What's the real reason amp prices have suddenly skyrocketed to ridiculous levels??

guitarman3001

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12,152
I guess you're right. But heck, EVERYTHING has gone up 20% or more. It's the 50% USED amps have gone up that we should be complaining about. (and that I was addressing with my "expendable cash" statement). Like I said, I can rattle off 5 amps that I've seen listed for 50% more than I sold one for 3-4 years ago, and at least 3 more that routinely gets listed for sale at a higher price used, than what I paid for them new 6-8 years ago. That is way more objectionable than new amps going up 20%. Used gear (not just amps) is outrageous right now.

I'm thinking about selling most of my guitar gear now, then buying it back this fall with the used gear market crashes. :)
I wasn't saying anything about new amps going up 20%. I was talking about the ones that have gone up 40% while others made in the same countries and shipped the same way have gone up very little or in some cases not at all. And the ones that have gone up 40% in the US haven't gone up at all in the EU.

And yes, the used gear market, just like the used car market, is out of its freakin mind, imo!!
 

timbuck2

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3,901
i think many people and companies are taking advantage of the whole covid/lockdown/war excuses to ask more $$ for things. Call it greed or capitalism: it doesnt matter. Its crazy! like home prices. The way to deal with this foolishness is just dont play! Dont move and use money to make your home nicer to live in with updates/upgrades etc.
Dont pay stoopid prices for lumber: put off that basement finish for a few years....you have amps and guitars now??? good..play them and dont support the crazy pricing. The problem is that too many will just pay the highway robbery prices anyhow and then companies/people think: if joe blow paid it then so will others.
VOTE with your pocketbook. Its really that simple..regarless of it being an amp.guitar..car..etc...if you think its over imflated just dont buy it.
 

5150user

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1,564
Not all brands or models of amps jumped up in price. I looked recently on Amazonk, and the Vox AC30S1 was still listed at the same price it was a year ago. I really like mine.
 

guitarman3001

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12,152
Not all brands or models of amps jumped up in price. I looked recently on Amazonk, and the Vox AC30S1 was still listed at the same price it was a year ago. I really like mine.
Yeah, so it looks like I just happened to check out the two brands that have gone up the most. Since most other brands have remained the same or gone up only a little, so much for all the theories provided by the local economists. Friedman's price increase is understandable given that they are made in the US. Marshall's has not been adequately explained. Well, it has but ..............
 

MrTAteMyBalls

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4,694
We were discussing this on another thread unrelated to this topic so I thought I'd make its own thread. Last time I checked amp prices they seemed to be pretty reasonable. Examples - Marshall DSL40CR, $749. Friedman Runt 20, $1100 or $1200 or around there, Marshall 20 watt JCM800 $1299, etc...

Now I checked and the DSL40CR is $1049 and the Runt is $1500 and the JCM 20 watt is $1800. WTF? Yeah, I get the whole covid BS but that excuse has gotten pretty stale by now. I understand inflation in general too, but some amp prices have almost doubled in the last year. We do not have an inflation rate of almost 100% in the last year, or even two years, or even 5 years. Yet some amps have gone up in price by almost 100%.

At the current prices I honestly don't see anything worth what they're asking for them.

So what gives? In many cases the price jumps are exceeding the inflation rates by a lot to saying "inflation" isn't a valid answer. Is it just a case of greed because everything else is going up in price, the manufacturers think they can take advantage of that and start to overprice their amps?


Maybe it's been mentioned but the Marshall DSL40CR cost 690 euros TODAY here in Germany. So it isn't the same price everywhere. What are the external factors since they are all being made in China and shipped from there?? Tariffs or import duties? Shipping costs???

Since the price here hasn't gone up I am gonna assume that it costs the same to manufacture but delivering it to the USA is costing more for whatever reason.
 
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It certainly will be self fulfilling prophecy on their part I believe...
Maybe, maybe not. For some of them, yes. I know many, many people my age who’ve never contributed a cent to retirement investing and will reap accordingly. I didn’t start until my early 30s, but have been pretty disciplined and diligent since.

My kids’ peers are entering phases of life—becoming parents—where stability and forward thinking are more important than being able to spend a weekend camping.

These things sort themselves out for some. Maybe most.
 

JZG

Silver Supporting Member
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1,723
There are other European amp makers that have negotiated all this without a 40% price rise.

Orange Rockerverb 50 hasn’t gone up at all.

Victory Kraken has gone up 11%

Vox AC30 $1,299 now, it did go up but is back at $1,299. (I can’t remember if it was 1,199 pre Covid, which would be a marginal increase)

Engl Fireball 100 has gone up 5%.

