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MissingSomethin
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#1
I am thinking about expanding into buying some "serious" investment grade guitars. To get my feet wet, as a first purchase, I am thinking anything from $3000-$25,000. This is money I can afford to tie up and even lose. I don't need to make an immediate return. I might even just play the thing and gig with it. Life is short.

I am not looking to discover tomorrow's winner. I want to collect the elite vintage guitars today (and gig the crap out of it while I own it) But, I prefer to research deeply before I bite. When I buy, I know I have captured value. I want iconic and recognizable. Dumble amp is too niche.

Anyone have any entry level reading I can do? (Dos, don'ts, etc.) Some good guitar investing guides or articles? Or forum links? Any general or specific information would be appreciated.

If we have some collectors here, as an ongoing topic, and a learning exercise, maybe we can post specific guitars for sale and discuss them. This will help to understand what a savvy buyer looks for.

As for general conversation, how has the collector guitar market fared since the 2008 recession? Is this a good time to get into the game? Or a bad one? Have certain models dropped in value? Have others gone even higher? Are there certain segments you'd focus on? Good deals these days? Or priced too high, since everyone's getting in on the action? Supply vs. demand? Which one wins these days?

PART 2:

How has the collector guitar market fared since the 2008 recession? I have seen a few posts saying the market is soft. But how soft? In your opinion, what are the best deals out there due to the soft market? Stuff at prices you thought you'd never see again. What prices still crazy? Have certain models dropped in value more than others?

Anyone have any specific examples? Like, can anyone give an idea of the price action in vintage guitars over the last 20 years? Like a 1960 Strat. What did they go for in 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, and today? I wish I had a stock graph, just to see how it's bounced around in the last decade
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
Last edited by MissingSomethin at Apr 14, 2013,
Tom 1.0
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#2
I wouldnt bother.

For a "real" investment with any realistic return you are looking at +$50k and even then, chances are you will only ever break even 5 or 10 years down the line.

You dont just stumble upon 52-60 Les Pauls for a few thousand any more.

Personally I think the value of any of the big money guitars is incredible/ridiculous.
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1977 Burny FLG70
Robbgnarly
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#3
I really would not suggest collecting guitars for financial gain. You will wait a long time to get a good return on your investment.

Now if you can get some good deals on a guitar and think you can flip it quickly for a profit, I say give it a try. But this is different than collecting guitars for profit in the future.
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MissingSomethin
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#4
It's not purely for investment. Maybe another way to think of it is this: I have $3000-$10000 that I feel like blowing on a nice present to myself. Are there any great deals on certain guitars due to the recession? I love a great deal. I don't mind tying up a small amount in a guitar, and if I can get most of my money back in the future, that's fine.
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
HighspeedNazi
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#5
You'd be better off putting those Federal Reserve Notes in physically held gold. America is the modern day Wiemar Republic. The so-called 'dollar' (not really though) is devalued on a daily basis. The parasites are sucking the last of the wealth from America. When the SHTF and the economy finally collapses that gold with be worth more than wheelbarrows full of FRNs. You might even be able to buy a large ranch in a safe part of the country with that $10,000 in gold at some point in the future.

Or you might consider 'junk silver.' Research it if you don't know what I'm talking about.

Regardless, always hold precious metals. Never ever let it be held in trust by some third party.
Last edited by HighspeedNazi at Apr 10, 2013,
Tom 1.0
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#6
Quote by MissingSomethin
It's not purely for investment. Maybe another way to think of it is this: I have $3000-$10000 that I feel like blowing on a nice present to myself. Are there any great deals on certain guitars due to the recession? I love a great deal. I don't mind tying up a small amount in a guitar, and if I can get most of my money back in the future, that's fine.


Have a look at the CC# Gibson Custom Historic runs then.

