Why are amps (particularly used ones) selling so slow these days?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Jabby92, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

    Messages:
    5,565
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    mars
    That is true. but fortunately it doesn't take long to get the board out of them. It is a little more work, but no biggie.
    I keep a Raytheon book around, it is an old book but has a lot of cross references for replacement chips, but you are right, even then they are a bit hard to find.
    I don't do that much of that stuff now anyway, I mostly just maintain my own gear or by the occasional basket case and restore it.
    But given how inexpensive extremely good gear is now, it is hardly worth the trouble.
    In a lot of situations with newer amps it is just as easy to order a new circuit board.
    I've got a Carvin 50 watt amp that has a board with the tube sockets in it that is a board used in a bunch of other amps.
    I didn't replace the board, one of the guys in the band I am in rebuilt it, but it was available a couple years ago.
     
  2. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,531
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Location:
    Benicia, CA
    The used gear world has simply changed. 15 years ago it used to be fun to buy/sell/swap gear on TGP, CL and sell on eBay if I wanted it to move quickly.

    If I saw some interesting piece of boutique gear for a good price I could try it out and sell it off fairly easily without a lot of hassles. Typically I'd lose shipping/transaction costs of maybe $50-$100 if I had to ship it again. It was mostly just my time and energy. And it was enjoyable interacting with fellow musicians/gear heads and getting to try a bunch of gear. I have a number of friends I've met and play music with as a result of all the gear.

    But over time it shifted - eBay, PP started offering "risk-free" buyer policies and I think it slowly killed off the activity from hobbyists like me. I simply don't want to deal with all the risks it presents to me when I go to sell stuff so I've mostly stopped buying gear just to experiment. I don't mind losing some money trying out gear but I don't want all the risk and drama of dealing with well intentioned but inexperienced buyers who return gear simply because it doesn't meet their expectations. They aren't happy with how it sounds, buyer's remorse, they see a better deal, want a different piece of gear, etc. And that's before you get to things like tube issues, scratchy pots, etc. And they can exercise that right for 6 months all at the sellers expense. Tell me if you are willing to accept refunding all the money and paying for all shipping costs on a piece of gear you sold 5 months ago?

    Personally I suspect a lot of people are like me and don't want the hassles. It absolutely killed the fun factor of experimenting with used gear. And I've done several hundred deals over the years with incredibly few challenges...but the attitudes and expectations of buyers shifted to the point where it's just not worth it.

    So I sell locally and on TGP and that's it. I rarely accept PP, talk to every buyer before we complete any sort of transaction and I've been able to sell my used stuff. Even when I state it in my ads I still get the people who won't do a deal unless I take their PP payment.

    At the moment I currently have two low wattage boutique amps I expect will take a really long time to sell. Fortunately for me it doesn't really impact my world if they sit around forever.
     
  3. Jugghaid

    Jugghaid Member

    Messages:
    773
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    I'm lucky that the 2 near me are pretty good. One is in a pretty affluent neighborhood and the other is pretty central to all of Denver. The one in the affluent neighborhood routinely has a good selection of high end guitars. Right now for instance they have an R9, Knaggs Honga T3, four PRS Core guitars, four Fender Custom shop guitars, a Tom Anderson strat, etc.....and they have 73 used electric guitars right now. Their stock rotates pretty regularly too. I am used to seeing Tom Anderson, Suhr, LSL, PRS, Collings, American Fender and G&L, Gibson, etc all running through there regularly.
     
    daacrusher2001 likes this.
  4. Sirloin

    Sirloin Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,156
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    NC
    I think a good economy is good for new gear and bad for used gear
     
    Plexiglass likes this.
  5. Krausewitz

    Krausewitz Member

    Messages:
    2,153
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    If amp sales were booming this would make sense. I've seen absolutely no sign that this is the case (quite the opposite, in fact). Heck, if people had money people would still be buying used!!!! So the used market is still a good indicator.

    So, no, I don't think this is what it is at all. How many engineers are playing music?

