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Post new topic Price of a Steel guitar.
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Author Topic:  Price of a Steel guitar.
Barry Yasika


From:
Bethlehem, Pa.
Post  Posted 17 Oct 2020 6:27 pm    
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Is it me or does price of routine Double Neck with 8 pedals and 5 knee levers seem to be going through the roof in just the last few years? It seems to me that you'd be better off just buying a new one compared to a used one for the minimal extra cash. I mean like a cheap one is anything less than 3,000 dollars. Then again maybe the things are just going up in value. I realize some the older builders like for instance Emmons, are pretty much out of the loop as far as new guitars are concerned, but there's some pretty good new builders out there and the quality, tone and playability are becoming better all the time. Anyway, just kind of an observation and of course, I could be wrong.
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Ricky Davis


From:
Buda, Texas USA
Post  Posted 17 Oct 2020 6:34 pm    
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Very Happy Cool I only deal in Restoring/Refurbishing old steel guitars; so I only know how much money has to go into the steel to make it newly playable and presentable; and when most all "for sale" steel guitars online are "photoshopped" into looking like some new model from outer space, I now know why huge prices are being put on them for sale. I always get the call: "Ricky I just bought this used steel for 3000.00 and it doesn't play or look like advertised, can you fix it"?? And of course the fix is having to take it all apart from the massive screwups the selling has done; and now a 3000.00 guitar has 500-800 put into it and now it's worth 3800.00 to the buyer when it was really only worth 1500.00 to start with; with the amount of CORRECT work that has to go into it. I get countess amount of these emails and calls weekly and I always say: "let me check out the steel before you buy it, please"...ah..ha.
Ricky
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Last edited by Ricky Davis on 18 Oct 2020 4:40 am; edited 3 times in total
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Ross Shafer


From:
Petaluma, California
Post  Posted 17 Oct 2020 6:43 pm    
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On ebay....you can do a search of completed auctions to see what things actually sell for....or don't....
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Justin Emmert

 

From:
Martinsville, VA
Post  Posted 17 Oct 2020 6:52 pm    
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Most new high end D-10’s with basic setups go for $5000 and up easy. Mid-levels $4000 and up. So I can see where a good used one would run you in the $2500-3000 range. There are lesser sought after guitars that you can get for much less, but run the risk of not being able to get parts.
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Jon Voth

 

From:
Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 17 Oct 2020 7:16 pm    
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I've been looking for three years, I don't notice a big increase in that time.

I do notice that used guitars sometimes go fairly close to the cost of ordering a new one. My first big purchase will be new because, for that, it means a lot and I'll be proud of having one that's mine only-unless there's a mint Mullen G2 D10 for 2-3 grand somewhere! (and that is not gross in color).

But PSGs don't depreciate like a new luxury car or an Xbox game a year later. And we're all friends here and are trustworthy and you're helping a colleague also.

And guitars like Emmons and Sho Bud are no longer made, so it's like looking at a 68-71 Charger-no technology and a deathtrap but oh man.....!
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Gene Tani

 

From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 17 Oct 2020 11:21 pm    
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Ross Shafer wrote:
On ebay....you can do a search of completed auctions to see what things actually sell for....or don't....


Reverb also lists sale prices
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Tal Herbsman


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 8:25 am    
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There are a few high volume sellers in this forum that ask aspirational prices that may or may not be reality based. There are plenty of examples, the one that comes to mind right now is the LDG that sold for $2,000 one day and was listed for $3,200 the next day. What it sold for I don't know.