Or a Kossof 59 Reissue.
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1977 Burny FLG70
MissingSomethin
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#7
I already have 20% of my portfolio in gold. Part of why I want to buy a guitar is what you talk about. Transition into hard assets. I also like that I can gig with my investment. (Yes, I will use it, not store it. It's a guitar, not a vase) I would eventually like to have $50,000 in collectible instruments. So, any ideas for starter guitar investments? I need value.
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
Last edited by MissingSomethin at Apr 10, 2013,
Tom 1.0
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#8
I think if money suddenly devalues that badly... a 59 Les Paul will be worth less than a bottle of radiation free water.


in all seriousness:

your check list should be the following:

Gibson Custom Shop Historic Re-issue.
Brazilian Rosewood.
Tom Murphy Aging/Relic job.
Limited Run.
Pre 60 Les Paul or 68/69 Les Paul.

If it ticks more than 3 of those, it should hold value pretty well if not appreciate very slightly.
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Last edited by Tom 1.0 at Apr 10, 2013,
engage757
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#9
You can do just fine no matter what ANYONE says here by investing in guitars. I do it quite often and as long as you buy right, you can MOST DEFINITELY consider them to be good investments.
MissingSomethin
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#10
Inflation, not deflation. I don't need portfolio advice, but can we focus on ideas on how to start collecting guitars, and links to guitars for sale?

Engage, I agree that it's ALL about buying right. That's why I said I want value, without resorting to 4th tier junk that will crash first during a bubble consolidation. I'd like to hear more on this subject. Do you have any links or resources? Where do I start if I want to explore the $3k-$10k market?
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
Last edited by MissingSomethin at Apr 10, 2013,
Tom 1.0
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#11
Quote by engage757
You can do just fine no matter what ANYONE says here by investing in guitars. I do it quite often and as long as you buy right, you can MOST DEFINITELY consider them to be good investments.



buying them and selling them 3 weeks later for 20% more is hardly "investing" in the traditional sense and your $20k Black Machine sale hardly went well did it?
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engage757
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#12
Look for certain rare Ibanez guitars, 70's Norlin-era Les Pauls are down right now, but they will come back soon, they always do. $5-6 grand will buy you a LOT of Fender right now, but you may have a hard time finding anything pre-CBS, which is where the real money is.
Robbgnarly
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#13
The only guitars that I can think of off hand would be the PRS Private Stock, PRS Dragon, EBMM Ball Reserve. But even with those unless you can find a good deal used, you will be very hard pressed to make a lot of profit in 10-20 yrs.

The guitars that are worth a lot of money now were just the run of the mill guitars back then. No one was thinking about saving 1959 LP standard for profit in 2013. They just happened to be worth money now
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
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engage757
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#14
Quote by Tom 1.0
buying them and selling them 3 weeks later for 20% is hardly "investing" in the traditional sense and your $20k Black Machine sale hardly went well did it?



You really don't know anything about the ones I keep. At all. I keep First year J. Customs, Gold J Customs and Paint J. Customs. 20th Anniversary JEM. 79 Silverburst LPC. VIntage Ric and fender basses.

But thanks. And for the record, I got exactly what I wanted out of that BM, and drove the market value up MUCH higher. so, if you are a BM owner, you're welcome.
MissingSomethin
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#15
Rob, correct, it's hard to forecast what 2013 guitars will be collectible in the future. I'm not playing that game at all. I am looking to invest in established vintage guitars, not new custom shop guitars for $3k-$10k.

Are there better vintage deals to be had in the $15k to $25k market? More established iconic vintage standards that are not going away anytime soon?

What is the single best investment segment under $50k ?
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
Last edited by MissingSomethin at Apr 10, 2013,
engage757
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#16
Quote by Robbgnarly
The only guitars that I can think of off hand would be the PRS Private Stock, PRS Dragon, EBMM Ball Reserve. But even with those unless you can find a good deal used, you will be very hard pressed to make a lot of profit in 10-20 yrs.

The guitars that are worth a lot of money now were just the run of the mill guitars back then. No one was thinking about saving 1959 LP standard for profit in 2013. They just happened to be worth money now



I would stay away from ALL of those. PS are hard to sell and there are a ton of them. BFR's CONSTANTLY drop in price. My buddy ROb owns 1 of the first 2 PRS Dragons ever made and it held it's value so far, but hasn't gone up much.

