For what it's worth: pricing
One thing I have noticed over the years 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 reason. Never mind that the guitar in question was a higher-end
model in dead mint condition, where one can 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 1960s 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 maybe charge a little more, but only AFTER
completely overhauling the instrument. It's one thing to charge top dollar for a clean
guitar that's ready to play, and quite another to expect more than a few bucks
for a trashed piece of junk without putting any effort into it. If you're going to flip it, either fix it
up or price it low enough so that someone CAN buy it and fix it up - and not just laugh at your silly price and move on.
No amount of hype will bestow any special coolness upon an overpriced guitar. An old Harmony archtop priced
at $150 is cool. At $350, it's still kind of cool, if it's nice and clean and doesn't need everything.
But at $800, any coolness it might have had starts to evaporate rapidly.
My opinion may be in the minority, but I believe that it would be a good
thing if most older vintage oddballs 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 only care about
the value of their guitars and don't really care about the guitars themselves.
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 twangers, let's learn
about their history, and let's not worry about "what's it worth" too much.
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