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

Rockledge

Member
Messages
5,557
Just like with guitars, technology has risen to the point where it just doesn't cost that much to make extremely high quality gear, and there are a bunch of companies marketing high quality gear at a low price, which has caused a glut of used gear, which has driven the price down significantly.
Many companies, rather than trying to make a bundle on each unit sold, are depending on making money by asking fair prices and selling in volume. As opposed to relying on past laurels and name recognition in order to demand a huge price tag.
You've got to figure, for every ten guitars and amps sold, how many do you think were purchased as a gift for a kid by parents, or by an adult who had the itch to learn, only to sit in a closet for a few years before being sold?

Taking all this in consideration, you can buy a excellent new tube amp for 600 bucks, or buy a used one for 400 that looks like new, and find them on craigs list all day long.
The same with guitars and P.A. gear.

Add to that all the guys who are constantly thinning the herd because there is always some "gotta have" piece of gear out there that after owning it for a while gets old and unused and the new "gotta have" comes along, and you have a huge glut of used gear, which, the laws of supply and demand apply.

There are far more extremely high quality instruments, both new and used, floating around out there than there are guys who play them.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: jcs

Flogger59

Member
Messages
10,983
The gear market in general is slowing down. As for amps in general, the places where you can open up some of the behemoths of yesteryear are drying up so the big stuff is less desireable, and for low vol applications digital may be more practical.

I also think the economy is doing worse than we think, maybe the indicators haven't reached the public consciousness yet, but I see a lot of things slowing down.
If the stock market is used as a barometer of the economy in general, then that's a mistake. It's a barometer on the perception of corporate health. When 84% of shares belong to the corporations themselves or the 1%, the window on what you're evaluating shrinks considerably.
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,696
What data are you relying on to conclude that amps, especially used ones are selling slowly these days?
Just going off what I've seen posted around here and also seeing ads online. Some stuff seems to just sit for months or even years and won't budge until someone drops the price. Just seems like stuff is moving slowly, and not only amps but also guitars and pedals too.. basically any and all gear.
 

BrianK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,306
My belief is everything is selling slowly because of Reverb. I’ve been buying and selling on TGP for years and always bought and sold below retail, person to person. Now Reverb stole the market and EVERYONE on here sells everything for retail. Like top shelf retail with tons of experience and customer base built upon excellent reputations. I.e. Carter Vintage, Emerald City Guitars etc..... I mean, Joe’s Weekend Jammer Gear Garage shouldn’t be selling at the same price as some of the most respected vintage dealers in the country with huge overheads, but that’s what has happened.
 
Messages
1,739
Yep.
Modelling and the economy. Modelling because a Helix, Kemper, Fractal, or Boss is a good approximation of 250K+ worth of amps in a small(ish) box that doesn't need roadies to move around. And because if things aren't selling en masse, it is the economy, or a massive cultural shift in behaviour. Well, we've had that shift too.
It's a perfect storm if you are an amp seller without a specific niche market.
 

ntotoro

Member
Messages
706
Options, options and more options. I don't think the economy is an indicator of gear purchases, unless you're out-of-work or work in a field that is incentive-laden. There's just so much out there that it makes people's heads spin. My main amp has been the same since 2005 partially because I love it and partially because there's too much out there and I just say "**** it" and stick with what I've gotten to learn at every single rehearsal and gig since then.
 

line_rider

Member
Messages
102
I haven't had a tube amp in 13 years or so, been on modeling since I sold my last tube amp a Randall RM-100 back then.

And since I got a Helix a couple years ago getting another tube amp isn't even on my radar anymore and likely not even another modeler.
 

ifallalot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,966
I think many of us are asking too much (me included) want too much. The guitar market has the used markdown better figured out than the amp market, and then add to the fact that amps are a PITA to ship and no one wants to lose that much cash for the effort

Add the popularity of modeling and pedals and people simply don't need as many amps
 

HTSMetal

Member
Messages
1,331
As a guy born on the beginning cusp of "Millennial" (1985), I can tell you that Millennials absolutely play guitar. Damn near every single one of my friends picked up the instrument in middle or high school (inspiring me to do so as well), and continue to play in some shape or form today at varying levels of skill.

The difference is, by and large we don't accumulate gear. We simply don't have the "fun money" to do so. Even the guys at my current weekly P&W and theater gigs who are all in their late 20s/early 30s generally have no more than two electrics, a single acoustic, and a low wattage tube amp or modeler combo.

Back when I was heavily doing YouTube demos I went through an accumulation phase, using the extra dough I made in my 60 hour per week white collar IT job to fill my house up with guitars and amps. Once I realized I truly hated my day job and I was making enough doing music to make ends meet, I ditched the day job, sold all the extraneous gear and made music my life. I can't buy gear like I once did, but I'm far happier...and I think a lot of musicians are realizing the same; you can still do it all with less.
 