    Every musician I know is struggling more than they were 5 years ago. Pay for gigs has been stagnant for a long time, and most people I know that are gigging full time are basically at the whim of what people (esp. weddings and corporate gigs) feel like this year. If they all want bands then times are good....if they want DJs then times aren't. This is in the UK, mind, so it could be radically different in the US (but I doubt it is).

    Combine that with an economy that is great on paper (and for a small number of favoured professions) and you get a scenario where the great mass of people have no money, and a few people at top have loads. Since popular music is something for the masses this is bad news for musicians.

    Don't forget: 60% of Americans cannot afford a $400 dollar emergency. Youth unemployment and underemployment is still very real (gig economy, etc.) and over 50 unemployment is basically a death sentence. My aunt was laid off at 57 after decades as a highly successful manager in cosmetics. Four years later and she can't find even low level work because she's too old and 'too expensive' and 'over-qualified'. I am confident she's not alone.

    I think it is simple saturation re: amps and other gear. That's all. This stuff piles up, after all. It doesn't get consumed.
     
  6. gulliver

    gulliver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,409
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Well, the US is different, and I'm in NY state (Western NY, not NYC), so different as well. In NY, a non-working single mom with two kids makes in social programs the equivalent (after taxes) of a worker making $45k a year. The good news is that people are getting off of social programs and getting jobs. But who knows, maybe that means less time to play.

    Yes, a lot of engineers play guitar. Who do you think writes all that modeling stuff. :D

    You can quote CNN data on the economy, and some of it is true, but when I see masses of people in their 30s turning their noses up at $80k opportunities, I think, what planet am I on?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
    pete12string likes this.
  7. frijoleghost

    frijoleghost Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,673
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    jalisco
    i've been trying to rustle up a princeton reverb clone for weeks with no luck...anybody got one they wanna sell?
     
  8. Krausewitz

    Krausewitz Member

    Messages:
    2,153
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    Well, turns out my numbers were slightly off, but the rough thrust of it holds.

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/58-a...Vb1ELchWRsBPqD0G91X1pZFozlo-6SNicG0hPCZGio3Ms

    Add in that the labour participation rate in the US is about where it was in the 1970s when middle class women were just entering the workforce in large numbers (working class women had worked in much larger numbers for much longer, for all the obvious reasons, so they aren't quite the barometer we're looking for here). What's notable is that labour participation peaked about 18 months before 9/11. Then the post 9/11 recession sees the first sustained drop-off (ever) followed by a much larger one after 2008. Now, part of this is baby boomers retiring, it's true. The older baby boomers hit 65 in 2011, after all. But if you follow the data the labour participation rate levels off again in roughly 2013-4 (this is pretty well in line with other major economic downturns in the last century or so....you expect about 6-7 years of really hard times before most people can pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back to productive work).

    Another way to look at it: The last time people really had it good was at the end of what the French call the 'trente glorieuses'...the 30 glorious years after the end of the Second World War. If we look at the median American household income in 1970 (you get the beginnings of the drop-off in the early 70s, so I wanted to pull things back a few years) you get about $9,870, which was worth about $65,000 in 2019 money. The median US household income today is $59,000. The median household today is about 10% poorer than they were 50 years ago. Now, obviously, this longue duree perspective doesn't tell us too much about the difference in amp sales from the early 2000s to today, but we can at least situate the gear specific trends that everyone is talking about (a glut of gear, people reaching their logical fill of gear, young people like myself not having the disposable income to make big gear purchases, etc.)

    I guess the point of all this is to say that you find yourself in a position where your whole job revolves around finding highly desirable people and watching them compete tooth and nail for a fairly basic middle class lifestyle. It isn't surprising that you have a rosier picture than most. It's also worth re-calibrating your perspective on that $80k. While that is no doubt a decent wage, depending on benefits, etc. it really is no better than "middle middle class", especially in New York.
     
