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Alterations and flaws and how much they affect instruments worth

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Milk, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    For the second time in the past few months, I find myself trying to sell an instrument which has been altered. Not having much experience with buying or selling used, I find it difficult to evaluate how much alterations (or flaws/issues) depreciate an instrument. I'd like to have your opinions. Here i'm not be asking for a specific value of a specific instrument, i just want to know what % of the original price of an instrument should get knocked down depending on certain alterations or flaws.

    This guitar i'm gonna attempt to sell now is worth about 1200$/1300$ when everything is original and in good shape. However, in this case the paint of the top of the body has been redone (in some sort of gold color that i find questionable, the back, which is wood finish, has not been touched though, neither the neck) the headstock doesn't say the brand anymore, in this case Gibson (which is kinda weird cause it doesn't appear repainted or sanded...but it is very much a Gibson as i have serial numbers and everything) and one of the knob is kinda wonky (it works fine but it feels a bit like it's loose i guess, obviously that surely can be fixed rather easily) Oh yeah and the truss rod plate is missing.

    Other than that....the guitar works fine and has no playing or tone/sound issues.

    How much do you think i should knock off the price? Would cutting the price in half be not enough? Or too much...

    And just in general

    How much would you knock off an instrument for a repaint? Like what % of the normal value. I mean i realise some repainting jobs might actually improve the instrument but it is my understanding that normally, if it's not original, it just lowers the value no matter how good the paint job is or not (in this case i'd say the paint job is just ok, regardless of how i feel about the color, and it's also not a color the instrument originally came in).

    What % of original price would you knock off an instrument for a missing piece? (a knob, or a truss rod plate, something not vital to the sound but aesthetically important...things that normally can be replaced or fixed)

    For minor scratches or bumps? (not the case here but id like to know anyway)

    Or is it all just kind of a crapshoot and you just kinda make it up as you go along?

    The thing is someone offered to buy this guitar, he,s seen it in person when i was selling him something else and asked me how much i'd like for it and i'd said i'd look it up and i'm concerned about either insulting them with a price that's too high OR selling it for too low and getting screwed...(i'm poor so even 50 dollars is a big difference for me)
  2. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    You're not asking for a specific price, but you tell us how much it's worth and want to know how much to knock off. :rollno:
  3. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    I haven't said a model. Ok i did mention the brand. Whether i'd have mentioned the instrument at all not, you could have assumed i wanted to know because i want to sell an instrument. I still don't think i'm asking for an specific instrument's value in the sense that i know the model and i know what it's worth in good condition. I'm asking in general on any instrument what % of the price would you take off for such alterations/flaws. That's really the main point of this thread because it isn't bound to be the last time i sell a used instrument and quite frankly i don't have much of a clue. While we're on the subject though, i don't quite get that rule anyway about not asking for an instrument's value. Can someone explain to me why that's forbidden?

    You can object to the thread's idea in general (though i don't see why) but really it isn't just to figure out what price i should sell this instrument, it's for guidelines in the future. But i guess i'm just supposed to figure it out by myself?
  4. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I'm not objecting to the thread. Why don't you just come out and ask the question instead of dancing around?
  5. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    LOL this thread reminds me of the one I started that the mods had to delete.

    Posters, how about answering the question as best you can or just don't post?

    Let me give it a shot. Generally unless the piece you are selling is special you can cut the price in half from what it ran new post 2008 crash. While "special" items will hold their value if the additions are not desired it should bring the value to under half the new cost. If someone sold me a bass but up graded to a badass bridge I'd be happy about it and would not expect it to be less then half but also not more because of it.

    If the altercations are desired by the buyer it should not effect price. If not there really is no solid answer. The price it sells at will be the price the buyer agrees to pay.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    It depends on the instrument and the mod.

    I'm not saying this is what you are selling, but if I was going to buy a badly refinished Gibson Les Paul with no headstock logo that was normally worth $1300 I probably wouldn't be interested in buying it at all unless it was a killer deal. I'm talking like half of that, tops.
  7. ShoeManiac


    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey

    Refinishes are not always a bad thing in terms of mods to an instrument. It's a fairly big deal when you're talking about vintage instruments, but that's another topic entirely. But the key with a refinish job? It has to be done very well. Sloppy finish work can really kill an instrument's value. Any bubbling or irregularities in the finish are things that can scare off a buyer.

