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A little comparison shopping.

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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
Topic starter  

I've had my suspicions for a while that we here in the UK are being fleeced when it comes to guitar prices - Squier 51's, for example - $99.99 in the US, £125 in the UK - the equivalent of $253.95!!!!

So I did a little comparison shopping - looked up the same guitars on the GC website and a UK retailer's website. Here's what I found.....
Guitar Center UK Equivalent Actual UK Price
$199.99 £98.45 £174.95 Squier Custom Tele
$579.99 £285.54 £599.00 Gibson Faded SG Special
$689.99 £339.65 £599.95 Fender '72 Thinline Tele
$949.99 £467.63 £679.00 Fender American Strat
$499.99 £245.66 £449.00 PRS SE II Soapbar Maple

I haven't converted UK prices to Dollars - but that PRS SE II that'd cost you $499.99 in the States would set you back $912.17 in the UK!

I reckon if you were thinking of buying, say, a high-end Martin, it'd be cheaper to fly to the USA and buy one there than spend your money in England!

And the £ is pretty strong against the $ right now - it's the first time I can remember the pound being worth over two dollars. A couple of years ago, when we were in Texas, £1 = $1.90 - now it's $2.03.

:evil: :evil: :evil:

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@hyunjae)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 62
 

:twisted: You should start smuggling guitars from the US to the UK and sell them for a lot of profit! :twisted:

You could get so rich, so fast! 8)


   
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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

Vic -- what's the reason? Trade tarifs?

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@conuvial)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 45
 

Wow Vic - sounds like you guys are getting screwed over there. Who's pocketing the extra cash - manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers or the government?

"...it's in him, and it got to come out..." - JLH


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
Topic starter  

Vic -- what's the reason? Trade tarifs?

I don't know, but it seems to be right across the board - not just a few selected guitars. I suppose part of the difference might be down to shipping costs, but surely not an 80% difference in real terms? There are fluctuations in UK dealer prices, but I reckon the average prices for the guitars I mentioned wouldn't differ by much more than a few per cent. Import duty, perhaps? I'd love to know how the price of a guitar is broken down - how much is profit for the retailer, how much goes to the government coffers etc.

I know a couple of years ago, we did a little comparison shopping when we were in America - cigarettes, for instance, cost about 1/2 as much in the USA as the UK. Food also seemed very cheap. A pair of jeans I bought over there cost $25 - at the time, I was paying around £40 (About $72 then) in the UK! A common complaint over there was the price of Gas (Petrol to us Brits) which cost less than a 1/3 of the UK prices! However, I didn't have - for comparison - any idea of the average wage in the US to compare to UK wages. Maybe UK-made goods imported to the US are expensive?

Still, it strikes me somebody's getting rich - and us poor guitarists are getting poorer!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@kevin72790)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 837
 

Yea there should be a world currency of some sort, because this is outrageous.

The US dollar's value is decreasing rapidly, so expect to get a bit more annoyed in the next five or ten years or so, Vic. :(


   
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(@twistedlefty)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4113
 

sheesh that's robbery, sux to be you guys eh?
i'm not for the new world order, one currency for everyone thing tho.

#4491....


   
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(@moonrider)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1305
 

Vic, these links might shed some light on the subject.

http://www.sloanefox.freeserve.co.uk/importukduty.htm

http://www.warmoth.com/customerservice/customer.cfm?fuseaction=uk

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


   
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(@kblake)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 323
 

Vic,
Don't feel too bad, here in Australia it is just as bad....

Guitar Centre US Australian Equivalent Actual Australian price Item
$199.99 $232.47 $428.00 Squier Custom Tele
$579.99 $672.99 $1,999.00 Gibson Faded SG Special
$689.99 $800.62 $1,520.00 Fender '72 Thinline Tele
$949.99 $1,102.31 $1,999.00 Fender American Strat
$499.99 $580.16 $999.00 PRS SE II Soapbar Maple
$99.00 $114.87 $279.00 Squier 51

These prices were taken from http://www.venuemusic.com.au are very reputable and competitive shop here in Sydney but they are "retail prices" and can be haggled down.
I am a mad golfer too, and those prices are just as bad compared to the US of A....

Cheers
Keith

I know a little bit about a lot of things, but not a lot about anything...
Looking for people to jam with in Sydney Oz.......


   
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(@conuvial)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 45
 

I feel bad for you guys. You're getting hosed.

