Is the Bass and Bass equipment market simply over-saturated

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tbz, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. tbz


    Jun 28, 2013
    Slightly reposting from another thread, but I think this could use some discussion:

    Has the market simply over saturated itself, in terms of supply and demand with Basses and bass gear?

    Would used prices actually skyrocket if production decreased?

    There are a lot of us on these forums that own enough instruments to supply 3 or 4 other bassists with a primary and there really any factual demand on the existing supply in that case?

    Won't we see the demand drop, and the supply rise as folks that are hoarding pass away or sell their collections?

    Seems like the number of kids getting into music now is substantially less than when I started 20 years ago, so that would correlate with a drop off in demand. Our population isn't exploding so there's not enough new folks coming into the world for the offset in percentages (e.g. if say 10% of high school kids learn an instrument now, compared to 20% in 1994, but the population of high school kids haven't doubled.)

    From my view of the situation the market is clearly over saturated which is why we're seeing such low resale values.

    Kids getting into music now aren't even necessarily starting bands, as it's pretty easy to indulge your muse solo with sampling, et al. So that'll correlate to a decrease in demand, especially for bass which is, traditionally, a support instrument.

    Just my thoughts, I'm leaning towards the view that prices would probably not increase much even if production ceased entirely for a few years.
  2. RED J

    RED J Lol Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2000
    Ayup. You're right on in my view.
  3. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    I think it has to be extremely tough for any manufacturer at this point. Just think of the thousands of instruments produced over the past say 40 years. How many bass players are out there in the world?? Unlike other things, like cars, basses do not fall apart or die and get recycled. A brand new USA Fender purchased in 1977, 1991, 2003 or whatever is in most cases is perfectly usable today. Then think about all the other brands and the thousands of versions produced (ibanez, gretsch, Warwick, cort, squier, Washburn, and on and on. There has to be about 100 basses out there for each person who considers themselves a bass player (100x1 odds). Supply has to already have passed demand...and production continues. Prices still go up every year.
  4. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    IMHO- Yes. ;-)
  5. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I'd go a step further and say oversaturation is a wider phenomenon. We overproduce just about anything. Not just bass gear. Just think of all the cars.
  6. In any typical popular music band, two guitars and one bass are bought.
  7. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    My brother is a music teacher and he says while the kids like to play guitar, drums, bass and keys, traditional rock bands and the instrumenta are a bit unmodern.
    Most of the music for teenagers is completely computer made. They are not as used to and longing for traditional rock as other young people have been since 1956 or so.
  8. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    pretty much an oversupply for music instruments in general and many (most?) durable goods as well. savvy corporations are moving into selling services, often via subscription, and eschewing actual manufacturing.

    a tiny elite market will remain.
  9. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Doubt it. I think it's all about the lack of disposable income these days.

    Instead of blowing money on extra music gear they don't need, now people blow money on other food and rent!

    And gas and insurance premiums (just wait and see what health insurance will cost in a couple years :eek:).

    Not to mention the total lack of confidence in government (largely made up of compulsive liars, crooks, and perverts), financial institutions, and the world economy in general.

    Even folks with some degree of affluence are afraid to spend it like they did just a few years ago. Things look "gloomy", and most people sense that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We're all waiting to see what that light is. Meanwhile, we "whistle in the graveyard", hoping for the best.
  10. I am in a niche of the collectables business, so to the extent that you are talking about the collectable/vintage bass market, I think that market will become increasingly bifurcated as my business is. I collect vintage Precision basses as a hobby.

    The very top of the market - your 1957 and '51 and '59-'62 Precisions that are mint and all-original, will continue to be the most expensive and the gap between the price of these iconic instruments and the muck will widen. There will always be people with the money and the interest and the pride of ownership emotional tug to pay up for the best. The rest of the pack will slide back, as we have witnessed, as the 99%'s disposable income is reduced by lack of wages per se, lack of wage inflation and increased taxation.

    As for modern gear, there is always the thrill of buying something when it's brand new, so manufacturers will continue to be able to sell new gear, but more and more gear will be sold at big discounts in the secondary market/ebay/Craigslist etc.

    Except for at the very top, it's a buyer's market for sure, which is good because we're all bass players!
  11. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    i'll take 'factors leading to a market oversupply' for $20, alex. :)
  12. bobfarabaugh


    Jan 23, 2009
    There has to be about 100 basses out there for each person who considers themselves a bass player (100x1 odds). Supply has to already have passed demand...and production continues. Prices still go up every year.

    I gotta buy more......I'm not holding up my end!
  13. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Rob S, excellent post. Thanks.

    The market is super-saturated. Has been for a few years at least. Next economic downturn should mark the end for several, perhaps many, of the brands commonly discussed here.

    The whole online candy store buying on credit phenomena will probably retrace significantly too. Or maybe we'll just 3-D print our own designs someday.
  14. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    You're not factoring for the fact that most of those players are, or will be, in dozens of bands and probably don't need any new gear for any but the first one.

    Which brings us back to the credit-fuelled orgy of rabid consumption for ego's sake that sites like this facilitate under the guise of education/discussion/fellowship.
  15. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    I used to be a gear hound, have recently visited to check for things in the classifieds. If anything, I'm surprised at how high prices are.

    60% of new was always the norm for something of quality and in great condition. I'm seeing most things go for at least that, which you'd expect here since the site is GAS-fuelled, but is it any different on CL or elsewhere? I'm not seeing it.
  16. denton57

    denton57 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    So that's twice as many guitarists, not counting the millions of bedroom guitarists. Bedroom bass players? Not many of those..
  17. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Pacifica CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    2050 - "Hey Johnny, what is this thing you're using to prop your door open with anyway?" - "oh, it's some old thing that used to be important to my great-great grandfather - I think it was called a holy grail back then." - "whatever…"
  18. +1
  19. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    I don't see it. I see a *ton* of cheap/bad gear out there that many serious amateurs like myself would never use (I'll not name names lest I get flamed) but as far as really good gear? Nah. There is lots out there, but there are lots of players.

    If the market were "flooded" you'd see prices drop, right? Me, I haven't see much of a price drop in top-notch gear in a long while.
  20. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    Expanded production by sweatshop labor + increased quality by same = lotsa usable gear on the market. In the '70s / '80s, "off shore" gear wasn't nearly so high quality as it is now.