JKAinsworth

Member
Messages
129
The gear market in general is slowing down. As for amps in general, the places where you can open up some of the behemoths of yesteryear are drying up so the big stuff is less desireable, and for low vol applications digital may be more practical.

I also think the economy is doing worse than we think, maybe the indicators haven't reached the public consciousness yet, but I see a lot of things slowing down.
I agree with the economy slowing. One of the best indicators of prosperity is the sale of new cars. Everyone is giving rebates, deals, sales, etc. This doesn't happen when people are happy and shopping for new cars. I have a good friend who works at the used lot for a major local dealer. Used cars are selling four to one at his dealership. Maybe it will pickup again some day.
 

vintagefox

Member
Messages
1,217
Just going off what I've seen posted around here and also seeing ads online. Some stuff seems to just sit for months or even years and won't budge until someone drops the price. Just seems like stuff is moving slowly, and not only amps but also guitars and pedals too.. basically any and all gear.
I really don't see any of this happening. I buy and sell all the time, and selling has never been an issue for me. If you sell overpriced crap, then yeah, it will sit for years, but most people aren't doing that.

The only thing i can think of is that the amount of options easily outweighs the amount of players. There's been a crazy boom of pedal manufacturers and software developers in the last 5 years or so. This could make it seem like things are sitting for longer than normal i suppose?

Btw, I live in SLC. The economy is insanely good hear right now.
 

carlosmucho

Member
Messages
238
What data are you relying on to conclude that amps, especially used ones are selling slowly these days?
No one ever provides any evidence in these threads. Or the "guitar is dying" threads. But to be fair the forum is just for a bunch of guitar enthusiasts to shoot the breeze, so I don't expect to see posts that could be an article in the economist.

My perception is that a lot of stuff does sit on reverb for a long time. But I've also moved more gear in the last 3-4 years than I have in the preceding 15, including a 100 watt Mesa head and a big cab, and it always moves when priced realistically, in line with recent completed transactions.
 

vintagefox

Member
Messages
1,217
everyone with sense is moving to modelling. Kemper, helix, fractal, boss, etc. it just makes sense. why pay $1500 for one great amp when you could pay $1500 and get 20+ great amps.. plus a boat load of effects and all in one box with no mics or cables to worry about or anything.
Because some people want the real thing, and don't care about a bunch of other amp models or a boat load of effects. I know plenty of people who were tube snobs and moved to modeling, and swore by it for years, only to move back to tubes.

There isn't a "one size fits all" when it comes to rigs. It's a personal and individual thing. Modeling is just another flavor, and not everyone likes the same flavor.
 
Last edited:

scelerat

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,067
I agree with the economy slowing. One of the best indicators of prosperity is the sale of new cars. Everyone is giving rebates, deals, sales, etc. This doesn't happen when people are happy and shopping for new cars. I have a good friend who works at the used lot for a major local dealer. Used cars are selling four to one at his dealership. Maybe it will pickup again some day.
Not necessarily disagreeing with the notion that some economic indicators are worrisome, but the change in auto sales could be something else. Around here (SF Bay) and other urban places I'm familiar with, personally-owned autos in general are on the decline. There seems to be demand for better public transportation, better walkability, better bikeability. Ridesharing, short- and long- term car rentals, bike sharing, and scooters are all filling in roles that personal autos have traditionally taken. I don't expect that trend to change without some larger tidal trends -- such as the general trend to dense urban centers and urban revitalization that is happening everywhere -- also changing.
 
Last edited:

blaster

Member
Messages
1,197
A couple issues are what is happening in selling used amps. First, high wattage amps or stacks aren't selling well at all. More players are going to lower wattage amps that are easy to transport, plus venues don't want someone playing high wattage amps. Second, more and more people are using modelers such as Helix, AX, Kemper that sound great and can be used in the FOH systems well. I see more younger musicians going this route. Third, there is a glut of used gear as mentioned and the fact that there are a plethora of new amps...over supply of gear. Fourth, most musicians have the gear they want and without disposable income at the ready, no need to buy what you don't need.
 

scelerat

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,067
But in terms of amps... seriously, ask yourself, who but an obsessed gear nut would bother with a heavy, hot old tube amp, when you can get something that has a thousand good sounds, can fill a room with sound, has so many more features for recording and DI, and weighs not much more than your guitar, for a few hundred bucks?

If your prime concern is the music, vintage and vintage-style tube amps don't make any practical sense.

I say this as someone who is one of those obsessed gear nuts who insists on rolling out 100lbs of speakers and iron for most gigs. But that's me, not the entire realm of musicians as a whole.
 

ESW.

Member
Messages
332
I'm super late to the party on modeling (I just got an Axe-FX III earlier this year), and I can't ever see going back to tube amps. My ~30 years of gear acquisitions have been primarily about trying to get a particular sound (a moving target, usually), and now I can do that in Axe Edit. I don't really have to buy more amps or pedals.
 




Trending Topics

Top