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Thinking about this issue in relation to the "GC Deathwatch . . ." thread.

I'm lucky enough to have two really good independent Music stores near where I live, one for new gear, and one that specializes in used gear. Both have been doing well enough, in this period, but I've definitely noticed something since last Spring.

In the last few months, the Used Gear store's Ebay site has been packed with high-priced Gibson and PRS Guitars, and a bunch of juicy Amps, too. Sure, they always have some cool, collector's-quality Instruments, like one of those mid-80's Gibson "map-bodied" Guitars, the only one I've ever seen outside of a Music video.

What I'm seeing lately are a lot of player's-quality Guitars, even some "investment" Guitars, lots of Les Paul's, different PRS models, Fender Custom Shop models, some unusual Vintage gear, and lots of pro-level Amps. Many of these Instruments are in mint or near-mint condition, with their OHSC, tags & "case candy". What that says to me is a lot of out-of-work Musicians are trading down, or cashing out altogether, never mind semi-pro's and hobbyists who don't depend on Music for an income, but who suddenly find that their favorite Guitar can be quickly turned into money for bills. FWIW, I'm also seeing a LOT of Cymbals on the site, more than I've seen before, but I don't know that market well enough to see a pattern in pricing or value; it's still a very large number, compared to what I was used to seeing.

I wonder if anyone else is seeing this sort of thing in your area, and what it means for the current MI retail market?

It seems to me, perhaps mistakenly, that a glut of used upscale Guitars (used gear, in general) would result in lowered values for both used and new Instruments, which was part of the scenario I envisioned if GC were to have a nationwide blow-out Going Out Of Business sale. Imagine every item GC has in stock suddenly selling for Stupid-Deal-Of-The-Day prices, and the impact that would have on sales everywhere else. Part of the reason I expect an industry bail-out for GC; if it goes down, the collateral damage will be widespread, on top of whatever impact the pandemic has had.

No answers here, just questions . . .


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Hi Winston, yes our local craigslist has had some real "drooly" wonders in the last few months and as you pointed out - most are in virtually unplayed condition.

As a (pre-Covid) pro player, I've been far more attracted to great players that look reasonably respectable - well used. Less worries if somebody would like to sit, or really for anything untoward that could happen.

I used to play my Gibson ES 335 Studio on the regular at gigs but now that makes me nervous so I just bring one of my Franken Strat/Teles. They play great and sound great and look fine.
My latest trick was to scallop my fretboard, which seems to terrify most who would sit in (with one truly notable exception who was amazing and a joy to listen to).

But yeah, recently somebody posted a nearly new "vintage" Vancouver Larivee 12 string (now made in the US) - solid Rosewood back and sides, bear-claw Sitka spruce top, ebony fingerboard, bridge and headstock overlay, fancy inlays - just gorgeous.
Of course I lusted for it!!!!! Starting price was $1,200 which would be a great price but a few days later they took it down to $600 - including a like new hardshell case. It didn't last long!!!

There've been plenty of others but that one stood out to me. Hard to resist a stellar 12 string!!! I didn't really have the money, told a friend about it and she was too slow getting around to it.
Somebody is really happy, somewhere. I'd love to at least play it once.


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Winston, I know the used store you're talking about, and follow them. More than I should. Yes, the inventory has increased, at least what they're now showing online. That said, their on-line listings had been behind, I think, for quite some time; so they are finally getting around to posting it there. While their inventory does include a lot of what you mentioned - big name, higher-priced guitars - they aren't priced at low enough prices (at least not for someone like me). But I do think you're right about people downsizing or unloading.

Another used store (Music-Go-Round) has had some interesting guitars listed online; and they seem to be turning them around relatively quickly, too.

Interesting to me, is that GC, while in this financial crisis, has been having special "events" monthly (if not more frequently) to buy used instruments. Maybe they're hoping people will come in to trade up to their new inventory, rather than just sell off.


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Winston, Sorry I have been trying to stop buying equipment so I can't ad much with regard to the discussion. But, I have received info (like Danzilla) on GC buying used equipment from $500 to $1,000 and having in-store trading events. I think it's a ploy to get people into the store and have them trade up (i.e. giving them a discount on their new stuff still on the racks). It is Xmas shopping season and a good time to put your used stuff out there. I would think it would be a good time to pick up on some bargains but I just don't need another guitar LOL! cool


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Living in LA the local Craigslist is pretty much always full of high ticket items. We have Neve consoles, vintage '50s Neumann tube mics, Steinway pianos, etc. as well as very collectible guitars in the LA CL. So it doesn't really look any different to me. I have checked it daily for maybe 10 years, and I was expecting to see a huge influx of instruments since March, but it hasn't really happened here that I can tell. My thought of being able to find a Custom Shop Tele or an L5 for a few hundred bucks has not panned out.


