seeking mid- to lower level vintage Epiphones or Gibsons, usually those needing repair: I'm a luthier), I certainly have the same reaction as the Deacon: the posted prices often just seem ridiculous: the needed repairs are sometimes obvious, and often not well described(or even mentioned!). I need to be careful about what I pay, because any needed work can quickly make the purchase unrealistic, if I ever hope, or choose, to sell the repaired, well set-up instrument.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post

    On the other hand, I think the market will be flooded with high end archtops in the next 30 years. And not many buyers around. Yet. But todays younger generation will get interested eventually.
    This! I can almost guarantee the time will come where these will be hotter than 2 Kansas City rats in a wool sock....

  24. #23

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    Think about it. Once upon a time, the guitar market more or less meant archtop guitars. Then, that market crashed when jazz and swing faded (after the 1940s). By the 1950s, you couldn't really give away an archtop guitar. However, by the end of the 1960s, and certainly by the 1980s, the archtop guitar market bounced back as the rock and roll generation of players searched for something to play other than pentatonic blues box-based riffs.

    Now, those players (my generation) are headed for the shuffleboard courts in Florida. The archtop guitar market is flat, flat, flat. On top of this, fewer people in the follow on generations are guitar players than was the case with the "Boomers." However, those who do play will still arrive at the point of frustration with the pentatonic blues box. I predict echoes of Boomer archtop demand ahead. Maybe it won't be quite the stuff of the Boomer peak demand, but the children of the Boomers are soon to hit their peak earning years and will have the discretionary funds to fuel their explorations of "meta-pentatonic" music.

    Don't panic sell your archtop collection just yet.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    I understand what you're saying. But I know someone who bought and resold guitars...more than a few actually. And each guitar they listed was priced to SELL. And each guitar sold for the asking price. Sellers have different selling philosophies.

    When I observe those pie in the sky priced guitars I immediately think - for display purposes only, not for sale
    I totally agree. I have sold numerous items on Reverb. I priced them below the crowd and they sold fast. That's easier to do if you buy low.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66 View Post
    This! I can almost guarantee the time will come where these will be hotter than 2 Kansas City rats in a wool sock....
    Perhaps the point is whether any of us will be around to see this, I probably don't have 15 years to sit around waiting for the archtop market to rebound so then you have to consider if you want to let your widow get skinned by Gary or Norm (who are probably a few years younger than me and real healthy from sucking all that vintage guitar aroma).

  27. #26

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    Archtop guitars are not popular with very many people or players anymore. Even most Jazz guitar players play thinlines or solid body instruments nowadays, and have for quite a while.
    Very rare to see a pro player with a carved top as there main guitar. Music is so much louder and traveling with a carved top is problematic as well.
    Even John Pizzarelli uses laminate instruments, for this very reason.

    So with the older generation who values these instruments dying out, prices are falling. Also there are a plethora of newer luthier out there producing great instruments as well. And the used market is becoming saturated with a lot of great choices.

  28. #27

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    On eBay, a ton of sellers who spent waaaay too much for a custom shop Gibby are trying in vain to recoup their overpayment. I can't count the number of custom shop Byrdlands at asking prices of $7k and more. You'd have to be out of your mind to buy one of those when you can get a true narrow-nut, pre-'74 Byrdie for around $3500.

    The other category of overpriced sellers I've seen all seem to be from Japan. I'm sure it costs a lot to get a Gibson to Japan, but once you do, you're never gonna get that duty back from a US buyer.

  29. #28

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    There seems to be a discrepancy here...there’s no market for archtops...and prices are too high...

    “Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore, it’s too crowded”—Yogi Berra.

    Collecting is a true market economy....supply vs demand. Yes maybe someone’s sitting on something, but for enough money they’ll sell.

    My experience with collecting other antique items is that there’s always someone with more time and energy to do the legwork to get the good stuff, and they command the high prices and drive prices upward. That’s just life.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  30. #29
    There has been one left handed Gibson L5 in europe, sitting at 10k euros for years now..

  31. #30

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    Jabs,

    You raise an interesting point--very tactfully/humorously. When you look online, however, all you are seeing is asking prices. They aren't strike prices, so we don't learn too much from them.

    OTOH, what we do know is that the companies like Gibson, Heritage, etc., aren't offering archtops for sale at the present time. (Heritage shows an Eagle Classic on its site, but indicates that it is unavailable.) This tells us something about these companies' marketing staff's impressions of the market for archtop guitars, no?

  32. #31

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    Reverb seems to be full of people who bought high and want to sell high.

    I purchased one guitar through Reverb, a chambered FSR Tele. It turned out the truss rod adjustment was stripped. Fortunately the seller accepted a return.