OLD school PRSi seem to hold their value much better. pre-factory 80's PRSi seems to do well.
Tom 1.0
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#17
I'm the only person on SS who had played a load and doesnt like them

Dragons are worth a shout, but I know of a store who owned a double necked one, paid £17.5k at trade... Its retail is £33k. It probably wont ever be worth over £75k and thats looking at seriously long term...

Though I am sure every body who does want one or builds copies really appreciates your efforts.

I wish I had kept my first run J Custom, but it bought me a car, so no loss there I guess.

I think the only issue with the "investment" market now is there are about 10-20 guitars specifically that will only ever continue to appreciate in the collectors market ( note collectors arent always players ) and they are now priced insanely high so you need to pay alot of money to get in with that crowd.

Stuff like BMs and J Customs are already silly money now and I really dont think in 15-20 years they will compete with the "classics" for decent residual values, they will still be pricey, but not in the hundreds of thousands.

I mean for a good 59 burst they seem to be at the 300k mark now. They arent ever going to come much below 200 unless they find a shit load of them in a container some where... which wont happen.
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Last edited by Tom 1.0 at Apr 10, 2013,
engage757
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#18
Quote by MissingSomethin
Rob, correct, it's hard to forecast what 2013 guitars will be collectible in the future. I'm not playing that game at all. I am looking to invest in established vintage guitars, not new custom shop guitars for $3k-$10k.

Are there better vintage deals to be had in the $15k to $25k market? More established iconic vintage standards that are not going away anytime soon?

What is the single best investment segment under $50k ?



under 50k? DAMN. 50's all original Fender stratocaster. No if, ands, or buts. Can be had for under 15k easily. I know where some are online right now actually.
HighspeedNazi
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#19
Quote by MissingSomethin
Inflation, not deflation. I don't need portfolio advice, but can we focus on ideas on how to start collecting guitars, and links to guitars for sale?
I would scour Craigslist and similar sites coast to coast for those infrequent, but real gems, that are offered occasionally on such forums. Also look into estate sales where there are guitars listed in the estate. Check out your local paper and other media for ads on estate sales in your area.

Don't think you're going to find any real values or jewels in mainline retail stores or the usual outlets. You are going to have to get creative in finding them. Unless you want to pay retail and hope they appreciate in value. Maybe that's what you're asking?
Last edited by HighspeedNazi at Apr 10, 2013,
engage757
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#20
Quote by Tom 1.0

Stuff like BMs and J Customs are already silly money now and I really dont think in 15-20 years they will compete with the "classics" for decent residual values, they will still be pricey, but not in the hundreds of thousands.

I mean for a good 59 burst they seem to be at the 300k mark now. They arent ever going to come much below 200 unless they find a shit load of them in a container some where... which wont happen.



they are asking that money, but no one is buying really. :/

I do agree though. BMs are NOT going to be worth stupid money in ten years in my opinion. J. Customs on the other hand, special Ibbys will. Solid market and a good following. Ibby isn't disappearing anytime soon.
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#21
For under 50k?

Pre CBS Fender and converted 50s Les Pauls.

Quote by engage757
they are asking that money, but no one is buying really. :/

I do agree though. BMs are NOT going to be worth stupid money in ten years in my opinion. J. Customs on the other hand, special Ibbys will. Solid market and a good following. Ibby isn't disappearing anytime soon.


A few move for that money and thats all it takes, its like classic cars, only one 911 Turbo needs to sell for £350 and then they are all that money.

Give it 10 years and Doug will have built well over 500 of the things and the Djent crowd will have moved on and they will be sensible money again. I do lament the chance to buy a load about 8 years ago for not alot of money though even though I am not a fan, if I had know that Djent was coming I would have had a few locked away.

Ibby is a safe bet yeah, but I dont see them being worth proper money, they are serious cash new. Though I have seen a few go for around 6-7k I dont think thats really the norm?
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Last edited by Tom 1.0 at Apr 10, 2013,
MissingSomethin
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#22
Again, I am talking investment grade today, not 20 years from now.

