Experiences with dealers

WoodNString
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:41 am

Experiences with dealers

Post by WoodNString » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:15 pm

Happy Labor Day for those you in the U.S.

As someone who has visited a handful of dealers, I've noticed a lack of transparency in terms of pricing. The dealer markup, when one looks into it, is sometimes +100% at the high end. Does this fall in line with others experiences? Any reasonable dealers out there (if so)?

Philosopherguy
Posts: 888
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:40 am
Location: Niagara, Ontario, Canada

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by Philosopherguy » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:30 pm

The good thing is that as a customer, you have the option of going somewhere else to buy. If you don't trust someone, just go to another dealer. Unfortunately you have to pay for the privilege of having access to top guitars on hand without having to go on wait lists for luthier guitars. Brick and mortar buildings cost money and the dealers have to pay for that. Plus there are other overhead costs like damage to stock guitars and these sorts of things. Plus, it's not like classical guitars are flying off the shelves that they are making money off volume.

I think it would be a tough business to be in and make a decent living! Just my opinion.

Martin
*************************************************************
2013 Ramirez 130 Anos - Spruce
2013 Ramirez 4NE - Cedar
1998 Dean Harrington - Spruce
1977 Kuniharu Nobe - Spruce
1971 Yamaha GC3 - Spruce

User avatar
souldier
Posts: 827
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:45 pm

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by souldier » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:02 pm

We all know there is mark up, some more than others, and I think this is perfectly reasonable. You're paying for ability to skip the wait line, to try before you buy, to compare with other fine instruments and your current instrument, etc. The dealer also has to deal with a lot of overhead costs. Both the luthier and the dealer need to make a living. I don't think it is necessary for the dealer to outline the mark up in order to be transparent. It is the job of the customer to research in advance how much the guitar would cost if they directly commissioned from a luthier, and then decide if it is worth it for them. If a dealer wants to charge twice the amount that it would cost to commission directly is their prerogative.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

User avatar
jayjayrose
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 12:51 pm
Location: Boston, MA USA

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by jayjayrose » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:28 pm

I think that "Try before you buy" is the most important aspect of what you get from a guitar dealer versus from a living luthier. A guitar in the hand is worth two... But that's only one type of sale. In this case you can have a sense of what that luthier's prices are, the expected wait for a bespoke instrument, etc. In other words, relatively easy to determine the cost/benefit of the transaction. HOWEVER, if you are looking at older/historic or famous builders, it may not be possible to accurately assess what they are worth. Sure, there are other ones out there by the famous builder, but condition, demand and just "wonderfulness" of the given instrument can affect the value. So then it comes down to just what are you willing to spend on a given guitar on a given day. And collectors and players may have different criteria for making a purchase.
I'd say shop carefully, try lots of guitars in different settings, and get to know a dealer or two. A bargain is a bargain, but love is love!
"…that all-pervading talisman of Spanish pleasure, the guitar." -Washington Irving

Laudiesdad69
Posts: 1284
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:16 pm

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:04 am

I know someone that has a music store. CGs are a tough sell in general. Every time he buys a guitar is a gamble. The guitar could hang on the wall for days or months. I bought my Ramirez from him. It had hung on the wall for 6 years...it was from 2011, and he lowered the price handsomely in order for me to purchase it as new with full warranty at about a third off the original price. I bought it at the price of a used guitar, and he just wanted to make it move. I don't know how much money he made off of that guitar, and it's none of my business. I know he didn't sell it at cost. He made me a good offer and I took it. His store is a rented space in a strip mall. He has two employees that have to be paid. Plus utilities. He owns all the inventory. About a half a million. Plus when he orders the brands that he carries, there are minimum number of units that he has to buy. And, he only buys high-end, boutique gear. There are a limited number of customers who will actually drop 4 grand or more on any guitar, let alone a CG. Plus he has to compete with online sellers as well. Try before you buy has many advantages, but it also has costs.

eyedoc
Posts: 505
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:39 am

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by eyedoc » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:36 am

I have dealt with Guitar Salon, Savage , and David Conti from Reverie.
They are all superb, have great selections and service. You get to play before you buy...try that when commissioning a guitar directly from the luthier!
Yes there is a markup, maybe 50% at most with room to negotiate and the ability to trade back for 70% of purchase price.
What more could you want?

