Insane guitar prices are dead. Discuss.

GreenMagicMan

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I say the several years of insanity of asking prices are dead and gone. Most sellers just haven't gotten the memo.
Here it is. Served.
I've bought 28 guitars in the past 5 years and am always on the market looking... looking...
The pandemic era made it all but impossible to find those gems of deals out there - they were there - they just took 10x the effort, patience and persistence. And the only real scenario that happened was the classic (seller) 'doesn't know what they have'.
Pre pandemic was a nice time to shop for used guitars. Sure, from what I read I came to the party far too late, the 2000 something to 2010 seemed like great deals were made on Gibsons etc...

Personally, I'm extremely sick of seeing a modern used guitar priced higher than new. The guitars I chased the most are the Explorer. I can't tell you how many idiots have been trying to fob off their Epiphone Explorer Korina finish made in Korea or China for $900 or $1100 on reverb/fleabay or even Craigs and say stupid things like "These go for $1000 on Reverb..." No. No, they do not. Asking prices are those, and they sit unsold for 6-12+ months and ongoing.
Most of the silly priced guitars languish unsold, I think the sellers market is dead and gone as people are back to work and 'trying guitar' 'trying something new' pandemic era aspirations are done with.
I'm sure everyone knows it's been banner years for guitar makers and re-sellers - and also that it can't continue forever. There will be a glut of unplayed guitars from people who didn't stick with it flooding the market and major pricing drops. When? Not quite yet, but it's gotta start sometime.

Other really funny stupid examples: the universally panned and hated mid 80s Cort Effector - which sold in JC Penney catalog for $150. A plywood log with horrible audio effects that mostly never work (I read this on the internets so it must be true). Was a $50 - $150 used (joke / novelty) guitar maybe. Asking prices now I've seen $550 - 700.
And back to Epiphone Explorers. They are (back) available brand new with warranty for $599. Ok, so in the pandemic they weren't being made. You have to have one, it's a used one.
Mid 2021 and on, available new. Hello! Why would anyone buy a used one for more than brand new?
Allegedly China is making some fine CNC guitars now, and I can tell you a China blueburst Dean Z setneck was a very fine guitar and the best of 20 I lapped one day a couple years back in GC.
The Epiphone Firebird is another guitar where asking prices exceed new (although usually only a little). Again, Seller friend - how is your used scratched guitar more valuable than brand new factory? What's your value add here?? (rhetorical - none).

But anyway, a recent stop to GC no guitar said a thing to me. Closest was a used Fender telecaster tagged at $299 not put on the rack yet. Best guitar there. Got my attention, and then I re-felt and re-examined the skinny 1 + 10/16" neck (I really only like 1 + 11/16" for my novice hands).

Discuss.
 
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Carcinogen

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There has been a T60 listed for $1000 on my local cl for YEARS. I believe the overall trend may be headed lower, but I doubt if I’ll ever find another one of those for under $400 for a long time.
 

bgmacaw

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What you're seeing is a reduction in demand due to most, but not all, supply chain issues being resolved along with inflation fueled demand collapse since earnings aren't keeping up and job stability in the near term is questionable right now. Since new guitars are available, this means that some used prices won't be quite as wild as they were, but they will remain higher than they were circa 2018 due to inflation. If you find someone still selling at 2018 or earlier prices, like a MIM Tele in great condition for $300, take advantage of the deal.
 

GuitarTalk

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I wish this was the case with vintage pre-CBS stuff…. there’s nothing good for sale worldwide and the trash that’s left is selling for stupid prices.

An all original 57’ strat is going for $35k - $40k if you can actually find one on market, 6 months ago $30-35k. Asking 6 digits for a 54’ is normal and expecting 70-80k final sale price is easy… A blackguard Tele is selling for 30% more than 6-12 months ago. An all original blackguard 35-40k last year, now can fetch 50k+ easily… of course asking prices for these are now 70k but that doesnt really matter. A transition era strat, all original, is still fetching 25k… Don’t get me started on Mary Kaye or custom colour strats…

I’m speculating that in the vintage market the really rare and collector-grade stuff has been bought up by those who can afford it with ease (not your working musician) and these heavy hitting buyers are not ones to dump their rarities when there’s a whiff of a downturn… The upsetting thing, is that I was expecting more poor owners to list their goodies to capture the hot market, but I think they’ve already done that at one point or another in the last 2 years… musician workers already thought the start of COVID, would be the “worst financial downturn of all time” (which it technically was for them if they relied on live gigging to make a living 💔)… so here we are staring at a dead, high vintage market where supply has dried up.

I will note that there is more refin vintage trash and hacked up guitars on the market now than 6 months ago… Why? Because again these are “more affordable” and according to my theory, more likely to be dumped during a downturn as heavy hitting collectors stay away from these instruments. These guitars are more likely to be bought by working musicians with “weak hands” who are more likely to sell the guitar to pay rent when the going gets tough or might get tough :(
 
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GreenMagicMan

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GuitarTalk, very insightful. Appreciated. You know you're right, I hadn't even thought of the gigging professional musician and how dire things must have gotten for so many. What a bleak and sad thought.
And I bet you're correct about the modded non original models coming out of the woodwork. I guess the one truth is that guitar pricing and availability is one wild ride.

And personally, nothing get me more jazzed up than finding that perfect bargain deal - however it unfolds and however long it takes!

