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Old 08-05-2019, 06:03 PM
whvick whvick is offline
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Default How do custom guitars hold value as compared to martins, Taylors, and other big brand

I tried to search such topic, and found nothing. If you get a custom build from a good luthier, will it hold value as the big name companies?
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:11 PM
Rockysdad Rockysdad is online now
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Personally, I don't get buying a guitar thinking of resale value.
If I buy a guitar, I intend to keep it.
As far as resale, it's supply & demand. IMHO
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:13 PM
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vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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A custom guitar is a very different beast from a brand name when it comes to resale. Part of the problem is name recognition. Everyone knows Martin, Taylor and Gibson. How many even know Bourgeois or Lowden or Froggy Bottom, names common on this forum? Even with those great reputations, the market is limited to those in-the-know. Everybody wants you to think that whatever they're selling is custom or special. So unless the name is known by the potential buyer it's a near impossible sale. There isn't enough marketing depth so the buyer pool is limited.

But then if you're in the right marketing pool perhaps a custom build might keep pretty good value. But the bottom line is what someone is willing and able to pay.
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:30 PM
sakar12 sakar12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vindibona1 View Post
A custom guitar is a very different beast from a brand name when it comes to resale. Part of the problem is name recognition. Everyone knows Martin, Taylor and Gibson. How many even know Bourgeois or Lowden or Froggy Bottom, names common on this forum? Even with those great reputations, the market is limited to those in-the-know. Everybody wants you to think that whatever they're selling is custom or special. So unless the name is known by the potential buyer it's a near impossible sale. There isn't enough marketing depth so the buyer pool is limited.

But then if you're in the right marketing pool perhaps a custom build might keep pretty good value. But the bottom line is what someone is willing and able to pay.
To your point, I spoke with a local music store owner who 1). attends NAMM and 2). sells lots of guitars from brands like Eastman. I told him he should become Utah's first Lowden dealer and he said, "Who?" I was shocked, but I guess I learned that even owners just know what they sell.
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:30 PM
GmanJeff GmanJeff is offline
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The market for non-brand name instruments is very small. That will likely translate to longer sales cycles and potentially higher levels of depreciation. There may be occasional exceptions, but in general I would not expect it to be easy, quick, or profitable to resell lesser known instruments.
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:59 PM
dhockenbury dhockenbury is offline
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I agree with both responses.

I am currently thinking through/weighing the options phase of commissioning a custom build next year myself. I have benefited greatly from many threads discussing process, considerations, etc., and following many of the builds shared here over the past 6 months.

Based on what I have learned thus far I would that "value" in this narrow market segment should be weighted in terms of what a specific builder brings to your expectations against the cost of having precisely what you seek.

I believe that this equation is relevant for all parts of the guitar market, and I think there are exceptional craftsman at various price points even in the custom build segment from which to choose. For me the primary choice will be tone and playability. Aesthetics and other criteria will also have a place in my choice.

To be able to enjoy "that" guitar there is a price that I will be fine with paying.

Resale value will not be among my considerations however.

As pointed out by vindibona1, it is a small market and somewhat unnoticed by the larger guitar community. In addition, finding a purchaser that is seeking exactly what you had built for specifically for yourself for anything above 60% of your investment would be doing well I would think.

Last edited by dhockenbury; 08-05-2019 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:02 PM
TokyoNeko TokyoNeko is offline
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In a word, they don't.

I paid just under $2,000 for my Worland custom a couple of years ago. I'd be lucky to get $400~500 if I put it up for sale, although I think it's worth a lot more than that.

FWIW, Fred at the Repair Zone in San Diego, who did the setup on it the first time, said it sounds like a guitar worth $6,000. (He might have been a bit flattering in front of a customer, but he doesn't seem like a guy who would do that TOO much.) Anyway, the price that it would command on a used instrument market is something completely different altogether.

I had the guitar custom-built to last me a lifetime, and that thought hasn't changed. That the used sale value amounts to almost nothing makes it even easier to hold onto it.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:02 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Here is a specific example supporting points others have made in this forum...

