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HOW I buy vintage Guitars
  When buying a guitar, I always pay on the spot. Since I'm not a dealer, I don't expect anyone to sell me a guitar without first getting money. Typically I prefer to buy "in person" when it's within a 400 mile radius of Ann Arbor, Michigan. If it's too far away, using a "Cash On Delivery" (C.O.D.) service seems to work best. This way the seller is guarenteed in getting their money, and I'm guarenteed in getting a guitar, which is fair to both of us (email me and i'll give you all the details on how this works). But the bottom line is there's no risk in the sale because no one has to send their guitar "up front". I make sure you have the money before shipping the guitar. I also typically pay all shipping, packing and phone expenses in the deal too.

the truth about CONSIGNMENTS
  Some people may try and sell their vintage guitar "on consignment" through a large vintage guitar dealer. The bait here is what seems like an outstanding *potential* selling price being offered by the vintage guitar dealer. Just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! The problems with consignments sales are:
  • The consignor over-values the vintage guitar to bait you to send it to them.
  • You have to send your vintage guitar "blind" and "up front" to the consignor.
  • You have to wait until (and if) your vintage guitar sells before you see any money (I've seen consignment guitars go over two years without selling!)
  • You are "lock in" to the consigment for usually at least 90 days. So even if you find a buyer on your own, you can't get your guitar back until the consignment contract expires.
  • You have to pay a consignment fee out of the selling price (and sometimes this fee is quite large!)
  • You have to pay for all repair and setup fees before they will offer your vintage guitar for sale. Sometimes this can amount to hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars , and ties up the potential sale of your guitar. If you complain the shop often says, "but we can't sell your guitar if it isn't playable". (Gee I buy guitars all the time that are "not playable" by their standards, and I don't charge anyone repair fees!) Note you are responsible for this repair cost even if the guitar does not sell, and you just want your guitar back when the consignment contract expires.
  • You have to accept unsecure funds from the consignor when (if) your vintage guitar finally does sells.
  Since the consignment shop does not own your vintage guitar, they have less incentive to sell it than selling their own stock. You are essentially providing them with free inventory, and keeping their repair shop lucrative. Also, it could take a considerable amount of time to sell your vintage instrument at the inflated price, if it ever sells. So after they have your vintage guitar for months (if not years), typically they try and "buy you out of it" at a considerably lower price, "as a favor to you." Since they already have your vintage guitar, most people fall for this trick and sell it at a much lower price (maybe even far below the real value of the vintage guitar.) Where if you had dealt with me in the first place, you probably would have gotten the same or more money, without having to "front" anyone your vintage guitar and wait months or years for payment. Yet consignment deals are very common today, especially since in the last two years many vintage guitar prices have fallen due to the soft economy. So many dealers are promising consignment gutiar prices of two years ago, knowing that they will not get those prices in today's economy.

the truth about APPRAISALS
  Leading New York and Nashville guitar dealers offer "professional" appraisals for $50 or more. Is this a fair deal? Well I used to think so, but not any more! In the "old days", appraisals seemed to be fairly accurate. But today, they have taken on a whole new game. The current trend is to *over* appraisal a vintage guitar. This gives the owner the impression the appraiser can sell your guitar for more money than anyone else.

I see this more and more, and the evidence is quite compelling. For example, the above mentioned Nashville and New York dealers often advertise consignment guitars at one price, but then ends up selling them much later for up to 50% less than the initial asking price! That tells me they over-appraised the guitar to get the consignment, and end up selling it later for a much lower and realistic price. So beware of these appraisals. A better judge of what your guitar is worth, is to ask the same dealer how much CASH they will pay you right now for your guitar!

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Exactly what is a vintage guitar?.
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