Just this week I stopped at a local rural yard sale 'just in case they had any guitars for sale...' to my co - rider. They did, two. one trash kid guitar, the other my favorite acoustic good deal vintage brand: Aspen. I grabbed it up from it's chipboard case and saw a '$20' sticker in case. I asked with incredulousness "Is this $20?" and the seller said: "No, it's $10. Half price end of sale". (instant 'Sold!' was blurted out).
So I got an AD-18 Made in Japan acoustic with case and strap for $10.
But I'll likely post that separate here... I noticed the bridge tearing itself apart and bellying soundboard. Yikes, got my work cut out for me. Seller said she was given it in 1981 and never played it all these years and finally let it go.
 

Boreas

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If you are lucky to have a 50's era unicorn - lucky you!!. Most are in the hands of collectors and are considered unobtanium - and often only change hands between collectors. They don't have much to do with the "used" market. Likewise, the "vintage" market is different than the used market. True vintage guitar shops and sellers know what are considered vintage instruments. There is no strict cutoff on dates/brands, but you know one when you see one. Other markets are "classic", kitsch, oddities, lefties, and special runs.

All markets will vary, but these statements remain constant:

1. Supply and demand drives any market.

2. A sucker is born every minute.

3. A fool and his money are soon parted.

4. Buyer beware.
 

Chuckster

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I'm not a Gibson fan, so I tend to blow right past those listing, but the MIM prices are my best gauge.
They started getting silly mid-pandemic, but I do see them coming back to earth slowly.
This poor person has been hawking these dreadful Tregans on my local CL for 2 solid years.
Screenshot_20220801-104330_craigslist.jpg

Like many here, I am a collector, but I prefer odd, unique players rather than museum pieces. I actually do play them, quite often.

I did manage to find a few good deals, but mostly guitars that came from previous connections.

I would hope to see MIM prices come down to or under $500 in the Boston area soon.
 

Carcinogen

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I hope this doesn’t mean an end to me buying a new pedal off the shelf and selling it on Reverb in 2 days for $100 above list. That would be a shame. It helps me fund things I want.
This just reminded me of all the terrible human beings flipping EQD Life pedals for $900 the day after they came out
 

ChazFromCali

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Guess what a 50's Strat or Tele could've been had for in the 70's and 80's ;) Man.... if I knew then what I know now :eek:

'54 strat for $3500 in 1980 at Guitar Trader - Red Bank, NJ. But so what, I don't buy guitars for "appreciation" I buy them to play.

I had a '66 strat that was to put it nicely, a P.O.S. - wish I had it now to sell to some collector chump. The Tokai TST-57 I bought to replace it was a much better guitar.
I despise the entire "collector" mentality. And stupid "collector" phraseology like Collector grade and Player grade. They're all meant to be played.

But I have to agree with the OP. I've seen a lot of humorous asking prices on various online outlets like CL, Reverb, etc.
 
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loudboy

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Guess what a 50's Strat or Tele could've been had for in the 70's and 80's ;) Man.... if I knew then what I know now :eek:
$500 for my '57 refin Tele in 1978. They also had an immaculate '56 Strat w/OHSC and all case candy for $900, but I didn't have the dough.

I think the market for the real vintage stuff (Pre-CBS Fenders and '50s Gibsons) is holding steady and even gaining because they are the real thing. What gets me is the prices for '70s Fenders - they are not in the same league, and the prices they are getting seem over-inflated.
 

burntfrijoles

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People are still asking ridiculous prices and many don’t have a “make an offer“ option.
I have yet to find a decent, let alone good, price on used guitars.
Also, what many consider “excellent” condition is absurd. They must use a different dictionary than me.
They can keep their guitars until some fool offers them a stupid price.
 

Bob M

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1971 I bought a ‘50s Tele. $250. It was a decent old guitar. Not yet “vintage”. Played the crap out of it for 2 years. Sold it for $250. I thought that I was smart. Prices now are still pretty outrageous in my area. Especially when they are making some beautiful new instruments these days.
 

Happy Enchilada

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I was a grad student at University of Montana in Missoula in the early '80s. On Saturdays we'd walk downtown and peruse the local pawnshops. Back then, you could often score a great deal on cool stuff - now they're boutique priced junk shops. Anyway, there was this one shop that had a blonde Tele and a Gibson korina Flying V in the window for the longest time. Had I the cash, I'm guessing I could have walked out of there with both for under $500. <sigh>
 

Ricky D.

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Guess what a 50's Strat or Tele could've been had for in the 70's and 80's ;) Man.... if I knew then what I know now :eek:

In about 1976, I was in Tony’s Music in Baltimore buying a 61? LP/SG Custom for $450. Guy ahead of me bought a 56 Strat for $250. There was a stack of BF Bassman heads, 8 or 10 of them, $90 each.
 

Greggorios

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I hope you're right but from my POV they're still pretty high. Like @Chuckster my quick check gauge on the used market are MIM Fenders and many of them are still selling above, at or slightly below their normal retail "street" prices. New Fender custom shop are approximately 18%+ higher than they were about 18-24 months ago (with used prices increasing accordingly) and I wouldn't count on them coming down-ever.
 

Killing Floor

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This just reminded me of all the terrible human beings flipping EQD Life pedals for $900 the day after they came out
Ha! I hear you. But here’s the thing. I’ve never done that on a limited release (yet, mwahaha). But if you or I can buy a pedal in stock today and any day at GC or Sweetwater or my favorite local store 1) why would someone pay more than list for it and 2) why shouldn’t someone sell it if someone is willing to pay it?

Here’s an example. This is not my listing, just a screen grab from Reverb. The 2nd listing is off the shelf, new with free shipping. If someone wants to pay more for used AND new is clearly available for less, why refuse them the right to do so?

1659447496833.jpeg
 




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