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bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2183
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, February 23, 2009 - 9:58 pm:   Edit Post

There have been a couple "for sale" threads with asking prices that seem to be well above typical market values. One of these led Devon to query about internet etiquette with regard to comments in such cases. I was thinking about that as well which is why I was careful with wording my post on that thread. It seemed a better idea to respond here rather than to further pollute a seller's thread.

While we have a "for sale" board, I don't consider this a primary sale site. Admittedly, I have no authority on the matter, it's just the way I feel about it. I believe that both buyers and sellers should get a fair deal on sales made here. From that perspective, and when a price seems grossly out of sync with the market, it seems reasonable to make some comment. I have directly emailed sellers, on occasion for pricing too low as well as too high, and generally prefer that method to public comment on the thread.

A seller asking two to four times market value isn't likely to make a sale. If they do, then the buyer isn't going to be happy if they buy without understanding the market beforehand. We also need to remember that Alembic prices in Europe are significantly higher than in the US, so the seller's location has to be considered as well. That said, none of us are the "price police" to decide what a buyer should pay or a seller should accept.

When an item is for sale on another site, we often reference it here and editorialize on the condition or the value of the deal without the same level of concern. We do this to help our members find what they're looking for and get fair deals. I don't see how it would be unreasonable to treat items put up for sale here any differently as long as we're polite about it. I see this as a community, not a place for sellers to come looking for big profits, so a reasonable discourse seems healthy to me.

On some sites, I see items offered for well above market and then some other poster comes along and calls it a great deal. I feel badly for anyone who falls for that, but some sites specifically prohibit a retort.

Remember, every Alembic instrument is unique. As such, any instrument could be exactly what someone is looking for, and they could be willing to pay a price higher than the rest of us might consider reasonable. I paid 10-15% above the typical market value for one of my basses because it had a unique feature that was important to me and don't regret it at all. Of course, I knew the situation at the time.

So, what do you all think?

-bob
spose
Advanced Member
Username: spose

Post Number: 248
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 7:54 am:   Edit Post

in general, I don't like any comments in a classified ad. When I ran a popular web site I didn't allow any comments in the classified section. It is too prone to shills and manipulations. I have no issue with private messages or emails discussing the item, but to use the public forum as a way to shill buyers is unacceptable IMO.

so, yes I'm for no comments in the classified ads.
hydrargyrum
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 464
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 8:23 am:   Edit Post

I always have appreciated speculation about the value of instruments. If someone doesn't like a price, then they don't have to buy or sell the item. I don't really recall anyone manipulating prices at this site, and if they tried, they would likely be called out for it. As long as the forum is completely open so that people may respond to any comments they deem misrepresent an item, I don't see any problem.
fc_spoiler
Senior Member
Username: fc_spoiler

Post Number: 804
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 8:38 am:   Edit Post

I disagree with the statement that Alembic prices are higher in Europe ;-)
Some nice Spoilers, essences, Epics and even an Elan sold for significantly less than 1000 euros (+/- $1275) in the last two years.

If it wasn't for the "bigger" plan (custom Alembic) I would have a lot more A's in my collection.

For the reason Bob mentioned, you canít reply directly to the messages in the for sale section on a Dutch bass forum. (Basgitaarforum)
The only option is to send an email to the seller/buyer, works fine for that forum (Iím not sure if it would work or be possible here)
spose
Advanced Member
Username: spose

Post Number: 249
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 8:40 am:   Edit Post

Just to be clear, I'm not claiming anyone has done anything like this on this site, and if it did happen you and I wouldn't necessarily know it. Anyone can register on a public forum and make comments. I know from personal hands on experience from running a forum that people have registered under two different usernames and have commented on their own item for sale. You can see the users IP from behind the scenes in the admin view. The admin can see a lot of info on each user and can trace bogusness in most cases. Friends of the seller can register and shill the item. There's a lot of ways the ads can be manipulated to look like innocent comments. again, I'm not saying that is happening here, this is a smaller community with a much smaller target user then general music forums. I am saying it happened on the forum I was running, for a fact. I've seen individuals as well as dealers doing it.

on a personal note, when I have a item up for sale, I'm not looking for public discourse on the item. I'm looking to sell it. If I wanted to discuss the item I would start a thread about it in the proper forum.
hydrargyrum
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 465
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 9:08 am:   Edit Post

I can understand your position, and as a seller I can understand how discussion might hurt your case. On the other hand, as a buyer, I want to know everything possible beforehand, warts, good points, and all. I think this really gets to the core of why this forum exists. There are any number of sites devoted exclusively to the purchase and sale of goods. In my opinion this site exists primarily as a resource for Alembic enthusiasts, and that the for sale section is a nice bonus. Any discussion of these instruments could eventually wander into the realm of cost/value, as they have so many times before. If someone is looking for a static venue to sell their item, then maybe this isn't the best place. And while I certainly agree with you that people will do their best to manipulate opinions via false ID's etc., I think the community is close enough here that most people can recognize long time posters who don't stand to gain anything personally by voicing their opinion. In the end, buyer (and seller) beware.
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2184
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 10:11 am:   Edit Post

Let's take a hypothetical case.

Someone posts a mint condition 1985 Spoiler with typical woods for $3500. What are the possibilities?

1. The seller is ignorant of the market and really thinks that's a fair price.

2. The seller knows the market and that the bass would typically sell for under half the asking price. This could be with the intent to negotiate a reasonable price on the high side, or with the intent to make large profit.

So, if someone who knows the market is interested, they might contact the seller to negotiate and offer $1500. That person wouldn't chase the instrument because they know there are others out there at fair prices.

On the other hand, a less knowledgeable buyer might pay the price for the beautiful Alembic, or might make an offer based on the asking price. Let's say the offer is $2500, because that would be a great deal for something that's being sold for $3500, right? Oops. Buyer still overpays out of general market ignorance.

I prefer, and I realize this is just me, that everyone is on an even playing field. The seller should know that they are never going to find someone to pay double market value for their instrument without having to sit around bumping their thread for two months with no bites. A buyer shouldn't pay double market for an instrument here and learn about it afterward. What would that say about us as a community?

The question is more complicated when the seller has just joined us for the purpose of making the sale. We want to make sure to welcome new members while protecting ourselves from profiteers whose only interest is to make money at the expense of this community. That's a tough line to walk.


Now, if the same bass showed up with a price of $2000-2200, I doubt it would generate the same comments. The price would seem to be on the high side, higher than any stock four string Spoiler we've ever seen, but at least in the ballpark. If the bass truly has the unique feature of being "like new", that could justify the higher price for some knowledgeable buyer.

So, what are our options? I see four, though there may be others.

1. Continue to try to be delicate in commenting on price discrepancies within for sale threads.

2. Ignore such threads and let those involved in the transactions fend for themselves.

3. Put together some sort of buyer's/seller's guide and make it hard to miss. For example, a locked sticky at the top of the For Sale board. Maybe even make it required reading before starting a thread in the for sale section. Someone would have to periodically update it as the market moves. Even so, I doubt it would prevent comment when someone asks $13K for a typical old Series I or $6K for a Distillate.

4. Use the "Seen on craigslist, eBay, and elsewhere" board to create threads related to our own For Sale board when you want to critically discuss an item. This would keep the pricing comments out of the particular seller's thread while still making the wisdom of our membership available.

I know I don't like the idea of ignoring threads where pricing is way out of line. Other than that, I'm open to any solution that would provide some protection and group wisdom to all involved. Otherwise, if Dave and Mica have an opinion, I will abide by it, like it or not.
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2185
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 10:48 am:   Edit Post

Flip, The US economy was running pretty hard over the past few years until the bottom fell out. Over this period, it seems US prices have caught up to the European market, while the European market must have held relatively steady. Is the same true of the more current, higher end models as well as the "entry level" and discontinued models you referenced?

If you go back a few years, the price of a typical bass in US dollars was about the same numerically as the price in UK pounds. It never seemed reasonable that used prices should vary that much by continent relative to the cost of shipping and the typical import duties one might pay for a used guitar. It was common for European buyers to seek US deals and very challenging for a European seller to send an instrument back to the US.

I have been surprised that the past six months haven't seen used Alembic prices in the US backing towards those previous levels. Maybe that will happen more slowly, or maybe not at all. I'm no professional economist, and even they won't be able to give an answer with certainty.

-bob
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 3558
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 12:29 pm:   Edit Post

I really don't see any problem with discussing values on this site. Suppose a newbie posted here offering an Electrum for sale for $5000 (more than 2x the going rate), and 4 or 5 other shill newbies posted all marveling at the "cheap" price. I seriously doubt any of us would be taken in. That's one thing I really love about this group, we all tend to watch out for each other. If I post something for sale, feel free to comment.

