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Soliciting advice for selling vintage guitars

Joe Gamble

Member
Messages
831
So I've got a 1957 Strat and a 1930 National Triolian. Utterly fantastic guitars but I'm thinking about moving them. For this reason I wanted to throw out a couple questions to those in the know...

1) Is there a quick synopsis on the vintage market right now that can be given? Any chance of an uptick in the vintage market anytime soon? Seems the hey-day of the early/mid '00s is long gone but I don't keep tabs on this market.

2) What are your recommended ways to go about selling these guitars? Doing a consignment through a reputable dealer? Going it alone in the emporium or ebay? Obviously more care is involved in accurately representing these guitars to buyers so I'm hoping for a little direction.

Thanks in advance guys!
 
Messages
2,310
Although the vintage market is not what it used to be... quality vintage instruments are still in demand...

Since you're not an expert at understanding the value of what you have... I'd encourage you to seek out vintage dealers to help you.

Almost certainly there's a reputable one in the LA area.

M
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,455
1) Is there a quick synopsis on the vintage market right now that can be given? Any chance of an uptick in the vintage market anytime soon? Seems the hey-day of the early/mid '00s is long gone but I don't keep tabs on this market.
The market is in the toilet right now, and I don't see any signs of an upswing. I don't follow Fenders, so it could be a different story for your Strat, but prices on Nationals are still depressed. On the upside, it's a fantastic time to buy for those still with cash to spare.

2) What are your recommended ways to go about selling these guitars? Doing a consignment through a reputable dealer? Going it alone in the emporium or ebay? Obviously more care is involved in accurately representing these guitars to buyers so I'm hoping for a little direction.
I've observed that vintage guitars of any kind aren't moving in the Emporium right now. I put up a couple at good prices (which were still flexible) and got almost no interest at all. Things are moving on Ebay, but slowly; I like the "BIN or best offer" auctions because they leave me a good deal of control over the sale price. Consignment might be a good option for your guitars because they're well-known models, but make sure you go with a store that has a big web presence.
 

Claytone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
607
You could take your guitars to Norm Harris in Reseda (Norm's Vintage guitars) and consign them. Just know a price you want for each piece. Norm has a well established pro clientele, some collectors with deep pockets, and if you are patient (and lucky) and the guitars are straight you might get you your price.
 

cherrick

Member
Messages
2,584
1) get an appraisal. Use Gruhns in Nashville, he can do an appraisal from pictures. I'm sure there are folks in So. Calif but none that I know of with the reputation of Gruhn.

2) Take voluminous, super hi-Q pictures. Pay a professional photographer if you have to but put together a portfolio for each instrument. And then put them on the web. You can go through Photobucket but you will get a better look if you build a few web pages with links to hi-res versions of the photos. Here is what is really important: put a watermark on your photos. Without this you will get down the road and you will see guitars advertised on Ebay with your pictures. Kill the spam with a watermark.

3) People sell these on Ebay all the time. People also sell them on the classified ads on all the forums. So, minimal marketing is easy (links to your web pages).

4) Be prepared for a flood of tire-kickers, wanna-but-don't-gotta-the-money, cruisers, low-ballers, wanna-trades and thieves. What to do? Before you do anything else, create an email address specifically dedicated for the sale of your instrument(s). Make sure all references to contact are to that email address. No phone number, not your real email address and definitely not your home address. 100% everything points to your instrument-email-address.

5) Consignment sites are going to charge you. Know the % and never leave the guitar with them. You just don't know how dedicated they are to security and if they get ripped off they're certainly not out your guitar. And if they go belly up in the night guess who doesn't get your guitar back? You.

6) Always remember how much in equity you have in these. That Strat is worth upward of at least $150K and maybe more. That's a lot of money to most of us. I would filter every potential seller I would be willing to consider carefully. I would never let them come to my home, for example. I would find a professional jam-space/studio where I could rent a room by the hour for a day or so and I would put a decent amp there and meet the buyers there to let them inspect and try the instrument. And I would never let them show up when I was alone. I would have my best friend and my Colt 45 ACP along with me at all times.

Just some thoughts.
 

TRGuy

Member
Messages
2,414
Whenever I've gone to sell a vintage instrument, I've used ebay.

Always encourage viewings before purchase, when people are spending upwards of £5k on a guitar they're gonna want to see it, would you buy a £2k car without seeing it? No? Then why would someone else but a £5k guitar...

But always do this in a safe location, a local music shop is good.
 

Joe Gamble

Member
Messages
831
Wow! A whole lot of great information here guys. Thank you very much for taking the time...

The strat is a body-only refin so I'm probably looking in the $15-17k range. I'll definitely be having it appraised before I do anything.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,934
You could also try California Vintage Guitars: http://californiavintageguitarandamp.com/

Or Westwood Music: http://www.westwoodmusic.com/

They're both reputable and knowledgeable. I personally think it would be a good idea to take it to Cal Vintage, Westwood, AND Norm's Rare Guitars - the more folks you show it to, the more likely a buyer will pop up. You could easily hit all three shops in 3-4 hours on a Saturday - they're not that far apart, and they're not far from Pasadena.

