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Selling Guitars On Ebay


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When I start building my guitars, i'm going to build two at a time (one for me, and one to sell to cover the cost), have any of you had any success in selling guitars on ebay, and if so how do you go about pricing them?

If you have had any success in selling them elsewhere other than ebay, I would be interested in hearing what you did.

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I wouldn't even think of selling anything until you have built a number of guitars. Chances are, your first guitars won't be good enough to get enough money to cover your expenses. For instance, I spend around $600 on my first build ($300 or so in parts and materials, the rest on tools, finishing supplies, etc). I KNOW there is no way I will be able to build an instrument that would make enough money in a sale to recoup that.

Plus, you also have the trouble of selling a no-name guitar for a decent amount of cash. There would be no way someone would pay (lets say) $500 for a guitar you built when they could pay that much for a Strat in which they know what quality they will be getting.

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Primal

I don't intend to sell my very first guitars - these will all be pretty much experimental to get my skills and technique down. I'm more thinking of later down the line once i've got most of the essential tools and have built a number of test subjects.

I've currently invested £400 in tools, and the cost of my first two guitars are coming out at £350 using mostly parts from stewmacs, and tonewoods from a local supplier.

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what would you say is a good range to spend on a guitar. i was planning out a project and the total for the supplies is about 800 dollars. i have heard a lot of people on the forum listing prices for materials for a project at around 300(as stated above). i have heard ranges any where form 250 usd to 1300usd. is there something im not seeing? or could it be where i am looking at purchasing wood(which seems pretty steep), although now i am looking at soundcompound. but thats a bit tougher to find a dealer for. so basic q....whats a good range to spend on a project? or what would you say is an average price?

-RAF

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what would you say is a good range to spend on a guitar. i was planning out a project and the total for the supplies is about 800 dollars. i have heard a lot of people on the forum listing prices for materials for a project at around 300(as stated above). i have heard ranges any where form 250 usd to 1300usd. is there something im not seeing? or could it be where i am looking at purchasing wood(which seems pretty steep), although now i am looking at soundcompound. but thats a bit tougher to find a dealer for. so basic q....whats a good range to spend on a project? or what would you say is an average price?

-RAF

What i've done is take a guitar that I want to build (in my example, a Ken Lawrence Explorer) go to a spears dealer and total up all the hardware, fretwire and electrics. Then find out how much the wood is, and then work out if I need any specific tools - the total is how much it will cost.

If you are doing a guitar of your own design, then it all comes to down to how much you want to spend, hardware can be bought extremely cheap from ebay, or taken from pawn shop/boot fair guitars. I wouldn't skrimp on the wood though, buy the best you can afford.

I'm sure by the time i've finished creating my guitars, i'll be looking at about £1000 +

and that is using mid-range hardware and pickups.

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I don't intend to sell my very first guitars - these will all be pretty much experimental to get my skills and technique down. I'm more thinking of later down the line once i've got most of the essential tools and have built a number of test subjects.

Oh, well in that case, you shouldn't have a problem as long as you package the guitar well and make it VERY clear in your auctions that you built the guitars, etc.

i have heard a lot of people on the forum listing prices for materials for a project at around 300(as stated above). i have heard ranges any where form 250 usd to 1300usd. is there something im not seeing? or could it be where i am looking at purchasing wood(which seems pretty steep)...

I was lucky enough to get free walnut for my body and neck which REALLY cut down my cost of materials. I also went with a cheap bridge and tuners from Custom Shop Parts. The one thing I didn't skimp on was a Bartolini MM pickup.

I also only had to buy a few hand tools, a router bit, and some drill bits; everything else I already had in our wood shop.

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If you're just going to rehash the standard guitar shapes (include minor variations thereupon), I don't see the point. Unless you put in the time and establish an excellent reputation for the quality of your goods...and even then, why would I want to buy your LP clone instead of the real thing? Okay, maybe once you get to the level of people like LGM and Ormsby and Myka....but they've been at this a looooong time.

And as for spending $1.8 k on project guitar...it just boggles the mind.... :D

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i know a guy who makes better than average bodies. Buys the woods off ebay (figured maples), buys the body woods direct from mills (alder, mahogany etc), labours over the bodies for hours and hours, days even, lacquers them to a high standard, and then lists them on ebay for LESS THAN THE COST OF THE ORIGINAL MAPLE TOP.

He's been at it a while. He's already setup. Ive seen at least 30 of his bodies.

Byron. Walk, dont run. Finish A guitar, please. Just one. Forget this dream you have, its currently unrealistic, and just build ONE. Then move to stage 1.000001, building a second guitar.

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I used to....now I don't.

I started out about 5 years ago building Relic repros. I was not out to get Custom Shop prices, just a way to offer cheaper versions while still getting the vibe. For those of you who hate Relics, please scroll past images. The problem I had was that I was not very familiar with ebay at the time. So I didn't know about reserves and buy it now options very well. I sold my first 3 guitars all at the same time instead of testing the waters. Each guitar sold for about $450, each cost me about $600 to make.

So, I started using top manufacturer parts (Fender parts for my Fender reproductions). Now I'm getting $1200 for each guitar when it's now costing me about $700 to make.

My last repro sold for $1500. I've become friends with the Fender Custom Shop and now choose not to make anymore repros. So I started making my own guitars. They still have vintage shapes but I have my own name on them now.

