The economy is still sluggish and the GDP is really flat. We have come a long way from the 2008 mess but we still have a long way to go. If you are looking at picking up gear in this climate you may be aware it is a true buyers market. As we put gear for sale on eBay, Reverb.com and Craigslist we get a lot of indications of market activity. Sales in general seem to be slow and gear fetches a little less than earlier in the year. As the holidays approach you might want to drop by your favorite pawnshops and check out their inventory and make an offer or two. The long term economic softness is driving folks there as eBay has steadily made it harder and more expensive for sellers to earn a profit. Although this is really is old news for while now, eBay has gotten worse from a seller standpoint as time rolls on. Instead of dealing with eBay, Paypal, crazy buyers and shipping, many are opting for quick cash at the pawn shop. All of the reality pawn shop TV shows have really blossomed the business and likely there are many choices near you. Lots of competition drives prices down so if you are adding to your collection or just looking for a great player that you won't be afraid to take to your next gig, Check out your local pawnshops as the deals seem to be getting better and the selection is increasing. Happy Shopping!
Hi to all who are looking at this site, blog. We are real! After a few questions sent in from the site I thought I'd address this here. We are a long time eBayer - over 13 years (under the name noguitargames, which also points to this site). Starting from the classifieds in the late 70's to internet searches all over the country today, we buy / sell / trade through out the U.S. If you have a question about anything please email and you'll get a quick response. This site was started originally to help us wean off of eBay and get away from the high fees so we can pass that on to our customers. Thanks to those that have purchased so far and please comment on our blog if you have something to say. Thanks Again for visiting!
This content is from my original site and it's a few years old however I feel a lot of it is still relevant and I'll leave it all as it is a good place to start :)
Welcome to my Guitar Musings! This is a light guide I thought I'd put together to help those who are looking to buy guitars in the current market. So here's my input for general information in this crazy market.
I have been buying and selling guitars since the late 70's. There were some great deals back then. Gear was cheap but not so plentiful however the $$$'s were harder to come by. There was no internet, no Craigs list, and no Ebay. If you wanted to find something you either went to the music stores or checked the local classifieds.
Today we have every advantage that you can think of. 1st off people have more money and free time. You can see guitars for sale all across the nation in minutes thanks to the net. As I write this the economy is going though a tough spell but that will make things interesting as the good deals and the more collectable guitars seem to come out of the woodwork.
First off lets go over the brands with a light overview
To me they are the grand daddy of the collectible guitar business. Les Paul's, Firebird's, 335's, SG's, Flying V's, Explorer's, L-5's, Johnny Smith's....on and on. The are all classics and have great resale values.
Strat's, Tele's, Duo Sonic's, Laptop Steel's , Tweed amps, Silver Face amps, Black face amps...just so many great designs. Just like Gibson, all classics with great resale values.
The inventor of the electric guitar ( Google Frying pan guitar) A few great models and some desirable amps. Made very popular by the Beatles ( always great collector interest in any model associated) Not super collectible up until 2004 or so. Now highly collectible. New ones have a many year waiting list just to the dealer! Toaster pickups, short scales, 12 strings....lots of jangle. Probably the best resale value in a guitars.
Owned by Fender now, again all classics with great resale value for the new stuff. As for the older guitars they are some very good deals as they have had some issues with binding rot and accept for certain models (6120, DuoJet, White Penguin, White Falcon) most don't seem to go for the crazy dollars that the Fenders and Gibsons Do. Good deals to be had.
This is the guitar that really broke into the market to compete with the big boys. The finishes and colors are great, different neck shapes are available. Great guitars. Pre '94's have some features that collectors look for but all models have very good resale value.
Jackson / Charvel
Great brand, born form the metal guitar need in the late 70's early 80's. Owned by Fender they have brought a lot of the older models back ( Charvels now have the Strat headstock just like they used to) Lots of collectible stuff here depends on where made and when. The custom shop guitars and the early stuff are most collectible and carry good resale, everything else not so much. A great value for the money
Another great classic, lots to collect as they made so many different models. Prices on these, even the nice collectible stuff is very affordable right now. Tough to beat in value for the quality you get. Gets my vote for bang for the buck.
Great guitars, all of the American Made guitars are collectible They were a lot cheaper before 2004. I think the are the highest quality guitars for the price. The Californian is in some circles the holy grail of the shredder type guitars. Hamers can suffer from "Hameritis" which is just the lacquer finish cracking. I think they are the best quality guitar you can get from a production guitar.
Great quality, horrible resale
I think everything they make is good, even great. Lots of models. Not too much collector interest accept for a few models thanks to Santana. Prices have firmed up a bit over the last few years but for the most part. If you want a good player cheap, then look no further.
My favorite acoustic guitar. Very high resale. Great guitars.They have a heavy bass sound compared to a lot of their competition. Lots of collectible guitars, many books on the subject. If you are a Martin guy there is no substitute.
