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jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 2770
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 - 6:12 am:   Edit Post

Ive been watching a 1991 europa on ebay and it has just sold for over 1000 more than i paid 6 years ago for my bocate europa which is a newer 1997 model. It made me wonder whether this is i sign of price bouyancy generally in the market for these used instruments or whether it was a one off battle of wits between keen bidders. Anyone else noticed this kind of activity?
I remember maybe 3 yrs ago prices were pretty low and many unsold alembics on ebay were the ones where sellers had underestimated the market and were asking for too much with a high reserve.

Jazzyvee
tmoney61092
Senior Member
Username: tmoney61092

Post Number: 778
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 - 6:32 am:   Edit Post

Prices have shot up quite a bit lately. A Europa sold last week for $3600(US) which is more than I've ever seen a used one sell for, it use to be you could get a Series 1 for around that price. But I do think I read somewhere that Alembic's prices have gone up which could be effecting the used instrument market. I may be attacked for saying this but I will anyway, a used Alembic is a good invest in times like we're in now, I don't see Alembic bringing their prices back down so they will only sell for more, but buying a new or custom Alembic is not so much...like the Tributes in eBay for roughly $10,000 I doubt if someone bought it they would be able to get that back out and with buying a custom, say you spend $15,000 on one made to you're liking, you may only be able to sell it for about the used market value of that model depending on woods and such of course.

~Taylor
811952
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 2164
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 - 7:48 am:   Edit Post

Buying new, I don't think so. Buying used certainly seems like a good investment. I believe it was James (Malthumb) who invested his way up to his current stable of Series and Signature 5-strings in this way. There are times when the market is down, but Alembics are what I would consider an heirloom instrument with a supply that doesn't begin to match demand, especially on the used market.

John
tubeperson
Advanced Member
Username: tubeperson

Post Number: 234
Registered: 5-2005
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 - 8:51 am:   Edit Post

Most elite items, such as boats, cars, audio etc. are a better value when purchased used. The "Pre CBS" Fenders, tubed Marantz stereo equipment and such are the exception. Half of my Alembic stock was purchase used and half new. I love them all, investment value or not. I am happy to see that used Alembics are starting to increase in value, even though it may cost me more today than it did a few years ago.
hammer
Intermediate Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 105
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 - 11:35 am:   Edit Post

Being on the lookout for a SC since I purchased my Distillate almost 4-years ago, I can attest to prices going up significantly in recent months. I have recently seen people attempting to sell Spoilers and Distillates for $2,500-$3,000 and SCs from $4,000-$4,500. Now whether they actually get that much when they do sell is another story. I've seen a heck of a lot of gear being listed and relisted over a period of 9-12 months that is still up for sale. I guess it comes down to how badly someone needs the cash and wants to sell versus the degree to which another person lusts for a specific Alembic. I'd agree that there is one thing for sure and that is you'll probably never get back the $$$ you put down on a new instrument, but then again that's not why most people purchase them.
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 2771
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 - 12:40 pm:   Edit Post

Yeah It's interesting times in the marketplace. As was pointed out by Taylor, there is very little chance of new prices coming down. Things like as the cost of construction, R&D, salaries and business costs etc still has to be recovered somehow. I guess the world is just becoming more expensive for everything. Over here we generally pay a premium for buying used and new alembics this side of the pond but even taking that into account the prices of that particular instrument i started the thread with is more than I would expect to pay here for an alembic of that age. But it sold and there were 46 bidders in it so there are at least 45 bidders from that one auction still looking for a used alembics.

But as has been echoed here many times.... they are only worth as much as someone wants to pay and I too have seen many instruments relished over months and years. There is, for example, a series triple omega that appears on ebay virtually every year recently with the same photo's on the auction and clearly never gets sold. So i guess really there is a ceiling price for everything and that one is too high.

Like most of us I didn't buy mine as an investment. If the time comes to sell I'm happy to take the market value whatever it is at that time, appreciation or depreciation value. The depreciation matters less than the enjoyment of ownership? But its good to know they are on the up.

I bet No:12 has appreciated in value .


Jazzyvee

(Message edited by jazzyvee on February 27, 2012)
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5083
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 - 6:12 pm:   Edit Post

Are Alembics a good financial investment? From my zen hippie perspective, absolutely! How many other things can you spend your money on that give you as much pleasure as playing an Alembic?

'nuff said.

Bill, tgo
dela217
Senior Member
Username: dela217

Post Number: 1102
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 - 7:46 pm:   Edit Post

My first new Alembic was a Series 1 that I bought in 1978. I paid $1550.00 for it. Today it would probably be worth twice that. So is doubling your money in 34 years a good investment?

But looking at it another way - I picked up a 1975 Series 1 this past summer for $3000.00. Since then with the gigs I have played, it has more than paid for itself. And I feel I could at least sell it for what I paid for it. So thinking of it that way the bass is free!
oujeebass
Intermediate Member
Username: oujeebass

Post Number: 187
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 6:18 am:   Edit Post

Dela that Series cost you @ $5200 in 2012 dollars. Which was a great price. Compare that to the $14800 that one would cost now, well you got a awesome deal. You've got a great streak of luck with buying Alembics. Now if you invested that $1550 into something else back in '78 you might have come ahead even more.
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1782
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2012 - 1:30 am:   Edit Post

My Alembic MK Standard was bought in New York in 1998 for a mere $1800(around 900 then), the price of a new one runs at 5000 and it has paid for itself many times over..a good investment?? the sound and playability alone is a good investment but I agree it is money well worth spent
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 2342
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2012 - 7:51 am:   Edit Post

YES , My Alembic is the best "Sonic Paint Brush" that I could find.
malthumb
Senior Member
Username: malthumb

Post Number: 514
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2012 - 3:36 pm:   Edit Post

811952 wrote..."Buying new, I don't think so. Buying used certainly seems like a good investment. I believe it was James (Malthumb) who invested his way up to his current stable of Series and Signature 5-strings in this way."


Sorta yes, sorta no.....

There were more than Alembics that got caught up in my ferris wheel of used instrument buying / selling / moving up. And in all fairness, 2000 was a phenomenal bonus year, so when I ordered my Mark King / Series II 5-string, I just wrote the check from my bonus money. The bass I bought from Stanley was funded by selling a 4-string Series II and a 1987 Stanley Clarke Signature (ironically).

I do keep track of what sells for what and I am very pleased to see 5-String Series basses sell for more than I paid for my MK / SII. Not that I ever think of selling it, it's just good to know.

Peace,

James
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1819
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2012 - 8:52 pm:   Edit Post

For me it's a great investment. Anytime I'd be ready to sell mine, I'd break even. Last year. Next year. Five years from now. I don't own a single other thing that's like that.

J o e y
slawie
Advanced Member
Username: slawie

Post Number: 364
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2012 - 2:43 pm:   Edit Post

I guess I was really lucky.
My 1975 series I fretless was purchased in 1988 for $1000.
I have been offered $5000 but really don't think I will ever sell it.
I am leaving it to my bass player nephew when the time comes.

slawie
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 2802
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2012 - 12:17 pm:   Edit Post

here is that triple omega i referred to earlier on sale on ebay again.
http://bit.ly/FPHcb3
Jazzyvee
jzias
Junior
Username: jzias

Post Number: 35
Registered: 4-2007
Posted on Sunday, October 07, 2012 - 9:29 pm:   Edit Post

Prices have gone up drastically during the past decade. In a desperate moment, I sold my stunning Cocobolo 5 String Mark King Standard to my friend for $1500 in 2003. I had it built in 1996, and it cost me $2400. He won't sell it for less than $3500 today.

(Message edited by jzias on October 07, 2012)
tmoney61092
Senior Member
Username: tmoney61092

Post Number: 820
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2012 - 5:23 am:   Edit Post

Well that "friend" is a real douchebag

~Taylor
jzias
Junior
Username: jzias

Post Number: 37
Registered: 4-2007
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2012 - 9:48 am:   Edit Post

He reads here sometimes so I'll go light, lol! I've touched upon that, as I did ask him to sell it back to me for what I sold it to him for if he ever unloaded it. Unfortunately, that's not how most people work!
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 1399
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2012 - 11:42 am:   Edit Post

I'm going with Betteridge's Law of Headlines
charles_holmes
Intermediate Member
Username: charles_holmes

Post Number: 195
Registered: 3-2009
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2012 - 2:12 pm:   Edit Post

Usually, outstanding craftsmanship coupled with fine/exotic woods will usually be a good investment. You may not get back what you paid for it but you won't lose your yammies if you do decide to sell. I will probably sell my Series Distillate when I'm 98 yrs old and by then it should be a collectors item and I'll get double what I paid for it (hee hee!!)
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1305
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, October 08, 2012 - 7:52 pm:   Edit Post

I had not heard of that law, but I've often thought it - thanks for the link, Bradley.

Peter
5a_quilt_top
Junior
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 28
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 12:36 pm:   Edit Post

It has been my experience that investing in instruments for financial gain is as risky as investing in anything governed by the laws of supply & demand.

In this case, the risk is compounded by the fact that most instruments are not as attractive to the average investor as precious metals, stocks, bonds, securities, currency or real estate because instruments belong to a niche market. Unless certain examples are commanding stupid money ('58 - '60 Les Pauls, for example), most investors shy away from this type of market and leave it to the "experts" - musicians in this case - to set the values.

