I given the advice given to me have been checking out the used market with great disappointment, and had done so prior too as well. There is only one used store that I like to use and their stock is just down right now (its very heavy on first act and bullets lately).

I have been checking Craigs List and Pawn Shops by me regularly to much disappointment. I live in a decent city, but due to living a few miles outside of an inner city there are a ton of pawn shops by my house (4 within two miles). I don't know if anyone there know how to price things, or if they are just too broke to make a profit. Here are my complaints:

One pawn shop by me had guitars so overpriced it was disgusting. They had a BC Rich Ironbird with one EMG in it priced for almost what it costs new without the EMG. It wasn't like it had a matched set in it, it had one active and one stock. Another had a different BC Rich for almost new as well, and it still had stocks. If you're trying to sell a used item don't you have to mark it down more then $30? All the other shops were better priced, but they didn't know how to take care of a guitar. I saw one that was so badly taken care of with a horrible trem set up that it was sickening. I also live by a great Local Music Store and they keep everything so nice it is unbelievable. These pawn shops needed to hire some one to make sure the trems don't break, I saw an LTD F-Series with a FRT that was so sickeningly high I thought it might break.

My other issue is Craigs List. I had contacted several people over the past few weeks and found it to be pathetic. People were not willing to negotiate to a reasonable price and were selling guitars for close to new price. I had looked before and thoguht it was a fluke, but I was wrong. Every ad I ran into for something I wanted they wanted maybe 80-90% of the original cost of the item. It's like people had a guitar for 3 years and wanted to make back everything they had paid into it. Very few had any mods (and I don't mind paying extra for some mods), but these prices are rediculous. I can understand wanting to get some of what you paid back, but trying to get full price back for a used 3 year old guitar is kind of insane. No wonder they weren't selling.

As a side note I have sold a guitar on CL and this thing was an Ovation that was bought for about 400 new, we sold for 165. So I do know if you sell your stuff you bought new you will loose money its called depreciation.

Are all areas in the US that bad, or is it just Metro Detroit? As a note I live outside of Pontiac in Waterford if it helps determining the market.
I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada) and I ran into the exact same thing buying my first guitar. I found the same one in a pawn shop and it was something like $20 dollars less than the one I got new. Buying new, I got $50 off the shelf price and a free gig bag ($350 total) whereas if I got the more busted guitar I would have payed $330 without getting a gig bag.

Really killed my idea of getting good, cheap equipment from a pawn shop.
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It's not even only the US, I barely buy second-hand stuff anymore (or it's from one of my friends because than at least you get a decent price). The main problem is just that people don't get the 'used' thing anymore. 'It's as good as new' so they take the new price and lower it 50 bucks... that's just not the way it works. Used to me means at least 1/3th of the price. People just don't seem to get that anymore...
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I've found exactly the opposite, It's been a couple of years ago, but I got a flawless MIM Fender Strat in tobacco sunburst with the figured top for $275 USD from a pawn shop. Offer them something and be prepared to walk away if they can't meet your price. They practically stole form the owner anyway - they lowball 'cause they need to make money on it and may never get back their investment.

I've purchased several items from private individuals in the past couple of years, from entry level to high-end stuff and some of it was practically given to me. Times are tuff out there, people need to pay the rent - guitars as a hobby for such people are expendable. Kinda surprised that they're not taking low ball offers in the Detroit area.
In L.A. the selection is vast (not surprisingly) but the prices are nothing to write home about. A lot of times you might as well spend the extra fifty bucks and buy new. Yeah, that's La La Land for you.

Good luck with your search. There are still good deals to be found out there.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
I know the economy by me is beyond in the toilet, that is why I thought people and places would be more willing to negotiate with me for used. They won't it is sad. I know people need to pay their bills but something is better then nothing if you need money. The guitar we sold was to buy Christmas presents for my step-daughter when we sold it on CL. We did it for her, and made the sacrifice. If you are looking for cash then sell it cheaper because you won't get what you want if someone can get it new for not that much of a difference.

That being said if you are looking to buy used it does make it a lot harder for you. I actually have a great used store that I've bought from a lot called Music Go Round in Troy, they just don't have a lot right now. So it makes looking used almost pointless, although Motor City usually gives a steep discount for used, they never have that much of it.
I know how you feel OP. if you think it's bad in the US you don't even want to know about europe.

all I ever see in my local pawn shops are the usual squier bullet, total begginers amps etc...it's not like how for example players like kurt cobain or whoever got like mustangs and jags for about $200. now virtually all guitars are coveted it seems is worth something to someone.

my best advice is hold onto your money and keep waiting eventually what you want will pop up somewhere at a fair price. just don't expect to get what you're looking for right away.
I've never shopped for gear in a pawn shop but I check out the NYC craiglist ads almost every day and it really varies (as you can imagine, NYC craigslist is pretty busy). There are guitars that are overpriced and you see the same ones advertised week after week at the same price. There are ones you see that the first week or so are overpriced and then they get posted at lower and lower prices until I guess they finally sold. Then the true bargains that are reasonably priced seem to almost never get reposted, unless it's a really common listing like a MIM strat for $325 (you see a lot of those).

I've bought one guitar off CL and it was slightly over half of the market [Musician's Friend] price. But I had first seen the same ad and guitar at a higher price and I waited and when the owner reposted at a lower price I jumped on it. You just have to be patient sometimes until the right one comes along at the right price, and then you have to act fast.
TC, I read the topic title and thought of metro-Detroit. Check out Music Go Round in Troy on John R near Oakland Mall (it's in the Oakland Plaza and behind Barnes and Noble), they're good people there. There's also Motor City Guitar in Waterford I think, but I've never been there, so I can't comment on it.

I feel ya on the used market in this area. Now try being a lefty haha, it's a rare treat that I see a left handed guitar in a used shop.
Actually Music Go Round is where I bought my last guitar and have bought several from them. Though I miss the one in Farmington because I am from Livonia and bought and sold quite a bit fromm them. I am very familiar with Motor City I used to live walking distance from them and probably making my next purchase from them. They are very awesome. I am more lementing the more limited local market when there seems to be a surge on here and it is so hard to find something good used. MGR just doesn't have anything in my budget or that I want right now.
I posted this ad on my local kijiji a few months ago. it was deleted within about 12 hours but not before i got like 20 emails from people telling me it was bang on.

Welcome to Ottawa Kijiji. I see you're about to sell a guitar! Here are some tips for fitting in:

1) Never ask for less than what the guitar cost brand new. Who cares if you're trying to sell an epiphone that only cost 350$ from steves, throw a 400$ price on that mofo and let the good times roll. After all, you put new strings on it. That's an upgrade.

2) Claiming that you're "sad to see it go" totally justifies upping the price beyond reasonable market value.

3) Claim that your factory produced guitar is rare. use caps locks. now it's RARE. Now that you've established that your mass produced guitar is RARE it can be sold for much more.

4) Chips, dents and scratches be damned, mint condition is just a figure of speech anyways.

5) Always offer to trade for something worth way more than what you own. After all what are the chances of someone who owns a 2000$ guitar realizing that trading for your MIM is a crap deal even though you're including a strap and gig bag.

6) Make sure you put "no lowballers" on your ad because heaven forbid someone offer you less than 80% of the retail value of your used guitar. Don't these people realize that aside from the 10$ off sticker price, they're also saving the tax? Ungrateful jerks.

7) Delete and repost your ad as many times as necessary to make sure your ad stays on the first couple pages for months and months.

8) Never leave a phone number.

Thank you for choosing Kijiji!
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