Just curious, aren't Marshall, Orange, and Vox owned by the same company? Korg maybe? Or maybe distributed by Korg?
 

guitarman3001

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12,152
Maybe it's been mentioned but the Marshall DSL40CR cost 690 euros TODAY here in Germany. So it isn't the same price everywhere. What are the external factors since they are all being made in China and shipped from there?? Tariffs or import duties? Shipping costs???

Since the price here hasn't gone up I am gonna assume that it costs the same to manufacture but delivering it to the USA is costing more for whatever reason.
Right, so production costs aren't a factor. We already determined that the shipping increase to the US is just $10/unit. Also, Vox, Orange, and Victory haven't seen their US prices skyrocket 40% like we're seeing with these Marshalls. So what gives with Marshall? Looking at the other companies tells us production costs aren't a factor. Shipping increase would add $10/unit (although Orange and Vox seem unaffected). So why would Marshall's price jump $500 while the other UK based amps like Orange and Vox haven't gone up at all, or very little?
 

HeavyCream

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6,085
Right, so production costs aren't a factor. We already determined that the shipping increase to the US is just $10/unit. Also, Vox, Orange, and Victory haven't seen their US prices skyrocket 40% like we're seeing with these Marshalls. So what gives with Marshall? Looking at the other companies tells us production costs aren't a factor. Shipping increase would add $10/unit (although Orange and Vox seem unaffected). So why would Marshall's price jump $500 while the other UK based amps like Orange and Vox haven't gone up at all, or very little?

Production costs are definitely a factor. Marshall is just making the US shoulder most of the cost increase. Also, production cost of the made in UK line has likely increased substantially more than the MIC stuff.

Shipping has increased but the cost for them to ship to the US is much less than the difference between their US price tag vs Euro price tag. This has been well established for quite some time now. That’s Marshall’s business model. I don’t like it either (because I live in the US) but I don’t think that makes them greedy price gougers. If they were one of the only tube amp manufacturers, and selling DSL40C’s for $2,500… ok. The Fender Bassbreaker 30R is now $1,099 new. Is Fender price gouging too??

The only thing I can do as a consumer, is not by Marshall amps, and try to make others in the US aware of alternative high quality options for the same price or le$$. I don’t buy Marshalls and I don’t buy cans of tuna (for very different reasons). Lol. I have 3 “Marshall” type amps. All hand wired turret construction, and each chassis cost me less than the price of a new DSL40CR. I have a 100w SuperBass chassis (Mojotone) I bought last year that cost me almost 1/2 the new price of a SV20 head! And I paid someone to build it for me. It’s not like we don’t have options. Find an alternative that works for you and flip Marshall the bird every time you post clips/pics/glowing reviews of your killer amp.
 

Novarocker53

Member
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2
Transformer and raw materials costs don't seem to have affected the price of the amps in EU.

No one is saying prices haven't gone up. I think everyone understands that manufacturing and production costs have increased so naturally, retail prices will also go up. That's expected. The discussion is why the prices in the guitar amp industry (at least some of them) seem to have gone up more than can be accounted for.

If the insane price increases Marshall has made were a result of all the other factors people have mentioned in this thread, wouldn't we be seeing corresponding increases from companies like Orange and Vox? Same laws of economics apply to them, right?

Sorry ahead of time, I tend to jump around.

Just popped in after reading the entire thread to say that a lot of plausible answers combined across this thread give you the likely answer...time will tell, however just because their price goes down in the future does not mean they screwed up (royally) or were greedy.

You do know that component regulations and cost for CE, etc. compliance vary by region which impact initial cost and material supply costs variation between EU and US.

Yes same laws of economics apply to all, but situations are not identical. You don't know (I dont either) the inventory of distributed amps, made amps, or raw materials for any of the UK companies listed....or their inventory system, overhead, or productivity efficiency. The others may use traditional systems, while Marshall uses JIT, therefore the price to manufacture may have doubled at this time for them alone. Not to mention that the tube example you gave is one company in one location. Every aspect of their business may be different, including volume of sales which further reduce their cost and their mark up...who knows their supplier network may have a hook up? You, I and anyone not involved do not know and can only speculate that this single data point is accurate.

Increased recorded profits, does not directly translate to better profit margin. You don't know the story of their overhead, distribution network, supply chain, in the US vs UK or global.

As much as it sucks, they likely adjusted price to reflect lead times, inventory, and sales rates in order to maintain enough profit to offset all costs. In otherwords, if 1k units sold at price x, made $100k in revenue (amount necessary to pay overhead and make profit for given production timeframe), they would need to sell at price y if they only had 100 units produced. Supply and demand. That's an extreme, of course, but at 10% volume of sales (and static overhead) price y becomes 10 fold of price x.

"I recently worked with a car dealership. They have been selling cars for an average of nearly $5000 over sticker vs a discount to sticker in the past. You would claim that they are greedy and taking advantage of short supply. You would be wrong!