Plus, you'd get to see some pretty cool stuff yourself!

Hope this helps, Dana O.
 

teleman1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,362
JOE! Great playing on you tube.

Once you establish the value. Craigslist it in the Bay Area, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, LA, you get the idea. In the ad, NO TEXTING, NO VILLAGE IDIOT QUESTIONS NOR EXTENDED 20 question questions via e-mail. Seriousness should go to the phone. And don't leave an immediate trail to your home address until you have a lot of ID on the potential buyer. There are collectors who want your guitar. Also advertise in Vintage guitar. If I guess Allan Holdsworth to be one of your mentors, would I be correct?
 

mrfender

Member
Messages
721
I think you could post it in the emporium. A 65 strat sold there about a month ago. I agree that an appraisal from a recognizable person/store will ease the mind of a potential buyer who has that kind of cash.

Keep me posted. I'd be interested.
 

Joe Gamble

Member
Messages
831
JOE! Great playing on you tube.

If I guess Allan Holdsworth to be one of your mentors, would I be correct?
Thank you very kindly. I love Holdsworth... very good call!

Thanks for the other recommendations guys- I'll need the appraisal for both the buyers and for my own edification; not sure what they are worth now. Glad to have those other possibilities in addition to Norm's Dana. Thanks!
 

straycat113

Member
Messages
2,926
And what you said was that Strat was worth 150K or more which is way off the mark which a re-fin will also cut in half. Good points though in your post and I am not trying to be a wise ass, but that price in this market was way too high.

Glad teleman checked out your playing Joe which led me to take a listen and you are an excellent musician! You also look like you could be former Satriani pupil and killer player in his own right Danny Gills little brother lol.
 

sinner

Member
Messages
3,949
You might consider putting that old National on consignment at Vintage Nationals (in Santa Barbara), Lenny is a great guy and has the knowledge and clientele to get you the right price.

You might as well try in here first but it is really brutal these days and your lowest price may still be lower than the consigned price from a dealer who specializes in the type of guitar.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,298
Ultimately, it comes down to how much work you want to do yourself versus paying others to do. There's no right answer on this.

As far as the market as a whole, you are correct that it peaked around 2006. Whether it will get back to those levels is anyone's guess, but that's pretty much irrelevant for any guitars for sale TODAY.
 

scelerat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,216
There's a huge difference between what people *ask* for a vintage guitar and what people actually end up paying.

If you're doing research on ebay, you should be searching only completed auctions. The auctions with dollar values in green are those where a deal actually went through. Right now I see several '50s strats with asking prices in the 20k+ plus range that didn't sell. There's a '62 which went for about $6.5k. Here's a 1958 refin that actually sold... for $7.7k. That's not nothing, but it's nowhere near $150k.

Find a pro whose business is buying and selling vintage guitars. They are in the best position to get you a good price on your guitar and put it in the hands of someone who wants it.

I have a friend with a great reputation here in the SF bay area. PM me if you're interested.
 
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tamader74

Member
Messages
3,675
After having to sell off a pretty decent vintage collection just a few years back, and having alot of dealings with (ahem) "Dealers" over the past couple of decades and true Collectors,...Trust, Collectors are still out there, and while they are 'Hip' to the decline, their desires mostly over-rides and trumps their pocketbook,...They WANT what they WANT and will pay. I'm sorry to hear the '57 is a refin. and that will knock 99% of true Collectors out of wanting that Instrument,...But, the acoustic market has not taken the 'hit' that the electric has AND the National has a TON (as well as other same styled Instruments) of desirablity...remember there is a Butt for every seat,...you just have to find it, and a GOOD/Solid place to start IS Vintage National's in CA. OR contact Elderly Instruments here in Mi. (they have a client list with Collectors waiting with $$$, some based on year, serialization, FON, etc., I have dealt that way) and even 'The Parrott man' Geo. Gruhn has buyers (including himself) with cash. That National has more 'power' than you know, I went through this awhile back with my friend downstates neighbor who thought his Black Beauty LP was his Holy Grail (he left it in the case strung for years seriously under his bed...OOps, Thank god he left his Dads old 6 string in his closet eh?...LOL)...He told me I was crazy,...But, took the drive from Garden City Mi. to Lansing the following week just to find out all about twisted necks etc., and to thank me for the Info. and to tell me about the check Elderly had wrote him for the Martin. Tom
 

jbraun002

Member
Messages
792
... make sure you go with a store that has a big web presence.
Just wanted to second this. I don't have vintage guitar experience, but there's a store near me that has a guitar that sells pretty quick in the emporium and is in high demand. It's on consignment for a reasonable price at this store.

But... when the store updated their website, the guitar did not make it onto their online catalog. Which is too bad for the seller, because it'd be a pretty easy sell if the folks who frequent these boards became aware of it.

Not sure why the consignee hasn't brought this to their attention, but maybe I can get the scratch before it gets sold...
 
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Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
29,253
these are asking prices, not buying prices. in other words, you can ask what you want, but the market is set at where comparative guitars actually have sold recently.
 






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