Does Anyone Else Flip Guitars?

Cactus Jack

Senior member
Messages
484
I had taken several years off from playing guitar. I was focused on raising six kids, building my career, and navigating the twists and turns of life. Last April I decided it was time to get back in the game, however, I no longer knew what type of gear I was into. As such, I hopped on my local classifieds and picked up a G&L Tribute. It was great, but I wanted a USA model so I found a mint ASAT for a killer price and snatched it up. At the end of the day, I didn't bond with either guitar so I decided to sell them, and to my surprise, I was able to sell them for a decent profit.

I'm a CFO by trade so the capitalist alarm bells rang loud and clear. I created a simple Excel that would help identify other instruments that might be good acquisition targets while setting buy/sell parameters. My goal was to try as many instruments as possible while self-funding my new little hobby. So far it's worked out pretty well. Since last April I've flipped 46 guitars which have paid for 4 custom Warmoth guitars, my Warmoth bass, 2 amps, a nice little pedalboard, and an ever-growing collection of parts and tools. The best part of the whole thing is my wife no longer gives me the death stare when a large brown box shows up on the doorstep.

Not all the deals were home runs, I lost money on 10 guitars, but I limited my largest loss to $136 on a US ASAT, but other than those I've had a nice run. In terms of dollars, my highest profit was $714 on a Gibson Les Paul Classic Custom. I had to make a 3 hour round trip to get the guitar but it was worth it in the end. In terms of profit margin, my best was 97% on a PRS SE Custom 24. However, now that everyone collects sales tax the deals have slowed dramatically.

I'll probably continue to flip a guitar here or there, but I achieved my goal in that I now know what I like. A big finding along the way, and what drove me to Warmoth, was that no single guitar checked all the right boxes. I'd like the neck on one, the body on another, wiring on a certain model, etc. Warmoth allows me to zone in on my perfect guitar. My current problem is Warmoth offers soooo many options I run into Netflix syndrome and don't know what to pick. I guess it's not a bad problem to have.

Anyway, that's a bit of my story. I'd love to hear about your flipping adventures, lessons learned, wins/losses. I'm sure this community has some good stories.
 

spe111

Senior member
Messages
360
I reverse flip them. I buy them at high prices and then sell them for less.
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,305
I buy gear to satisfy the muse.  Once that particular itch is scratched, I usually get rid of it, but target a higher selling price.  Not to hard as I almost always buy used....

Went through some amps, a godin MIDI guitar, some PA gear, a lap steel, and a banjo this way.
 

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,515
I never buy gear based on resale value.  Buy what I want and can afford, and when I don't want it, I sell it or give it away.  As long as you don't overextend yourself, you'll never hear capitalist alarm bells.  And 46 guitars in a year?  Wow!

I sold some gear about 35 years ago, that I wish I had back, but I needed the M-O-N-E-Y, but learned my lesson.  Live within your means, and you don't have to worry.
 

Cactus Jack

Senior member
Messages
484
Rick said:
I never buy gear based on resale value.  Buy what I want and can afford, and when I don't want it, I sell it or give it away.  As long as you don't overextend yourself, you'll never hear capitalist alarm bells.  And 46 guitars in a year?  Wow!

I sold some gear about 35 years ago, that I wish I had back, but I needed the M-O-N-E-Y, but learned my lesson.  Live within your means, and you don't have to worry.

Some awesome guitars too. Fenders, G&Ls, Gibsons, PRS, mostly US models with a few imports thrown in for a bit of fun. There were a few special guitars in the mix specifically a Fender AVRI 52 Tele. The guitar was 6.5lbs and sang like a bird. It was my first time playing a guitar that light and, and boy was is resonant.

I really enjoyed the G&L instruments. What I liked most was G&L offers multiple neck profiles. I tried them all and fell in love with their Classic C. The 59 Roundback is basically the same neck but with nut options, the G&L only came in 1 5/8" which I discovered I'm not a fan of. I also loved that most G&Ls are one-off builds so you could score some really interesting guitars for very little money. Actually, it was my experience with G&L which really pushed me to Warmoth. I was set to have a custom Legacy built, but they wanted to charge me $850 to customize the wiring a bit. They said it was an off-menu option and would require a custom shop build. I didn't know how to wire up a guitar at that time, but I knew $850 was ridiculous so I ended up here and learned how to do the stuff myself.

The capitalist alarm bells correlated to opportunity, not risk. However, it goes without saying, but it's good that you did, that folks should always be responsible for their finances. Guitars and hobbies are priority 1,296 :) .
 

PhilHill

Senior member
Messages
1,654
When I first started out I would sometimes buy pawnshop guitars and restore or improve them for sale. I guess you could say they were flipped. At the time though I was doing it more for the experience I got doing the work. There were a couple of commissions that buyers backed out of that I had to sell, the first one happening early on and teaching me the importance of charging a deposit for materials cost. But most of the guitars that I've made money on I've built for people. Never had the ready cash to do the George Gruhn number.