Bill, tgo
flaxattack
Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 2182
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 2:06 pm:   Edit Post

didnt dick cavett come up with a warning phrase?
cavett emptore or something like that.

i offered my classico in here cheaper than i did on ebay. if i got my price on ebay so be it..
i didnt
unfortunately with the bad economy and having no job or heat- we used the classico for kindling...
oh well.....
alembic76407
Senior Member
Username: alembic76407

Post Number: 599
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 2:22 pm:   Edit Post

I would like to sell my 1976 Series 1

I am asking $1,250,750.00 U.S.
and I will pay for shipping

have a nice day

Sir David T
olieoliver
Senior Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 2139
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 2:34 pm:   Edit Post

David, did you have lunch at Hooters again? :-)

OO
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 3559
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 - 3:46 pm:   Edit Post

By the way, if anyone wants to buy my Veillette Gryphon Hi-D 12 string, I'll let it go for $50,000. It has David Grisman's DNA on it. (I showed it to him at the San Rafael Guitar show last month. He had never seen one before and played it. I told him it was for guitar players like me who wanted to pretend we knew what he was doing on mandolin).

Bill, tgo
briant
Advanced Member
Username: briant

Post Number: 268
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 - 8:26 pm:   Edit Post

4 Sael:

Alempic John Paul Jonze Signature 4 string in zebrawood with matching back wood. Sooper rare!!!!

Asking $34,008.00 firm.
funkyjazzjunky
Advanced Member
Username: funkyjazzjunky

Post Number: 360
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 5:25 am:   Edit Post

Does that price include the strings?
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 1186
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 11:53 am:   Edit Post

Yes, a Fender/Gibson mixed set.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 3573
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 4:03 pm:   Edit Post

If you buy mine, I'll throw in a Whippet's Dinkle!

Bill, tgo
briant
Advanced Member
Username: briant

Post Number: 269
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 6:48 pm:   Edit Post

"Yes, a Fender/Gibson mixed set."

And one DR Red Devil .105
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 1188
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 2:01 pm:   Edit Post

Bill,

What would PETA say!?

That DR Red devil isn't the one that the color is slightly off on is it?

Bradley
briant
Advanced Member
Username: briant

Post Number: 271
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 9:01 pm:   Edit Post

You've caught me, Bradley. I would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids.
moonliner
Junior
Username: moonliner

Post Number: 17
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 01, 2009 - 6:44 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Everyone.
I don't speak up here very often, but visit the site just about every day.
I accidentally came across this thread just now, which seems quite appropriate because yesterday I was having a hard time not responding to a seller of a 1975 series 1 who wants $6000.
I'm sure you've all seen the ad. It's a lovely bass.
I know it's very hard to get someone's tone over the internet so I may be misreading the seller completely. The seller starts by saying 'don't bother telling me it's only worth $3,500' and finishes by basically saying 'feel free to send links to basses like this that have sold for less'.
I really had to bite my lip and not say feel free to post links to basses that have sold for what you are asking. (there, I guess I said it)
Anyway, sorry for the ramble.... I love the community and the fact that people look out for one another and think people should be able to speak up about market value. But as people have said, market value is what people are willing to pay.
I'm probably going to have to sell my Alembic I custom ordered (to help pay for a new fantasy bass) and will be curious as to what it's market value is.
K, enough from me!
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 2200
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 01, 2009 - 6:55 pm:   Edit Post

Sadly, it's hard to get more than half of your money back if you need to sell a custom you had built for yourself. Of course, it depends on the options and model involved and you may do quite a bit better. It also helps if you can hang on to it through a few price increases to allow the market to shift for you. Good luck!
slawie
Member
Username: slawie

Post Number: 63
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Monday, March 02, 2009 - 1:33 am:   Edit Post

Back to the thread.

Bob you had advised me about under pricing my bass recently, when circumstances had caused me to consider selling.

Without your wise counsel I would have probably acted in a way that I would have regretted for the rest of my life.

Thank you.

I believe that this forum is for all things Alembic and a little beyond.

It doesn't matter what is said or not said, it matters how we listen.

slawie
slawie
Member
Username: slawie

Post Number: 64
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Monday, March 02, 2009 - 1:33 am:   Edit Post

Back to the thread.

Bob you had advised me about under pricing my bass recently,
when circumstances had caused me to consider selling.

Without your wise counsel I would have probably acted in a way that
I would have regretted for the rest of my life.

Thank you.

I believe that this forum is for all things Alembic and a little beyond.

It doesn't matter what is said or not said, it matters how we listen.

slawie

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