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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Overpricing??


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Bill Rogers - Posted - 09/08/2022:  17:06:47


Just quickly perused the classifieds, and it struck me that a number of the listings are overpriced for what they are and from what's available in the banjo market. I don't want to opine specifically on banjos I haven't played or inquired about, so will limit my comments. But does anyone else took at the classifieds and and see asking prices--especially from the last two or three weeks-- that seem more than a tad on the high side? Or is the market heading upward?

The Old Timer - Posted - 09/08/2022:  17:24:01


There are those trying to push the market upward. Of course, we don't know what they actually SELL banjos for. I made what would have been a market typical offer of last winter for a nice banjo and was turned away, told that the seller had more than that in it.



I can buy ANY banjo I want, but I have limits on what I'll submit to.



Go to the brick and mortar vintage dealers on line.   They have banjos they've been offering for the same price for over a year.   They are not raising prices on stock in inventory.   What does that tell you?


Edited by - The Old Timer on 09/08/2022 17:24:57

ChunoTheDog - Posted - 09/08/2022:  17:27:38


Factoring for inflation, plus a little extra.

Why would the millionaire shareholder class be the only ones getting in on the price gouging?
If it sells, all the power to them.

Frailinandwailin - Posted - 09/08/2022:  17:43:46


It’s a shame, I honestly think that banjos could be more popular if they had pricing more similar to guitars, though it’s a whole chicken and egg supply and demand thing I know. I know quite a few young people that are interested in playing but even a good time would be too much, I’ll be giving my ac-1 to a friends partner bc they couldn’t afford to get one, and I was able to scrape some money together to upgrade.

What was once an instrument of slaves, travelers, etc is now out of the reach of many working class people (at least in my city, where cost of living is already too much)

Mark Douglas - Posted - 09/08/2022:  18:04:36


Well...Bill....you are not wrong. Weird stuff happening with the banjo market right now.



Every single Stelling that I have tried to buy in the last five months....belongs to a seller who doesn't forget to remind me over and over..."you know that Stelling is no longer making banjos so I figure that..." And so it goes on and on and on.

Forget about paying a fair price! Every seller wants a significant amount over fair market value! I just saw a Sunflower listed a few days ago at well over $5000.00. There was a Golden Cross on Reverb several months ago. It was listed for $4400.00.

It sold very quickly. There was a Swallowtail on Reverb two weeks ago at almost 6 thousand. It sold within hours. There are enough buyers out there who are flush with cash and willing to pay a premium to get what they want!!!


Edited by - Mark Douglas on 09/08/2022 18:05:40

Mark Douglas - Posted - 09/08/2022:  18:16:16


quote:

Originally posted by The Old Timer





I can buy ANY banjo I want, but I have limits on what I'll submit to.




 



 



 



 



 



Same here....it becomes a matter of principle for me.



Fortunately, I have good banjos and don't need to submit to any seller. There are banjos I would really like to have but nothing out there that I can't live without!

ChunoTheDog - Posted - 09/08/2022:  18:20:12


quote:

Originally posted by The Old Timer



I can buy ANY banjo I want, but I have limits on what I'll submit to.



 






Oddly enough, the only instrument I'm after these days remains 'affordable' by comparison to how modern banjos have increased in price in the past few months.



All 1927/1928 TB-5 conversions I see online remain relatively the same prices as pre-hyperinflation.



 



Not that I have 14k usd burning a hole in my pocket. 


Edited by - ChunoTheDog on 09/08/2022 18:24:26

Bill Rogers - Posted - 09/08/2022:  19:27:28


I have a scarce banjo (openback fretless) in transit that I paid what I think was a fair (but not cheap) price for. But it was less than many of the sorta-pre-war semi-Gbsons in the classifieds.

ChunoTheDog - Posted - 09/08/2022:  19:30:21


I'm sure glad I found and pulled the trigger on my raised head TB-3 conversion pre-pandemic because even archtop style 3's are going for lots of $$ nowadays, including the immediate post-war era Gibsons are now fetching way higher money it seems.

Will Frady - Posted - 09/08/2022:  19:43:51


It seems to a bad time to sell a banjo. I have a banjo in the classifieds, I think is a fair price but maybe I have it priced too high ? I’m thinking about taking it down and trying to sell at a later date. There are a few sellers that are way overpriced. They own them and can charge whatever they choose. I try to be fair as most of us are on here. I’m just thankful I don’t have to sell right now. It s just not a good time .

