Why do people pay more than they should for reissues?

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Dukex

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Thanks for your sarcasm. (1) If you have any of that business acumen, let me know.

Anyways, looking at amps of similar popularity, complexity, and wattage (15-30W with two channels, 1x12 speaker, and reverb) from the past 5-10 years, we have the Ampeg R12R, AC15C1, AC30S1, Blackstar HT Studio 20, and the Marshall DSL20CR.

R12R - $595
AC15C1 - $799
AC30S1 - $899
Studio 20 - $349
DSL20CR - $899

Fender '65 DRRI - $1599

Now, (2) I know what you're gonna say "oh, but the DRRI has a far higher standard of quality than these other amps." For Blackstar, yes, that is true, they use pretty cheap parts and break down not infrequently. However, the Ampeg, Vox, and Marshall are all made with the SAME or SIMILAR components. I've watched enough tech videos of Marshalls, Voxes, and DRRIs to know that they all have cheapo components and the same faults. They are made the same way, mass produced PCB boards with concrete and carbon comp resistors, and cheap IC caps. The Fender amps are made in the USA, but that shouldn't account for a nearly 2x difference in price between them and the next cheapest similar amp.

(3) The only reason Fender charges that much is because they can. I'd strongly doubt that they make less than 30% profit on each DRRI sold at this price point.
(1) Yes, I have business acumen.

(2) You think you know a lot of things but obviously don't.

(3) You have no clue what Fender's "profit margin" is on a DRRI. BTW, which "profit margin" are you referring to, "Gross," "Operating," or "Net"?
 

printer2

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How many vintage amplifiers are available in a given time period and how many buyers of the RI model in that period? If 1,000 RI amps are sold I doubt there are 1,000 vintage amps in top notch condition for people to buy.
 

Blrfl

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Here's a 1959 Super 1606 for $600 shipped and with tax (but you could probably talk him down) https://reverb.com/item/60664966-supro-1606-1959-not-reissue

Here's a Super 1606 Reissue new. It is based on the version that was released like 3 years after the 1959 one, but I'll get to that soon. It's $750 BEFORE tax and shipping.

I found a new one on Reverb for $750 with free shipping, so let's say tax is 5% and call the whole thing $788 to your door.

You'll probably spend the $188 difference (or more) having the '59's nightmare of a power cord replaced with a grounded one, the death cap removed, the caps replaced and the whole chassis given a good servicing. That doesn't even cover the difference in condition compared to the new one (meh vs. mint), nor do you get any kind of warranty.

Less-expensive? Yeah. Cheaper? Probably not.
 

G Stone496

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Supro in particular is horrible with this, but this applies to Fender with their Champ and Princeton reissues. Their new amps are FAR MORE EXPENSIVE than the vintage ones they're based on. I get it, the 1978 Princeton Amp isn't the exact same as a 2022 Princeton Reverb '68 Reissue, but they're the same price and one is handwired in the USA, and the other isn't!
Well how much is more than they should pay? My first thought is if you compared 1959, 1961, 1968 and 1978 money to 2022 money, these amps wouldn’t seem so expensive. Arguably the vintage ones have decades of wear and tear on the speakers and transformers and are more likely to require repair/replacement parts and new ones are usually under warranty. Collectors, resellers and players all buy amps for different reasons. If you’re looking for a quick flip, price is more important than if you’re going to keep and use an amp for playing and not to resell.
 

G Stone496

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Same goes for the 5F1 and 5E3 reissues. Fender is trying to sell you an amp for 1600 that I could make myself for 250 or buy from a boutique amp maker for 750.
The Fender ‘57 Custom Champ 5F1 is $1200 list not $1600 and I could get a new one for $1020 with negotiation. I bought a do it yourself complete kit about 3 years ago with speaker, cab and tubes which cost me $450. If you find a completely built boutique Tweed Champ for $750, I’d be interested.
 
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Wally

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Have you ever tried to get a vintage amp repaired? I live in a region of a little over a million people. There are only a few people who repair amps in the area. The most well-known shop is so busy that they've stopped taking on new work.

Old amps can be very finicky and need a repair person with a set of skills that is pretty rare these days. Why buy a potential headache when you can get something new that sounds and looks similar for the same money and comes with a warranty?

