Other guitar-y things

Vintage Guitar Prices

1

Has anyone else noticed vintage guitar prices sky rocketing? Or is that just certain ones I'm looking at. Seems like Gretch, Fender and Gibson prices are all going up. And were prices a little lower right around the end/ beginning of the year? is that normal? I'm looking to get a few more and wondering if the increase trend will keep going that way, or is it more flexible? and are there times of the year that prices regularly go up or down?

2

I see asking prices going up, but I don't think that corresponds to actual sale prices.

3

I think guitars are having a bit of a moment in general during the pandemic, it’s probably a product of that.

But like Ix says, asking price and realised prices are often very different.

4

The market seems to be percolating. I follow what I can on reverb. generally I see (what I follow) vintage Guitars selling. Quality vintage Gretsch are definitely selling well.

5

You might be right abut the asking prices thing. i see guitars priced (what i would call) fair prices selling pretty quickly, but there are definitely others that seem crazy high not selling...it's strange to me that people ask really high prices. and I'm all about paying what something is worth.

6

it's strange to me that people ask really high prices.

it’s because there’s a sucker born every minute.

8

I think it's a combination of reverb increasing their seller's fees (with sellers increasing their asking prices to compensate) and stimulus checks to people who's incomes weren't effected by the pandemic along with people staying home more, which for guitar players means more playing and more guitar lust.

9

I keep thinking that the 'sky's the limit' sort 90s scene is over... usual reasons .. fewer people behind the baby boom generation, fewer of this smaller group interested in guitar, ie they don't give a damn about 1950s-anything.

Plus new stuff is often quite good and reasonably priced. All sellers have a strategy .. put a hi-$ price and just wait forever for the right guy. Others, like me, move it cheap, break even, be happy.

Holy grail stuff, celebrity stuff will always do well but might be tough sledding for some stuff that that is vintage but not rare, and appeals to a very small market segment. I love old Tenneseans but there are tons of them and it might have been the hottest thing in 1966 but no so much now.


Stimulus -- YES. I rationalize mine to offset big losses on my 9 string scene of 2020.

10

It's seemed to me that just plain ol' new and used guitar prices in general have been rising for the last several years as well. It's my impression they've outpaced any rise in the prices of other consumer goods. This applies at the "low end" and mid-range of at least the parts of the guitar markets I follow. (Well, not follow in the sense of conducting a thorough academic or even investment-aware study to become or stay an "expert" - just noting the costs of guitars I happen to take an interest in, both owned and pursued.)

Most of my pseudo-vintage pieces from the 70s - 90s even - have seemed to appreciate suddenly and surprisingly in the last couple of years, at a much faster rate than they had previously. (With a few exceptions, my 80s guitars have barely moved or have even lost a notch or two.)

The real surprise is that contract-brand Korean and Chinese budget models from the early 00s are listing and apparently selling for at least their prices when new - and some particular models for nice-profit more. Part of that, I think, is that the values of used guitars in that segment (like Agile, Jay Turser, Carlo Robelli, Dillion, Michael Kelly, Eastwood) are simply keeping pace with the increasing new prices of the same guitars. So a Less Paul from Agile which sold for 200.00 new, 15 years ago, would now be 400.00 new from Agile...and the used Agile might sell for more than it cost new in 2005, and still be less than a new one.

But also, all of those brands experimented with lots of models along the way; with the possible exception of Eastwood, all their catalogs were much more interesting 15 years ago than they are now. Some models, never made in great quantity nor having much market impact, were only available for a short time. [see Digressive Footnote 1.]

In retrospect, there was a kind of golden age in both bang-for-the-buck and exuberant variety in that market which is now gone - sorta like the heyday of Japanese guitars in the 60s, only this time with higher intrinsic quality. Apparently, over time, the virtues of some of the lower-production models have been noticed and appreciated. Now, rather than suffering the customary 50-70% depreciation of anonymous and orphaned used guitars, those models' values have held and risen - and they change hands seldom.

To an extent, the rising tide of guitar pricing has also supported the low end of used brand name clone guitars - Epiphones, Squiers, early Electros and Synchromatics. Even among ubiquitous models - Teles (and I presume Strats, though I never go looking), Lesters, SGs, Jags, Jazzmasters - it's hard to find used examples costing half of what new ones now cost. That seems novel in the used guitar world to me. I've been conditioned to used guitars at a third or a quarter the price of new ones.

And the limited-time-only models from the big names have appreciated 100% and more in just a few years - in some cases, less than a year. See, especially, Fender Marauder, Squire Jazzmaster, Jaguar Special, and Paranormal Tele baritones.

All in all, it seems a little weird. It's like the more guitars there are, the more they're all worth - and that obviously runs counter to bedrock economic thinking.

Maybe it will turn out to be a pandemic home entertainment bubble. Part of me expects to see used prices on all sorts of gear plummet after we return to a new version of normal and a lot of those purchases turn out to have been experiments in peoples' lives which don't last, or just so much what-was-I-thinking excess which gets purged. A year from now we could be drowning in a sea of good cheap barely-used guitars (not to mention pedals.) [see Digressive Footnote 2.]

But I'm hoping what all this means is that guitars and pedals of all kinds (not so much amps) are finally being recognized for the intrinsic high worth and value they've always had. Maybe we're entering upon the utopian era of the Two Great Ones, a Wyld Stallyns culture of music and philosophy where guitar tech is prized and revered as holy, and from here on out we're going to be nothing but excellent to one another.

You know, maybe.


Digressive Footnote 1: Once upon a time, the catalogs of Jay Turser, Agile, Dillion, Robelli, et al were filled with a wide variety of types, builds, and mashups. Not now. Bog-standard, cheap-as-possible Teles, Strats, and Lesspauls dominate their catalogs. I don't know whether rising prices for their products gradually undermined their identities as cheap-but-good suppliers; the value novelty wore off as the market simply got accustomed to getting a lot for our money; or they saturated the market. Maybe they were out-competed by the "real thing" brand names' ever-improving entry lines - but that doesn't explain why the same most ubiquitous knockoff models now dominate the offerings from those once-vibrant low-price brands. But most of those brands' current catalogs are utterly depressing. Ronda/Agile has remained more diverse and vibrant for longer than the others - but Kurt is trying to sell the brand, and I've never seen his catalog as short and depleted as it now is.

Digressive Footnote 2: Yeah, pedals. A few pedals introduced in the last year - in purposely limited runs - immediately started selling for 150 - 200% of their retail prices as soon as the limited runs were sold out. And the prices of 60s-70s "vintage" pedals (in this case, "vintage" is my euphemism for "cheap and noisy") have shot to levels that seem nutty to me. Again - what? The more pedals the universe pours forth, the more they're all worth?

11

To your point it's amazing how well newish Jaguars and Jazzmasters are holing their value. From what I understand they are really well built these days, but they barely lower in price as used. Amazing to me. I have heard that a lot of the cheaper guitars out there. Entry level Gretsch, Squire, and a lot of the lesser known guitars are surprisingly well done for the price. But yeah I agree that you'd think with the number out there, prices would go down. Maybe it is that people aren't traveling etc during the pandemic, so they have more money to spend on guitars etc. I talked to a friend that works at a local plant nursery/ garden center and he said 2020 was their best year ever (in something like 40 years of business) since people were staying home so much. Maybe guitars are the same. I've been wanting to 'complete' my collection in recent years, fill in certain blanks, so I've been watching things pretty closely and buying what I can, so I'm not sure whether to wait it out or get em while I still can if the prices will continue to soar.


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