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What gets cheap when the boomer selloff happens?

Highnumbers

Member
Messages
765
In my humble opinion - people in this thread aren't considering the celebrity factor.

The single biggest factor for values is a particular instrument's association with a high-profile artist. You need no more proof than looking at the market for Clapton-spec stoptail 335s (or anything Clapton-spec, for that matter), or Beatle guitars like the Casino, Gretsch Duo-Jet, Rickenbacker 12-string etc.

When boomers liquidate gear and kick the bucket, which artists from the boomer generation won't appeal to Gen X and Millennials enough to maintain prices?

Even with the multi-generational appeal of the Beatles, I don't see people paying a ton for a Harrison-spec Duo Jet or Country Gent in the future. Or basically any Rickenbacker (even the 12-string). How about even more Boomer-specific acts like The Ventures? I highly doubt a Mosrite Ventures model will maintain its value in 20 years, and even less so for more obscure Mosrite models. How about a Barney Kessel model Gibson? (The Trini Lopez standard is only collectible because of Dave Grohl!) Most of this stuff will be ancient history to buyers in 20 years.

I think the blue chip vintage stuff will hold its value fairly well, but buyers will be more discerning about condition. Less popular vintage stuff will tank in price, and the over-saturated market of reissues and Custom Shop stuff will get generally less expensive as used gear (and not collectibles).

Somebody should start a poll for ages of TGP members. I'm 35 and it seems the crowd here is generally younger than the folks that frequent most guitar shows and shops. Curious if this is skewing our perceptions...
 

Codyyy

Member
Messages
1,090
I don’t think boomers will need to sell anything but rather leave it to their trust or inheritance. They already have the stuff, and likely the money. Chances are their retirements are steady enough to where they don’t need to offload gear for pennies on the dollar to help pay for emergency funding. Their kids may sell it instead of holding onto it but with the internet and various other resources I highly doubt they’ll just give it away without doing research. Anything I find I research value and other deciding factors before I go to buy or sell, not just guitars but just about anything tangible.
 

daacrusher2001

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,876
I don't have any vintage gear but do have 5 nice guitars and a couple of nice amps. By the time I'd want to sell them they'll be vintage. Call me in 30 years, if I can still hear, I'll answer and maybe make you a deal. In the meantime, buy something and play it...or waste 30 years waiting to save $100
 

Benny

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,258
Here’s what will drop I think, more so than reissues, are the less desirable pieces that have issues, headstock breaks, refins, replaced parts, small nuts, etc.

It’s already happening
It would be nice to see "player-grade" classic guitars get down to more player-friendly prices, but yeah - I think you're right that sellers are going to take increasing hits on pieces that outside of the most desired specs and condition.
 

fjrabon

Member
Messages
3,811
I don’t think boomers will need to sell anything but rather leave it to their trust or inheritance. They already have the stuff, and likely the money. Chances are their retirements are steady enough to where they don’t need to offload gear for pennies on the dollar to help pay for emergency funding. Their kids may sell it instead of holding onto it but with the internet and various other resources I highly doubt they’ll just give it away without doing research. Anything I find I research value and other deciding factors before I go to buy or sell, not just guitars but just about anything tangible.
I think you’re wildly overestimating the financial security of the baby boomers. They were, by and large, the “buy a gigantic house, fancy car and expensive things on credit” generation. They have 401Ks that don’t really support their lifestyle. I say this as somebody who worked in the financial sector for a long time.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,582
I've been kind of looking forward a bit to the likely drop in guitar prices over the coming years, thinking (not too deeply) that I might be able to afford some of the vintage pieces I drool over better as prices come down some. I was playing one of my current guitars, a small luthier built LP style, when it occurred to me that even though prices on the vintage stuff may come down some, its much more likely that small builder and nice but not "vintage collectible" stuff, especially stuff made in decent quantity like Historics will likely drop even more dramatically. There won't be as many who know or care about the smaller names, and even though Historics have a name known for being "worth a lot", there are quite a few of them out there. I'd expect the lower end stuff made in big numbers like Squier and Epiphone to be extremely cheap. After all, they're still pumping out thousands of them a year. You can already find those routinely for less than $200.

Not really making a point so much, just musing out loud. I'm at the tail end of the boomer era myself, so not exactly celebrating the likely selloff, but unless something changes, I'd expect it'll happen to some degree.
When the “sell off” happens, the asking prices will be in water, ammo and antibiotics.
 