Unfortunately, musicians as a group are GENERALLY not as well off financially as investors in other areas (apologizing in advance to the exceptions). Most of us are unable to pay insanely high prices to begin with and usually can't afford to acquire instruments that we keep only because they may increase in value. This is compounded by the fact that most of us buy and sell our instruments urgently or emotionally, which puts us in a position of weakness and virtually guarantees that we will not realize the full potential of our "investments".

All of this combines to ensure a continuous supply of reasonably nice instruments - a buyer's market - and this means lower prices overall.

I work for a small guitar store and I see the "gotta get rid of this to get THAT" syndrome all the time. In fact, we count on it because we make money off both the purchase and the trade.

I advise anyone who is serious about building a collection to think real hard about trading or selling anything, especially within 3-5 years after buying it. And - don't buy anything you don't like.

If you've paid a fair price for a high quality item that is well-made and consistently performs well, it will eventually be worth at least what you paid for it, maybe more, but only if you are able to hold onto it for at least 10-15 years.

As far as Alembics go, they fall into that category. I didn't buy any of mine on the chance that I could flip them for a quick buck in 3-5 years. In fact, I don't know if I'LL ever make any money on them in my lifetime.

But, I do know that I enjoy the h*ll out of them now (which is priceless) and they will certainly be worth more than the original price I paid to the person fortunate enough to acquire them after I'm gone.
jim777
Junior
Username: jim777

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2012
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 2:28 pm:   Edit Post

I wouldn't buy one as an investment, but it might help me sell the purchase to the Mrs I would love an SII but I simply can't see it realistically happening.
u14steelgtr
Intermediate Member
Username: u14steelgtr

Post Number: 109
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 7:04 pm:   Edit Post

A used Alembic should typically be resellable for as much or more than you pay for it if it is well maintained.

However as investments go a new Alembic is a no-go. They depreciate a tremendous amount as soon as they arrive in the first owners hands.

Alembics get played, get scratched, get dinged, sometimes fall off a stand, and sometimetimes get some deterioration or crazing in their finish. Any of these things can depreciate an instruments resale value.

If you are playing for money good instruments are a cost of doing business. However this leads to the question: what will the return on investment of one instrument versus another instrument be?

Unless one is investing in very vintage and highly collectable instruments and you have a climate controlled environment in which to store the instruments, instruments are a risky investment.

I have a nice acoustic which probably needs about $2000 in repairs. Yes the repairs will be made; however this will cut in to my return on investment. My guess is that my Alembic would not bring anything close to $2000 if I were to sell it. If my Alembic needed more work than some polish and new strings I doubt that I could ever recover the cost of the repairs.
afrobeat_fool
Senior Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 472
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 9:00 pm:   Edit Post

Well, having just poked my head into GBASE, I saw one silly deal on a fantastic early SI for 3500. Wish I had the money for that. And an interesting rise in value in a few late 70's early 80's basses. Last summer I got an early SII shorty from Bass NW for 5k. A store is asking more than that for a SI shorty from 79.

Is this a new trend? I don't know. But as prices for food and housing go up, shouldn't the value of vintage high quality items increase in value?

I hope so, If food prices keep going up I will have to start eating my basses. Mmmmmm Alembic munchies...... Mica, if you start making those, I will need a cut.


Up in smoke, that's where my money goes.

Speaking of munchies.
svlilioukalani
Member
Username: svlilioukalani

Post Number: 97
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 8:38 am:   Edit Post

In an era where most if not all instruments are being cut by CNC machines. In an era where all the great bass builders are degrading their name by selling off shore imports. Alembic stands alone.

I am not looking to profit from my Alembics unless it from m bass playing.

But. Lets think long term. 30 years from now hand made instruments will almost be a thing of the past. When Mica's child takes over the business, and Ron and Susan are no longer coming the office each day. That is when I feel the world will again take notice of the art and mastery of Alembic instruments. Unfortunately, most great art remains undiscovered and undervalued until the artiest dies.

My bet is, this will be the case with our Alembic instruments. Not sure if I will live that long, But someday the bass world will realize that a fender bass is a good utilitarian tool but not a great work of art. In my heart I believed each of my alembic basses is a solid work of art. People will in time will begin to crave hand make things. Real craftsmanship is becoming a thing of the past. Alembic represent the highest level of craftsmanship. They are also tools to play music. And the sound is second to none. Awesome works of art. Time will tell their story. And that's when their monetary value will be fully recognized.

The electric bass is here to stay.
jzstephan
Intermediate Member
Username: jzstephan

Post Number: 132
Registered: 1-2012
Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 9:20 am:   Edit Post

Stradivari's "Lady Tennant" violin was sold in 2005 by Christie's for more than $2 million, the highest amount ever paid for a musical instrument at a public auction. Take good care of your Alembics. 300 years from now your great, great, great grandchildren will appreciate it.
jim777
Junior
Username: jim777

Post Number: 15
Registered: 10-2012
Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 10:22 am:   Edit Post

"In an era where most if not all instruments are being cut by CNC machines. In an era where all the great bass builders are degrading their name by selling off shore imports. Alembic stands alone."

