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Thread: At what percent is used beneficial?

  1. #1
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    Default At what percent is used beneficial?

    I'm someone who normally buys used, but it's also a situational thing: If a used item is only 10% off retail, it's better to get the new item; If it's 50%, majority of time that's time to go used.

    But it also depends on the item; Some items don't lose much value, others lose a ton (i.e. 75% off retail for used furniture is normally good for the seller).

    I was wondering, around what % do you look at as saying "Ok, that's worth going used over new" for a musical instrument (Specifically ukuleles, obviously)?

    I did a quick look at Guitar Center's used section and it seemed that it was mostly ~30% off retail prices; That seemed a bit low to me though, I'd have expected it to be closer to 40-50%.

    Also to give an example, I'm looking to buy a used Makala Tenor (MK-T) off Craigslist; It goes for 70 dollars at the local music store and online. His original list price was 70 dollars, so I offered a lot more reasonable 40 (Roughly 40% off). He countered with 60, which is still way too steep (Just 15% off). I think I could meet him half way for $50, which would be the 30% off that guitar center does, but I'm not positive if that's worth it. But, I'm new, so my question is: Is that a fair deal for used instruments?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Guitar Center's rate is based off the Hollywood store, so I would never use that as the factor to hold all against.

    For used prices on ANY instrument, there is no hard and fast rule on what percentage to take off. If the instrument was taken care of well and shows little to no signs of aging, then it's not uncommon for it to get a higher resale than the exact same model that was beaten up and been repaired. It also comes down to the geographical area/market it's being sold (although the internet has leveled that field somewhat).

    My thought is that if you want the Makala and you are able to get the uke at $50 instead of $70 and it's still in good condition, you're still saving money over buying it new.
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  3. #3
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    One way to get an idea of what ukes are going for is to watch the e-bay auctions. The price may vary in your area, but you would get an idea of pricing.

  4. #4
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    In theory a "used" solid wood uke that has been cared for properly would have time to open up and could even sound better than a new one, of course the amount of wear from playing is a factor at least cosmetically.
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  5. #5
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    For a used instrument in like-new condition, I think 30% lower than retail is just about right - I've bought four out of my five ukes second-hand, and that's been about the going rate.

  6. #6
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    There are no hard rules, but it's much like cars in some respects. A top brand uke with a reputation for excellence, or a custom instrument from a well-known luthier, is going to hold it's resale value much better than stuff at the bottom of the pile, so to speak.

    I'm not going to pay anywhere near new price for a low-end machine-built uke with spotty quality - I have to consider that chances are pretty high the guy wants to unload it in the first place because it's not one of the better examples of the model. On the other hand I paid very nearly the new price for a KoAloha longneck soprano because it was exactly what I was in the market for so it hit the UU marketplace at just the right time. There were a lot of good pictures, I really liked the figure in the wood, and I figured that I was as well off getting that instrument as a crap-shoot from a dealer (since there aren't any decent uke shops around here where I could try before buy). K-Brand ukes have a high-enough reputation and lemons are quite rare so there is less risk buying used.

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  7. #7

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    I had a discussion with my boss about this not too long ago. He used to buy record collections from people off of ebay and craigslist and then resell them. What it comes down to is the value is in the eye of the beholder. The saying, "You get what you pay for" isn't always true. Sometimes someone may be selling a well made instrument for cheap because they want to get rid of it quickly and don't want to wait to get something out of it. Some people will try to sell "over" the value to see who bites.

    Long story short: If you play it, and you like it, and it speaks to you and the price is right, just get it. I know in this economy we want to get the most bang for our buck, but when it comes to musical instruments, it becomes a lot more personal.

  8. #8
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    At some point what you feel is fair is also important. Going strictly by what % off retail may be too restrictive. If you feel good about a price, but it ends up being only 15% off, does that mean you got shafted?

    Ultimately I think it boils down to individual concerns and priorities.
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  9. #9
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    Yeah, things are situational, and what something is "worth" all depends on what someone will pay for it. That's why I specifically gave the example of the MK-T, higher quality used ukes are going to be in a different category altogether than the Makala line.

    Quote Originally Posted by weavb View Post
    One way to get an idea of what ukes are going for is to watch the e-bay auctions. The price may vary in your area, but you would get an idea of pricing.
    That's what I normally do, but used low-level Uke's seem to never be on sale on Ebay - all listings are of used models. Sure, the higher end models you can find used ones, but never the entry-level ukes. Same goes for anywhere on the internet, really. Which is unfortunate, since ukes rarely appear on craigslist.

    Quote Originally Posted by janeray1940 View Post
    For a used instrument in like-new condition, I think 30% lower than retail is just about right - I've bought four out of my five ukes second-hand, and that's been about the going rate.
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by back2bassics View Post
    The saying, "You get what you pay for" isn't always true. Sometimes someone may be selling a well made instrument for cheap because they want to get rid of it quickly and don't want to wait to get something out of it. Some people will try to sell "over" the value to see who bites.

    Long story short: If you play it, and you like it, and it speaks to you and the price is right, just get it. I know in this economy we want to get the most bang for our buck, but when it comes to musical instruments, it becomes a lot more personal.
    Yeah, it's probably what I'll end up doing.

    Thanks for replies

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