  9. FXPedal.com

    FXPedal.com Member

    Messages:
    1,197
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Collectibles value downturn is a bellwether of the economy.

    To some extent guitars, amps, etc are collector's items much like certain cars.
    Whether you race your sports car(s) or play your gear out in all likelihood both are hobbies.
    Expensive hobbies. As such they are the first things to be jettisoned when money gets tight.

    The last time I saw this happen was the end of 2008, right before the recession.
     
  10. pete12string

    pete12string Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,135
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    :dunno

    Market seems a little slow, but nothing to panic about. :rolleyes:
    So far this year, I’ve spent $1000 on a used amp. :) And I’m looking for another...:aok
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  11. keithb7

    keithb7 Member

    Messages:
    1,407
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    Amps that aren’t selling around here include:

    Any amp that makes noise for a guitar.

    Why?
    -There are few gigs
    -There is little money to be made gigging if you actually land a gig
    -Kids would rather play video games
    -People don’t go out any more
    -People forgot how to socialize when away from social media.

    You’ve heard the saying right? Only a musician loads $5K worth of gear into a $500 car. Drives 50 miles one way to play a gig that pays $50.
     
    Gemini2 and Johnny Ninefingers like this.
  12. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

    Messages:
    910
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2018
    Not everybody is dragging their feet. In a year or two my tube stash will be such that I will welcome this “death of the tube amp”. I’ll be getting sweet amps for pennies on the dollar from people who can’t find tubes for them.

    Of course this isn’t going to happen, but one can dream.
     
  13. Miroslav L

    Miroslav L Member

    Messages:
    884
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2018
    Location:
    Southern NY
    :D

    I've got quite a large tube stash too. :)
    Imagine a typical 12" speaker box...I've got about 4-5 boxes of preamp and power amp tubes, with some oddball stuff too for my rack gear and mics...so it's quite a stash.

    I have no idea how I managed to accumulate so many tubes, but over the last 20 years I kept buying a few here and there, any time I saw something interesting. :facepalm
     
    blackba and BearBryan like this.
  14. FXPedal.com

    FXPedal.com Member

    Messages:
    1,197
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I may be able to help you free up some shelf space, whatcha got?
     
  15. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

    Messages:
    910
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2018
    Same.
     
  16. leftcoastal

    leftcoastal Member

    Messages:
    399
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2014
    That and new young guitarists can just buy and return stuff at GC. Get a keyboard then return it for a midi keyboard and be fully in the box with bent software for a few bucks. Upload to sound cloud then sit in front of a parked lambo at the mall and post their success on instagrim.
     
  17. leftcoastal

    leftcoastal Member

    Messages:
    399
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2014
    Also with most people demoing amps on YouTube there's a number of shows pitting knockoffs vs the real thing. Ear education is at an all time low and ear hustling is at an all time high.

    .02
     
    MrAstro likes this.
  18. NorCal_Val

    NorCal_Val Member

    Messages:
    10,495
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    Location:
    Woodpile, CA
    I’ve bought 3 used amps in the last year;
    Randall Satan(120w version)
    Boss Katana(100w combo)
    Marshall SL-X(100w)
    Just stoked to have added them to the amp stable.
     
    Produktsumme likes this.
  19. MrAstro

    MrAstro Member

    Messages:
    13,372
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney NSW
    I do a fair bit of my own recording and what it ends up sounding like on youtube is nothing like what it sounds like in my studio. Everything gets compressed, eq'd, massaged, mastered etc etc. Then youtube degrades it as well. In the end you often listen to it on laptop speakers. I don't know how people can say anything sounds better than something else from a youtube demo.
     
    leftcoastal likes this.
  20. Produktsumme

    Produktsumme Member

    Messages:
    468
    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    I think we will see a rebound in some years, but currently......playing guitar well is really hard, years of practicing needed. Video games on the other hand, instant gratifications abound. In some time in the future the current generation boys will realise that to get girls to like you is not bound to your Xbox gamer score.
     
    leftcoastal likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice