What’s It Worth? Determining value…

When customers come into the store there is always one thing looming in the back of their brain…. “Is this a good deal?” Well, a good deal to one may not be for all. At least emotionally. When dealing with collectables or any “vintage” item, how does one really know the monetary worth? Answer: Supply and Demand.

Years ago, before EBAY and the internet in general, instrument buying was a game of wits and brazen sales tactics. Buyers would hunt down garage sales like weekend warriors looking for that sought-after piece. Although we kid ourselves today and think that an obscure ad in the local paper or a country garage sale is going to warrant a ’58 Telecaster on the cheap, most likely you are going to pay what it’s worth.

The reason for this is the glorious world wide web. The internet has completely leveled the playing field for instrument buying and selling. Now you can log-on and see exactly what others are paying for a similar item and why. The internet is always current which allows the market to express immediately any change in interest, dollar value, and market waves.

Ebay has become the closest form to a buyer’s price guide in comparison to previous physical price guides released. The reason? Immediacy. A lot of the price guides in the past were compiled months if not a year before they hit your local store. They were automatically outdated. The other flaw is that these books are based on what individuals were paying at a vintage guitar show…aka…collectors. A minority at best in the newly flooded market of guitar buying. Now potential buyers can simply search “completed auctions” on Ebay and see exactly what the market value of instruments are by averaging what the last four similar pieces sold for.

What do I mean?

If 24 people bid up to $1600 for a player’s grade 1965 Fender Mustang….. guess what, that’s what it’s “worth.” Now of course the “vintage” market is fickle and filled with obessive fine tooth combed collectors. But for “players” instruments (anything less than NOS or Mint yet containing all of its original parts) Ebay has become the general rule for “actual value.”

There are plenty of good online resources to help date and identify your instruments, which we will get to in another segment. In the meantime, become an educated buyer by seeing what others value your instrument at and trust the buying community. This will help you in determining whether or not you are getting a “good deal.” The emotional part… well, I am sure you can find help with that online as well….

-Matt Welsh MAIN DRAG MUSIC

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2 Comments to “What’s It Worth? Determining value…”

  1. Good Article! But I do have a problem with the fact that a 20 year old bass guitar is going for $3500-4000, or even more in some cases. It is now starting to create a void in finding a good old jazz bass unless you have won the lottery, or are rich. This online situation has also rendered any other type of guitar you may want to sell or trade, pretty much not worth anything. My forecast (speculation) for this situation is that the guitar companies will start to make their guitars with the qualities, and stylings of the old ones, and most players will go buy a newer model, instead of hunting around, and spending their fortunes on a “vintage” guitar. Case in point, have you checked out Fender’s new line of American Standard Jazz Basses????? Not bad at all for a new jazz bass. Plays, and feels like a “vintage” one. I did due to the fact of hunting high and low for a vintage jazz, and finding wayyyyy priced out above my pockets. When you have an item that makes you think, should I get a guitar, or a car, then you begin to have a problem. My question to you Matt…is who is exactly buying these “vintage” at $3500-4000

    Ferd

  2. Boy, $3500 for a nice bass is not bad. Try guitars. Refin 1950’s teles are 10K-20K depending on originality of parts.

    Plenty of guys with enough money to buy this stuff. You can bet they are out of the hands of most working musicians at this point though.

    I have to admit I spent $7K on a ’59 Gibson ES-330. Tons of money but it’s an amazing guitar and there were about 250 made (in total).

    You pay for rarity and condition.

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