When I was in London a few years ago I just attributed the high prices to the exchange rate - the dollar was really taking a beating at the time. But these price differences are way beyond that. With the current relative strength of your currencies, American goods imported into your countries (like MIA Fender guitars) should be a relative bargain.

Shipping might be a little more say for Squier guitars shipped to the UK than to the US, but then what about shipping to Australia? Shipping from Indonesia to Australia has to be a lot less.

Only things left are effects of overall taxation strategies (duties, tariffs or VAT plus all other direct or indirect taxes affecting businesses), or anti competitive practices like fair trade agreements between manufacturers/wholesalers and retailers. Are those allowed in the UK or Australia?

"...it's in him, and it got to come out..." - JLH


   
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(@barnabus-rox)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2957
 

Thanks Blake I was going to point that out ..

I am buying my son a acustic guitar { Yamaha } he likes one in particular ..

When I was looking at prices I wished I was in the USA , 1/3 the cost ..

Now who is being fleeced ?

Here is to you as good as you are
And here is to me as bad as I am
As good as you are and as bad as I am
I'm as good as you are as bad as I am


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Vic,
Don't feel too bad, here in Australia it is just as bad....

Guitar Centre US Australian Equivalent Actual Australian price Item
$579.99 $672.99 $1,999.00 Gibson Faded SG Special

These prices were taken from http://www.venuemusic.com.au are very reputable and competitive shop here in Sydney but they are "retail prices" and can be haggled down.

Cheers
Keith

Hi,

I've been looking into just such a guitar, and this is what I found so far:

Many USA online sites are currently selling them for $580. But one of the sites I saw selling for that that price also quoted the Manufacturer's 'list price' as being $1058 - which is probably something more like Aus$1300. It's also a bit confusing as to which model we're looking at with the Gibsons. I just rang a local shop and they told me that the 'list price' for that faded model was Aus$1799. He also said that they sell it it for around Aus$1600. Another local store has them for Aus$1549. Getting a lot closer now. :)

The fact is that Australia is a very small market compared to the USA (they have around 15 times the population). So we simply can't compete with the volume of stock they can shift. Our retail system is still also very much based on shop-front stores rather than online businesses.

The USA have a long history of 'mail order' buying that goes back for generations - well before the internet. So the online stores that we get these tasty prices from are shifting big volumes of goods with very low purchase and handling costs compared to the stores here. They operate with much lower overheads than a regular shop and can also make a profit at a much lower margin per unit because they shift so many. In contrast we prefer to buy from a store where we can play the actual instrument that we're going to buy.

It's tempting to believe that we're being ripped off, but unfortunately it's just a fact of living in a big country with a fairly small market. Nobody in particular is making a big killing. It's mostly that all the steps along the line cost more. And we are talking about fully imported goods, with all the added costs that that brings too.

Sometimes a local store or chain will import a big enough order to be able to offer a good special price in a shop setting. For instance one of the Perth shops is currently selling Epi Dot Studios at a retail price that's actually lower than my friend who has the local music shop can buy his wholesale for from his regular supplier. :shock: Still more expensive than you see online in the US though.

Shop around a bit and haggle and you can do a LOT better than list price here, but we're unlikely to ever see them as low as US 'mail order' prices.

Good hunting... 8)

Chris


   
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(@pearlthekat)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1468
 

I think it's because these guitars are either made in the US or made by US companies. Don't you have your own British companies making guitars and wouldn't they be cheaper?


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
Topic starter  

I think it's because these guitars are either made in the US or made by US companies. Don't you have your own British companies making guitars and wouldn't they be cheaper?

I would imgine there are British guitar companies, but to be honest I couldn't name one off the top of my head....and somehow I don't think a British company would have the same clout as, say, a Fender or Gibson or Schechter or PRS or Taylor or Martin.......

That's one I'll have to look into!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@steve-0)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1162
 

I'm from Canada, about 30 minutes from the U.S border and there's even a significant price difference here!

Fender Squier: $300 - $400(Local Store), $200 (GC)
Gibson SG Faded: $900 (Local Store), $590 (GC)

The pathetic thing is that the exchange rate is about 94%, which is quite good. So you could imagine why I am making a trip up to GC in Buffalo next week!

Have a look to see how much international shipping is: I would imagine it's not cheap but it wouldn't hurt to check.

Steve-0


   
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