PRS is too modern. I am not looking to discover the next big collector. I am looking for established vintage. PRS, I'd buy used just to play it. Some guy spent $3000 on it, and you can buy it for $1500. Great deal on a nice playing guitar. That's cool, but not exactly what I'm looking for.
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
Robbgnarly
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#23
Quote by MissingSomethin
Rob, correct, it's hard to forecast what will be collectible in the future. Are there better deals to be had in the $15k to $25k market? More established iconic standards that are not going away anytime soon?

What is the single best investment segment under $50k ?

It is really difficult to say.

I do know that PRS guitars built 1993ish and earlier are getting harder to find and therefore are getting more expensive.

If you really can throw $50,000 down on a musical investment, buy a Dumble amp. They sell for $40,000-$100,000+ but are extremely rare. Only something like 300have been made and each one is numbered.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
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Tom 1.0
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#24
Quote by MissingSomethin
Again, I am talking investment grade today, not 20 years from now.

PRS is too modern. I am not looking to discover the next big collector. I am looking for established vintage. PRS, I'd buy used just to play it. Some guy spent $3000 on it, and you can buy it for $1500. Great deal on a nice playing guitar. That's cool, but not exactly what I'm looking for.



Thats not how it works.

Buy up some pre 93 Braz board PRS and wait until they stop using Brazilian rosewood, thats your safest short term investment IMO
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MissingSomethin
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#25
Quote by Tom 1.0
I think the only issue with the "investment" market now is there are about 10-20 guitars specifically that will only ever continue to appreciate in the collectors market ( note collectors arent always players ) and they are now priced insanely high so you need to pay alot of money to get in with that crowd.
.


That's exactly what I am talking about. Can you list the 10-20? If it takes $50k to get into that top 10-20, then I'm down. I have the money to play with the big dogs, provided it was a monster value with almost no downside (estate sale, etc), but wanted to start small, b/c I have no idea what I am doing.

I am not looking to discover tomorrow's winner. I want to collect the "Bordeaux" of guitars today (and gig the crap out of it while I own it) But, I prefer to research deeply before I bite. When I buy, I know I have captured value. I want iconic and recognizable. Dumble amp is too niche.
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
Last edited by MissingSomethin at Apr 10, 2013,
Robbgnarly
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#26
Old Epiphone
Gibson
Fender
Martin
Airline
Mosrite
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
MissingSomethin
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#27
Quote by Tom 1.0
For under 50k? Pre CBS Fender and converted 50s Les Pauls.


Quote by engage757
under 50k? DAMN. 50's all original Fender stratocaster. No if, ands, or buts. Can be had for under 15k easily. I know where some are online right now actually.



It looks like I will start researching Pre CBS Fender (before 1966) and converted 50s Les Pauls. I am comfortable starting in the $15k range, if that gets me into the "top 20" vintage brands. Engage, can you post the links to the ones for sale?
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
Last edited by MissingSomethin at Apr 10, 2013,
engage757
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#28
Quote by MissingSomethin
It looks like I will start researching Pre CBS Fender and converted 50s Les Pauls. I am comfortable starting in the $15k range, if that gets me into the "top 20" vintage brands. Engage, can you post the links to the ones for sale?



yeah,

give me a minute to find them
MissingSomethin
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#29
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
engage757
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#30
dannyalcatraz
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#31
I collect guitars, but not from an investment angle. I also collect a variety of other things, and have a lot of appraisers on my cellphone. Collecting guitars is like collecting anything else:

1) Make sure you authenticate your purchase- misidentified items and intentional fakes abound.

2) Be prepared to wait for a while- just because something is collectible doesn't mean you can find a buyer quickly, even in the Internet age.

