HOW I buy vintage Guitars
When buying a guitar, I always pay on the spot. Since I'm not a dealer,
I don't expect anyone to sell me a guitar without first getting money.
Typically I prefer to buy "in person" when it's within
a 400 mile radius of Ann Arbor, Michigan. If it's too far away,
using a "Cash On Delivery" (C.O.D.) service seems to work best.
This way the seller is guarenteed in getting
their money, and I'm guarenteed in getting a guitar, which is fair
to both of us (email me and i'll
give you all the details on how this works). But the bottom line is there's
no risk in the sale because no one has to send their
guitar "up front". I make sure you have the money before shipping the
guitar. I also typically pay all shipping, packing and
phone expenses in the deal too.
the truth about CONSIGNMENTS
Some people may try and sell their vintage guitar "on consignment" through
a large vintage guitar dealer. The
bait here is what seems like an outstanding *potential* selling price being offered
by the vintage guitar dealer.
Just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! The
problems with consignments sales are:
- The consignor over-values the vintage guitar to bait you to send it to them.
- You have to send your vintage guitar "blind" and "up front" to the consignor.
- You have to wait until (and if) your vintage guitar sells before you see any
money (I've seen consignment guitars go over two years without selling!)
- You are "lock in" to the consigment for usually at least 90 days. So even
if you find a buyer on your own, you can't get your guitar back until the
consignment contract expires.
- You have to pay a consignment fee out of the selling price (and sometimes
this fee is quite large!)
- You have to pay for all repair and setup fees before they will offer
your vintage guitar for sale. Sometimes this can amount to hundreds
(if not thousands) of dollars , and ties up the potential sale of your guitar.
If you complain the shop often says, "but we can't sell your guitar
if it isn't playable". (Gee I buy guitars all the time that are "not playable"
by their standards, and I don't charge anyone repair fees!) Note you are
responsible for this repair cost even if the guitar does not sell,
and you just want your guitar back when the consignment contract expires.
- You have to accept unsecure funds from the consignor when (if) your vintage guitar
finally does sells.
Since the consignment shop does not own your vintage guitar, they have less
incentive to sell it than selling their own stock. You are essentially
providing them with free inventory, and keeping their repair shop
lucrative. Also, it could take a considerable amount of time to sell
your vintage instrument at the inflated price, if it ever sells.
So after they have your vintage guitar for months (if not years), typically they try and
"buy you out of it" at a considerably lower price, "as a favor to you."
Since they already have your vintage guitar, most people fall for this
trick and sell it at a much lower price (maybe even far below the real value
of the vintage guitar.) Where if you had dealt with me
in the first place, you probably would have gotten the same or more money,
without having to "front" anyone your vintage guitar and wait months
or years for payment. Yet consignment deals are very common today,
especially since in the last two years many vintage guitar prices have
fallen due to the soft economy. So many dealers are promising consignment
gutiar prices of two years ago, knowing that they will not get
those prices in today's economy.
the truth about APPRAISALS
Leading New York and Nashville guitar dealers offer "professional" appraisals
for $50 or more. Is this a fair deal? Well I used to think so, but
not any more! In the "old days", appraisals seemed to be fairly accurate. But today,
they have taken on a whole new game.
The current trend is to *over* appraisal a vintage guitar.
This gives the owner the impression the appraiser
can sell your guitar for more money than anyone else.
I see this more and more, and the evidence is quite compelling.
For example, the above mentioned Nashville and New York dealers often
advertise consignment guitars at one price, but then ends up selling them
much later for up to 50% less than the initial asking price! That tells me
they over-appraised the guitar to get the consignment, and
end up selling it later for a much lower and realistic price. So beware
of these appraisals. A better judge of what your guitar is worth,
is to ask the same dealer how much CASH they will pay you right now
for your guitar!