Alvin Conder - Posted - 09/08/2022:  19:59:43


Asking price and selling price are two different things. But if anything sells for the asking price, that is what it is worth to a particular buyer...at that particular time.

Prices go up, sometimes way up, all based on supply and demand, and of course, available resources to buy. Conversely, prices sometimes also come down, unfortunately usually not as much as they go down, and that my friends is part of inflation.

As for banjos, both new and vintage, I have noticed quite a price creep in the past few years, which actually surprises me given the overall state of things in general. I kind of get it in regards to vintage instruments, the supply is finite. I completely get it in regards to new instruments given the cost of materials and labor, but there are only so many banjo players out there to feed the market. Eventually the price gets to the point where the buyers stop buying, and sellers either stop selling and hold the instruments, or relent and drop prices. I’m not holding my breath for any price drops, but they will come in time.

TreyDBanjoKS - Posted - 09/08/2022:  20:39:15


It's definitely been a noticable trend recently. I've watched the prices of all things Stelling and "Greg-Rich Era" skyrocket over the past several years and this year it's gotten even crazier yet. I was floored to see a Rich-Era Granada go for more than 6k the other day on the classifieds. I had one on my workbench a few months ago and honestly wouldn't consider that banjo worth that kind of money (but my opinion isn't what drives the market, shrug). I'd rather have a decent used car ;)
Bill, your apt description of "sorta-pre-war semi-Gibsons" made me laugh :)
-TD

the-fish - Posted - 09/08/2022:  21:49:34


Won’t mention any names, but there is a certain seller, who. Is out of their tree to price things the way they do. But that’s none of my business and so I try not to pay attention

the-fish - Posted - 09/08/2022:  21:58:06


The stellings stick out like the biggest sore thumb to me, they’ve been going up I’m price for a while, big jump from the covid, and mr stelling doing the I’m going to retire, no I’m not yes I am thing. Don’t get me wrong bless him and his wife, I’m happy for them, and deserve it! It did impact price though

Years back a white star would be had for, ehhhh if your lucky lime 1800-1900 but mostly in the 2200 range, I’ve seen some for 4500 and on up

I personally don’t expect it to last, and than your going to have folk saying I spent 7000 for this, and they will be stuck with it , not a bad thing to be stuck with, but, you know

Le_Marteau - Posted - 09/08/2022:  22:06:10


This site has pushed the virtues of Stellings and Greg Rich banjos for years on end in hundreds of threads. For a long time they held a slight premium over their rival banjos but now I consider it a bit loony. I have some Stellings that I considered listing due to the current inflated pricing, but i'd never be willing to pay to get a similar model down the road if prices continued upwards. Supply and demand flow is as old as the market itself.

Lately the Rolex market and the luxury car market have taken noticeable dips, but it seems like certain instruments like Santa Cruz guitars and the previously mentioned banjos have kept creeping up.

In the past year i've purchased a Sullivan V35, Nechville Galaxy, Deering GDL, and several Cox banjos for at or below $2,000 and that leads me to just sour even more on Rich era RB3's for $4,500 and Stelling base models for $5,000.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 09/08/2022:  22:14:46


You can get an excellent new or little-used Gibson style banjo for significantly less than a comparable Gibson. But with no more Gibson banjos, those that insist on the brand are driving the price surge. Stellings have no copies, so that market is rocketing up.

Banjowen - Posted - 09/09/2022:  01:23:59


You're lucky you don't live in the UK, banjo prices are a joke....

Clifton Hicks - Posted - 09/09/2022:  03:01:29


There's one born every minute.

banjoy - Posted - 09/09/2022:  03:31:06


It's not just banjos. The price of some used cars and real estate has gone off the charts in the last couple of years.

Alvin Conder - Posted - 09/09/2022:  04:49:56


...And Tulips!

sziegler3 - Posted - 09/09/2022:  06:58:01


quote:

Originally posted by Frailinandwailin

It’s a shame, I honestly think that banjos could be more popular if they had pricing more similar to guitars, though it’s a whole chicken and egg supply and demand thing I know. I know quite a few young people that are interested in playing but even a good time would be too much, I’ll be giving my ac-1 to a friends partner bc they couldn’t afford to get one, and I was able to scrape some money together to upgrade.



