For what it's worth: pricing
thing I have discovered is that people have a tendency to overprice cheap
guitars. They learn that a vintage Gibson has sold for thousands of dollars,
and suddenly their garage sale cheapie is a rare treasure. Or they see a
guitar similar to theirs sell for $400 on eBay and begin to think they ought
to get that much for their junker. Never mind that the $400 sale was a fluke,
a result of a bidding war between two bidders who really wanted one for
whatever personal reason. Never mind that the guitar in question was a higher-end
model in dead mint condition, where one can almost understand its desirability
to the winning bidder, if not to justify the price, exactly. But next thing
you know, everybody drags their corroded, scratched-up, single-pickup student
models out of the garage and starts going "what's it worth, what's
it worth, what's it worth???".
If I see another common 1960's no-name Japanese three-quarter sized plywood
sunburst thingy priced at $299 and hyped as a "cool, rare vintage collectible",
I think I'm going to scream. There is simply no reason to pay too much for
these guitars. They have no inherent value as musical instruments, only
as oddities and collectibles. Unless it is truly a rare and interesting
model, in a rare color, with unusual features, in uncommonly good condition,
it is in fact worth no more than $100 in most cases. Often, even that much
is more than I personally would spend. As a seller, I could charge $100
or maybe even a little more, but only AFTER completely overhauling the instrument.
I have sold plenty of such vintage student models for under $100, too. It's
one thing to charge top dollar for a clean, top-of-the-line Teisco Spectrum
V in a cool blue finish, and quite another to expect more than a few bucks
for a corroded, single-pickup Teisco E-100 in an utterly common sunburst.
These guitars are by no means rare, they were cranked out by the truckload
in the 1960's, and the supply is still plentiful. It will probably take
another fifty years before such mass-produced instruments actually become
rare, and no amount of hype will bestow any special coolness upon them.
A low-end, early 1960's Harmony archtop priced at $99 is cool. At $300,
its coolness starts to evaporate rapidly.
My opinion may be in the minority, but I believe that it would be a good
thing if most older off-brand models DIDN'T appreciate in price quite so
much. Today, it is pretty common to see certain Teiscos sell for as much
as I used to pay for lesser Gibsons just a few years ago. While it's always
great to see a guitar like the one you own sell for big money, it has had
an unfortunate effect on the marketplace. Too many people are only interested
in the value of their guitars, not in the guitars themselves. It is really
exhausting to have people asking you "what's it worth?" a hundred
times a day. You can tell that the only thing they really care about is
making a profit. So let's try to keep this in perspective, eh? Like anything
else, an old guitar is only worth as much as someone will pay you for it.
Let's collect and enjoy and appreciate these fun little toys, let's learn
about their history, and let's not worry about profit too much.
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