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@Scott - Same here, been holding out for a Les Paul Custom - THE weapon of choice for Prog/Fusion Guitar - at somewhere around $500, but not yet . . .

Can't recall who it was offhand, but someone, maybe Samick, made a decent, and affordable, L5 copy, long ago.


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Just a sample from the last two days, Oahu only:
2019 Gibson ES339 Studio, $1400.
DrZ Maz18 NR 210, $1200.
Carr Impala, $1750.
Jimmy Page USA Telecaster $1800.
PRS P22 acoustic/electric $2200.
Fulltone fulldrive 2 $60. (Lots of other effects)
Vintage Vox Super Lynx Deluxe $900.
Vintage Vox v268 Ultrasonic $4500.

Last edited by surfergirl; 11/18/20 08:14 PM.

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Originally Posted by Danzilla
Interesting to me, is that GC, while in this financial crisis, has been having special "events" monthly (if not more frequently) to buy used instruments. Maybe they're hoping people will come in to trade up to their new inventory, rather than just sell off.

GC doesn't take on new debt by buying used gear directly from consumers, and each store, or store manager, can decide what they want, or don't want, to buy. If they buy low, and sell low, which seems to be the case with my nearest GC outlets, the used gear can move quickly enough to be a source of cash flow. Most of my purchases from GC, whether in-store or online, have been used gear purchases, driven in part by prices I just couldn't turn down. I've often wondered how little they must be offering for used gear, to be able to sell it so cheap?

Buying used gear also makes sense in terms of simple mark-up. A lot of consumers think that Guitars and other Music gear get marked up around 100% of the original wholesale price, but that's not the case; the numbers are closer to 30-40% mark-up, sometimes less on the most expensive items. There's also a certain amount to loss on blow-out items, things you had to order, that didn't sell, and somehow you need to turn dead inventory into cash flow. See below to my remark on White Fender Guitars. Used gear gets a much higher mark-up, and again, since the stores buy used gear outright, they're not paying it off while it hangs on the display rack.

Ordering from your local big-name distributor, OTOH, means taking on products you don't really want to get some that you do - Fender insisted we had to carry a certain number of White Guitars, for example, even though White Fenders just did not sell at our store - and taking on a big pile of debt, as well. At one point some years back, the buy-in to be an authorized Gibson dealer doubled from $50,000 to $100,000; you had to commit to buying at least $100,000 worth of Gibson/Epiphone products, just to get in at the bottom level of distribution. Even GC pushed back against that move, and they had the buying power at the time to have an impact.

BTW, we couldn't return those White Fender Guitars, so invariably, they'd get marked down to a blow-out price, where our markup amounted to little or nothing.


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Per Winston and Danzilla's discussion above - it has been my experience that music stores and pawn shops want to pay about 1/3 to 2/5ths what they think they can probably get for a used item.
This gives them margin for error without eliminating profit. It also makes it a better proposition for them to work out a trade if it comes to that.

But, it also means that the price on the tag is not set in stone (like a new retail item often is). Variables include the length of time the item has been on possession, how desirable an item is, condition, whether or not they have an online outlet of any sort (including eBay and Reverb), etc.

You can always make an offer on used gear, same as craigslist or face to face with an individual seller. Not so much at thrift stores and I am seeing a trend towards higher prices there - especially at Goodwill. Some stuff will always "slip between the cracks," If you are fast, maybe you snag it.

I don't always buy things I have a use for, in that sense I am sort of a super-mini GC or pawn shop. If I can flip it and make some groceries and gas quickly, I'm in.


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This morning 2 Strats, 1 Tele and 1 PRS showed up on craigslist, $700 each or offer. Moving sale. Kaneohe, which is by the Marine bass, maybe being transferred. They look brand-new and the Tele and PRS look really tempting. I just can't justify spending that much right now.


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Originally Posted by surfergirl
This morning 2 Strats, 1 Tele and 1 PRS showed up on craigslist, $700 each or offer. Moving sale. Kaneohe, which is by the Marine bass, maybe being transferred. They look brand-new and the Tele and PRS look really tempting. I just can't justify spending that much right now.


Nice stuff Jenny!!!
Keep your eyes open and move fast if something is too amazing to pass up.

As always, craigslist belongs to the swift!


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Originally Posted by surfergirl
This morning 2 Strats, 1 Tele and 1 PRS showed up on craigslist, $700 each or offer. Moving sale. Kaneohe, which is by the Marine bass, maybe being transferred. They look brand-new and the Tele and PRS look really tempting. I just can't justify spending that much right now.

Can't speak to the Strats nor the Tele, but that PRS is very likely to be an SE (import) model. That's not really a bargain price for one, they tend to go for anywhere from around $400 to $600, depending on the model. If it were a U.S.-made PRS, $700 would be like yard sale pricing.

EDIT: I just saw that PRS listing and it's definitely an SE model.