At one time, Dream Guitars sold this William Kelday 000 12 fret:

https://www.dreamguitars.com/shop/ke...ble-sides.html

They described it in glowing terms about how great this guitar is. I now own the guitar, and have for several years. I got it in a trade at The Podium toward the end of that store's existence. As I recall, the guitar at that time came in from somebody in the Washington DC area. I don't know how many hands it passed through, but from what I have seen around here, it is not uncommon for these higher end guitars to be passed around over time among those who appreciate such a guitar.

At one point, not too long ago, I thought I might sell it since I have not been playing it as much. I contacted Dream Guitars about consigning it. They responded with a nice email, but saying that they wouldn't take it on because, though Kelday is well known and respected in Europe, the name is virtually unknown here in the US. I give big points to the fact that Dream Guitars responded and gave me a plausible reason for their decision.

Fortunately, this was the best thing that could have happened for me because I now know I would have seriously regretted selling this instrument and would have had to spend far more than I would get from the sale, to replace it. The fact that the name is not well known here in the US worked in my favor when I got it, and now prevented me from making a stupid mistake if I had sold it. Name recognition is a big thing in the sale of guitars, apparently. I can see why. Also, my Kelday came with a Hiscox case, which I knew nothing about. I read about them in threads here, and came to appreciate the quality of the case too. I am tickled to be able to own a guitar like this, and now understand that I got a real bargain when I acquired it. All those who have played it, kept telling me it would be a mistake to sell it, and I am glad that it worked out for me to hang on to it.

I can say that I have been able to play a number if high end guitars due to the guitar shops we have been fortunate to have here in the Twin Cities over the years, and this Kelday holds up to the best of them. That same thing would be true of many unknown name guitars folks wish to sell from time to time. It is really the buyer's loss that s/he doesn't know what some of these guitars that come up for sale really are, but frustrating, I am sure, for those wanting or especially needing to sell theirs.

Tony
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Last edited by tbeltrans; 08-05-2019 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:16 PM
Dwight Dwight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whvick View Post
I tried to search such topic, and found nothing. If you get a custom build from a good luthier, will it hold value as the big name companies?
Unless it was made by one of the top handful of luthiers in the world, you will get a small fraction of the cost back. Additionally the more "custom" you make it, the harder it is to sell.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:23 PM
paulzoom paulzoom is offline
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Trades might be a better option. Then the person can see how good the guitar is even though it might not be from a well know luthier. The other thing to help with sales is to offer, say, a 48 hour return policy, shipping included. This might make a buyer to take a chance on an unknown luthier.
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:23 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GmanJeff View Post
The market for non-brand name instruments is very small. That will likely translate to longer sales cycles and potentially higher levels of depreciation. There may be occasional exceptions, but in general I would not expect it to be easy, quick, or profitable to resell lesser known instruments.
Yes, but I would add that it also depends upon the maker (luthier). For someone whose star is still ascending and who is actively building and getting better, (and raising his prices as they may be justified), you might actually make money. And after these folks retire, those with no particular cachet can expect to see the values on their creations begin to drop once their names are no longer on other's lips.
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:34 PM
jseth jseth is offline
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It would be a Fool's Errand to order a Custom built instrument thinking that you can either make money by selling it or completely recoup your investment...
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:37 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Ask the guys who bought the first Monteleone's or Collings. Of course most custom builders don't reach those heights.

I have six instruments built by one-man shops. Three were custom built for me to play and enjoy, not for some hypothetical future owner. I don't get this obsession-with-resale/inability-to-commit-to-an-individual-instrument mindset so prevalent here. I guess that's a subject for another thread.
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:48 PM
Tnfiddler Tnfiddler is online now
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I’ve only ran into a small handful of people who know what my Bourgeois is. Every single one of those have been musicians and only 1 or 2 had actually seen one or played one before they saw mine.
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:51 PM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Default How do custom guitars hold value as compared to martins, Taylors, and other big brand

It depends on a number of factors. The current market for whatever guitar you are selling, reaching the right audience and pricing it appropriately.
I have sold 2 custom instruments and sold one for exactly what I paid for it and the other for about 95% of what I bought it for.
I have a 3rd custom for sale and will probably lose some money on it since it is a buyer’s market these days.
I do not buy instruments with resale in mind but have mostly done well with the few luthier built guitars that I have sold.

Best,
Jayne
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