are the days of the $300+ humbucker set coming to an end?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ejoco, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. ejoco

    ejoco Member

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    Okay first of all, my point with this post is not that any particular company or product is better than another or that you should buy product X instead of Y. I'm just pointing out what appears to me to bea trend in the handwound pup market and I'm curious if people agree/disagree.

    For some years now theres been a growing market for handwound pickups built with super high quality parts either wound to the customers specifications or be as close as possible to certain classic pickups...Many of the first companies to get a lot of attention doing this charged (and still do) upwards of $300 a set.....more recently it seems like quite a few new pickup winders have gained popularity selling their products for $250 or less for a set and companies like Seymour Duncan have started selling stuff like their slash or whole lotta humbuckers which are viewed as a step up from their normal lineup but are in the $180-230 price range. it seems like a lot of folks are very excited about these newer options and i feel like I'm starting to see them recommended and praised more so then some of the more expensive brands.......lastly (sorry this ended up being so long). I've noticed that the resale value on some big namE winders pickups have dropped off a lot....I just purchased a pair of humbuckers that sell new or $280 for $160 on ebay....I had my eye on a pair that sell new for $350 and they went for $170. To me this is a sign that buyers may no longer be valuing these products to be at the price some companies are still trying to sell them at. what do you all think? with all these new lower cost alternatives will these highter priced companies still have a future without adjusting their price?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  2. DRS

    DRS Member

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    Seth Lovers at roughly $200 for a pair are 95% as good as any "PAF" style pickup out there.
     
  3. ejoco

    ejoco Member

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    I agree they are good pickups, I'm curious though if folks that want 100% the best pups out there and are willing to pay extra for them still are willing to shell out $350-$400 or if most people now feel like they can get as good a product for sub $250
     
  4. rummy

    rummy Member

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    I wanted 100% best pickups, and I got them in Seth Lovers.
     
  5. 1radicalron

    1radicalron Member

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    I very much doubt it - Tom Holmes Charges $600 a pair, and there is is a year waiting list.
     
  6. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    I doubt it. There are folks that spend $10K or more on a new guitar and wouldn't think twice about paying $300+ for a set of pickups.
     
  7. treeofpain

    treeofpain Supporting Member

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    Pickups are generally purchased based on reputation. You often cannot hear the actual pickups before you buy. Since they are based on reputation, some pus like the Holmes have a market price to match rep and limited availability. Other stuff like SD is more plentiful and therefore less expensive. I have owned a bunch of different paf-style hbs, from large companies, to vintage, to boutique makers. When you get to a certain level, it becomes less about what is "better" and more about what flavor you prefer. And to be honest, the differences can be pretty subtle.
     
  8. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    Not at all. I have no problem paying $300 a pop for a pickup if I perceive them to be worth it. I have to work hard for them, but, if I can feel and hear a difference, absolutely.
     
  9. _pete_

    _pete_ Supporting Member

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    I'm hunting for a deal on a PRS 59/09 pup. They go for around $300 set +/-.
    57/08's go for even more.
     
  10. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    There are only so many ways to wind a pickup. The rest is perceived value due to good marketing.
     
  11. soulohio

    soulohio Member

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    guitars, pickups and sound are like girlfriends...everybody gets tired of the same old same old.. what can you pay for a go-round...
     
  12. Coldacre

    Coldacre Supporting Member

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    the best pickups I've ever used (ReWinds) are priced around the $250-280 mark, depending on whether you want the pickup covers aged or not. so $300 is still reasonable, if they are exactly what you want.
     
  13. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    There are two basic reasons why the boutique pickup makers will have a difficult time going forward.

    First of all, the market for luxury consumer goods remains smaller than it was prior to the 2008 recession. Sure, those that have money are willing to spend on these items but the more average middle class person is still feeling the pinch from wage stagnation and job instability. Plus, many are still feeling rather cautious about unnecessary luxury purchases.

    Secondly, as with guitars themselves, lower end pickups have become dramatically better and much more available over the past 10-15 years. if you aren't a pro player and not wealthy (or just cheap/frugal), you may be happy with a pickup that puts you 98%+ of the way you want to go. Also, there's no more going to Guitar Center to order your pickup and waiting 6-8 weeks later to get it. Now, you'll have it in your hands in a few days (most of the time).

    Will the boutique pickup makers survive? Yes, but they'll be playing to a smaller, more selective, audience that wants to go to 11.
     
  14. frankencat

    frankencat Guitarded Gold Supporting Member

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    Seth's and Dimarzio 36th. No need to go anywhere else for me. If you really want what others have to offer then Rewind, Mule, even Fralin makes some killer ones.
     
  15. NoBrakes

    NoBrakes Member

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    All I can say is I'm glad somebody can get it, not from me though. I'll let it go at that.
     
  16. Deed_Poll

    Deed_Poll Member

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    I do think that as more boutique winders start up, pricing for really high quality handwound pickups is becoming more competitive. I'm thinking of Ken Calvett at Roadhouse pickups, and no doubt others will mention more.

    I think we've never had it so good. But honestly, there is no business in which reputation is more important. Expect big names like Jason Lollar, Curtis Novak, Bareknuckle etc to continue raising prices in accordance with demand - so no, I think the days of $300+ pickups are far from over.
     
  17. clcwarlock

    clcwarlock Member

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    John Suhr makes very good pickups in the $120 each range.
     
  18. Gallery

    Gallery Supporting Member

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    SD Antiquities, wound on the original Leesona winder, $240 for a pair...done
     
  19. gmann

    gmann Member

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    Like a lot of things, I just can't figure out how they cost that much. A handful of parts, bought it bulk and it's not that labor instensive to wind a pup. No, they aren't all created equal but damn...OTOH, I've bought pups fm most of the major winders over the yrs including Holmes. I've not bought any Throbaks tho, too expensive for me. I get that he has the original winders but again, damn... All that said, I don't see the prices going up. Back in the day, which wasn't that long ago, you had few choices esp. If you wanted vintage accurate. Not the case anymore. Most winders now will work with you to give you exactly what you want. Some will continue to charge excessively high prices but the majority will look to be competitive IMO.
     
  20. JackD

    JackD Gold Supporting Member

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    I've paid $540 for a pair of ThroBaks twice (two different guitars) and am VERY happy. They are my favorite humbuckers.
     

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