Number 6
Posts: 210
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:47 am

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by Number 6 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:18 am

What are there - maybe about a handful of dealers in high end classical guitars. Many have brick and mortar operations to pay for. I think there prices are fair for the service they provide. I have been very pleased working with Guitars International, Guitar Salon, Savage Guitar, Reverie, and Richard Brune. Where can you go and play many different classical guitars in one location? Most of the guitars they sell are on consignment so you can always make an offer. Some of the dealers are luthiers such as Richard Brune, which is a great advantage since they can adjust the action and perform repairs if necessary. Plus you do not have to wire several thousands of dollars to a private party and worry about the transaction going south...
Last edited by Number 6 on Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

madrilla
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:50 pm

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by madrilla » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:21 am

Well, a business is not going to disclose their cost price. You might as well ask them how much profit they make.

I admit I am a bit skeptical of shops that don't put prices online. Maybe if they find someone is interested in a model they increase the price. I read of one guy that picked up a guitar lying in the corner which was gathering dust. It sounded very good. A few days later he saw the guitar they bumped up the price a few hundred €.

So it's usual to expect a markup if you buy from a dealer. The main advantage as mentioned is trying before you buy, compare and contrast. You also have a contact for issues with the guitar. I know Ivor Mairants in London have a trained technician from Japan who is available certain days.

Otherwise if you want the absolute best price you can try to buy direct from the maker.

ivan
Posts: 249
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:28 am

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by ivan » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:18 am

As a specialize premium classical guitar dealer myself, i have sell and distribute many guitars more than anyone else in my country (indonesia).
Some members in this forum have buy a guitar from me (especially Asian members).

My price policy is quite different than any other dealers. If i got - for example - 10% discount from the luthier, i won't take that all 10% for my profit margin, i will give 5% to my client (buyer). So everyone is happy, i still get some profit and my client get the best price (even cheaper than if he buy directly from the luthier).
I do this because my real mission is to bring as many high quality guitars as possible to Indonesia. This is part of my mission to educate the Asian people (especially Indonesian) to show them that guitar is not a low class instrument.

emr3413
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:36 pm

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by emr3413 » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:54 pm

Hi,

I'm new here on the forum, but I'd like to post about an excellent experience I had with The Fretted Frog in CA. I've been interested in getting a Camps classical, but I live in Houston, and there aren't any retailers anywhere near me that carry them. I found The Fretted Frog in the Dealers section of the Guitarres Camps website. I went to The Fretted Frog website, and saw a guitar I wanted (M-16-C) for a reasonable price.

I called up the shop, and the owner said shipping was free, a Humicase Protege case was included, and they would setup the guitar to my liking with strings of my choice. I felt like I had stepped into a time machine that took me back to when retailers actually cared.

The guitar showed up a few days later. The guitar exceeded my expectations and I'm extremely pleased. And when I get in the mood for a new guitar I will call The Fretted Frog first.

Edward

Podobin
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:57 pm

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by Podobin » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:44 pm

