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Selling a modded guitar

#1 User is offline   LPSpII 

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 09:30 PM

I love buying a low end guitar and fixing it up. If you modded one out and sold it, do you take in consideration of the cost of the new hardware? I have a $130 guitar with a new nut, setup, strings, and $60 tuners.
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#2 User is offline   Little Jerry 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 12:12 AM

View PostLPSpII, on 06 January 2018 - 09:30 PM, said:

I love buying a low end guitar and fixing it up. If you modded one out and sold it, do you take in consideration of the cost of the new hardware? I have a $130 guitar with a new nut, setup, strings, and $60 tuners.

I have read many guitar forums and the consensus is that most buyers will not pay up anything meaningful for upgraded components and I doubt anyone would give value towards a guitar for the set-up or for new strings. Many advise keeping the original components, restoring the guitar and then selling the guitar and upgraded components separately, which doesn't get you whole, just maximizes your proceeds. I have a heavily upgraded Epi, but I did it for my own enjoyment and I doubt I'd would get anything meaningful for the upgrades if I were to sell the guitar. I hate to say it, but using your guitar as an example, I would still look at it as a used $130 Epi and price my offer accordingly. At best, if I wanted that model guitar, I may pay a few more dollars considering the nut and tuners, but more likely I would consider it more of a tie breaker when deciding which guitar to make an offer on.
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#3 User is offline   vomer 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 05:23 AM

Exactly what Little Jerry said. Things like a nut and set up are just basics to get the guitar playing properly anyway. Sometimes if you're lucky you might get one straight from the factory that doesn't need anything, so people are less inclined to think of a nut and set up as adding value. You could try talking up your listing on the basis that the guitar is ready to play and doesn't need any work, but you won't get back anything like what you've put into it. Sometimes you just have to consider that guitar is your hobby, people put money into their hobbies, and guitar is a lot cheaper than say golf or owning a boat.
Paul.


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#4 User is offline   sparquelito 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 05:59 AM

Some random thoughts here;

* If I were to buy a $130 guitar, and I then spent $85 getting it up to snuff with upgrades and modifications, at the point I wished to sell the guitar, I would be asking $225 for it on Craigslist.
I would advertise the new features for what they were (improvements), and I would hope for at least some recompense for my time and effort in getting the guitar set up right.

* Being a realist myself, I would understand that this is a saturated guitar market, and I would hope to barter with even the most interested buyer, and probably end up compromising on $175, and being happy that I didn't completely lose my shirt on the deal.

* If I couldn't get at least $175 for it, I would end up keeping it.
And then, lesson duly learned, I would slow down all ambitions to 'flip' guitars, knowing full well that it's not a profitable venture.


Most of us realize that after-market modifications and improvements can actually, slightly, increase the resale value (for lower-end guitars or name-brand guitars that aren't all that old in the first place).
And we are wise enough to keep all the original bits and parts in a nice zip-lock freezer bag, especially in the case of a less-than-20-year-old Gibson or Fender.
That way we at least offer the buyer the chance to restore the guitar to its 1999 or 2003 original glory.


Similarly, we all realize that after-market modifications and improvements will, ultimately, decrease the resale value (for name-brand guitars that are older and more collectible).
For instance, if I owned a 1961 Stratocaster or a 1960 Gibson Les Paul, I would be very wise to leave it bone-stock. Beat-up and worn-down or not, I would leave it bone-stock.
Because I destroy the resale value of such vintage instruments by monkeying around with new pickups and capricious upgrades.
The one exception is re-fretting.
That's understandable, and accepted.

Okay, I'm gonna shut up now.

[crying]
Am I alone in this?

Am I alone?
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#5 User is offline   Lord Summerisle 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 06:59 AM

Ever seen one of those ads for a used car in a newspaper's classifieds section, or Autotrader or similar?

2008 Ford Taurus (or whatever): transmission overhauled only 2000 miles ago, new battery, new alternator, can show $2500 worth of receipts, upgraded stereo and speakers, blah blah

The buyer doesn't care about any of that, he only wants to pay the going rate (or preferably lower)for a 2008 Taurus with x thousand miles on the clock in good mechanical condition. The improvements may encourage a buyer to choose this particular car over all the other similar ones for sale, but they won't cause him to part with any more money.

As with used Fords, so it is with used guitars.

This post has been edited by Lord Summerisle: 07 January 2018 - 06:59 AM

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#6 User is offline   sparquelito 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 07:43 AM

View PostLord Summerisle, on 07 January 2018 - 06:59 AM, said:

Ever seen one of those ads for a used car in a newspaper's classifieds section, or Autotrader or similar?

2008 Ford Taurus (or whatever): transmission overhauled only 2000 miles ago, new battery, new alternator, can show $2500 worth of receipts, upgraded stereo and speakers, blah blah

The buyer doesn't care about any of that, he only wants to pay the going rate (or preferably lower)for a 2008 Taurus with x thousand miles on the clock in good mechanical condition. The improvements may encourage a buyer to choose this particular car over all the other similar ones for sale, but they won't cause him to part with any more money.