What was once an instrument of slaves, travelers, etc is now out of the reach of many working class people (at least in my city, where cost of living is already too much)






There are always people who say "nobody wants to play music anymore." Well, a lot of people want to learn, they just can't afford it. 



I shelled out $13,000 for my current bassoon, and the one before that was $20,000. So I'm lucky to have one decent banjo that won't embarrass me in public. 



But around here, if you don't have banjos in closets, attics, and under beds, then you're not a real musician.  

mud400 - Posted - 09/09/2022:  07:33:07


I don't know. Many of the brands I follow have been just holding steady or trickling down slightly. OME, Deering, Wildwood, Prucha, Bishline and a few others.
There was a tick up for Heartland after Robin Smith passed, but those just aren't showing up to even compare right now.
I have noticed a lack of variety I would say, not many in my first list popping up right now compared to a year ago.
For how many Gibsons (all years) are for sale right now, I find it funny that the prices keep going up (except the real pre-war high end market for which I can not comment on).

thisoldman - Posted - 09/09/2022:  08:03:58


About 5-6 years ago I was looking for something "different". Thought about an ODE 2sr or a vintage Deering Boston. Passed on the ones I saw. Now I've seen them offered at twice the asking price was then. Way out of my budget now.

Alvin Conder - Posted - 09/09/2022:  09:25:00


To answer Doug’s question above about how many Gibsons are for sale now?

I can answer that question.

There are many more Gibsons for sale now than have ever been shipped out the doors of the Gibson factory.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 09/09/2022:  11:51:33


quote:

Originally posted by banjoy

It's not just banjos. The price of some used cars and real estate has gone off the charts in the last couple of years.






Yup. I recently saw the same 2018 Toyota Corolla model I have for sale at $2,000 more tha I paid four years ago. Same dealer. 

rcc56 - Posted - 09/09/2022:  12:40:54


quote:

Originally posted by Alvin Conder

To answer Doug’s question above about how many Gibsons are for sale now?



I can answer that question.



There are many more Gibsons for sale now than have ever been shipped out the doors of the Gibson factory.






. . . some of them have a Gibson part, though . . . 

Alvin Conder - Posted - 09/09/2022:  13:58:52


And to add...

Passed on one 4 years ago for 2500. Was then offered to me later for three. Passed again. Thought about it again when one sold at Elderly for 4,000 last year, and now we have this:

banjohangout.org/classified/95263

Would love to have it. Had the chance to buy one from his hands for 300.00 back when...oh well...but prime example of price creep. That being said, I am positive it will sell for that price.

Silver_Falls - Posted - 09/09/2022:  16:32:28


Silver's rule: the banjo we want is always $500 more than we want to pay for it.

rcc56 - Posted - 09/09/2022:  17:09:23


When we have a particular dealer who buys up all the Gibson, Stelling, and even older Japanese banjos that he can get his hands on and then pushes the prices up by 30% to 50%, we call that market manipulation. The US is a free market economy, and such practices are legal. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Ultimately, that's determined by the buyers. Nobody has to do business with that seller.



When many sellers raise their prices in response, and people keep buying, that's called an increase in fair market value. We had a 15 year history of an upward curve in fair market value, which ended in 2009.  Then everything went flat for a long time.



We've had a feeding frenzy in instrument sales over the last couple of years. That feeding frenzy appears to be slowing. Still, if you're looking for a good instrument right now, you're not going to find many bargains unless you happen upon a distress sale or an uninformed seller. You won't find much at 2018 prices these days. But I don't know what next year is going to look like. My crystal ball quit working quite some time ago.


