ES Market Update, Dog Days Edition


Don't think the market has bottomed? This guitar sold for $10K-original stoptail with Grovers. So it had some wear. Still... around $10K for a stop 64? That was March 2011. I think you missed the bottom.

I get asked to give my opinion on the current state of the ES market all the time and since I haven’t done it for a while, the Dog Days of Summer might be a good time to take a fresh look. Nothing-and I mean nothing-will stop the big dealers (and the Ebay sellers who copy them) from asking the big prices. A lot of the guitars that are STILL on the market were bought at or near the top and these folks are trying to recoup their investment. Remember to negotiate-these guys don’t expect that you’re going to pony up $28000 for a 64 ES-335. The worst they can say is no. Same as me.  Don’t think for a second that you might be insulting someone with an offer that you believe is viable. They have no trouble insulting you with asking prices that are in the stratosphere (is the a Telesphere?). A lot of folks don’t like to negotiate and I understand that but the alternative is paying more than a guitar is worth or passing on a guitar you might have been able to get for a reasonable price. The reason I chose August to do this post is because this is a really slow time of year. The dealers aren’t moving as much merchandise and every business needs to generate cash. How do you do that if stuff isn’t selling for your asking price? You either lower the price or start negotiating.  I lowered a bunch of prices just yesterday. While most of you know I work on a slimmer margin than many dealers, I also have no overhead (and a real job) so I can keep my prices a bit lower than many other dealers.  And, since I specialize in a very narrow range of guitars, I don’t get stuck with a lot of dogs I can’t sell. We all know the bubble burst in 2008. The decline wasn’t breathtaking in its speed but was pretty substantial in the case of some guitars. SGs got killed but they had run up so far, so fast. Among the ES models, the 345s and 355s took it pretty hard dropping 30% or more between 2008 and 2011. Among 335s, the block necks got hit pretty hard and the later dots as well but the 58 and 59 dot necks held up very well. Also worth noting-the market for some ES models has come back a fair amount since last year. Not everything-Bigsby 345s and stereo 355s are still a very tough sell unless they are mint or are 59s. Bigsby/Custom Made block necks (other than 64s) have gotten whacked pretty good as well but they are back on the mend. While they were flirting with the high teens back in ’08, they dropped to $9K-$12K depending on condition. Mint stuff has held up pretty well throughout. Well played stoptail block necks bottomed out at around $10K but didn’t stay there for long. I sold at least one for $10K that was all original but pretty beat up. There are two bright spots for the seller. well, three if you count early dot necks. No issue stoptail block necks have come back nicely into the mid to high teens and up over $20K for really clean big neck 63s and 64s. The smaller neck ones lag slightly unless they have PAFs. Early dot necks are and have been strong throughout the recession. They don’t sell quickly but the prices have held on-or the sellers are holding out for better times. I’ve seen very few bargains in 58 and 59 dot necks. 61 and early 62s are a great deal right now in the low to mid teens for average examples with minor issues or wear.  Finally, mono 355s are becoming much more popular and have inched up from their lows of last year. I recall a 60 selling for around $8K on Ebay that we all should have jumped on. As I wrote recently, I think they are the big bargain right now when priced in the $9K-$13K range for 59-64s with Bigsby or sideways trems. Don’t get me started on Maestros-I don’t mind them on SGs but I stay away from them on ES ‘s.  Look for my post on “break angle” to find out why. If I were a buyer with a budget in the $12000 range, I’d be looking at 60-61 dot necks and 59-61 PAF equipped 355 monos. Get your negotiatin’ shoes on and go buy something before everybody gets back from vacation. We’ll look at later ones later.

A 61 Bigsby dot neck for $12K? OK, it had a couple of "mystery holes" in the top but was all there with its original PAFs. This was last Spring.

3 Responses to “ES Market Update, Dog Days Edition”

  1. olleandro says:

    Nice article. Can’t wait for you to track something down for me. I hope the market doesn’t recover too quickly!

  2. moxie50 says:

    Still always a bright spot in my day when there is a new morsel of wisdom from you to savor. You’ve really been cranking them out latelyl Call me when my beautifully repaired headstock break b3 Bigsby ’66 hits $10k. (Don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath) With that thinking I’ll never have to sell! Hmmmm, Ebay you say??? Thanks, your “blast from the past, long email guy)

  3. OK Guitars says:

    You are too kind.

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