There is a reason why that shop is busy. The work must be good, and those who own those amps want them repaired. Modern amps are often throwaways if something goes wrong. A vintage amp can provide long service if things are done properly, ime.
 

KokoTele

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There is a reason why that shop is busy. The work must be good, and those who own those amps want them repaired. Modern amps are often throwaways if something goes wrong. A vintage amp can provide long service if things are done properly, ime.

Of course, but they’re old and in need of service. New amps aren’t in need of service.

This is the same reason why some people buy new cars instead of used ones.
 

codamedia

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R12R - $595
AC15C1 - $799
AC30S1 - $899
Studio 20 - $349
DSL20CR - $899

Fender '65 DRRI - $1599

Now, I know what you're gonna say "oh, but the DRRI has a far higher standard of quality than these other amps." For Blackstar, yes, that is true, they use pretty cheap parts and break down not infrequently. However, the Ampeg, Vox, and Marshall are all made with the SAME or SIMILAR components.

I don't know all the amps, but the DSL(20/40)CR line is nowhere near the quality of the RI Fenders. If you really want to make some comparisons, compare them to the HOT ROD line, not the RI line.
 

BoomTexan

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I don't know all the amps, but the DSL(20/40)CR line is nowhere near the quality of the RI Fenders. If you really want to make some comparisons, compare them to the HOT ROD line, not the RI line.
I completely understand what you're saying. I was making this analogy in terms of price of parts/components that go into making it.
I'd like to see the OP deal with labor, parts, shipping & supply issues. Not to mention the price of real estate for his manufacturing. I just wonder how much a BT amp would retail for??? 🤔
You're right, I couldn't deal with that. That's why Fender has experts in all of those fields, that's somewhat unreasonable to assume that one person does it. All I'm trying to say is that for what you're getting in a DRRI, you're paying too much.

Factoring in the price of transformers, tubes, speaker, and cabinet, the most expensive parts, those likely make up more than 50% of the value of the amp (likely more than 70% but this is the benefit of the doubt here) at market value on Reverb, but it would be cheaper if bought in bulk. There is cost of labor and real estate. Fender lists average wage across the company at 100k per year, so we'll say 45$ per hour and I'll assume that real estate is another $10 per hour. I've seen factory tours on YT and they have the handwired amps done in 6 hours of labor (not drying time or anything). These are PCB so they're far faster but again, benefit of the doubt.

50% cost of parts - $100 for transformers, $100 for tubes, $300 for chassis and cab, $50 for speaker. Add 55 x 6 to that. If Fender is paying for shipping, we can add another $100 to that total. I'm not oulling these numbers out of thin air either, this is the cost of new parts for a DRRI from Weber, Jensen, Mojotone, and JJ.

All together with an EXTREMELY generous overall cost, with most components I added 20+ to market price, I added more $ wherever I could and rounded up everything, the price of the amp comes to $1200 for Fender.

It might be different for a bigger operation, there are more things they have to do and spend money on and all that, but that is negated entirely by the large amount of money on components that they wouldn't spend, and rounding up of wages, and hours spent on making them and all that. I feel confident that if I were Fender and could get good prices on materials and factor in cost of labor, I could build a DRRI for $750.

Heck, even as a smaller builder I could get the parts myself at market price for 600-650 and build it myself in a day or two. I think 8-16 hours of my labor and having to wait a few days for parts is worth the $1000 I'm not spending.
 

Jakedog

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I completely understand what you're saying. I was making this analogy in terms of price of parts/components that go into making it.

You're right, I couldn't deal with that. That's why Fender has experts in all of those fields, that's somewhat unreasonable to assume that one person does it. All I'm trying to say is that for what you're getting in a DRRI, you're paying too much.

Factoring in the price of transformers, tubes, speaker, and cabinet, the most expensive parts, those likely make up more than 50% of the value of the amp (likely more than 70% but this is the benefit of the doubt here) at market value on Reverb, but it would be cheaper if bought in bulk. There is cost of labor and real estate. Fender lists average wage across the company at 100k per year, so we'll say 45$ per hour and I'll assume that real estate is another $10 per hour. I've seen factory tours on YT and they have the handwired amps done in 6 hours of labor (not drying time or anything). These are PCB so they're far faster but again, benefit of the doubt.