Alembic definitely stands alone, but there are a few other high end builders who do not use CNC machines or sell basses made overseas. And quite a few of the overseas made instruments made by some of the other high end companies (like Zon, Sadowsky, Lakland, and Elrick, off the top of my head) are superb instruments.
****************
jzias wote "Prices have gone up drastically during the past decade. In a desperate moment, I sold my stunning Cocobolo 5 String Mark King Standard to my friend for $1500 in 2003. I had it built in 1996, and it cost me $2400. He won't sell it for less than $3500 today."

I think I would buy it if I saw it come up for sale at that price, honestly. Might take a little while to convince the Mrs., but I am 90% sure I would snatch that up. It's not much of an upside, but i guess you can be thankful he isn't actually offering it up for sale.

(Message edited by jim777 on October 10, 2012)
hammer
Advanced Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 249
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 10:31 am:   Edit Post

Looking at this in the short- as well as the long-term, I'd have to agree that the law of supply and demand really dictates a lot of what one might be able to get for an instrument.

Earlier in the present recession (probably about 3-4 years ago), there was a period of about 6-12 months during which there were a relatively large number of Alembic instruments up for sale nationally on Ebay, GBase, and Craigslist. They included everything from Series II bases to Epics. Most listings included some type of statement alluding to the need for the sale being loss of job. Prices were quite reasonable (I picked up an 86' walnut Distillate in just about perfect condition for $1,800.

Recent months have seen fewer Alembics offered for sale overall (is this a good indication that we are in recovery) and the majority of those that have been on the market have been Epics. For those smaller number of non-Epic basses available prices have risen accordingly with sellers asking $2,300 to $3,500 for Spoilers.

As far as new basses go, it's like buying a new car, as soon as you drive it off the lot it depreciates significantly. So, buying used would appear to make the best sense and I applaud those who have waited for years for just the right bass to come up for sale. Personally, I swore I would never buy new BUT...I looked for over 2-years for a Further guitar for my son and eventually had a build done because nothing came up for sale while I was looking (over course several popped up as soon as I made the down payment). I then finally came to terms with the fact that what I was looking for in a bass for myself would be very unlikely to appear and currently have a Signature build in the process (Yes, I'll admit that I was also a bit jealous of my son).

As far a new builds go, I think one thing that has a tremendous impact on how much of your original investment you get back is the extent to which the instrument is customized. We all have things that we convince ourselves that we just "need" (as opposed to "prefer/want") to have on our new basses. These aspects of the build, including LEDS, inlays, cutaways, high priced front and back lams can get to be quite expensive and may add thousands of dollars to a build. Based on personal experience I can say that these are extremely hard to resist. The problem is that if I ever resell at some point, others may not have nearly the "need" that I did to have front and back lams, continuous wood back plates, premium woods, LEDS etc. making it a lot more difficult for me to get even close to what I paid for the instrument.
adriaan
Moderator
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 2978
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 10:38 am:   Edit Post

CNC machines are not evil - just check the Meet Our Equipment page at the main Alembic site. I'm pretty sure it's not used as a cookie-cutter but rather as a precision instrument.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5242
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 1:35 pm:   Edit Post

Sorry - double post (I haven't done one of these in a long time) :-(

Bill, tgo

(Message edited by lbpesq on October 10, 2012)
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5243
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 1:38 pm:   Edit Post

All I know is I have a lot more fun when I hold one of my Alembic guitars than when I hold my money. Considering the fun, satisfaction, and spiritual vibe I obtain playing music, all of my guitars are extraordinary investments.

Bill, tgo
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3178
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 4:01 pm:   Edit Post

Agreed
5a_quilt_top
Junior
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 29
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 4:19 pm:   Edit Post

Thumbing a stack of Frankins makes an interesting sound, but it doesn't cut through the mix as well as thumbing an Alembic...
glocke
Senior Member
Username: glocke

Post Number: 944
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, October 19, 2012 - 2:56 am:   Edit Post

Buying new, Id say absolutely not...

Buying used, as long as you didn't spend too much to begin with, you should at least get what you paid out of it.

Also, as someone who has a significant amount of money invested in collecting material items (guns, specifically US WWII era weapons), putting money into assets that you can hold in your hands is fun, but unless you also have cash reserves laying around I can't recommend it...

There are always going to be emergencies (house repair, car repair, medical etc) that you will need cash instantly for, and if you don't have that cash you will be forced to sell your collectable gun, guitar, etc...quickly, and oftentimes at a loss.

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