As with used Fords, so it is with used guitars.



I agree with the spirit of what you are saying For Summerisle, if not the letter.

A 2008, priced at $130 Squier guitar is admittedly a bit different from a 2008, $5,800-priced Ford Taurus.
As you said, a perspective Taurus buyer doesn't care what went into making that car reasonably up-to-snuff, he just wants it up to snuff, and at a price very near the (nation-wide, respected) Blue Book value.

A perspective guitar buyer is dropping a lot less cash, he recognizes that the Blue Book values for a guitar are a bit more subjective, and he may actually appreciate (no pun intended) that the guitar in question has upgraded tuners, nut, and new strings. He doesn't want to pay a fortune for all that, but he will likely pay more than he would for a bone-stock 2008 Squier straight out of the pawn shop.

Just thinking out loud.
I may need more coffee.
:unsure:

This post has been edited by sparquelito: 07 January 2018 - 07:44 AM

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Am I alone?
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#7 User is offline   Pin 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 08:25 AM

By all means mod a guitar but getting your money back...you'll be lucky!
GUITARS: 1978 Gibson Les Paul 25 / 50; Gibson ES345 1959 Reissue; 1974 Yamaha AE12 jazz box; Yamaha SG2000: Fender "Roland Ready" Strat; Epiphone Les Paul '56; Epiphone SG400; HK Steinberger copy; Cimar Classical.
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#8 User is offline   ChristopherJ 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 10:25 AM

New strings? Snort!

Buyers do not care about your mods. The vast majority of which are hack jobs (in any hobby, Guitars to Cars). It is foolish to expect any decent return on such "upgrades".

One would be far, far better off returning the item to stock and selling off the parts. (Except used strings)
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#9 User is offline   LPSpII 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 01:25 PM

Wonderful points! Itd break my heart to sell it, plus Id never get what Id want for it.
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#10 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 01:27 PM

View PostLPSpII, on 06 January 2018 - 09:30 PM, said:

I love buying a low end guitar and fixing it up. If you modded one out and sold it, do you take in consideration of the cost of the new hardware? I have a $130 guitar with a new nut, setup, strings, and $60 tuners.


People that typically buy 130 dollar guitars buy them because they don't care about new nuts, setups, and expensive tuners. Prolly can't afford new nuts, setups, and expensive tuners either.

rct
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#11 User is offline   Lord Summerisle 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 01:57 PM

View Postrct, on 07 January 2018 - 01:27 PM, said:

People that typically buy 130 dollar guitars buy them because they don't care about new nuts, setups, and expensive tuners. Prolly can't afford new nuts, setups, and expensive tuners either.

rct


Or to be a smidgen more generous.

There will be a market for $130 guitars because a kid who wants to get into playing sees one on Craigslist and $130 is all he has saved up.

For more experienced guitarists buying a $130 guitar - chances are they want to buy it to make their own mods, not pay more than that to inherit someone else's. $130 for a body and neck (if it's any good) is still cheaper than many a crappy kit guitar, and way, way cheaper than buying a body and a neck from Warmoth or similar.

Or sometimes, well...I keep meaning to post pictures and a sound clip of the 1950s looking Strat-a-like I worked on last Christmas. Only it isn't really a Strat at all, but it looks vintage-y. A really pretty sunburst Yamaha Pacifica I bought for $175, and thereafter replaced the open humbucker at the bridge with a Dream 90, stuck a nice set of Grover Kluson-lookalikes in there. You get the picture. If I ever sold it? I reckon it would go for the same price as any other used, bottom of the range Yamaha Pacifica. Maybe less because chances are the buyer would be pining for a humbucker in the bridge position! I didn't do the mods with any thought to the resale value, though - it was just a fun project over the winter break.

This post has been edited by Lord Summerisle: 07 January 2018 - 02:02 PM

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#12 User is offline   Bad penguin 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 06:45 PM

You will never get your money back selling a guitar you modded. Doesn't matter if it plays and sounds exactly like the guitar it was copied from, you won't get your money back. Yes, I know you put in a set of Lollar pickups, a Babicz bridge, and that the nut is 40,000 year old fossilized mammoth ivory you put into that Epiphone Special 2. It's still a $130 guitar in peoples minds.

This post has been edited by Bad penguin: 07 January 2018 - 06:46 PM

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#13 User is offline   deeman 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 07:36 PM

View PostLPSpII, on 06 January 2018 - 09:30 PM, said:

I love buying a low end guitar and fixing it up. If you modded one out and sold it, do you take in consideration of the cost of the new hardware? I have a $130 guitar with a new nut, setup, strings, and $60 tuners.


You could try asking $200, but in the end the price someone would be willing to pay is going to be much closer to $130. Perhaps if you put some nice pickups in the guitar, you could improve the value...but the gain would still end up being up less than what you put into it.
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#14 User is offline   LPSpII 

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 03:35 PM

View PostBad penguin, on 07 January 2018 - 06:45 PM, said:

You will never get your money back selling a guitar you modded. Doesn't matter if it plays and sounds exactly like the guitar it was copied from, you won't get your money back. Yes, I know you put in a set of Lollar pickups, a Babicz bridge, and that the nut is 40,000 year old fossilized mammoth ivory you put into that Epiphone Special 2. It's still a $130 guitar in peoples minds.