3) Be prepared to eat your investment- collecting anything is at least in part driven by irrationality, so that there is always going to be the risk of a bursting bubble. Look at gold, for instance: there is no reason it should be valued higher than platinum, and yet...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Apr 10, 2013,
Robbgnarly
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#32
Look at Dumble amps if you can find one on ebay

There is one at www.maverick-music.com but they want $99,500 for it
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
engage757
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#33
I can't find the 1960 I was thinking of, will keep looking.
MissingSomethin
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#34
Thanks Engage. Let me know if you find it... If 1960's Strats are had for under $15k, what exactly are the one's going for $200k+? Are they a specific year?

dannyalcatraz, I agree with all 3. I am here asking questions, and planning to do at least a few weeks of hard research. I am also patient, and if it takes a year or two to come across the right deal, that's fine. And this is just play money. If I can tie it up in a guitar, I obviously don't need it. Thanks for the advice. I hope you stay in this thread.

I appreciate everyone's help tonight. Looking forward to learning something, as well.
1978 Les Paul Custom Sunburst
2001 USA Strat (Hot & Cool Rails)
Effects: Boss GT-6 with Tech-21 Power Amp
Last edited by MissingSomethin at Apr 10, 2013,
dannyalcatraz
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#35
If I were to try to do guitars as investments, I wouldn't be looking for the ones that are already known quantities in the collector's market. I would be looking for less expensive guitars that shared certain qualities with those guitars.

(I know you said you weren't interested in going that route, but...)

That usually means: a guitar with a high-quality of manufacture that is a real player's instrument; an instrument of impressive visual aesthetics; a non-signature guitar that is strongly associated with a rising star of has been recently been lauded by an established star.

Because no individual guitar meeting 1+ of those criteria will consume your entire budget, you'll be able to hedge your bets a bit. (At the very least, they'll be more likely to hold their value or will decline in value much more slowly.)

In addition, I would also expand my target list to include acoustics. There are many guys who can make great electric guitars, not as many can deliver a similarly distinctive acoustic. And many who can are long-established masters of the craft.

Read that as synonymous with "old." Old means they're not going to be adding a whole bunch more to their résumés before meeting St. Peter. And for most collectibles, that means an instant price spike.

Additionally, a quality acoustic is far more likely to be using rare woods that may simply disappear from the market...possibly within a decade or so.

#1 on my acoustic target list would be anything I could find by Ervin Somogyi...his current production acoustics start at $20,000, and his custom & standard guitars have been used by:

Shun Komatsubara
Masaaki Kishibe
Maurizio Angeletti
Pat Donohue
Steve Erquiaga
Edward Gerhard
Mark O'Connor
Brother Andrew
Alex de Grassi
Will Ackerman
Greg Gumbel
Steve Hancoff
Daniel Hecht
Maggie Sansone
Alan Tower
Michael Hedges
8th Avenue String Band
The Natives
The California Guitar Trio
Isato Nakagawa
Peta
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Apr 11, 2013,
trashedlostfdup
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#36
Quote by Robbgnarly
Look at Dumble amps if you can find one on ebay

There is one at www.maverick-music.com but they want $99,500 for it


+1 dumbles are probably one of the rarest things out there. i have looked around briefly strictly for entertainment, but thats where there is going to be lots of money.

john mayer has got one. along with some two rocks. but i have a feeling if he could he would get another dumble. i dont' know though, and i don't follow him, but .

and also Dumble is going to die at some point. even if it was taken over, the older dumbles would go for a stupid price spike.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.
dannyalcatraz
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#37
You could also engage in arbitrage: find moderately priced quality guitars and sell them in markets where they are more expensive.

A buddy of mine did this with cars. He once bought a BMW M-series car for $40k in the USA, drove it for a year, and sold it in Germany for $60k.

The reasons for the price differential can be varied: greater demand, high tariffs, untapped market, whatever. The why doesn't matter*, you just need an existing price differential you can take advantage of.


* ...too much- always make sure when engaged in arbitrage that you're not violating any import/export laws.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
trashedlostfdup
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#38
Quote by engage757
I can't find the 1960 I was thinking of, will keep looking.


have a photo of your collection? i would love to see the jems.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.
rander7917
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#39
If you're a fender guy (I'm sorry that's all I really know about) the 70s models run from 2.5-6 then 60s run about 6-10 until the pre cbs which are usually about 20 +
WholeLottaIzzy
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#40
Maybe try celebrity owned? obviously the right celebrity.