Buying s/h guitars when the economy has tanked

Red Ryder

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People have capitalized on my misfortune plenty of times. I have no problem playing the game.
Same here. I did pass on a beautiful custom strat at a yard sale. The guy brought it out of his house and told me a friend had built it for him so he would have a good guitar to learn on and figured it had to be worth at least $150.
Holy cow, Warmoth body and neck US
Grover gears, Fender noiseless pickups, etc, etc. All top if the line. I thought about it and just couldn't pull the trigger. Told the guy what he had and walked away. My preacher friend said I did a good thing.
I kick myself in the ass everytime I think about it. Now when someone shoots me a price I just give them the money.
 

kuch

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After the last market downturn in '07 or so, I had a good job and a bit of cash on hand. I bought quite a bit of quality gear at very good prices. I usually paid a little bit under asking price which is what I think all sellers expect. To me it seemed that all of the sales were ok between me and the seller. I don't feel that I was ripping off anyone.

I still always keep cash on hand for "emergency" purchases ;)
 

Frontman

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I moved to Japan about 15 years ago, and I used to complain about how expensive things were. But Japan has had no inflation over those years. Even before the 2020, prices in America and Europe caught up with Japan’s, and I began to feel better.

Today things in Japan are much better (at least for now). Inflation in Japan at the moment is 2%, energy prices are stable. People in Japan are living more or less normally, but then that has been the case for the last couple of years. You see, Japan’s government didn’t enact any silly or self-destructive policies. Not that they didn’t want to, indeed, they tried, but already significant public debt and strict constitutional limits on state power left their hands more or less tied.

That meant no mandated lockdowns, closures, or anything else. Japan’s policies affecting personal freedoms were completely voluntary, with no consequences for non-compliance. Japan’s already significant public debt made it impossible to fund relief spending on anything but a very small scale. What this meant was that schools, businesses, workers, and the rest were free to go about business as usual (and most did), and the currency wasn’t debased more than it already was.

To give you an idea about something like buying gear, two weeks ago I bought a brand-new MIJ ‘51 Precision Bass from Amazon Japan. It cost me 100,000 yen, or about $650 USD at the current exchange rate.

I don’t mean this reply to be political or in reference to a particular virus. I hope that it opens people’s eyes to the effects of policy and the importance of the actions of their leaders, or, in the case of Japan, creating limits which leaders aren’t able to exceed.
 

Blackmore Fan

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If somebody is selling a guitar, they will be happy if you buy it, whether it’s a shop or a pawn shop or a local on Gumtree. If you’ve got reason to think it’s stolen then don’t touch it: if not then buy without guilt.

I've sold gear before when cash was tight. I was always grateful when a buyer appeared. The market works--don't overthink it.
 

NoTeleBob

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If something is at a second hand shop, the owner already parted with it. No harm in buying.

Same at the pawnshop but they paid less than half of retail. Sometimes way less. Test it - bring something in to sell and see what they offer. They did likely screw someone in hard times over. Or someone just wanted the easy way to get rid of something. They price at retail/Reverb if they know what they have, but realize what they paid and work from there.
 

Milspec

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When a person is desperate enough to sell something for far less than it is really worth, they will be happy to receive the money and only be upset about the loss when they are back on their feet.

I remember back in college having a -$5 in my account and couldn't even put enough gas in the tank to drive to my parents for Thanksgiving. I was that kind of broke and the only thing I had of any real value was my Colt 1911 all tricked out with custom grips, hi-vis sights, half a dozen Wilson mags, and 3 boxes of ammo. I took it to the gun shop in town that would purchase guns hoping to get a good chunk of cash. It was only 6 months old and at that time was worth realistically around $1400 for the set.

The store could tell I was desperate, they could smell it and offered me $300....take it or leave it. I was cornered, and hated it, but accepted the offer so that I could buy gas and spend the holiday back home.

That $300 was a big help that month as I was able to keep the lights on and some food in the fridge. I didn't miss the pistol at all for months until things stabilized and I had found a good job. Then I was pissed for allowing the shop to rip me off...but that was life. They turned around and sold the gun for $1500 in less than a week.
 

Red Ryder

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When pawn shop buying whatever the price on the tag is they gave half or less for the item. They are in business to make money. Always ask what their bottom line is, and they can take your offer or leave it. That's what they do when someone pawns.
 

Marc Morfei

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People buy and sell guitars all the time. Why would anyone be suspicious of them being stolen merchandise? That would never even cross my mind.