There are a lot of other brands out there to look for
ESP, Tokia, Eastman Strings, Ernie Ball Music Man, Breedlove, Collings, Taylor, Peavey, EVH, Suhr, Anderson, Zion, Dan Armstrong, Burns, Lowden, Stromberg, Cort, Cortez, Electra, Grosh, Hondo, Eastman Strings, Aria, Washburn, Goodall, Santa Cruz, Raven, etc.
This was just a quick overview, more to come later as I am working on a real world collector guide for the player..lots of websites cater to the rich guy buying the perfect stuff. My goal is to show you what you can buy that will save you money and maybe even make you some.
Tips for buying now
The goal here is to provide the best bang for the buck (according to me) and to point out some collectibles that seem to be the best buy at the moment.
Gibson has a few models that fit the bill. The Faded series guitars offer a good deal of the premium vibe for a lot less coin. ($400-800) Gets you into a great USA made guitar. Great for the gigs or just keeping out all the time to play without having to worry too much. Some come with cases, some with Gig bags. I don't think you can go wrong buying these used or from the big retailers when they have a blow out sale.
For collectors you just have to look for deals as most every guitar they ever made is a collectible. Take advantage of the market by deciding what you want and start hunting. Most of the sellers of the good vintage models will still ask a lot but the sales price is usually a lot lower right now as people try to unload parts or sometimes all of their collection to pay bills or move to cash. Guitars have come down in some cases as much as 50%. As for models to look for, I'd look toward Les Paul Jr.'s. They were quite expensive over the last few years but as money has gotten tighter the actual sales price has dropped off. Try to get models as clean and original as possible. Buy Low - try to go for the 3000-5000 range. When the market comes back I think they will be hot as they were before the drop. 333's seem to be good values now too. Mid sixties are my favorites here. I think they will always be the bargain of the Gibson line but for a vintage Gibson you get a lot of bang for the buck. Also look for items out of favor. Jazz guitars tend to go up and down quite a bit but finding them is a little harder. Good skills needed to make sure you get what you are looking for. Lots of poor repairs and refinish jobs to check for.
Fender has the Strat and Tele as the main stay in the collector world. I remember when I was younger thinking how could such a simple guitar ever be worth much as I passed on buying them but they are very highly collected and sought after. The guitars are fairly easy to fake so you really need to know your stuff before buying. Fender has a storied history with lots of info on the subject. Best buys right now I think are 50's and 60's player's classics (650 used-1100 new, don't buy new). They are basically Mexican made custom shop models. I also like the road worn series (750-950), also made in Mexico. Prices vary right now and as the models are new there won't be many used ones floating around. Set up is key with Fender so it pays to get a really good set up from a pro. Strats and Teles were made in volume so their value tends to go up and down with market demand, right now most are on the low side with the interest seemingly higher in Teles. For American made models I'd go with the standard models made in the 90's (600-1000) pricing depends on condition mostly.
For collectors be wary of forgeries. Buy from reputable dealers. I don't get in this market much as it's just too easy to make a fake. Great buys right now but proceed with caution. I personally like the Duo Sonic line, they made long and short scale versions and the are great players. They are at this moment very affordable ( 800-2500). Price depends on a lot of factors: condition, color , year, case, originality. The Musicmaster is a similar version with one pick up, also a bargain right now. These guitars are usually bought to take the parts and piece them on the more expensive Teles and Strats. I like the mid 60's stuff the best, with long scale beefy necks.The amps are also in a world of their own but are also among the better bargains right now. Prices have come down 40-50% from their highs of a few years ago. Lots of knock off companies making these but buy the real thing, in most cases they are cheaper and hold value well especially if you buy now I think you would get very good return on investment. Go for the popular models ( black or brown face, silver face too - best bang for the buck) Princeton Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, and the Champ seem to be the most popular.
PRS guitars are the newest big name on the scene. Prices here used to be very high as these guitars were the " doctor, lawyer collectibles" They have high price tags and lots of variations on the theme. The recent downturn in the economy has effected the value here more than most. I'd look for pre-'95 models ( short heel, one piece bridge, different tuning keys, better materials) I think these are great buys anytime you can get them for under 2,000....I have seen a good many go under 1,500. I'll leave the high $ collectibles to others as I still feel the prices ( although low compared to the new price) are still very high.
For collectors I'd look for the early models , best condition with original everything. Prices have dropped here like everything else. I'd stick with the best condition you can get. Same basic buying tips with any guitar.
Currently there seems to be a slight pick up of sales in the general market. I believe this is being driven by aggressive sales drives like Fender Friday, 20% of all sales from the big online retailers being available for the asking. I personally think the Bain Capital buy out of Guitar Center and it's related companies for over 2 billion and change is having some impact. The Group needs a lot of sales to recoup it's investment and make a profit. Gibson was also bought out in a much better business climate than we have now and due to the economy dragging a lot less people are plunking down the kind of money it takes to buy the new gear. This is helping keep the used market growing, along with craig's list ( can't leave them out) but while the market is growing it's average cost is dropping....A lot of instrument collectors are thinning the collections to free up more dollars for other purposes, or raise money to buy that one item that they having been wanting for years.