Last edited by Winston Psmith; 11/21/20 06:48 PM. Reason: new info

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They are all down to $600. today..


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Originally Posted by surfergirl
They are all down to $600. today..

Could you post links please?

Just for fun, at least for me - I'm not buying any guitars right now. Most craigslisters won't ship and shipping to and from Hawaii is not cheap.

We've got the PRS pegged, it would have to be cheaper or the best guitar you've ever played to pay $600 for a used SE.
The Strat and the Tele would depend entirely on the model, the condition and maybe the year of manufacture.
Cheers, Kuru


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Those are all very nice looking guitars! Thanks for sharing.

The Strat wins for prettiest woods. Beautiful mahogany body, flamed maple neck and it looks in the photos like the fretboard is ebony.
It might well be worth the $600 but one must play it to know. The weight is a factor for me, I prefer lighter guitars.
The Tele is cool but all Teles are cool. It sort of looks like some of that "wear" on the fretboard might just be filth and clean right off. The blue is pretty.
Obviously, neither of them are Fenders. The owner of the Strat comes right out and says it and Fender would never put a vintage style decal on a 22 fret neck like the Tele has, I do prefer having the extra fret though.

Since I have a great Strat already and 2 Teles (one with a baritone neck so I guess that's now a Baja Tele?), and I don't have anything quite like the PRS, that would be the one I might want to try. It has to have the wide, fat neck though.
And it would have to be a couple hundred less before I'd even put my shoes on.

It looks like they are all very good guitars. It's harder to put a value on Parts-o-casters but I would consider the Strat to be worth the asking price because the woods are so nice. If it is heavy then it can be somebody else's friend.
Cheers, Kuru


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As for those Craigslist Guitars, $600 is still a lot of money for any of them. It looks like the current owner is trying to recover at least some of the expense of all those after-market parts.

Used Mexi Strats and Teles go for around $400+/-, a little more with a HSC. Just because this player assembled his own Strat from parts doesn't make it a "custom" job, by any means.

I'm also not particularly impressed with the ill-fitting cover plates on that PRS; nice try, but the color doesn't even get along with the original finish. If it were more like $500 with the HSC, that might be more in line with real market value.

I still think you could do better scrolling through GC's Used Gear listings, if you were looking for a nice used Strat, Tele or PRS SE.


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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
As for those Craigslist Guitars, $600 is still a lot of money for any of them. It looks like the current owner is trying to recover at least some of the expense of all those after-market parts.

Used Mexi Strats and Teles go for around $400+/-, a little more with a HSC. Just because this player assembled his own Strat from parts doesn't make it a "custom" job, by any means.

I'm also not particularly impressed with the ill-fitting cover plates on that PRS; nice try, but the color doesn't even get along with the original finish. If it were more like $500 with the HSC, that might be more in line with real market value.

I still think you could do better scrolling through GC's Used Gear listings, if you were looking for a nice used Strat, Tele or PRS SE.

I agree, pretty much anybody can build a "screwdiriver guitar", that was a huge factor in Leo Fender's success. You only really needed one specialist at the end of the line, everybody else could be trained easily.
So my perspective is different because I've been that specialist for decades. I don't always think of that in terms of other players getting a guitar.

None of those 3 would escape my attention. Every fret would be leveled, crowned and polished, every bridge would be adjusted for action and intonation, any possible improvement in the action at the nut would be implemented, the truss rod would be adjusted, the pickups would be adjusted to the owner's taste for tonal balance and while I had the strings off for the fret mill, I would check the wiring and remedy any sloppy soldering or stupid execution.
It's pretty likely I would change the jack at that point, any good guitar deserves a Switchcraft jack.

So Winston is absolutely correct, there would be probably be another bill after the sale for most people for a visit to the guitar tech. On the other hand, the builds could have been done by somebody like me. I built a custom order guitar for my brother, who found a strat body on craigslist. What he got when I shipped it was flawlessly ready for play time and he loves it.


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Here is the musical instrument section of Bellingham Craigslist:

https://bellingham.craigslist.org/d/musical-instruments/search/msa

Currently there is an early Blackface Fender Princeton on there:
https://bellingham.craigslist.org/msg/d/bellingham-1964-princeton-amp/7235110314.html

Farther down there is a Silverface Princeton Reverb:
https://bellingham.craigslist.org/msg/d/bellingham-fender-princeton-reverb/7230520792.html

Those would both be fun. Overall the listings are a mixed bag with some bargains (these don't usually last long) and some stupid prices.

We had a legendary imbecile who posted the same ad with the same price for about 6 years. He had some virtually unused but mostly obsolete studio gear that he was trying to get more or less full price for and would only sell it as a lot - everything or nothing.

I don't know if he ever found anybody who was even stupider than he was or what happened but after many years it has gone away.


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