50% cost of parts - $100 for transformers, $100 for tubes, $300 for chassis and cab, $50 for speaker. Add 55 x 6 to that. If Fender is paying for shipping, we can add another $100 to that total. I'm not oulling these numbers out of thin air either, this is the cost of new parts for a DRRI from Weber, Jensen, Mojotone, and JJ.

All together with an EXTREMELY generous overall cost, with most components I added 20+ to market price, I added more $ wherever I could and rounded up everything, the price of the amp comes to $1200 for Fender.

It might be different for a bigger operation, there are more things they have to do and spend money on and all that, but that is negated entirely by the large amount of money on components that they wouldn't spend, and rounding up of wages, and hours spent on making them and all that. I feel confident that if I were Fender and could get good prices on materials and factor in cost of labor, I could build a DRRI for $750.

Heck, even as a smaller builder I could get the parts myself at market price for 600-650 and build it myself in a day or two. I think 8-16 hours of my labor and having to wait a few days for parts is worth the $1000 I'm not spending.
If I were an amp company, and if I had an amp everyone wanted, and *if* it cost me $750 to get that amp built and out the door… including shipping, printed box and the rest of the packaging (which ain’t cheap) a cover, a footswitch, printed manual, tags and sticker…

Cost to my dealers would be $1200-$1500, depending on the volume they were ordering. Retail would be in the area of $2500. Dealer minimum (MAP) pricing would be a 15-20% discount from retail.

There is no point in building or marketing anything en masse for less profit than that. And then the dealer has to make enough profit to pay their overhead as well. In addition to being able to reorder more stock.

Nobody, not a manufacturer, a distributor, or a dealer, will ever keep their doors open by breaking even. Or doing anything for anywhere close to what it costs them.

Not to mention, it’s not just what the parts, the labor, the other stuff I’ve mentioned, and the building costs. It’s the custodial and maintenance staff in a large factory. It’s the supervisors, and their bosses and their bosses salaries and benefits. It’s the marketing and advertising budget. Including pro video production because these days reading specs isn’t good enough, we all want to see professionally produced demos on YouTube. It’s keeping a legal department staffed to protect trademarks and patents, and handle liability. It’s keeping soap and toilet paper in the bathrooms so all those people can take a dump once a day. It’s the electric and water, and garbage disposal, and trash can liners, and bandaids and glass cleaner and a million other things, all of which have to be paid for out of these massively unreasonable and greedy prices. None of which is remotely relatable to building one champ knockoff in your garage and housing it in a repurposed junk amp carcass.
 
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Recce

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Sorry for the misunderstanding, that number of $250 was for a 5F1, not the Deluxe. Deluxe would definitely be more expensive, but I have built a 5F1 for around 2-250 and it wasn't too hard to find cheap parts. Weber makes some good cheap stuff, and I found a pretty good donor cab and chassis from a cheap SS practice amp.

Yeah, I agree with the difference in perspectives. It kills me to see Rhett Shull and other guitar youtubers talking up the Morgan amps because I've watched Psionic Audio videos where he demolishes them and talks about shoddy build quality. I shudder whenever most players start talking about amps because of just how little they know about what happens underneath the hood. I have never even considered owning a Mesa Boogie guitar amp after attempting to service one of those 50/50 power amps they make, just because I know that I'd never be able to fix it.

But that's not even a slight issue for 95% of the guitar community, and that's why the Hot Rod still exists as a bestseller guitar amp today despite having glaring issues with reliability. I keep hating on the DRRI amps, but they're good sounding amps and for every beginner country, rock, or blues guitarist, they dream of owning one at one point because it sounds great and is constantly talked up and marketed to. I recommend vintage Ampegs or Acoustic Control Corp heads to all my guitarist friends when they're looking for a good clean amp, and they invariably settle for a PRRI or DRRI that ends up costing far more because they know what they're getting and want that specific sound, no matter how badly I think of those amps.

