Buying Advice - What to Look For

MessyTendon
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by MessyTendon » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:08 am

No point in buying a guitar to re-sell. Buying a higher end classical guitar, you are likely never to get the full value back, even something nice is still tough to re-sale on the open market. You might get your money back but it could take weeks, or many months.

What's the point in buying something you don't really want to own?

Kill the ego and find a guitar based on your heart and ears. Intonation is relative to your ears, if you can't hear certain frequencies it doesn't matter, we are all a bit tone deaf...literally.

Sounds like you like your guitar, if they appraised at 2.9k...it's not slouch. Dealers always patronize and overvalue, but never offer anything in trade. I would buy from a private party. Dealers are nice if you have to have a certain product, but more or less are just trying to make buck.

Don't trade your guitar because the dealer always wins in trade, like a Casino the house always wins :)

DaveLeeNC
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:04 pm

MT, your question "What's the point in buying something you don't really want to own?" has no relevance in this case.

The question would better be stated 'What's the point in buying something now when there is a reasonable possibility that in a few years, you will want something different". And that is a reasonable question.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

Number 6
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by Number 6 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:24 pm

DaveLeeNC wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:39 am
So if it comes out to #3, this leads me to a different strategy. And it is one that says "buy a guitar in 'the next class up' but only at the kind of price that you can roughly resell it at".
In all likelihood that ain't gonna happen. You will in all probability resell the guitar at a significant loss, assuming you can sell it on your own. Selling it on dealer consignment makes things quite a bit easier but with additional financial cost.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to change guitars every few years. That is a personal financial decision. However expect to take a significant loss when the guitar is resold. Also selling high-end classical guitars (above 2K) can take years to sell. If you buy a known "hot" luthier than you may be able to sell it quicker for less loss.

I have had my guitar for 10 years and it still suits me fine. Remember it 90% or more the player not the instrument.

cheers

astro64
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by astro64 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:18 pm

I would not over-analyze this. No matter what you think now, you have no idea if you still feel the same in "n" years. So even with the best intentions to sell or not sell the guitar you buy now in "n" years, you cannot predict how your preferences will change over time. So buy one you like now, stop worrying about resale value, buy the guitar you like best. If you can't tell the difference, move down in price level till you do.

DaveLeeNC
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:07 am

astro64 wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:18 pm
I would not over-analyze this. No matter what you think now, you have no idea if you still feel the same in "n" years. So even with the best intentions to sell or not sell the guitar you buy now in "n" years, you cannot predict how your preferences will change over time. So buy one you like now, stop worrying about resale value, buy the guitar you like best. If you can't tell the difference, move down in price level till you do.
Being a retired engineer, I readily admit to being prone to over-analysis.

Your statement of "buy the guitar you like best. If you can't tell the difference, move down in price level till you do", is interesting. But in my case it is backwards, as question #1 is going to be a two part question - "can I tell the difference at all between what I own and what I am trying out" with the additional consideration of (given a positive answer to the previous question) "is this where my ear will be in another year or two". And if I cannot tell the difference I will have to move up, I would think.

And it would seem to be true, almost by definition, that you can buy a guitar for what you can (approximately) sell it for (assuming you are will to wait, and wait, and ....). Let's say that within 15% is break even (with shipping costs and possibly selling fees being extra).

And to put this in terms that you will appreciate, once you get well into four figures there is a lot of similarity between refractor telescopes and guitars (WRT "which is better"). And I find it really interesting that in 3 of my "passions" (astronomy, cycling, guitar), for all of them you really are entering "rarefied air" at about $10K. I am also a golfer - possible but pretty hard to spend $10K on a set of golf clubs, but I can look, ride, and play guitar for free (as opposed to golf).

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

MessyTendon
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by MessyTendon » Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:24 pm

If you are a retired engineer why don't you just build a darn guitar? I'm building one and I'm an idiot :)

But seriously...a couple hundred bucks in wood...and whats the problem?

DaveLeeNC
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:38 pm

Building my own guitar - definitely going to pass on that one.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

Number 6
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by Number 6 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:28 pm

sounds like you have it all figured out. Post some pics when you get the new guitar!