Plus there's the fact that I'm a really lousy salesman too. :sad1:
 

Axkoa

Senior member
Messages
858
I'm in the Mechanical Keyboard hobby and there's definitely a stigma in that about flipping. I personally feel that it's alright once in a while if the resale for something you already own may have gone up in price, but if you purposefully seek out stuff looking for deals based on their resale value, it completely ruins the point of the hobby and takes away the opportunity from someone that would love to get into it but doesn't have the money.  Just my 2 cents.
 

ragamuffin

Senior member
Messages
1,004
I do! Today I looked at the back side of my guitar, and then flipped it over and looked at the top side! Quite the experience.

.... I'll see myself out.
 

Cactus Jack

Senior member
Messages
484
Axkoa said:
I'm in the Mechanical Keyboard hobby and there's definitely a stigma in that about flipping. I personally feel that it's alright once in a while if the resale for something you already own may have gone up in price, but if you purposefully seek out stuff looking for deals based on their resale value, it completely ruins the point of the hobby and takes away the opportunity from someone that would love to get into it but doesn't have the money.  Just my 2 cents.

I LOVE negotiating. I LOVE finding value. I love the entire process, and this goes way beyond guitars for me. Early in my career, I negotiated union CBAs, I then transitioned into investment banking, now I run a professional services firm, negotiating is my life. I play terrible guitar, I can't sing, I can't paint, so negotiating has become my art form. It's really a mentality and worldview that clearly most folks hate.

I understand the negative stigma that comes with lowballers. Everyone hates that, and that's not negotiating, that's being a predatory jerk. Big difference and not a practice anyone with a conscience should employ. Arm yourself with knowledge, treat others better than you treat yourself, be honest, be curious, and simultaneously stop saying other people's "No."

 
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swarfrat

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new-killer-star

Senior member
Messages
266
I just seem to buy gear. I’m not so good at the letting go part. So now I just try to make sure I really want it before I get it.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
I tend to satisfy myself with gear/instruments as well, rather than consider what someone else might value later on. Causes me to lose a lotta money, since outside of death and taxes, nothing is forever.
 

scobass

Active member
Messages
29
No matter how you look at it, "negotiating" or "lowballing", you are skimming profits off the market from musicians who may actually need that gear and may have found a great bargain if you hadn't resold them. You are predatory towards the market. It's not that cool. And it's certainly not art.

Ask yourself, "would this be sustainable and fair if everyone did it?" The answer is no. There wouldn't be enough stuff to sell. You're taking advantage of the fact that musicians generally aren't capitalists and have more important priorities than driving 3 hours to make a deal (like actually playing and enjoying their instruments)
 

Rick

Senior member
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4,515
But people who do flipping keep the market active and liquid.  I don't have the time.  There will always be poverty stricken musicians, no matter what anyone does.  For the most part we aren't financial geniuses.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
It's always fair in a free market. One says "I'll give you this for that" and the other says "I'll take that for this". Doesn't matter if we're talking money, goods, or services. There's no coercion - the traders have a choice. Either can say no, at which point there's not a trade. The only time it becomes unfair is if one doesn't have a choice.
 

Seamas

Senior member
Messages
517
scobass said:
Ask yourself, "would this be sustainable and fair if everyone did it?" The answer is no.

It would be perfectly sustainable. Though inefficient if we were to do that on every product we purchase.
The seller always has a right to decline a bid if they think it isn't worth their while.
Someone selling and dealing in these things is going to occasionally take a bath on some goods and hit pay-dirt on others. There are all sorts of trends in the guitar market.
Not long ago you could get a beat-up CBS-era Fender for cheap because the poor condition and the well documented quality of Fenders from that era.
Now, the fact that it is beat up is a plus (it's naturally relic-ed!) and somehow CBS Fenders are "vintage".

Have you ever been at an antiques fair, a bazaar or open air market? They are able to thrive and are always having negotiations with their customers.
 

spe111

Senior member
Messages
360
I don't think flipping guitars is on the same level with hoarding insulin. It's also not like people are flipping budget guitars either...
 

War_in_D

Senior member
Messages
236
Used to do this all the time (flipping gear) when I lived in Atlanta.  Lot's of opportunity to find gear there, not so much now where I live though.  My main outlet to sell was online though, mainly Ebay due to the larger audience but I feel with the advent of internet sales tax the online market for used musical items is dying.  I haven't bought, or sold anything on Ebay for quite a while.  Guitars that used to sell for $1000 are having a hard time realizing 75% of that if/when you can even sell them.  You would think that logically, prices would have dropped in proportion to the amount of added sales tax but I think it's affected them beyond even that.  I know it's affected my online buying habits quite a bit as I have a hard time paying the internet sales tax just on principle alone, not to mention it adds about 10% to the purchase price. I also feel that the quality of buyers on Ebay has also gone way down in recent years, way too many people trying to scam you out there.  This, coupled with Ebay's idiotic policies that put all the power in the hands of the purchaser have made it to where I rarely (if ever) even sell on that platform any more.   
 
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