Edited by - rcc56 on 09/09/2022 17:11:19

Bill Rogers - Posted - 09/09/2022:  22:37:46


Examples—Go to Marketplace in the column at left. Choose Banjos from the list. Choose Date Posted from the Sort By drop-down menu. See the first two—an ‘81 Gold Star JD and a Gibson RB-170.  (They may have moved down the listings. )


Edited by - Bill Rogers on 09/09/2022 22:44:00

Eric A - Posted - 09/10/2022:  05:13:31


quote:

Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Examples—Go to Marketplace in the column at left. Choose Banjos from the list. Choose Date Posted from the Sort By drop-down menu. See the first two—an ‘81 Gold Star JD and a Gibson RB-170.  (They may have moved down the listings. )






My eyes went wide when I saw the first price on that RB-170 ( I think it has since been reduced slightly).  Almost double what I paid for one a couple of years ago.  But hey, people can ask what they want to ask.  More power to them.  But they need to be ok with keeping the banjo.


Edited by - Eric A on 09/10/2022 05:21:14

Eric A - Posted - 09/10/2022:  05:25:56


I can sorta see the reasoning. Start high. Maybe for someone who has been looking for precisely that banjo for a while, it's worth it to them. But for anyone else who is just window shopping and needs some convincing...uh...no. And bargain hunters are on a different planet entirely.

banjered - Posted - 09/10/2022:  05:48:59


So in BHO classifieds there is a Bob Carlin 120 for $700 and a Kyle Creed for $9K, but as far as having a playing banjo almost all of us would be better off with the BC120. Whatever floats your boat. It would be boring if we all thought and played the same way. banjered

Eric A - Posted - 09/10/2022:  09:40:34


On the other hand, I've also seen banjos this year that seem like good banjos at fair prices and they just sit there for months. And I sit here thinking "why didn't that thing sell in the first couple days?"

doryman - Posted - 09/10/2022:  10:01:57


quote:

Originally posted by mud400

I don't know. Many of the brands I follow have been just holding steady or trickling down slightly. OME, Deering, Wildwood, Prucha, Bishline and a few others.

 






I concur. There was a beautiful Deering Sierra for sale on craigslist here in my town for $1000.  It languished for months and the price kept going down.  When it was offered at $599, I couldn't stand it anymore and bought it even though I need another banjo like I need another hole in my head.  I just lent it to my neighbor who has been asking me for advice about a  starter banjo for the last couple of months.  I told him to play for as long as he wants and if he decides he wants to stick with the banjo he can pay me $599 for it and he won't find a better "starter" banjo for that price!

Eric A - Posted - 09/10/2022:  11:39:48


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

quote:

Originally posted by mud400

I don't know. Many of the brands I follow have been just holding steady or trickling down slightly. OME, Deering, Wildwood, Prucha, Bishline and a few others.

 






I concur. There was a beautiful Deering Sierra for sale on craigslist here in my town for $1000.  It languished for months and the price kept going down.  When it was offered at $599, I couldn't stand it anymore and bought it even though I need another banjo like I need another hole in my head.  I just lent it to my neighbor who has been asking me for advice about a  starter banjo for the last couple of months.  I told him to play for as long as he wants and if he decides he wants to stick with the banjo he can pay me $599 for it and he won't find a better "starter" banjo for that price!






That's EXACTLY what happened to me! The last thing I need is more banjos, but for fun I was watching a Kalamazoo on ebay.  It started out north of $700, and kept going down, down, down.   When it hit 399 I couldn't stand it any more and bought it.  I have a neck on it now and it is a real sweety.  Love it.

KCJones - Posted - 09/13/2022:  07:55:55


I've noticed the market is pretty stratified depending on brand name and what younger folks call "meme value".

Gibson, Stelling, certain Deerings, and a few others like Kyle Creed or certain other open back makers, they seem to carry a very high premium based on name alone. Of course, they're quality instruments, but they also have a very high premium that can't be explained by quality alone.

Meanwhile you have makers like Wildwood, Bart Reiter, Sullivan, Bishline, that all offer as-good-if-not-better quality that just can't seem to hold value let alone gain. Even after retirement, I've seen Wildwoods and Reiters go for the $1000 range. Which is just crazy because Bart Reiter made the best open back banjos on the market for years.