DaveLeeNC
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by DaveLeeNC » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:22 am

Despite all my speculation, there is a good chance that I will decide that what I own is good enough. I certainly have no complaints but have no experience with "better" (as in more expensive) guitars.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

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Beowulf
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by Beowulf » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:56 am

A few thoughts: Keep practicing until you notice the technical limitations of your present instrument and have ensured that these are not to do with setup of your guitar, or the strings, or your technique. When you can no longer improve and advance your playing and interpretation of pieces because of the limitations of your instrument, that is a good time to consider moving up...and you will have the necessary skill and ability to evaluate a new guitar.
1971 Yamaha GC-10

DaveLeeNC
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by DaveLeeNC » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:59 pm

Beowulf wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:56 am
A few thoughts: Keep practicing until you notice the technical limitations of your present instrument and have ensured that these are not to do with setup of your guitar, or the strings, or your technique. When you can no longer improve and advance your playing and interpretation of pieces because of the limitations of your instrument, that is a good time to consider moving up...and you will have the necessary skill and ability to evaluate a new guitar.
While it is hard to label this as "unsound advice", I find it (MAYBE) overly limiting, at least in my case.

1) It isn't clear to me that I will ever need a different guitar WRT my playing limitations. And if the guitar were the limiting factor (in some respects) to my playing, I doubt that I would be able to discern this fact. I certainly could not given the fact that I have played no classical guitars beyond the 2 that I own (one being a low end pawn shop purchase decades ago) and one other for maybe 5 minutes back in the 1980's. I recall almost nothing about that latter experience as I was just getting into CG at the time.

2) It kind of ignores the aspect of (MAYBE) getting more enjoyment out of a different CG, even if at my playing level I "do not need it".

So the purpose of this trip (next week) has changed somewhat in my mind. 2 weeks ago I would have said that a purchase was maybe a 70% probability. For a variety of reasons, I would now view this as closer to a 25% thing. Getting some badly need CG experience is the #1 goal here. I will come both prepared to buy and expecting not to. But the experience is the primary goal here.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

DaveLeeNC
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by DaveLeeNC » Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:42 pm

I made the trip to Dream Guitars today, so here is a summary. The fact that there are no pictures or links to pictures should be a hint as to the outcome. I did not buy a guitar.

First to just restate the situation, I own a "luthier guitar" (1984 Jesus Marzal - Valencia, Spain - cedar/Indian RW) and my ONLY CG equipment experience is with this guitar and the low end guitar that I started on. The difference between these two is dramatic. I had no idea what the difference between my Marzal and 'add $4K to the value of my Marzal and buy it' might be. So this was both a learning experience for me and a possible purchase.

First a fellow Delcampian most generously offered to accompany me here. I viewed him as my 'Expert Ear' (EE for short). Others had suggested this and they were quite correct - VERY helpful (since he is far more knowledgeable and skilled than am I). Thank you, EE.

So we basically kind of "started working our way up (price-wise)" through their inventory (check the Dream Guitar website) starting at the bottom. It was a "play my guitar then compare to another and repeat" kind of exercise. After working with this for a while a 'performance standard' kind of evolved which was the first 16 measures of Sor's Etude in Bm (Op. 35, No. 22, IIRC) and the first 8 bars of Adelita (which I had added to my pitiful repertoire only 10 days ago). The Bm etude is kind of a 'first 5 frets thing' while Adelita was mostly 'the higher ones'. Certainly other things were played but those two became the performance standards.

We started with their (new) Rameirez R2 (cedar) and it was instantly obvious that this was "less guitar" than what I own. And this is no surprise.

The Loriente Clarita also to my ear less 'less guitar', but not so much less. It is also cedar.

In retrospect the Cedar Rozas was kind of a 'late evaluation' and maybe got short changed. But it didn't (and would not have, I think) make the final cut.

The Ramirez 1a (cedar) is offered at a very attractive price as it has a number of repairs. I still preferred the sound of my Marzal, and to my ear the sounds more different than I would have expected. Maybe the Ramirez was better on the higher frets but (to me) definitely not on the lower frets. But this seemed to me to be more of a taste kind of thing. And I can imagine others preferring the Ramirez over mine (and this might well include EE). This is a very playable guitar, BTW, although fret spacing at 664mm is what it is.