I have only ever bought used. Why would I pay new price when everything is for sale used somewhere?

It’s not like buying a used car where they may be some hidden flaw. With a guitar you can hold it and play it to see what kind of shape it’s in.
 

Flaneur

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I think you may, indeed, be over-thinking this issue- but your concern is laudable.

On the other hand, a casual search of Glasgow or Edinburgh Gumtree, will usually reveal some tasty Gretsch bargains, which the current owner tired of playing, in 2017.
:)
 

Fiesta Red

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I feel no qualms about screwing a pawn shop, because I’m an amateur going up against a pro (in the screwing game).

I will not cheat an individual, especially an older person who is ignorant to what they have.

I’ve never (knowingly) bought a stolen item, and I never will.
 

Grodad

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Maybe I’m over-thinking this, or I’m getting soft in my old age, I don’t know. I have happily bought secondhand guitars in the past. The last one was a few years ago, an Epiphone EB3. It was a year old and was one third the price of a new one. As usual, I thought, I wonder if it was stolen. But, the s/h shop I go to is good at checking that sort of thing, and in addition (in case any encouragement was needed) I know the police go in every so often, make sure nothing untoward is going on. It’s a general s/h place, not specifically musical instruments. Also, the EB3 wasn’t set up very well - it’s A-OK now - and I wondered if the owner just couldn’t get on with it, for that sort of reason. Or - simplest answer - the owner needed the money.

Spool forward to today. The UK economy is not in good shape, we’re not alone in this, it’s the price of electricity and gas, fuel, food, interest rates, people having to work two jobs to get by, people out of work using food banks, people who are in work using food banks… It’s not great, and for most people, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Meanwhile, I’m lucky: I even have a bit of spare money at the moment. I’d like another guitar, something semi-hollow or hollow, ES-335 or 339 shaped, a Gretsch or a Gretsch lookalike, that kind of thing. Yes, I’ve wanted one for 45 years or so, it never made it to the top of the list of things to buy, and even today it would have to be s/h, not new.

You almost never see one hanging up in the s/h shops round here, but if you did…

But then I’m thinking, would I be capitalising on somebody else’s misfortune? I can’t see me willingly parting with a nice guitar in a s/h shop unless I really needed the money. If this was a Hollywood fairytale I’d find the guitar, buy it, trace the owner, and give him/her it back. Not very likely in real life, but there it is.

I’m kind of thinking out loud here, not really expecting the Bad Dog Cafe to hand me the answer on a plate. Hell, I haven’t even seen this hypothetical s/h guitar yet. Maybe if I do find one, the answer will come to me.
Mate, honestly I wouldn't worry about it. The reason I would be so blunt is I have been in a position where I was struggling to pay bills and had to sell my favourite guitars to fo it.

It swings in roundabouts, I was really looking for buyers at the time and in retrospect the buyers were getting a bargain compared to now, and I am only talking two years ago

I have moved on and am now much more financially secure. The guitars served a purpose at the time.

Buy what you want and let your conscience be clear
 

offsideref

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People buy and sell guitars all the time. Why would anyone be suspicious of them being stolen merchandise? That would never even cross my mind.

I have only ever bought used. Why would I pay new price when everything is for sale used somewhere?

It’s not like buying a used car where they may be some hidden flaw. With a guitar you can hold it and play it to see what kind of shape it’s in.
I did once get offered a guitar for such a cheap price that the most likely explanation, under the circumstances, was that somebody stole it. I didn’t buy it.
 

Happy Enchilada

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I have a friend who cruises the pawnshops on a regular basis. He recently scored a Robert Cray strat for $700!
But every time I go in those places, all I see are cheap "Johnny's first guitar" stuff that was under a Christmas tree recently, along with broken down threadbare crap that wasn't all that wonderful in its heyday.

It's like anything else - if you put in the effort like my friend, then you reap the rewards.
Problem is, I already have guitars I don't play regularly that nap in their cases while others get used.
And you only need so many (OK that's heresy on this forum).

I don't mind buying used gear on Reverb and haven't had a bad experience yet there.
eBay, OTOH, I would tend to avoid. Too many sharks in the pool.
And with used prices so high, going with new sometimes just makes sense. Same with cars.

I'm throttling back on buying stuff for now. Christmas is coming and I have wife and kids to buy for.
And thinning the herd makes me realize what's really important - and that's PLAYING.
 

ndcaster

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The other person has already decided internally to sell and let go. So should you.

Then vote, if it means anything.
 




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