40,000 year old fossilized mammoth ivory nut! Lol Id appreciate that mod any day.
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#15 User is offline   Dennis G 

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 05:49 PM

To quote the late R Kennedy: "Some men see things as they are and ask why? I dream of things that never were and ask why not?"
Mod away, just don't plan on getting anywhere close to what you've put into it money wise.

This post has been edited by Dennis G: 08 January 2018 - 05:49 PM

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#16 User is offline   gnappi 

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 07:52 AM

View PostLittle Jerry, on 07 January 2018 - 12:12 AM, said:

I have read many guitar forums and the consensus is that most buyers will not pay up anything meaningful for upgraded components and I doubt anyone would give value towards a guitar for the set-up or for new strings. Many advise keeping the original components, restoring the guitar and then selling the guitar and upgraded components separately, which doesn't get you whole, just maximizes your proceeds. I have a heavily upgraded Epi, but I did it for my own enjoyment and I doubt I'd would get anything meaningful for the upgrades if I were to sell the guitar. I hate to say it, but using your guitar as an example, I would still look at it as a used $130 Epi and price my offer accordingly. At best, if I wanted that model guitar, I may pay a few more dollars considering the nut and tuners, but more likely I would consider it more of a tie breaker when deciding which guitar to make an offer on.


+1, it doesn't get any clearer than that.

One thing I might add is that some "upgrades" are distasteful to me and actually steer me clear of buying it. Some examples are adding / installing Burstbuckers, SD "Jazz" pickups, or a Bigsby.



Regards,

Gary
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#17 User is offline   Mikesr1963 

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:38 AM

View PostLPSpII, on 06 January 2018 - 09:30 PM, said:

I love buying a low end guitar and fixing it up. If you modded one out and sold it, do you take in consideration of the cost of the new hardware? I have a $130 guitar with a new nut, setup, strings, and $60 tuners.


To make money, and it won't be a lot, you make it when you buy the guitar and not by adding hardware. If you're considering a guitar that needs any repair you low ball, low ball, low ball. All my guitars are inexpensive and you can check them out at the link. If you click on the photos the ones I've modded have the details and the end cost for everything. Since I built them for me I don't include my labor in the end pricing. It's my hobby.

https://www.facebook...=1&l=6479106901

This post has been edited by Mikesr1963: 11 February 2018 - 12:52 AM

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#18 User is offline   Megafrog 

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 12:51 AM

I bought a 2015 Gibson Les Paul Classic Rock II for $630 less than most places are selling them for used. The reason I got the deal is that the person who sold it to Guitar Center swapped out the robot tuners for Grovers. The guitar has the original tuners in the case but since they didnt advertise it that way the store had it sitting there for several months with no interest. Modifications definitely impact resale value and usually negatively. Dont expect any gain for your mods, expect you may take a bigger loss for them.
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#19 User is offline   tweed2 

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:05 PM

Any modding that I do, is done keeping in mind that I'll never get the expense back. If I keep the original parts (which I hardly ever do) to include, I consider the "upgrades" a wash. Otherwise, in my mind, they are a detriment in selling, as most people want something stock. Chances of me finding someone that's looking for something that my twisted mind considers the perfect guitar, are minimal, at best. Sometimes, I'll throw it up on the bay, at an inclusive price, just to see if I can match up with someone. But, if it doesn't sell in a week, it's back up at a below stock price.

Sometimes I tire of my experiments, sometimes I sell to fund another idea/purchase. Case in point, my Sorrento with gold foils. In my mind, a cool idea and something that I decided to act on when the pickups became available. I'll never get back the money I spent putting it together, but that's OK, it was fun. And,I've gotten to the point that I can't justify keeping 8 guitars, when I'm playing as little as I have been lately. I'll ask a reduced price, try to sell it quickly and move on. I'll consider the loss as "entertainment". No different than trying to ask close to full price, for a used guitar, even in excellent condition. Most will spend the little extra and get a new one. I would.
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#20 User is offline   mihcmac 

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 03:30 PM

Most Epiphones with bolt-on necks have a lower resale value having been mass produced in such high numbers. You can find brand new ones on eBay ranging around $130 that originally had an MSRP of $199.. Resale of a used or modded one has a lot of competition.. Usually the best upgrade for these guitars is better tuning keys, but no need to break the bank, decent cast machine heads can be found at reasonable prices.. Brands like Kluson, Wilkison, Grover, Gotoh are usually good quality and make a dramatic difference in your tuning experience and ease the frustration of having to continually tune your guitar. Most of the time the pickups in these guitars are pretty decent, but if you have one that is microphonic you may want to replace it or try re-potting it with wax.. Or you could put in a $200 Semore Duncan or a better LP style Asian pickup for about $10.. Remembering that what ever mods you do will not usually increase the resale value but enhance your personal playing experience..:)

This post has been edited by mihcmac: 11 February 2018 - 03:42 PM

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