They used to sell over 130 cars a month, now they are lucky to get 25. They used to be reasonably profitable. Now, with the higher prices they are running at a slight loss. A choice the owner has made because they don't want to cut any staff. It's the opposite of greed, but people still call them greedy."


^^this is exactly it for a large portion. Hell we don't even know if different global regions operate as separate SBUs.

Apologies to forgetting to quote the fellow correctly, but the car dealership example is spot on. I'll let you in on a current industry issue for auto. Right now, typical plants are running about 90% of the hours (some more some less depending on parts, retooling, restructuring, etc) than 2019, but realistically only producing about 75% previous volumes. That's a huge problem to overhead and margin. That's a massive loss to productivity efficiency, even worse could be quality issues due to the scramble to produce and units sitting for extended period prior to final assembly.

The lower the number of typical yearly unit sales volume (ie Friedman for example) the lower the price jump needs to be to offset std overhead, if given sales volume reductions are proportionate. Economy of scale and supply and demand.

Now you say why does Fender not have the same increase. They are a bigger company and can likely offset costs, the costs to move it to the EU side of the pond might be significantly less of a jump than US. Not to mention their local region (continental region) sales might also be a much larger ratio compared to foreign. Again allowing the lower cost/unit and reduced network mark ups allow their higher volume of USCA sales to further offset EU costs...sure other UK makers haven't jumped at this moment, but see the first few paragraphs for why that may be and below.

Thanks @Whizzinby and the car dealer poster. It would be interesting to see how the other UK companies have navigated. Maybe residual stock on shelves/warehouses still buffering price?
 

Jamison

Member
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46
Man, if you could see our books, you’d reconsider that.

Do you mean your margins have increased or decreased (I can assume since you are a manufacturer, but I don’t want to).

In any case, the way I put it was to be respectful of both sides. I could have easily written, 'if you think the margins have increased, you're nuts.' But I wanted to stay more middle of the road :)
 

Tele-Vision

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7,369
It’s kind of more like sitting close to that one kid in the cafeteria that will mix all sorts of things together on his tray…and eat it. It’s perturbing, but you come back to the same seat everyday.
 

stratohiker

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2,647
It’s kind of more like sitting close to that one kid in the cafeteria that will mix all sorts of things together on his tray…and eat it. It’s perturbing, but you come back to the same seat everyday.
Except maybe when he hits you with that slimy beets spitball?
 

JPH118

Silver Supporting Member
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4,751
Do you mean your margins have increased or decreased (I can assume since you are a manufacturer, but I don’t want to).

Decreased gradually due to several factors…

First, it was transformers. Heyboer has been our main supplier, but after Classictone closed up shop in the fall of ‘20, their lead times went crazy. Rather than making our customers wait an undetermined amount of time, we sourced the same product from wherever we could, often paying full retail for a couple units and losing the standard OEM quantity discount, but keeping people happy and amps shipped on time. It’s better now, but still not as readily available as pre-‘20. Sure, we could’ve waited it out, but some profit is generally better than no profit in the short term, and WAY better than angry customers who’ve lost their patience waiting for their amp.

Then, lumber skyrocketed… Baltic birch in particular. That was about a year ago, and eventually resolved itself (on the wholesale market at least), but led to temporary delays and margin decrease. We waited it out as long as possible, but eventually had to bite the bullet and take a loss in the name of good service. Thankfully, the sheet metal costs haven’t hit us yet, but there’s always tomorrow.

Oh, and front panels! Yeah, those pesky things that tell you which knob you’re turning… raw material cost for them went up 50% this year.

Another thing that hit in ‘21 was shipping cost increases across all carriers… didn’t really notice that one til end of year, but small increases in weekly shipping adds up, both incoming and outgoing. Add the latest fuel surcharges, and it’s not going back down anytime soon. Fortunately we don’t export to the degree that the freight shipping issues have affected us, but that’s gotta be huge for Marshall, with a large operation in Asia, and the majority of sales coming from North America.

And most recently, tubes. Fortunately we stocked up enough to cover orders for the next few months, but I’m anticipating the 35% tariff on Russia to last a while, along with a lower but still tangible increase from JJ (and likely the new Shuguang when it reopens next year). The days of $15 12ax7s are over.

Add to all of that the inflated USD, and there you have it. Marshall probably sees us Yanks spending inflated bucks like drunken sailors and said, “Bloody hell, they can keep us going!!”, until we can’t or won’t. They’re prob just trying to get while the gettin’s good, as the value of our dollar has global consequences.

(I mentioned it earlier in this thread, but Marshall sees more profit in terms of quantity from Bluetooth speakers and refrigerators than tube amps these days, anyway. Heck, I’ve even got one of each in my shop! The margins are surely much higher on a handwired amp, but they probably sell 10 bluetooths for every 20w 800 or whatever they make these days.)
 
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