It's tough trying to get my name out when there are so many major guitar companies to compete with. But my last three guitars I've sold, I encouraged the owners to write a review in Harmony Central. This has really helped.

So my last three guitars that I've built have sold between $1200-$1500. Now I have a few guitars around the US and Guam. I also include a custom guitar t-shirt with each guitar to help further spread the word around.

I would not totally discourage ebay. Try it out. Make sure you list a reserve for the lowest you would accept (reasonable, which can be tricky). Use the "Buy It Now" option as well. That might attract someone who wants it right away. I always got emails asking me to end early because they wanted the guitar so bad. Don't expect too much and make sure you list with Fender, Gibson, Jackson, Custom Shop so that you show up on the keyword search on ebay. That way you won't be a needle in a hay stack.

Completed3R.jpg

- Stew

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Stew - You're building and selling guitars with the Fender logo on the headstock?

NO. I'm actually using Fender parts. In some cases, I totally refinished Fender parts and then refinished to look old. I always was up front about the fact that they were not actual vintage guitars. Always used the words "replica" in my auctions.

The guys at the Custom Shop seemed cool with it. When the SRV #1 tribute Strat came out at Winter NAMM '04, Mike Eldred said to me, "(laughs) you better not make any of these". I sensed there was a little truth to that comment. So I took the hint and stopped. Besides, I realized that all that hard work would just be mistaken as a Fender guitar and not my work. Why should they get all the credit, right?

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Stew - You're building and selling guitars with the Fender logo on the headstock?

Im pretty sure he was taking new strats and making them look vintage.

I used 90-95% authentic Fender parts. There may have been an All Parts body with a real Fender neck or Fender body with a WD Music neck. But I never removed any part details like say say the imprints used by All Parts neck or WD Music. All evidence was never hidden. Most of the necks were Genuine Fender Replacement Parts necks and I left the Fender imprint on the back of the headstocks. So there were obvious signs it was not the real deal. Only from stage distance did it look like it could be a real vintage Fender.

But to get those higher thousand dollar prices, I had to use Custom Shop pickups like Abby Masterwounds, Time Machine '56 pickups (that I won on ebay), to warrant those prices. If I used Custom 54's or Fat 50's then my usual bid would rot around $850. So I was not loading the guitars with MIM pickups or AV '62 stuff.

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Stew - You're building and selling guitars with the Fender logo on the headstock?

NO. I'm actually using Fender parts. In some cases, I totally refinished Fender parts and then refinished to look old. I always was up front about the fact that they were not actual vintage guitars. Always used the words "replica" in my auctions.

The guys at the Custom Shop seemed cool with it. When the SRV #1 tribute Strat came out at Winter NAMM '04, Mike Eldred said to me, "(laughs) you better not make any of these". I sensed there was a little truth to that comment. So I took the hint and stopped. Besides, I realized that all that hard work would just be mistaken as a Fender guitar and not my work. Why should they get all the credit, right?

Oh i gotcha, for some reason i was thinking you built the whole guitar. My bad. Carry on. :D

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I guess I did sort of imply that. What I meant was that I did the whole assembly, setup, fret work if any needed, and all distressing. That work was being lost because all people were looking at, in their minds, was a Fender guitar. It's the same is if you took your Fender guitar is for work at a local shop. When you go to play that guitar, people aren't thinking, "Wow, I'll bet luthier Tom set that guitar up. What great tone and sustain". They're saying, "What a great sounding Strat".

If I ever made more, I'd leave the pegface blank, and not for sale.

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As an Ebay buyer mainly, I say that I generally don't trust custom stuff built by other people, unless its just parts. A body, or a neck, but not a whole guitar, especially when we are talking big prices (£500 upwards). Atm though can't really buy any guitars, saving for a (don't kill me) electric drumkit, which should dent my pocket a good £2000-£3000! On that note, anyone wanna buy my acoustic double bass drumkit?! lol.

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i tried listing three of my guitars on ebay with no success at all. i've got a body style that's somewhere between a strat and an sg..good woods with an oil or poly finish, mostly dimarzio pups and with tricked out electronics selling in the $950 to $1250 range. and yes, that would have made me a profit. most of my woods are free.

it finally occured to me that even $950 is too much for the average person to risk on a no-name guitar. so i sell them in my shop and have been lucky enough to be able to build a few custom orders for local musicians.

you might do better, when you're ready, to set up a website with some good pics, sound bites and phone numbers where potential customers can actually talk to you about your product. my partner at the shop started making custom short scale basses and did just what i said and is doing very well with them. 'course it didn't hurt that his first month in business bass player magazine made him the feature new product of the month. :D

i'm not spammin'..i swear..but you might check out his site at www.birdsongguitars.com

good luck!

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Perry

Again your jumping on me about not running before I walk, but please give me some credit, i'm just sounding out idea's and creating a discussion, this is after all a discussion forum. I'm totally clued up about what i'm going to do, and totally realistic. I'm thinking of years down the line and just seeing what experiences other have. But let me itteriate that I do appreciate the sentiment, so it's all good.

:D

uncleJ - the website is probably where I would go, as thats what my business is at the moment (designing and building e-commerce and web-applications). What I intend to do is have a 'build-a-guitar' facility so that people can literally build their guiter online and have it generate a quote.

Btw, if anyone needs a pro to build them a site, give me a PM i'm currently taking time out of client work and i'm available for 'personal' work for the next 2 months only..

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