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A little comparison shopping.

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(@biker_jim_uk)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 536
 

I can think of Burns and Gordon Smith off-hand.


   
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(@welshman)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 99
 

Of course if there is such a huge mark-up on guitars (which seems likely) then it rather begs the question of what would happen if guitarists turned round to the shops and said that we weren't prepared to pay the marked price and instead made an offer. When I buy a car I never pay the asking price so why should I pay start when buying a guitar!

Someone told me that nowadays an Epiphone LP standard can cost around £250 - £300 but when I went into the shop some months ago I told the guy that he could have £200 but I wanted a small amp for that as well. Of course he was surprised but after an hour of chatting and haggling I got my guitar, amp AND a soft case to get it home!! The cost £210.

Then when I wanted a Freshman acoustic I tried it again - less success this time but I did get a pretty nice hard case and a half a dozen music books I had picked up and all for the marked price.

In short my best tip is don't go with the price they are asking - tell them that the price is too high and what would they accept. If they really won't come down see what they will throw into the package. At the worst you'll get a few picks :-)

D

What did the guitarist do when he was told to turn on his amp?
He caressed it softly and told it that he loved it.


   
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(@boxboy)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1221
 

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.

Gee, that hasn't been my experience, Steve-O.
I paid 219 CAN for my Squier Jazz bass. It's 179 US at GC (so US pricing about 10% less if I'm figuring the exchange right).
My Godin LG HB is a special edition so I can't do a direct comparison, but the stock LGs retail at 599 CAN here and 619 US at Musican's Friend, so the US price is about 10% more.
Long and McQuade is about 1/2 block from my house, so I can check pricing on a couple of things if you like. Just PM me the specific models you're interested in.
:)

Don


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

I sent you a PM, thanks for the reply. I guess the store I go to just REALLY overprices, which doesn't really surprise me because I had suspected that for a long time anyways. Not only that, but I really doubt they know how to do proper set-ups. But nevertheless, I'd be interested in how L&M compares to GC.

Steve-0


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459
 

It's payback for taxing our tea some years ago...HA

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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

I can think of Burns and Gordon Smith off-hand.

Yeah, both those firms have good reputations - never tried a Burns (Greybeard's the man to ask there...) but I did have the pleasure of trying Darth Ordinary's GS guitar last week. Very nice guitar, not cheap but he reckons it was worth every penny. So I know of at one least satisfied customer of each!

It seems, though, that UK retailers have the market pretty well stitched up. Yes, you can find a couple of bargains here nd there, but there isn't a major retail chain - as far as my limited searching has thrown up so far - that consistently undercuts the rest. There's very little variance price-wise between them.

Generally, from what I can see comparing prices in the UK and the USA, I'd say there's about a 65-70% difference in the USA's favour. I can see Chris C's point about the Australian market - but the UK, in comparison to Australia, is a densely populated country with a LOT of guitar players and a comparatively huge market. Most of the music I hear coming out of the radio is made by British or American bands, probably with a bias towards British Artists. There are literally thousands of bands out there - and they all need guitars.

: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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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Of course if there is such a huge mark-up on guitars (which seems likely) then it rather begs the question of what would happen if guitarists turned round to the shops and said that we weren't prepared to pay the marked price and instead made an offer. When I buy a car I never pay the asking price so why should I pay start when buying a guitar!
Of course. I wouldn't dream of simply paying the tagged price on a guitar in a store without doing some negotiating.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@boxboy)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1221
 

The pricing plot thickens.
Steve O's post about Canadian vs US pricing got me curious. I knew Fender entry level and Godin pricing were comparable ^^. Then I found pricing for PRS SE and Ibanez Artcore from a Toronto shop's website. I compared those prices to Musician's Friend. Again, pretty much a sawoff; after exchange, PRS are 5% more here and the Artcore about 10% more.
So 4 different brands and similar pricing in Canada and the US.
But when it came to Gibson. Youch!
The two models I priced for Steve O were about 50% more expensive here! One 320 US more, the other 300 US more. Buddy, I don't blame you for going to Buffalo!

Don


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

:shock:

That's really weird, does Gibson not like Canada for some reason? Maybe we should discuss this problem to Gibson execs over a nice meal of Canadian beer and maple syrup. :lol:

Anyways, I'm not the kind of person that will buy a Gibson Les Paul just because it says "Gibson Les Paul" on the headstock, but they have such a good reputation that I'd like to try them and see how they are, I just don't want to spend over $1000 for a guitar (well, not yet anyways :lol: )

Steve-0


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

Sounds like I could make a pretty good living driving a pickup truck load of Gibsons into Canada once or twice a month.

Anyone got any startup capital? I'm looking for investors.....

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


   
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(@causnorign)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 554
 

I can almost understand why a made in America instrument would cost less in the USA, but what about those made in Japan or China. Somebody is ripping you guys off.


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

Hi again,

A bit more checking seems to show that the higher price differences are much more obvious here with the big American brand names like Gibson and Fender.

Checking the Yamaha AES620 - which is an award winning guitar that is well made and very good value for money - and the prices were much closer. Australian list price Au$1,000 - American list price US $800 (which is pretty close to being the same price, depending on exchange rate fluctuations). The big US online stores are offering them for US$500, but no doubt the small local stores in the US have to sell for more than that.

I bought one recently from a local store for the equivalent of about US$650. I greatly prefer buying from a local shopfront even though I know that it costs well over $1million a year in overheads for that particular shop to simply open its doors. But in return for paying a bit more I got to sit in a special room for as long as I wanted, playing a choice of guitars through a range of amps. I also got top notch advice and demos from the salesman who is a very knowledgeable working band musician, and an excellent player and teacher as well. And I can take it back any time for advice or problem fixes.

So why are the big US names still a fair chunk of change higher here? Possibly because they maintain a tighter dealer structure? So could they drop their prices and shift more to compensate? Possibly, but the market for mid priced instruments here is pretty competitive. My guess is that they will try and stay 'top of the range' for as long as they can. Is the 'made in the USA by Gibson or Fender' tag really worth paying a chunk more for? Well.... it's like buying a BMW or a Ferrari, are they really worth what you have to pay??.... Only if you've got the money and you really just love what they have to offer, and if that's the case then maybe they are worth it. 8)

Cheers,

Chris


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

Vic,

Don't you also have VAT tax on guitars? Something like 17.5% or 20%? That would make quite a difference. We have 10% GST here (same as VAT).

Chris


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

Vic,

Don't you also have VAT tax on guitars? Something like 17.5% or 20%? That would make quite a difference. We have 10% GST here (same as VAT).

Chris

I think the prices I quoted are inclusive of VAT - something similar to the sales tax Americans pay. It'd make life easier if there was one quotable price for everything! And yes, I think it's 17.5%. Then again, if, say, a MIA Strat is being shipped from the factory to the UK, surely there wouldn't be any US sales tax on it? Or is that the catch, we're paying two lots of tax - country of origin and point of sale tax?

"Now my advice for those who die,
Beware the pennies on your eyes,
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no-one but me......"

I think George said it best.......

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

You shouldn't be double taxed.

US sales tax is charged on a state by state basis. It is applied to retail sales that occur within a state. Internet and mail order sales are not currently taxed unless the company you are dealing with has a physical presence in the state you are in.

Not an expert - but I don't believe US state sales tax would be charged on international sales. Regardless - sales within the distribution chain (manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer - including international sales) incur no sales tax. Once a product reaches an international destination with a VAT, then the VAT may be applied at each step of distribution.

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


   
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