What other basses hold their value?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JimmyM, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    So we all know Fenders hold their value, but what of other basses? Hmmm...MusicMan basses seem to be doing well. Pre-Gibson graphite Steineys are selling pretty much for what they cost in 1981. I see Warwicks aren't doing so hot, though. A Thumb with only one $800 bid with 15 hours to go...not so hot. Most of them don't even have bids next to them. Meanwhile a 1966 Silvertone with lipstick pickups has a bid of $392, which is almost 4x what that bass cost new.

    So what do you all see holding their value in the current market, and what do you see becoming the new collectables on the level of pre-CBS basses?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The whole issue is a moot point IMO.
    Most production basses are available in too large numbers to ever fetch a good price, and the boutiques are too unknown or too much a matter of individual taste to become valuable. Also, the really good boutique ones are virtually unavailable second-hand, at least in Germany/Europe. For example, you simply won't find a Le Fay used. The ones you do find very rarely are four-strings, and their owners just ordered a 5 or 6. But all users I know will never sell their Le Fay (or Marleaux, or...).
  3. But you have to think about who played it first too... I mean a bass bought from Jimmy would be worth way more than a bass bought from Marcus Miller etc.
  4. BlacktotheBlind

    BlacktotheBlind Supporting Member

    May 5, 2004
    it doesn't seem like Modulus basses hold their value that well, at least from what i've seen on ebay. i think list price is $3k plus for a new one? I usually see some nice used ones on ebay for half that.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Right, Jack. I will sell you my Ebay Precision, which I built out of stray non-Fender (well, two Fender) parts I bought off Ebay, for $25,000. Did I mentioned it's finished in the finest spray-can seafoam green that money can buy and the LaBellas on it are now 6 years old?

    JMX. You totally killed all the momentum for this thread. Everyone was getting ready to post their opinions about what was looking good on the horizon, and now they're not going to because you said it was a moot point. Hey, life is a moot point. We're all gonna die.
  6. Big Thump

    Big Thump

    Jun 29, 2005
    North of 49
    It's whatever flavour of the month, Steinbergers were dead a couple of years ago now there starting to fetch some re sale, same with Spector they were both popular when Sting and a few other people were playing them, then they fell out of flavour, now people are looking at them and realizing that they smoke and that seems to be the case with all of them especially Rickys and Musicman of late the only real constant seems to be aging Fenders. JMO
  7. abngourmet

    abngourmet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    Seems to me that instruments owned by well-known players definitely hold their value if not go up in value. Think of John Entwistle's collection. His Alembic Spyders went for $100K if I'm not mistaken; many others in the tens of thousands. Or Eric Clapton's "Blackie" Stratocaster ... same thing.

    I know that my beloved Alembics don't necessarily hold their value. I think that JMC noted that it's because they're not well known, and that could be it. Doesn't matter to me anyway ... I'll never sell them.

    Used Gibsons, particularly the original Thunderbirds from the 60s seem to hold value relatively well, as do the RD77 Artists. Same goes for Rick 4001s. I bought my '76 Rick 4001 in 1995 for $650, in excellent condition. I seem them going for $1K routinely on the bay.

    I think the pre-CBS Fenders will always hold their value more or less, some Gibsons less so, Rickenbackers more so. Boutiques won't simply because they're not as well known, unless, of course, it can be documented that the instrument in question was owned by a well-known player.

    In the end, it's all good with me. I'm lucky enough to own vintage Fenders, Gibsons, Rickenbackers, etc. and boutiques. I guess I've got all the bases covered! ;)

  8. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Not for sale

    I think that a lot of Alembics are soooo customized that the special options are worth waaay more to the person ordering them then they would be to a second buyer. Not everyone willing to pay $1,000 for side LEDs or $1,600 for cocobolo front and back laminates.

    Also, imho, as soon as you cross the $2,500 mark on a used instrument, the buyer has a better idea of what they want and will pass up very good instruments to find the exact one. The seller has to pretty much wait for the buyer who wants "that" instrument, or be prepared to take a pretty serious loss. MTD 535s are an example of a boutique bass that holds its value well. I think it's because even though there are discernible tonal differences in the different wood combinations, there's a limited number of combinations available. You can't go crazy with electronics and body configurations and other options, so the seller doesn't have to wait for the buyer who appreciates his / her choices of options.


  9. Larry99

    Larry99 Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Wow, I think I plucked the strings on that bass when I went to see Stanley in around 1992 or so (he always lets someone "play" his bass during the show). very cool.

    ...anyway I think the question was a general re-sale value question. Of course a bass played by Entwistle or Stanley Clarke is gonna fetch more than the bass itself is actually worth.