The classical guitar market is limited in the sense that as you go up the quality pyramid, you start to have less supply and very narrow demand. There seems to be some limitations in sourcing a quality instrument in the $1500 - $2500 price range adequate for an advanced amateur/student in the US. (Yes I know you can purchase on the used market, but I am speaking about new guitars here). There is also limitation in doing face-to-face tryouts of instruments without traveling some distances for some of us. Even here in Chicago we are limited to Brune, so there is a bit of lack of competition locally (sorry folks S. Brenner isn't a legitimate dealer). Because of the lack of physical dealers in a particular geographic area, the next step is to start having instruments sent back and forth which I have done in the past from some very excellent dealers in the US, but that starts to become expensive (something like $200 per instrument to ship back and forth if it does not work out). I do agree that CG dealers provide a service, however we typically do not benefit from the competition which would occur if there were more than one brick and mortar dealer say within the same 90 mile radius of each other. The physical dealer positioned in one market then gets a benefit of being the only game in town, thereby inflating prices. (Side note: I have become to believe in trying to source a guitar from as close to the maker as possible due to these limitations with dealers, dealer markup and physical distance which makes shipping-to-tryout compulsory. Most recently I have acquired a Navarro Garcia from Memorial Music which I have been quite pleased with.) (Another side note: I have also researched buying direct from makers in Spain, especially when the USD to EUR was favorable to us in the US several months ago. There are some options here such as Lisa Hurlong in Granada for example who acts as what I might call a "broker" or "representative" to many of the makers in Granada. My point is dealers serve a purpose, however the limitations of distance reduces competition which drives up prices in my opinion. For example the price of a decent Granada made guitar direct is something like EUR 3000, but by the time it gets to the states with tariffs and dealer markup, we are looking at $6000 for the same instrument. Similarly, buying a Picado from a dealer in the US is something like $2000 for a mid grade model, with the same instrument priced at EUR 1045 from a dealer like Casa Luthier.)
The limitations of a smaller market (both buyers and availability of upper mid-grade instruments), limits to brick and mortar dealers, I believe causes prices to be inflated here in the U.S. Also the lack of reasonably price builders operating in the US also creates limitations. I also hate to say this, but these limitations of the narrow market also create a certain degree of snobishness and "exclusivity" in the classical guitar market with some (but not all) dealers. Some of the positives I do see are the US based builders/distributors that are worth looking into, such as Hippner, GVR, Cervantes. Cordoba (AKA GSI) appears to be similar to what Martin or Taylor are in the steel string acoustic market, which is also promising to some degree. Again even with the makers mentioned in the previous sentence, there is nowhere to try these out physically without paying for freight charges or making a pilgrimage to the Classical Guitar Store, Savage Guitars, Savino, Kirkpatrick, Reverie, Johnathan Marshall, Guitars Int or Guitar Salon for example. For now the market is what it is. On the used market, I am encouraged by the Delcamp for sale board and the increasing use of Reverb for classical guitar buying and selling. Reverb especially has democratized the selling of musical instruments and taken away the exorbitant e - b a y fees.

User avatar
cefyn
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:14 pm
Location: Gwaenysgor, Wales, U.K.

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by cefyn » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:00 pm

ivan wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:18 am
As a specialize premium classical guitar dealer myself, i have sell and distribute many guitars more than anyone else in my country (indonesia).
Some members in this forum have buy a guitar from me (especially Asian members).

My price policy is quite different than any other dealers. If i got - for example - 10% discount from the luthier, i won't take that all 10% for my profit margin, i will give 5% to my client (buyer). So everyone is happy, i still get some profit and my client get the best price (even cheaper than if he buy directly from the luthier).
I do this because my real mission is to bring as many high quality guitars as possible to Indonesia. This is part of my mission to educate the Asian people (especially Indonesian) to show them that guitar is not a low class instrument.
Hi Ivan - I really admire your mission and your way of doing business. I wish you every success in both - If I lived in Indonesia, I wouldn't hesitate to buy from you.

Cefyn.
1983 Robert Cross Spruce & IRW

User avatar
oski79
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9253
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Sebastopol, California

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by oski79 » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:46 pm

emr3413 wrote:
Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:54 pm
Hi,

I'm new here on the forum, but I'd like to post about an excellent experience I had with The Fretted Frog in CA. I've been interested in getting a Camps classical, but I live in Houston, and there aren't any retailers anywhere near me that carry them. I found The Fretted Frog in the Dealers section of the Guitarres Camps website. I went to The Fretted Frog website, and saw a guitar I wanted (M-16-C) for a reasonable price.

I called up the shop, and the owner said shipping was free, a Humicase Protege case was included, and they would setup the guitar to my liking with strings of my choice. I felt like I had stepped into a time machine that took me back to when retailers actually cared.

The guitar showed up a few days later. The guitar exceeded my expectations and I'm extremely pleased. And when I get in the mood for a new guitar I will call The Fretted Frog first.

Edward
Hi Edward, welcome to the forum. Would you mind heading over to the "Introduce Yourself" board and tell us a bit about yourself?
“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” --Florence Foster Jenkins

Dyingsea
Posts: 181
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:08 am
Location: Tennessee

Re: Experiences with dealers

Post by Dyingsea » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:40 pm

eyedoc wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:36 am
I have dealt with Guitar Salon,
What more could you want?
A decent reasonable price...

Return to “Advice on buying, selling or valuing a guitar”