Like everybody always says: a guitar is worth whatever somebody's willing to pay for it.
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K Maul


From:
Upstate NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 8:34 am    
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$2000-$3200.....that’s a MARKUP.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 9:06 am    
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I have noticed a similar phenomenon with lap steels. I've purchased original, albeit not mint by any means, postwar Gibson Centurys and Ultratones for two to three hundred dollars in the past. Now, entry level Gibson BR-9 carcasses, stripped of everything but what remains of their paint, are offered for nearly that amount or more. Fully intact BR-9s are usually listed for $500 and up -- way, way up. And the truly non-Gibsonesque, wimpy-sounding Skylarks are even more costly. Go figure...
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Ron Shalita


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 9:13 am    
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Some of the builders are taking up to 2 years to complete a guitar, so a grand or two less makes a used one look like a deal .. well it did to me anyway..
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Donny Hinson

 

From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 10:01 am    
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Yes, used prices have gone up, but you still might save one-quarter to one-third over buying something new. That's significant. What amazes me more are the prices for solid body guitars; it's no problem at all to spend a couple of thousand on one; collector models, 10-20 times that. And for that, you get a big chunk of wood, a couple little pickups, a neck, a bridge, and a bunch of wire frets. Very few of the parts outside the bridge and tuning keys are machined, and it has about one-tenth the total number of parts of a pedal steel.

So IMHO, solid-body straight guitars are the ripoff. Pedal steels, new or used, are still quite a bargain! Back in '65, you could buy a new car for about $2,500, and a nice used one for under $2,000. But a new pedal steel at the same time was about $1,000, and a decent used one was $700-$800. Nowadays, a new car will set you back at least ten times the '65 price, and a nice used one will still bring $20,000. Compare that to a pedal steel. How many new pedal steels today start at $10,000? And how many used ones do you see selling for $6,000-$8,000? Winking
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Michael Lester

 

From:
Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 11:04 am     Steel Pricing
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Certainly, supply and demand enter the pricing.

I have no idea how many steel guitars have ever been produced or how many have survived that production. I am surprised by how frequently a thread is posted tracking the re-hab of a steel that looks like it's been sitting outside the case on somebody's porch for 20 years. If the supply met the demand, there would be little incentive to re-build a dead guitar. The demand seems always greater than the supply.

I do know that the 'classic' steels on this Forum, Reverb, eBay, Craig's List don't last long on the For Sale pages. More middle line steels stay up a bit longer - but they seem to always eventually sell. There are exceptions, but as a trend, it appears there are more buyers looking than there are sellers selling.

For me, it's amazing how many views a For Sale steel gets just on this Forum. A couple of thousand views is not uncommon. Some percentage, even a small one, of those views is active buyers.

The marketplace sets the prices. Legitimate sellers know that they can't ask $10,000 for a $3,500 guitar and hope to sell it. Only outsiders of the steel guitar communities price a sale believing "Uncle Jack's' really rare guitar is akin to a Stradivarius. What buyers will actually pay is the correct price.


If a buyer has always dreamt of a perfect Emmons (or ?) the odds are good that he or she will eventually find one. The keyword is 'one'. Hard to negotiate price if there's only one for sale and 2,000 people have looked at the ad. Few car dealers would negotiate the price of a unique car that had 2,000 people look at the ad. With that many 'prospects' a near full-price sale is all but a guarantee.

Steel buyers may get 'free shipping' or some other gratuity, but I'd be surprised if any get a fat 'discount'.

A comment in this thread suggested that some dealers were 'aspirational' in their asked prices. I'd bet they're getting what they ask or very close to it.

Supply and demand.
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Jerry Malvern

 

From:
Menifee, California, USA
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 1:55 pm    
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Donny, one point worth mentioning is the fact that in the 60's, both guitars and cars needed to be tuned. Today, the guitars still do, the cars, well, not so much.
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Leo Grassl

 

