The Myth of Resale . . .

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by farboozle, Dec 13, 2001.

  1. farboozle


    Apr 18, 2000
    Fairfax VA
    So I was watching this auction yesterday of a Henry the 8x8 with hunger. Considering my wife's doubts about my sanity, I held my bidding to only $340, and the cabinet went for $405. I thought, man, whoever that guy was still got a great deal.

    Then I got interested in browsing the finished auctions, because I consider those to be somewhat representative of what I would have to bid in future auctions to get certain used gear. What I found surprised me. The first column below is the piece, the second is the final bid on Ebay for a completed transaction. The third column the is Musician's friend price. The final column is the percentage that whoever bought the gear would have recoupped (assuming that all people shop though mf, which I realize is not true)

    I tried to get the data below to look nicer, but I failed. Sorry.

    Item Closing bid Retail Percent
    carvin 410 301 399 75
    carvin rl1000 510 649 79
    carvin rl118 289 359 81
    carvin rc210 576 799 72
    carvin rl1000 471 649 73
    carvin 410 255 399 64
    610 stack 767 1089 70

    wt1000 amp 455 959 47
    navigator 560 809 69
    210 xlt 455 689 66
    210 D210T 345 599 58

    swr 750 460 899 51
    goliath 410 380 799 48
    working man 4004 330 599 55
    Redhead 660 1449 46

    While the data is certainly not exhaustive, it does suggest several things. The first is that the conventional wisdom that brands like SWR, eden, etc hold their value better than budget brands is not true. The person who bought the rl118, for an extreme example, made out a lot better than the person who bought the super redhead. The second thing these figures suggest that is if somebody is thinking about high end brands, it makes a lot of sense to look used, because you can save a lot of money. If you're going to buy from carvin though, you might want to throw in the extra dollars to insure you're getting pristine gear.
  2. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Interesting post. I always like to see prevailing wisdom challenged.

    A couple other things to consider, though: it may be that part of the reason the Carvin stuff seems to depreciate less is that there may be a kind of bottom limit to how far a piece in good shape will drop in price. For instance, it may be that a decent working 4-10 by a maker you've heard of probably just won't sell for less than $X. A piece that starts at $X + 500 may eventually drop to $X but no further, whereas a piece that starts at $X + 200 may also drop to $X but no further. Naturally, I don't offer this as fact or even opinion, just as a possibility.

    It would be interesting to start with two items of the same type and same starting price (e.g., two $1200 guitars, one a tricked-out Carvin and one, say, a fancy Strat or something). Then see which one drops in price more.

    The other myth about resale, to me, is that percentage of resale has some absolute value. To me the absolute value rests solely in how much money you've "lost." Here's an imaginary example: somebody who bought a $2000 Les Paul and got 80% back on the investment ($1600) still "lost" $400, whereas someone who bought a $900 Carvin and got back only 70% ($630) "lost" only $270. In terms of money in the pocket, the Carvin owner ends up with the better deal in my book.

  3. farboozle


    Apr 18, 2000
    Fairfax VA
    That's an excellent point. Actual amounts mean more to me too. Here's the amount that those sellers "paid" to use their equipment for however long.

    Item Paid To Use
    carvin 410 98
    carvin rl1000 139
    carvin rl118 70
    carvin rc210 223
    carvin rl1000 178
    carvin 410 144
    610 stack 322

    wt1000 amp 504
    navigator 249
    210 xlt 234
    210 D210T 254

    swr 750 439
    goliath 410 419
    working man 4004 269
    Redhead 789

    The thing here is, since the carvin gear starts cheaper and generally holds a higher percentage of its value, the amount paid can be really small. More than one person has paid less than $100 for the use of a cabinet for awhile.

    I agree with Richards other points too. I think types of equipment do have a certain price floor. All used 4x10 cabs don't sell for the same price, but the difference in used prices is less than differences in new prices. The lesson? Don't think about resale when buying.
  4. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    This makes a lot of sense. The reason why *new* Carvin equipment has to sell for less is because the buyer is taking a bigger risk - there are no showrooms, etc. If the buyer doesn't like it, the minimum loss is the shipping expense, but it could get worse.

    But for used stuff, seems like the playing field is more level. Often the stuff is beyond warranty, so that's not a material factor. A buyer has the same opportunity to hear/evaluate Brand X, Brand Y, or Brand Z. Lower quality is reflected in lower prices, so the high-end gear would naturally command a higher resale *price*, but then the seller had to pay much more to acquire new.

    I have often wondered about people's saying Carvin stuff has terrible resale value. Yes, maybe worse than a premium brand's, but as pointed out by others, the actual cost of ownership is lower.

    Very interesting thread, guys.

    - Mike
  5. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    It might be noted that the market for higher-end used gear is in a terrible slump right now...I can't remember it ever being more of a "buyer's market". Great time to be building your collection, but not to sell. My point is that I don't think accurate judgements can be made based on the last year or so.
  6. I trade a lot on eBay and keep a record of stuff I'm interested in, in my spread sheet. Typically an item isn't worth more than 66% of new-discount price for in-production equipment. Boutique items and rare stuff (i.e. Aguilar DB680) will be higher.

    If you buy and sell on eBay within the 66% guideline, you can always recover your money. There always a clod out there willing to bid the moon for an item, so you have to walk away at times. I've sold camera lenses on eBay used, for more than I can get them new-mail order. Go figure.
  7. Bassstud1

    Bassstud1 Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2001
    LaPorte Indiana USA
    I love that rule. I use it my self, modified a bit. I try to purchase new equipment at 66% of list. This doesn't work with all brands but it is a good starting point. And used equipment in excellent shape 50-55%, good shape 40-45% and I don't purchase anything less than good shape or you're asking for get what you pay for.
  8. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    I agree and I've been having a pretty good run with my acquisitions. I don't know if I have anything that can be classified as high end but I feel that most of my stuff is above average quality.