    As someone thinking about buying a Sadowsky in the near future, they seem to hold their value really well. I may just order a new one since the prices aren't that much different.
  10. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I dunno - we're talking about items that, for the majority of us, are well under $2,000.

    If you pick an average price of about $1,200 to $1,500, that will get you a new Deluxe Fender, Stingray, G&L, pimped-out Carvin, or a Corvette. I'm not a used bass market whiz, but I think that the difference between "good" and "bad" resale is really pretty small. People go on an on about G&L and Carvin's poor resale when, compared to a used Fender, you're looking at a difference of, what, $200 bucks or so? Doesn't seem that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

    Go into the super-custom market, and the rates of depreciation vary widely. That's like comparing the depreciation of a Civic to a custom hot-rod, though. Not really the same ballpark. The same goes for vintage _anything_, where, in my eyes, all laws of logic and sense seem to take a blow to the midsection in terms of prices.
  11. mbulmer


    Nov 25, 2002
    Feeding Hills, MA
    I think there are plenty of boutique builders that make basses that hold their value well. Just look at Carl Thompon's instruments, his basses sell for sometimes MORE than the original cost. I'm pretty sure I've seen Carey Nordstrand's basses fetching a pretty penny and the same is true of used Foderasl. I think it's all about the demand.

    As far as Alembics go I think James hit the nail on the head. Their prices are going up AGAIN in January so there is going to be an even bigger gap between new and used prices. Since they started raising prices ALOT in 2003 I haven't really noticed too much of a fluctuation in the value of a used instrument.
  12. lamborghini98

    lamborghini98 The Aristocrats

    May 1, 2005
    NYC; Portland, OR
    Of all the boutique basses Ive seen on the market, Ive noticed that Foderas and Alembics tend to be sold the most. Why is this with Foderas? Ive played one and wasnt TOO pleased, but the action was really bad because the store owner wasnt too kind to it. Ive also seen a few Benaventes on sale...
    You rarely see a Nordstrand selling on the market, and when you do theyre pretty freakin expensive (mine was awfully close to list price, and I think that the one in the forums now is going for a pretty penny).

    I think that aside from price, one of the better indicators of a bass being able to hold it's value is whether or not you see it on the market a lot. Theres that and the popularity to production ratio (it doesnt really exist, but bear with me). Musicmans and Warwicks are definitely the favorites of a lot of bassists, but you often see them on the market. I think that what happens is that people see the hype and buy them without really falling in love with them first. Perhaps if they lowered production, their resale value would go up.
  13. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City

    Actually, I've noticed a sort of a split in the used Alembic market after the last price increase. Basses on the low to middle end of the Alembic product line have not had any real change in used market prices. Epics can be had for $800 - 1100. Essence for $900 - $1,400, Spoilers / Persuaders for $800 - 1,500. But I've also noticed the prices for used Europa, Rogue, Signature and Series instruments going up. Rouges, Europas and Signatures are transacting above $2,000. That used to be the exclusive territory of Series I & II instruments. I've seen newer (late '80s through early 2000s) Series I and II instruments going for $3 - 5,000. I guess people figure that with the new prices, they can't afford a new one, so they would be willing to spend more on a used one. It's approaching the point where I could conceivably sell my 2000 Mark King Signature / Series II 5 string for about 80% what I paid for it. Not that I'm even considering that but conceivably I could.


  14. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Sometime in '92 or '93 I was in the 2nd row of a Clarke-Duke Project concert. Stanley stood on a 1st row seat right in front of me and went into to a blazing solo on that bass. I remembered that when it came up for sale.


  15. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    musicman basses hold their value surprisingly well. Used stingrays and sterlings sell for 800-1000 all the time.
  16. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Hofner Beatle and Club basses seem to hold their value pretty well. Just look at the prices for the used ones in the vintage trades.
  17. mbulmer


    Nov 25, 2002
    Feeding Hills, MA
    You are probably right as far as the higher end models are concerned. I'm primarily looking at the spoilers and the essence basses when I go looking. I'll see the Series and Signature Deluxe models pop up but they're always way more than I'm willing to spend on a used, sight unseen, instrument. If you ever did sell your MK/SII I'd definately have to find the cash. Love that cocobolo. I've got a really nice piece on my Pedulla but I think Alembic has the market cornered on the best pieces!
  18. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Ones I have noticed.

    Tobias/MTD (the real deal)
    F bass

    They are going to take some hit from the new line, but you get a lot back if you try and sell them.

    Whoever said 'basses owned by famous people' I bought a Marco acoustic 4 string for 780 off of Marcus Miller (Rawn Randall ran the transaction). I beleive the actual cost of it is 3000 dollars, without considering MMs ownership.
  19. Sutton


    Mar 3, 2005
    Plainwell, MI
    Ricks hardly lose any value