The 2010 Michael Thames guitar was quite nice (spruce, BTW). Nothing in particular stood out but it just did everything you asked of it. It was spruce, not cedar, so there was that of course. This is clearly a nice guitar (and ended up as #3 on the list of what was 'seriously tried out').

The 1983 Bernabe, Sr (spruce) was also quite nice. To me the basses were slightly richer than the Thames. This one ended up #2.

The Jacobson (spruce) was a surprise (to me anyway). This was the only guitar (of what has been discussed so far) that was OBVIOUSLY the equal or even better than mine on the lower frets (the previous two I would say were arguable equal). But head up to fret 7 and beyond and this guitar sang like no other than we played. This WAS NOT subtle. This was OBVIOUS. And it was obvious to everyone (me, the owner of the shop, EE, and Helen Keller had she been there).

So we took my guitar, the Bernabe, and the Jacobson and did a somewhat structured experiment. I first played Sor Bm piece (first 16 bars) on all 3 guitars with EE listening with his back turned (he did not know which guitar I was playing). His final choice (and mine) was my guitar. HOWEVER, this was not an easy decision and I had to repeat playing them a couple times. It was close. I would also offer that (IMHO) short phrases are far better for stuff like this. Note that this is all play on frets #5 or lower.

Then we repeated this exercise using the first 8 bars of Adelita (a few open strings but predominantly frets 7 through 12). The outcome here was SO DIFFERENT. The Jacobson was the obvious choice by the end of the 3rd bar (it was the last guitar played). And this was not subtle - it kind of leaped out at you.

We then repeated this experiment with Paul Heimuller (owner of Dream Guitars) who played a single, somewhat longer piece (one that I did not recognize) that used the entire fretboard. The Jacobson was the clear winner here. No "pause to think about it" required.

I did play a few other guitars more informally (Ruck, Yumachi Imai, and McConnell) just to do it. But at this point my mind was made up. You spend more and (in SOME cases) you will get more. But my guitar is (relatively speaking) a pretty good guitar and there is no reason for me to take several thousand dollars (which I could afford if I were to chose that) and get something better at my current skill level. I am pretty inexperienced and my view may change next year. But I am satisfied with what I have now (at least for now).

And I don't have to change my profile here on Delcamp -:)

dave

ps, As a level set kind of thing if the difference between the sound (to my ear) of the Jacobson and my Marzal had been as big as the difference between my "Garcia No. 1" and my Marzal, I would have negotiated a purchase here. The law of diminishing returns clearly applies in this case. I will also add that the environment here provided by Dream Guitars is very nice and they are most welcoming and tolerant folks WRT activities such as this (NOT a high pressure sales place for sure).
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

DaveLeeNC
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by DaveLeeNC » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:27 pm

With permission I am adding that "EE" is Jack Douglas who had no particular reason to make this trip other than a desire to be helpful and a love of classical guitars. Thanks again, Jack.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

Jack Douglas
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by Jack Douglas » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:50 pm

DaveLeeNC wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:27 pm
With permission I am adding that "EE" is Jack Douglas who had no particular reason to make this trip other than a desire to be helpful and a love of classical guitars. Thanks again, Jack.

dave
Dave,
It was a pleasure to meet you and I certainly enjoyed my role as EE. I understand that buying a new(er) guitar is very personal and I admire your careful evaluation. You have a very good guitar and it's also easy to play.
One of the things about guitars I have learned is that there will always be another good guitar at an attractive price no matter when you decide to make that decision. Also, the number of high quality Luthiers is increasing. I'm amazed at what's become available. Anyway, it was great fun and I'm delighted to have had an opportunity to be your designated listener!
Great fun.
Jack
Hauser III 2014!

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Guitar-ded
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Re: Buying Advice - What to Look For

Post by Guitar-ded » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:17 pm

This had the ending I was hoping for, simply by reading the previous posts.
I'd wonder if it'd be worth making an appointment with a decent luthier if you can get to one and ask him to do a tune up on your Marzal.
It may be money well spent.
Getting better bit by bit, day by day.

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