    Regarding the missing headstock logo? Big red flag! It leaves a buyer wonder why it isn't there. Was it painted over by someone who got overzealous with a refinish? Was the headstock damaged? And since we're talking about a Gibson, did the headstock actually break off? The missing logo might lead a buyer to believe that yes, the headstock broke off and has been replaced with some generic headstock.

    These are some of the questions that you're probably going to face. And they're very legit concerns on the part of a buyer.
  8. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    That would eliminate about 99% of the posts on TB. :D
  9. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    With the headstock logo missing that is going to narrow down your market to a small percentage of buyers. I would think you would be lucky to get 25 to 30% of the new replacement price.
  10. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    From your description that bass is a former shell of itself. The thing with the used market is it is hard to know who is looking, one mod might detract value from 95% of buyers but a small contingent might be willing to pay more since they are doing that mod anyways. In this case you have a (horrible sounding) refinish and a removed headstock logo, the truss rod cover and loose knob are minor but will deduct from the overall value. It is best to do easy fixes yourself prior to selling, that loose pot could be 5 seconds of work that costs you $50.

    Where are you getting this $12-300 price? Is it off ebay? Is it off of sold ones or listed ones? You need to remember that ebay prices will always be on the absolute top end, especially when it comes to asking prices. There are a lot of hidden costs you have to recoup with ebay, especially if you would like actual money for your item.

    Without seeing pics it is hard to say but I would imagine you would be hard pressed to get %50 of it's value based on the amateur refin and lack of logo short of finding the right buyer/scamming a fool.
  11. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    Alright. Worthwhile answers here. Thanks a lot all of you. This is gonna help me a lot in the future.

    I thought 50% off was probably ok but i see now i should probably go a bit lower. I am selling it with a Gibson case in perfect condition anyway which according to ebay it worth anything between 50 and 100$. Like i said i have someone who has seen the instrument who actually wants to buy it I just wasn't sure what should be my price, didnt want to go too low or insult them with a too high price (we've done business before). And just or the record, it isn't a Les Paul. The neck or head clearly weren't changed from the original (at least according to pictures online) so i'm STILL at a loss to explain how the logo was removed. I suppose they must have refinished it but i just don't see any clue that it was because the head is the same color as the neck and back of the guitar and THAT clearly hasnt been refinished so it's really strange... I inherited it from my grandad who passed away earlier this year so thats why i don't have any info on its history. I was gonna keep it at first but realised i have little use for that type of guitar and would rather just use the money i might make from it to buy myself an instrument i really do want.

    I did get the prices off ebay yeah and i am aware of the inflated prices to compensate for the fees. Generally, 1000$ or above i tend to knock off at least a 100$ from what people sell for on ebay. And those were sold listings. I'll look into fixing the pots.

    I sold a bass that had been refinished earlier this year and i had trouble there too in figuring our the value. In the end i ended up selling it for 120$ less than i intended at first. It was a similar situation as aside from the refinish and the head not saying the brand anymore, it also had a knob issue that involved the soldering. In this case though it was a wood grain refinish and a lot of people thought it looked great so... Also, it wasnt a valued model so it was a bit easier figuring out the value.
  12. There's a ton of Gibson fakes out there. I mean copies that are so well done, complete with the Gibson logo and correct-looking serial numbers, that only an expert could determine that they are fakes. I remember seeing one a few years back (identified as a fake), I picked it up and looked at it carefully and if the dealer had not figured out it was a fake, I sure wouldn't have known, it was that well done.

    Then there's the Gibson look-alikes. Exact clones of the Gibsons, but with their brand on the headstock. They range in quality from not worth a *@%&, to very good. It's fairly common for folks to try to take those knock-offs and attempt to pass them off as real.

    To me, any guitar that has had the name taken off the headstock is almost worthless. I've got one right now that would be worth over $300 but somebody sanded the name off and altered the shape of the headstock. I'll be lucky to get $75 --if I can even sell it. It plays good, but who wants it?
  13. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Here's what I know about what the commercial buyers like GC look for. They go to ebay and get an average of what your particular model is selling for and offer you half of that. They will knock even more off for condition less than pristine and will not give you anything for upgrades or mods, and might possibly knock it down even further if the mod is not easily reversible, like drilling holes for a tug bar.

    I took a nice little MIM J with Dimarzio Model J's and a Bart pre in to GC to see about trading. They offered me the same they offered for a used bone stock MIM J.

    If you decide to hot rod your bass, keep the stock parts and swap them back out if you decide to sell. Parting out that way will bring you more money than selling a hot rodded bass and parting out the stock stuff.