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Rondo Music selling off the Agile brand/assets

Messages
23,816
There's such an abundance of "name" instruments and higher end instruments, and people in North America by and large still have money to buy those, and this IMO deflates the value of a brand such as Agile.

Couple this with the inevitable increase in labor costs in the parts of Asia these guitars are made in, and IMO there's a problem. And that's why, the attempt to sell out.
 

Misterbulbous

Member
Messages
7,239
Hmm...I’ve owned two Agiles and both were really well made. Both manufactured by WMI South Korea, and really, the only reason I got rid of them was because I had too much stuff and I got rid of my off-brand stuff.
True. Had an awesome Baritone guitar from there. Wish I never would have sold it.
 

dspellman

Member
Messages
8,310
There's such an abundance of "name" instruments and higher end instruments, and people in North America by and large still have money to buy those, and this IMO deflates the value of a brand such as Agile.

Couple this with the inevitable increase in labor costs in the parts of Asia these guitars are made in, and IMO there's a problem. And that's why, the attempt to sell out.
Nah -- I think Kurt has simply been in the business long enough and is looking to retire. Agile as a brand won't change hands until there's enough money involved. Agile prices have (and will continue) to rise, but they still represent an enormous value compared to what gets sold at that price in the walk-in stores. There's really only the brand itself to sell; the business apparently operates out of a couple of tin sheds in New Hampshire with a handful of people moving boxes from containers to shed to shipping. Kurt's personal goodwill with cheap shipping and an awesome return policy isn't included. Nor is his willingness to try something at the edges of the mainstream.

Agile has led the surge into low-price ER guitars, including 7, 8, 9 and even 10 string guitars, as well as multi-scale instruments, and now they're sneaking into the headless arena. That's allowed people who weren't interested in the custom-only builds of these instruments at two grand and above to dip their toes in the waters at $500 and below. It's also given those same higher-end builders a boost by offering an entry-level, something they were unable to do.

I think that assuming that "people in North America by and large still have money to buy" name-brand instruments fails to take in their interest level (which has been declining over the years), and it ignores the fact that the name brand companies have been loath to provide the instruments at the pointy end of the spear. It's pretty difficult to find a Fender or Gibson ER or multi-scale guitar, and while companies like Ibanez and Schecter offer a few, it's been follow-the-Agile for the past decade, and they're still not up to speed.

What really tickles me is that there's actually been inklings of an Agile "vintage" movement, claiming that earlier versions (what, fifteen years old?) are somehow better than the current batch, yada yada, and there are yearnings for guitar models, like the AL-3000 and AL-2000, which are no longer available new, and which are actually seeing a slight rise in their value used.
 

EtaCarinae

Member
Messages
1,404
I have an Agile baritone - the model is like AB-3500 or something. I bought it for $300 used, they went new for about $400. The pickups are OK, but it is otherwise a well made guitar in terms of feel (comparable to other WMI guitars, feels like a $1000 guitar, but not like a $3000 guitar), and the sound is superb.

The quality was good (and great for the price), and the specs and options kept up with the trends - especially for the more niche metal markets where not a lot of makers were producing exactly what was popular right now. Perhaps Kurt wants to retire and is not interested in making the business a lot bigger - he probably could if he had the desire to do so. The brand has a good reputation, and I would say it is earned.
 

PartoftheDark

Member
Messages
1,694
If you wanted a config of baritone people weren't offering, Agile was the brand to go to. I had a great baritone lp style from them. Also great if you want to get into the headless game or the 7, 8, 9, 10 string game as well affordably.
 

indeedido

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,647
I bought an SX from Kurt, it was the original Liquid with the Fender headstock before they changed it. Vintage white. That has been the best cheap guitar I've ever owned. There was an article in Vintage Guitar or one of the other rags where Will Ray was bragging about his. I did a fret level, added a Bigsby and put in some Wolftone pickups and there is no better value. Body is solid alder. I decided to put P90s in it and asked Kurt for a pickguard for P90s and he sent me one. Great guy. I put the humbuckers back in and I'm going to paint it Pelham Blue this spring.
 
Messages
759
Interesting.

I used an agile 8 string for a while in a metal band I was in (guitar belonged to drummer). It was a solid instrument, served me well and used it to record. If it had belonged to me I probably would've changed the pickups, but thats it
 

bob-i

Member
Messages
8,776
Karl established the business in 1959 and retired maybe 15 years ago, left the business to Kurt. I bought my first electric from Karl in 1962-3, a black Dano. I also bought a Princeton, and a guild starfire from Rondo, and I believe Kurt was working there in the 70s. I played a massive 3 day battle of the bands there in the late 60, must’ve been 50 bands competing, we came in second place.

Their business is well established and has a long history of supplying good quality, low cost instruments to the masses.

I wish Kurt a happy and healthy retirement!
 

Zado

Member
Messages
1,831
Agile might be not well known here, but the brand was very well established in modern metal fanbase
 

Surgeon

Member
Messages
1,207
What really tickles me is that there's actually been inklings of an Agile "vintage" movement, claiming that earlier versions (what, fifteen years old?) are somehow better than the current batch, yada yada, and there are yearnings for guitar models, like the AL-3000 and AL-2000, which are no longer available new, and which are actually seeing a slight rise in their value used.
That's really interesting. I bought two lp copies in 2004/5 from them, both AL2000. The first one was great, I wish I still had it (although it was very heavy) and the second one didn't have much for it. Nothing felt or sounded right, a complete piece of junk. So to me they were, back then, pretty much 50/50... can't believe they would've declined quality-wise in 15 years, otherwise they'd have stopped selling.
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,441
When they first came out I picked up a used AL 2000 GOldtop with soapbars for like $150. It had the original style headstock. It was an awesome guitar. So assume I picked up two more higher level Agile's that I eventually sold because they just weren't as good. I still have the Goldtop, but unfortunately I didn't put strap locks on it, dropped it on stage, and it suffered a cracked neck/headstock (cracked where neck meets the headstock). I did get it repaired, but it's never played the same... :(
 
Messages
3,996
I know not many here care, but thought it was interesting.

Not sure why you think not many here care...lots of Agile fans here on TGP :). I've owned a dozen or so over the years (and still have a few I will NEVER part with), fantastic guitars at dirt cheap prices. This isn't new though, the brand's been for sale for about six months now.
 




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