Keep seeing the same guitars for sale...why aren't they selling?

TwangerWannabe

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I keep seeing the same guitars for sale locally on Craigslist. They simply aren't selling and some have been listed and relished for months and months. Many of them are really nice, quality guitars, USA made Fenders, Gibsons, etc. Most of them are in good to great condition.

I think the problem may be with what these individuals are asking for these very nice, but still used instruments. SG's priced at $100-$200 less than retail, same for some Les Pauls and Fenders, and in many cases you can actually get the same guitars for less new if you factor in the usual 15% discount we can usually get off a new instrument.

I've made offers for a few of these guitars. these aren't crazy low-ball offers, and are reasonable, especially when the guitar has been posted for 2+ months and is still up for sale and jsut today got a smug reply from the seller telling me the price is firm and that they know what they have and know what it's worth. I didn't reply ebcause that would be like pissing into the wind and serves no purpose.

Part of me believes that the people selling these guitars bought them at full retail during the pandemic but never touched them and are now trying to sell them for close to what they paid, which isn't going to happen. I wonder as we get closer to the holidays if people will be more inclined to sell in order to drum up cash for holiday gifts for their families. Also wonder if the market will soon swing to become a buyers market because of how much the cost of everything including gas, food and heating oil has increased and peopel are going to really start feeling that pinch, and when this happens the luxury items are usually the first to be sold off.

So for now I'm just going to sit tight and wait and see what unfolds over the next several months and into next year to see if my predictions are correct with fingers crossed in the hopes that used prices come down. I also think the same thing is going to happen in the used car market and there are signs that it is already happening. Cars are being sold for less than they were at auction previously, or not selling at all. Nobody's buying cars right now and there is going to start to be a surplus of used vehicles that dealers are going to need/want to sell. Hopefully this is the same with the used guitar market.
 

kuch

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15-20 years ago our local CL prices used to be pretty close to the wholesale/retail basis. wholesale/used prices were generally around 50% of retail. these days, many of the sellers out there are trying to sell their gear at 75-80% of retail, sometimes 90-100%. I can't explain it but I won't pay that much for used. I'm glad I bought and kept things I like years ago. I do keep cash on hand to jump on something I might like if it pops up at a reasonable price.
Maybe buyers out there are willing to pay more than I am.
Hopefully prices will settle down when the market crashes.
 

Freeman Keller

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Interesting that right now forumite Stratisfied has a post talking about how difficult has been to sell some guitars.

My take, there have been a lot of lack luster guitars built in the past 5 or 10 years, many of them originally selling for some pretty dear prices. People have tired of those guitars for whatever reason and decided its time to unload them (again, for whatever reason). I used to have a rule of thumb about valuing a used guitar, it may not be valid any more but I start with the manufacturer's suggested retail price, the published price at GC or MF or whatever. Take half of that for a perfect but used guitar. Remember that the new guitar price gets you warranty and at any decent store a setup to your playing style.

Now evaluate the guitar's present condition - hydration, structure, geometry, frets, general wear and tear. Know what it costs to fix each of these things - lets say a refret in your area is 200 bucks. Take half of all of those things and subtract from the previous price that would be my starting point.

If a guitar has been modified or reliced or otherwise abused I would walk away. Professionally done work that was needed (refret, neck reset, setup) can bump my price up a bit. Obviously desirable vintage guitars can be worth a lot more due to history or collectability. Piece of junk old guitars are worth nothing except as projects - I buy things a yard sale prices to fix and donate to the local high school music program.

I would never buy a guitar sight unseen, particularly a used one (but new also). I have a couple of advantages - I build and repair guitars so I know what needs to be fixed and if I can do it.

Just some random thoughts, I honestly haven't been in either side of the market for quite a while but I will be selling a few vintage items soon.
 
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tcadam

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I'll provide my perspective. I have a '94 MIM Strat that's been on Craigslist for four weeks or so with no nibbles. I set the price on the high end of the average Reverb selling prices because that's what it would take to get me to sell it. Background: I was looking at doing some major mods to it but after adding up that cost, I thought it might be wiser to just sell it as is and buy what I want afterwards. Bottom line is that I don't need to sell it, I don't need the money, and I'll just pull it off the market if I don't get what I want with no hard feelings towards anyone.
 

mad dog

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In the absence of demand, no price is too low. Plenty of reasonably-priced instruments languishing on CL. Items that a year ago would have sold in a day now might sell in a couple months.

I buy strictly used, and don't overpay. When I do end up selling, I try not to lose money. It's suddenly very hard. If I cared to heavily discount, sell at a loss, maybe things would go quicker. But I'm not willing to do that, so it comes down to patience.

Yes, many items are over-priced. But that's only part of the story right now. Even at bargain prices, very little interest.
 

Milspec

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The reason (I suspect) is simpler than you think. People will buy new on credit, but it takes cash to buy used.

When you list gear on local sites like CL or Marketplace, the first things you get are trade offers, because they don't have cash. If you wanted to process a credit card, things would sell quickly.
 

Jakedog

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I think people just aren’t buying right now. I had an amp listed for three months. It was priced at slightly below market value for its make and model, and is in excellent condition. Being that I’m not hard up for money, and don’t *need* to sell it, I made clear that I was very open to trades.

In three months, I got two very fair trade offers, which I agreed to accept, only to never hear from the people again. I got a crap load offers from people I assume wanted to flip it, which were for 1/3-1/2 of market value. All of which I politely declined.

I’ve decided to just keep it. It’s a weird sort of savings account, I guess.
 

Refugee

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I'll provide my perspective. I have a '94 MIM Strat that's been on Craigslist for four weeks or so with no nibbles. I set the price on the high end of the average Reverb selling prices because that's what it would take to get me to sell it. Background: I was looking at doing some major mods to it but after adding up that cost, I thought it might be wiser to just sell it as is and buy what I want afterwards. Bottom line is that I don't need to sell it, I don't need the money, and I'll just pull it off the market if I don't get what I want with no hard feelings towards anyone.

This. Not in a hurry at all. Don't need the money.
 

TwangerWannabe

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Lots of people who would otherwise buy gear are finding themselves in financial hardship. Grocery prices are insane.

Of course, but you would also think that those who are in a bind financially because of the recent rapid inflation would be more inclined to sell their gear to help make ends meet, but currently that doesn't seem to be the case with people who are selling are asking insane prices and the guitars aren't selling.
 

mfguitar

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There is only one reason items don't sell...people are asking more than someone else is willing to pay. I buy and sell a lot and sometimes items sit for a long time then all of a sudden you get several inquiries. I have been helping liquidate a friend's estate and all of the high-end guitars sold quickly, I still have some mid-range items that have received little interest, you just never know.
 

1 21 gigawatts

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I also check CL almost every morning just for fun mostly. I see the same guitars month after month at the same list price. Any good deal doesn't last long, so people are still buying if the price is right.

I think that the market value was inflated during the pandemic then supply chain crisis. Now that the market has cooled, people still haven't adjusted their prices. My guess is that with inflation driving up the price of everything (including new guitars), people refuse to believe that the market for used gear is down.
 




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