Codyyy

Member
Messages
1,090
I think you’re wildly overestimating the financial security of the baby boomers. They were, by and large, the “buy a gigantic house, fancy car and expensive things on credit” generation. They have 401Ks that don’t really support their lifestyle. I say this as somebody who worked in the financial sector for a long time.
I probably am overestimating as I’m a few generations newer than the boomers. Either way I can’t afford anything from their generation save for the Elvis collectible mug set. I’ve tried and failed many times.

Regardless I’m not holding my breath and thinking in the near future I’ll score a ‘50s Strat for the same price as a Squier.
 

David B

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,849
When I read all these younger gear buyers absolutely salivating about "when the boomers die I am buying their guitars cheap!", don't they realize, if they are salivating, then there's a gazillion more of you waiting to "buy it all cheap"? Which standards to reason, with everyone wanting to "buy", that the price could stay the same or go high, because "buy".

What if everyone got tired of playing WOW at the same time?:D:D
 

Bossanova

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,395
It would be nice to see "player-grade" classic guitars get down to more player-friendly prices, but yeah - I think you're right that sellers are going to take increasing hits on pieces that outside of the most desired specs and condition.
It’s a shrinking pool of interest, so it would make sense that they’d only want clean, no stories examples.

I’m sure the reissues will drop some, but they’re still in many cases preferable to many than beat up old examples. I mean, a new R9 is more valuable and arguably better than any LP built after 1961.

335s after 1965 have very narrow nuts, and Fenders drop quite a bit after the CBS takeover.
 

stormin1155

Member
Messages
2,594
A friend of mine deals a lot in vintage gear (LawmanGuitars.com), and he is quite optimistic about the future of vintage gear. For one thing, he is selling a lot more overseas, particularly Japan and Europe. My theory is that the international market will pick up whatever the US boomer drop-off might be.
 

skydog

Member
Messages
12,320
According to demographers, I'm at the tail end of the BB gen at 58.

The sell-off has begun. I think @Jayyj is right. There likely won't be an avalanche of instruments into the market but a steady stream, which we already see.

They seem to get snatched up pretty regularly.
BB = BurstBucker?
 

uitar99

Member
Messages
1,309
I know one thing..I'm 66, closer to the end, than the beginning...when the time comes (and I hope it's on the 17th fairway) I won't give a crap about how much my gear sells for.
 

pattste

Member
Messages
1,655
The really collectable stuff will remain so because of its historical significance and rarity. Generally speaking, production guitars (and that includes the so-called Custom Shop instruments from companies like Gibson) from the 80's onward will never be collectable simply because there are thousands upon thousands of them and they keep producing more all the time. Production guitars from the 70's won't be collectable for the same reason and also because most of them are mediocre instruments at best.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,610
335s after 1965 have very narrow nuts, and Fenders drop quite a bit after the CBS takeover.
Late 60s 335s have been one of the biggest growth areas in vintage guitars over the last ten years though - they've more than doubled where early 60s have stayed pretty much where they were. I think there's a real push back against the old 'too narrow to be playable' narrative that kept them depressed when the boomers were driving the market. I'm not sure they'll continue to go up, unless the overall 335 market does, but they've certainly had a bit of a re-evaluation.

Production guitars from the 70's won't be collectable for the same reason and also because most of them are mediocre instruments at best.
Again though, 70s production guitars have increased in value dramatically over the last ten years and it's primarily Xrs rather than boomers driving the market for them, so it's unlikely a mass boomer sell off - if it comes - is going to depress 70s Gibson and Fender prices by a huge margin. Mediocre is subjective - a lot of us that like 70s guitars got into them when we were teenagers in the 90s because they were dirt cheap because the generation above us seemed to hate them so much, so we bought them, cut our teeth on them and now look back fondly on them.
 

Anacharsis

Member
Messages
1,762
The Gearpocalypse won't be about Fender and Gibson and Marshall and Vox gear from 1948 to 1965.

It'll be about high end guitars from builders only famous among gearheads, and the proliferation of Custom Shops (in all their variety). It'll crush the value of formerly bespoke pedals from obscure builders. It'll hit amps, especially big ones, that are high end but not Big Three.

The really old stuff was made in much smaller numbers for a much smaller market back in the day. Those smaller numbers dwindle due to wear and butchering and simple mistakes. Those values won't collapse, because supply isn't sufficient for even half of current demand. But that Bogner Shiva or Soldano SLO, that 10 top quilt or R9 or CS Masterbuilt Tele is another story altogether.
 
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