Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Gibson prices

It's no secret I am a fan of Gibson guitars both old and new, but the retail prices of new Gibson's has finally entered the realm of the totally ridiculous. $899 for a new faded SG special? Get real... I got a sweet deal on mine in '06 from a buddy at Guitar Center and paid $450 for it new which I thought was semi-reasonable. The actual GC price at the time was $579 in a gig bag which even then I thought was pretty high for an instrument with a five piece body.

Since I don't like new Gibson cases I picked up a vintage 1970 Gibson case on Craigslist for $80 which was a steal. I prefer the slim profile of the old cases and hate cases that balloon out at the headstock, it just looks so goofy. I figured out why it was so cheap tho' when I got it home, it stunk of mildew and I had to rip out all the cloth and reupholster it. Did a great job if I do say so myself. Anyway...

I wanted an SG I could bang around at gigs and not worry about like I do with my '68. The faded is a nice guitar, it really is! But to get it to sound decent I had to swap the pickups for '57 Classics (another $100 on ebay) and I put Grovers on so I have about $600 into it. Now I wish I had sprung for the Standard as I am really missing binding & inlays. Out of curiosity I started poking around and found new SG Standards (still with shite 490/498 pups) have shot up to $1,649!!! Geez.

On the flip side of the coin, it seems used prices aren't climbing as fast... probably because nobody has any money to spend, but I fear getting a guitar off ebay sight unseen. Gibson QC is notoriously inconsistent and quite a few newer SG's I've played had necks like baseball bats. Real clunkers. Not to mention dealing with people on ebay. So I will keep an eye open for a deal. I doubt I can get more than $550 for the special - I am holding on to the case - but I see them go for $500-$550 all the time w/ the Gibson HSC.

BTW my original SG Standard cost $225 w/case back in 1968 so the dollar is worth roughly 15% of what is was back then. Even so, this inflation calculator shows the new price should be about $1,375. The funny (sad) thing is, if I want a new SG closer to my old one I'd have to go for the '61 reissue which costs $1,999... so it may be a while.

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