And, for me, I personally love weird gear. That's why I play blues through a 200-watt Peavey PA unit and have a Gibson GA-100 bass amp that is immensely complicated and doesn't really work right all the time. That's why I own a Sunn Model T preamp and EHX LPB-2, along with my partscaster with firebird pickups and my Japanese-made Lucille copy. That freaks many people out, because 90% of the guitar community is just fine with a MIM Tele, DRRI or Helix, and Tube Screamer. It's just a culture clash for me, and I need to be more tolerant and understanding of those who want to go mainstream.
Basically you say you can build a cheap copy using cheap and used parts for less money so you end up with a poor copy. By golly that isn’t the same. Also, what do you value your time at per hour?

Also, I don’t build amps so I can’t do that and just want something that works.
 

Jakedog

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Basically you say you can build a cheap copy using cheap and used parts for less money so you end up with a poor copy. By golly that isn’t the same. Also, what do you value your time at per hour?

Also, I don’t build amps so I can’t do that and just want something that works.
I thought about learning. But I don’t wish to be on stage with a pile of re-purposed junk. I want my tools to look right as well as work right. I was thinking about getting a Brown Deluxe kit from Mojotone. Didn’t seem to be all that hard to put together.

Well I don’t just want the chassis. I’m also going to need the cab (cause I want it to look right when I’m done), and speaker, tubes, and everything else. So I’d need the complete kit with all the trimmings. Then I started adding up what it was going to take to get the tools I don’t have that I would need. Then I looked at their hours estimate, and figured since I’ve never done it before I should at least double that, if not triple it. Then I had to consider the very real possibility that I would finish the thing, and it wouldn’t work. So I’d have to have my tech sort out some dumb rookie mistake.

Then I looked at the “fully assembled and ready to go” price. It looked like a much better deal when all was said and done. So when I finally pull the trigger, that’s what I’ll get.
 

HolmfirthNJ

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In the UK, vintage American amps are not that easy to find (and they’re generally very expensive) and, realistically, a self-build is not going to be a option for most people, any more than most people build their own houses or cars.
So… this context, the Fender reissues, particularly secondhand, seem very good value - I’m amazed that I’m able to have my ‘64 Princeton and ‘57 Champ reissues.
 

Maguchi

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That's why Fender has experts in all of those fields, that's somewhat unreasonable to assume that one person does it. All I'm trying to say is that for what you're getting in a DRRI, you're paying too much.
We can use this small sliver of a big amp manufacturers business expenses. The salaries and benefits of those experts in all those fields are expenses for amp manufacturers. We can repeat those expenses for other areas of a large amp manufacturers business. My point is that the cost of manufacture is more complex than what we are acknowledging in these posts. We may not be considering all the expenses that go into a large business, as compared to the expenses a single repair tech may have when he/she builds a single similar amp using used and recycled parts. Also an amp repair tech may be able to shop for deals on parts and used cabinets for an amp, but are those deals repeatable on a day to day basis and in a large enough quantity to meet the demand of amps wanted by many customers.

A couple years ago, before I bought my Fender '57 Champ Reissue and Fender '57 Deluxe reissue, I did a price comparison on all the Tweed handwired models for Fender and compared them to the closely similar models of two other builders, Victoria and Mojotone. At the time Mojotone would assemble a kit for a customer. Fender only had three handwired Tweed models, Champ, Deluxe and Twin. In all cases the Mojotone was the least expensive, but just barely, Fender was second and Victoria was the most expensive. I bought both those amps new from Fender for a 15% discount off list price which brought the price below what Mojotone was charging. At the time the Champ listed for $999 and I paid $850, and the Deluxe listed for $1999 and I paid $1700. To me the reliability, warranty and ability to gig with those amps right away was worth the price.
 
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TunedupFlat

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It does seems that Fender is pricing themselves just a hair out of reach of a bunch of people these days that could have afforded one 2 or 3 years ago, as none of these people have probably recieved a raise to compensate for the increased prices of everything.(food, gas, electricity, etc..)

I would probably buy an original rather than a reissue. After playing for almost 40 years and gigging for 30 why not? It's not like it would be my only amp...
 