From:
Nashville TN
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 2:33 pm    
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Ricky Davis wrote:
Very Happy Cool I only deal in Restoring/Refurbishing old steel guitars; so I only know how much money has to go into the steel to make it newly playable and presentable; and when most all "for sale" steel guitars online are "photoshopped" into looking like some new model from outer space, I now know why huge prices are being put on them for sale. I always get the call: "Ricky I just bought this used steel for 3000.00 and it doesn't play or look like advertised, can you fix it"?? And of course the fix is having to take it all apart from the massive screwups the selling has done; and now a 3000.00 guitar has 500-800 put into it and now it's worth 3800.00 to the buyer when it was really only worth 1500.00 to start with; with the amount of CORRECT work that has to go into it. I get countess amount of these emails and calls weekly and I always say: "let me check out the steel before you buy it, please"...ah..ha.
Ricky


Ricky, you are so right about PHOTO SHOP and about the problem of guitars being sold at prices that should mean they have already been to you or one of the other master mechanics for setup. I think doctoring up photos using photo shop and filters should be against the rules. It can truly misrepresent the condition and general appearance of a guitar. Me personally, I don’t think there has been an improvement in the sound of newer guitars whatsoever in recent times so I stick to what sounds good to me. Playability, yes, we have seen improvements. Sound? I don’t think so but that’s just my opinion. A used guitar of newer or older vintage in great working order usually costs less than a brand new one based on what I see on the for sale section.
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 3:48 pm    
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I agree with the original poster - prices on used late-model steels have been climbing some. I bought a Zumsteel D-10 (84 model, so not "late-model" about 6 years ago for $2600 shipped. I sold it about 4 years later for about the same - but soon I was seeing similar 80's vintage Zumsteels going for $1000 more. The one I sold came on the market about a year later - $4000.

A lot depends on brand. When I started watching the prices 10 years ago, a good P/P was about 3000. They climbed up closer to 4000, but lately seem to be back closer to 3k. Franklins were over $10k not so long ago. Now? Maybe $8k max, it seems to me, sometimes less. But most desired all-pulls built this century seem to have risen of late.

What is remarkable is that, despite demand (as indicated by waiting lists), the price of new steels seem not to have risen very much, with the exception of Sierra - a fairly unique model so hardly comparable. With used Zumsteels and Infinities going for more than a brand new MSA Legend, used Mullens often going for what you can buy a new Williams for, unless I wanted something very specific that is no longer made, I'd certainly opt for new. But my gear buying days have ended, I think. I'm just hoping my partner's "gear selling days" are many years off!
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Ricky Davis


From:
Buda, Texas USA
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 4:33 pm    
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Quote:
I think doctoring up photos using photo shop and filters should be against the rules. It can truly misrepresent the condition and general appearance of a guitar. Me personally, I don’t think there has been an improvement in the sound of newer guitars whatsoever in recent times so I stick to what sounds good to me. Playability, yes, we have seen improvements. Sound? I don’t think so but that’s just my opinion.

"I Agree Leo".
Ricky
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Email Ricky: sshawaiian@austin.rr.com
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 5:00 pm    
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Indeed, Leo and Ricky - an LDG tends to go for a particular price range without regard for the mechanical situation, unless it is very obviously "rough" or a stunner. But the value of what Ricky and others do to guitars is HUGE! It's not cheap to have a pro totally rework an instrument, add pedals or levers, and make her shine. It's maybe a bit cheaper if he's just polishing and adjusting. But a properly setup guitar is a dream to play, and a poorly setup one is a nightmare!

And I also agree on the photos - I've seen too many where the contrast and saturation have been boosted to absurd levels. It looks good on a monitor, but print that picture, and it is totally garish and unrealistic. There are ways to photograph your steel to show it off at it's best. This is mostly a matter of choosing good lighting (not bright sunlight, for example) and background (A dark or contrasting solid blanket can be nice, so can a nice wooden deck or house siding, or even grass for any color other than green!). There are also ways of manipulating a photo so that it hides flaws, fading, scratches, etc. Having trained in cinematography and photography, I can spot the difference, but many might not.
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Marlin Smoot


From:
Kansas
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 6:37 pm     $
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Interesting topic.