All the theories about markets and values assume a "rational consumer". I think the rational consumer is basically a unicorn when it comes to musical instruments.

rvrose - Posted - 09/13/2022:  08:47:36


The big name brands have gone through the roof. Glad I got a new Stelling in 2020. But I notice several not so well known but fine sounding brands that I think are still l priced moderately. I've heard Hatfield's and Goldstones (Twangers) that sound really comparable to the big brands. BTW - I have no connection to either company.
Twanger - youtube.com/watch?v=qXXyEyTPje8

Fathand - Posted - 09/13/2022:  12:45:01


It would be unlikely that the typical banjo prices would ever be in the same range as guitars, mainly because of the amount of hardware. Guitars are primarily wood but banjos have lots of hardware.
Hardware is either time consuming to make or more expensive to buy than wood. Add some chrome or nickel plating and up goes the price again.

I have built 4 acoustic guitars from scratch, the average price for materials is around $100. To build a banjo of similar quality would cost at least 3X that even using Asian hardware. Tone rings, hooks, flanges all add up.

Higher prices are a double edged sword, they hurt if you are buying but great if you are selling. If you are looking to upgrade you have to ask the current higher prices in order to help afford the upgrade.

Bill Rogers - Posted - 09/13/2022:  14:32:23


OTOH—Finishing a guitar is a distinctly more time-consuming and exacting process than finishing a banjo. So labor cost enters into it, as does the wood for the guitar.

Stevespickn - Posted - 09/13/2022:  17:25:04


I agree, but certain sellers are always putting high prices on their banjos. It’s fine with me, I can always price the same banjo much cheaper.

Toothless in Kentucky - Posted - 09/13/2022:  19:00:00


quote:

Originally posted by Alvin Conder

To answer Doug’s question above about how many Gibsons are for sale now?



I can answer that question.



There are many more Gibsons for sale now than have ever been shipped out the doors of the Gibson factory.






I have noticed that too. 

mikehalloran - Posted - 09/13/2022:  19:40:16


During the pandemic, Yamaha announced that they were way backordered on acoustic pianos and electric keyboards—and prices went up but not like the wishful thinking used banjo market. 



Even though it's now 2 1/2 years later, there are still supply chain issues and dealer stocks are consistently low.



Welcome to the new normal?

Bill Rogers - Posted - 09/13/2022:  20:57:55


Vega prices have been on a downward trend for some years. Apparently young openback players don’t find them desirable. One influence is the modern preference for plunk and thud rather than crispness and punch.

Redbone - Posted - 09/14/2022:  04:12:41


"WOKE" pricing ...on everything!

the-fish - Posted - 09/14/2022:  17:29:14


As much as I’d like to replay, I don’t want some crybaby snob complaining cause I hurt his feelings

RB-1 - Posted - 09/15/2022:  15:37:01


quote:

Originally posted by Alvin Conder

...And Tulips!






How many would you like? Within 20 miles from where I live......



damirzanne - Posted - 09/19/2022:  21:30:13


I don’t see a problem here , as a seller it’s your right to ask as much as you like for your stuff, as a buyer you have the right not to buy it … I’d love to have pre war Granada , but I can’t afford it , instead of b****ing about the seller and his price , I just bought a nice ESS and play that … who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to afford prewar Granada … someday I may be able to afford a new Corvette too …

rcc56 - Posted - 09/20/2022:  01:18:12


Geoff Stelling built banjos for 47 years. He built over 7000 instruments. I don't know whether he has passed his 80th birthday yet, but if not, he's getting close. His retirement is well earned, and I wish him the best.



I had one of his banjos on the work bench a few months ago. The tone was powerful, and you would be hard pressed to find better craftsmanship.



Anyone who doesn't like the cost can buy something else, or buy a rim, resonator, neck blank, and hardware, put it all together, and fret and finish it themselves. Anyone who chooses to build one will quickly find out that it's a heck of a lot of work, and fine craftsmanship isn't something that's developed overnight.


Edited by - rcc56 on 09/20/2022 01:19:34

heavy5 - Posted - 09/20/2022:  10:02:25


64 years into this banjo thing still draws my attention to costs somewhat (but not like it used to) especially "pre war parts" ! (ha)

IMO the banjo business seems to be alive & well despite prices which is a good feeling .

There are a few mysteries that still amuse me like ; why has Jim not sold that California Artist that sounds good as they get for such a minimal price ?

I guess it just has the wrong name on the peghead . (I've coveted mine for many years .)

I pretty much always listen to his demos to hear what todays offerings should sound like .

So carry on you banjo experts & keep rolling on those strings !


Edited by - heavy5 on 09/20/2022 10:03:32

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