Chipss36

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I own both reissues, many vintage blackfaces, also have built most all of them from the ground up, and specialize in blackfaces, only, people with the real deal vintage ones come to me and commission very expensive clones, they are fully blueprinted, every vintage blue moldded cap, checked for esr, and leakage at rated voltage, every resistor checked for drift, the cabs are old lumber, all hide glue, and on and on, my amps can hit the road, and take a tour, the real vintage ones can stay at home.
my amps will not appreciate in value the way the real deal will, but if one was to blow a ot, in my reproduction, it’s no big deal, in the vintage one it sure is.
every amp I built, I never intended to sell, it was built for me, to an ocd vintage spec, and most every one , I got a deal I could not refuse. From touring professionals to recording studios, all word of mouth, and never advertise… to build that way is very, very expensive, the simple round curtesy ac jack built in the USA is rare as hens teeth, and very expensive,
bending up and exact replica chassis , is a chore, vintage blue molded caps, the same, vintage evms, or Jensen s, the same, rca tubes , same, vintage carbon USA built resistors have to be purchased 10 to get one good one, vintage USA tube sockets, same, and the list goes on and on, it’s insanely expensive to build that way, yet it seems there is a market for it, people will pay the insane price, I turn down work a lot, a few amps I have built I will flat out not sell, but they do get rented, I am getting old, but a market does exist for it, I see both sides of this coin, or at least tell myself that.

I must say the reissues do sound good, I do not find them as serviceable as an eyelet board, and this will be an issue after a few recaps. Or a burning resistor on the pcb….
but with care should last a lifetime. I would however never pay more for a reissue over real eyelet board vintage for that reason alone.
also I feel reissues are In The ballpark tonality wise, but they pale when compared to pre cbs, or what I built, I am biased obviously, but it seems others, even a few sound engineers agree, they also helped me to get to that point. It was not always that way…lol…There is a difference, but it’s not a huge difference.

I think the real pre cbs amps are reaching investment status, people are not touring with them, not taking chances with that investment, but still need to tour, still need good tone, that I feel creates real reissue opportunities.

or I could be full of it…..
 

Jared Purdy

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I should rephrase this. Two people has answered the question so far, their answer was that they have warranties, they're popular, and they're easier to purchase. The other answer was marketing.

I guess my post seemed to be calling out people that bought reissues, and I didn't start it intending to sound like that, but as i unearthed a vintage Supro and saw that a new one was the same cost I because pretty infuriated. It's a dirt cheap amp and shouldn't cost that much. Same goes for the 5F1 and 5E3 reissues. Fender is trying to sell you an amp for 1600 that I could make myself for 250 or buy from a boutique amp maker for 750.

I understand the Bassman reissues, Supro Thunderbolt reissues, and a lot of other valuable vintage amp reissues that are hard to build costing so much, but I just feel that the 5F1, 5E3, and 1606 reissues are horribly overpriced for what they are and what goes into making them.

Not blaming the people who buy them, blaming the companies for overpricing them.
I can't speak for all of the kits out there, but the StewMac 5E3 kit is $1500, and you have to build it yourself, which requires skills (not obtainable over night) and a number of tools, which you need to know how to use. The Mojo Tone kits were nominally less money, but for me, a pain in a**. You have to pick the cabinet, and then the tolex, and then the grill cloth, and the handle, feet, etc. And to boot, they don't list real tweed as a cover option. Only tolex.

In the US you can walk into a local Guitar Center or other well stocked store and buy a Fender 57' Custom Deluxe, built to spec, with a warranty for $2500. Personally, I don't see spending the extra $1000 as reckless or even overpriced. Fender has a HUGE factory, with many people on payroll. And, that Fender amp? It has a badge on it that will make it far easier to sell than the StewMac kit should an amateur actually make it through the build process decently and then decide to sell it.

It's 2022. That $2500US ($3000CDN) seems perfectly reasonable to me. Also, as others have said, not all of us are vintage fanatics. Personally, I like the idea of trouble and maintenance free.

As for a boutique builder's offerings? Some of them are not going to cost that much less. And then you have the issue with trying to sell a boutique amp in a town or a city where no one has ever heard of it. I know what that's like having had two Swart amps which I decided to part with and took a bath on the sale of each one.

I'm the happy owner of both a Fender 57' Custom Deluxe and the 64' hand wired PR.. As they are both hand wired, they are very serviceable should anything ever be needed to be done to them. Having previously owned two Swart amps, I didn't balk for one second at the new, retail prices for either one of the Fender amps, both of which are comparable in price to the Swart amps that I had. They're built well, and sound fantastic. I don't see the issue.
 
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