Experiences with dealers

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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)?

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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.

2013 Ramirez 130 Anos - Spruce
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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.
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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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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