Does Anyone Else Flip Guitars?

Cactus Jack

Senior member
Messages
484
War_in_D said:
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. 

The internet tax on used items has been very tough to navigate. Last May-July buy/sell action was great, come August when the tax rolled out to several more states, the used market dried up in a hurry. Like you, the sales tax really impacts my buying habits too.

However, I simply view this as another fun variable to solve for. Most folks would view the tax as a major roadblock and give up, some might try to go over/under/around the roadblock, but the fun for me is finding a creative way to leapfrog the roadblock so I'm a few steps ahead when I land. To do so this requires building new models, learning new techniques, exploring new ideas, and most of all reading, reading, reading. Guitars aside, I've found in life the more I study, learn, and prepare, the luckier I get ;) .
 

Seamas

Senior member
Messages
517
spe111 said:
It's also not like people are flipping budget guitars either...

I have been considering doing something along those lines--though with budget guitars from ages ago.

Just saw an archtop Harmony on my FB Marketplace that I am considering bidding on (the asking price is too high imho.)
Partly because I would like to practice some fix-up skills.
I missed an opportunity on an old '50s Kay a month or so ago that would make a nice project.
 

Cactus Jack

Senior member
Messages
484
scobass said:
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)

I'm certainly no musician.

I love playing music with my kids, but what I enjoy most about music is that, in general, music is inclusive. I don't need to be a gigging musician to enjoy guitars, I can just enjoy them because I enjoy them. I don't need to write songs to enjoy singing and dancing (I do both horrendously), but I still do.

Music allows one to find their own path and express themselves in unique ways. For instance, while I might be the worst guitarist on the planet, I'm pretty darn sure after reading everything on this site and developing some skills, I can setup a guitar better than 99% of the world. In my opinion that's art, a unique expression of who I am, and value added to the world in some small way. Same goes for negotiating, scaling a business, playing chess, cooking a meal, building a snowman, mowing the lawn.

We can agree to disagree what is, and is not, art, but the cool thing is we both have a passion for guitars and music and I appreciate your unique insight.
 

spe111

Senior member
Messages
360
Seamas said:
spe111 said:
It's also not like people are flipping budget guitars either...

I have been considering doing something along those lines--though with budget guitars from ages ago.

Just saw an archtop Harmony on my FB Marketplace that I am considering bidding on (the asking price is too high imho.)
Partly because I would like to practice some fix-up skills.
I missed an opportunity on an old '50s Kay a month or so ago that would make a nice project.

That would make sense. I'm talking about budget guitars like a 3 year old Squier or Yamaha acoustic, I was just trying to make the point that musicians would still be able to access affordable instruments regardless of people flipping more expensive ones.
 

Seamas

Senior member
Messages
517
spe111 said:
Seamas said:
spe111 said:
It's also not like people are flipping budget guitars either...

I have been considering doing something along those lines--though with budget guitars from ages ago.

Just saw an archtop Harmony on my FB Marketplace that I am considering bidding on (the asking price is too high imho.)
Partly because I would like to practice some fix-up skills.
I missed an opportunity on an old '50s Kay a month or so ago that would make a nice project.

That would make sense. I'm talking about budget guitars like a 3 year old Squier or Yamaha acoustic, I was just trying to make the point that musicians would still be able to access affordable instruments regardless of people flipping more expensive ones.

Agreed.
 

Cactus Jack

Senior member
Messages
484
Seamas said:
spe111 said:
It's also not like people are flipping budget guitars either...

I have been considering doing something along those lines--though with budget guitars from ages ago.

Just saw an archtop Harmony on my FB Marketplace that I am considering bidding on (the asking price is too high imho.)
Partly because I would like to practice some fix-up skills.
I missed an opportunity on an old '50s Kay a month or so ago that would make a nice project.

One thing that helped me was specializing in a specific brand or model and going really really deep. There are so many critical details to be aware of and if one box isn't checked then your entire value prop is shot.

Also, if you want to build something to eventually sell I recommend using Excel to track every single penny you put into the guitar. I'm talking the cost of screws, washers, pickups, packing material etc. Once you know your cost, then you can set your margin, but you need to be very disciplined along the way as it's very easy to get upside down in a hurry. 
 

Cactus Jack

Senior member
Messages
484
spe111 said:
Seamas said:
spe111 said:
It's also not like people are flipping budget guitars either...

I have been considering doing something along those lines--though with budget guitars from ages ago.

Just saw an archtop Harmony on my FB Marketplace that I am considering bidding on (the asking price is too high imho.)
Partly because I would like to practice some fix-up skills.
I missed an opportunity on an old '50s Kay a month or so ago that would make a nice project.

That would make sense. I'm talking about budget guitars like a 3 year old Squier or Yamaha acoustic, I was just trying to make the point that musicians would still be able to access affordable instruments regardless of people flipping more expensive ones.

My ideal sweet spot is $1,500 - $2,500 range. I like this area because the instruments are usually incredible, and I find the folks are really interesting. I've met touring rockstars, eclectic collectors, and have been able to jam in some cool studios with folks who share my passion for amazing guitars. What's also neat is checking out the gear that they won't sell!

One key takeaway from my gear flipping adventures is in a day and age where folks hide behind keyboards and avoid face to face interaction, one can forget how amazing it is to sit across from another human, bond over a shared interest, and share a few stories. Everyone has a story, but few folks are curious enough to ask, and even fewer care to genuinely listen. Speaking, story telling, joking, hand shakes, EYE CONTACT, have devolved to a very sad point.
 
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