Last edited by Marlin Smoot on 21 Oct 2020 12:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Marty Holmes

 

From:
Magnolia ,TX USA
Post  Posted 18 Oct 2020 7:29 pm     Prices
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Its all boils down to what a person feels they think there guitar is worth and if someone is gullible enough to pay their asking price.Take for instance a Franklin guitar 8-12$k for one.Ive seen a d12 Shobud on ebay 20k and a Early Emmons for 12k.Are they worth it to me not really but that doesnt mean someone wont pay that price for the guitar if their heart desires it bad enough.When people stop paying high prices for steel guitars the prices will either drop or perhaps no one will sell their guitars because they feel it is worth more than a person is willimg to pay for the guitar.Just my 2 cents.
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Dave Magram

 

From:
San Jose, California, USA
Post  Posted 19 Oct 2020 6:42 am    
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Donny Hinson wrote:
Pedal steels, new or used, are still quite a bargain! Back in '65, you could buy a new car for about $2,500, and a nice used one for under $2,000. But a new pedal steel at the same time was about $1,000, and a decent used one was $700-$800. Nowadays, a new car will set you back at least ten times the '65 price, and a nice used one will still bring $20,000. Compare that to a pedal steel. How many new pedal steels today start at $10,000? And how many used ones do you see selling for $6,000-$8,000? Winking


Donny makes a good point.
People often overlook the effect of inflation on prices of older instruments when reminiscing about “the good old days, when great instruments could be purchased for peanuts”.

Based on the prices in the 1973 Emmons Guitar catalog, an Emmons D-10 push-pull with four knee levers would have cost $1,855 in 1973 dollars from the factory.

How much would a high quality D-10 priced at $1,855 in 1973 cost in today's dollars, after 47 years of inflation?

Depending on which online inflation calculator you use, $1,855 in 1973 dollars is equivalent to $10,770 in 2020 dollars https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ , or $11,225 https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

…nearly a 600% increase in real dollars!

So a price of $4,000 to $5,000 today for a new D-10 starts to sound like a real bargain--as does $3,500 for a used 1973 D-10 in good condition. Very Happy

- Dave
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Johnie King

 

From:
Tennessee, USA
Post  Posted 19 Oct 2020 6:59 am    
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Yes also a coke cost a nickel not too long ago an was made with real cane sugar instead of corn syrup.
Us old timers don’t realize how little a $1.00 will buy.
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Larry Phleger

 

From:
DuBois, PA
Post  Posted 19 Oct 2020 9:54 am    
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All things being considered, there are still plenty of good D10s for sale under $3k. When buying a used guitar it is usually necessary to do some work on it to make it playable and fit your personal preferences. Buying new allows the buyer to specify his/her preferences when ordering and eliminates the need for the buyer to make alterations/repairs after the purchase. I personally hate to see some older D10s cut down into SD10s. It's like chopping up a classic car to build a rat rod.
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Jeffery Mercer


From:
Born in Portsmouth Oh. 12/10/1954
Post  Posted 23 Oct 2020 8:50 pm    
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I totally agree with your statement...to add to your statement, How do you think a Newbie feels when they see all these astronomical prices especially on single neck guitars 3X5 or 3X4’s it’s downright scary! A real nitemare but I know of whom your speaking of...hey it is what it is...

Tal Herbsman wrote:
There are a few high volume sellers in this forum that ask aspirational prices that may or may not be reality based. There are plenty of examples, the one that comes to mind right now is the LDG that sold for $2,000 one day and was listed for $3,200 the next day. What it sold for I don't know.

Like everybody always says: a guitar is worth whatever somebody's willing to pay for it.

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Jeff Mercer
Currently own A 1995 Mullen Pre-RP Dbl. Neck 10 String Pedal Steel 8X5, Hilton VP Boss Katana 2X12 100 water.
Peterson Tuner, Many Pedals, Beautiful Steelers Choice Seat! Also play Blues Harp, have many harps, and Vintage Mics. Too much to list...I am Blessed!
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