Would you pay $1000 for an import? (Other than MIJ)

duceditor

Squier-Axpert
May 29, 2014
15,091
The Monadnocks, NH USA
I will admit that the more a guitar costs and the further it has to travel to reach me, the less comfortable I am buying it "sight unseen". That isn't confined to guitars though.

Back when now super successful Amazon was just being planned it was as a book seller. Why? Because Bezos looked for something to sell that could be bought totally unseen -- the buyer knew exactly what he ot she would be getting.

Things like guitars are the exact opposite. And that is why the best dealers have very generous return policies.

Alas, some people abuse those policies and thus some companies are finding it necessary to make returns costly if they are requested for any reason other than a faulty, or clearly misrepresented item.

-don
 

DougMen

Dr. Squier
Jun 8, 2017
8,258
Honolulu, HI
Not totally on topic but I wanted to mention when I was shopping the other day I saw MIM Fender Players for $700 -- only some styles, though.

For example:


Still feels like a lot when people post about the good old days when they were $400, but... so it goes.
Player Strats were never $400. They were $650 when they replaced the Mexican Standards, which were $599 then. You'd have to go back about ten years before that to when they were $400.
 

Eddie

My Squier is on Fire !!!
Nov 5, 2016
19,224
New York
Player Strats were never $400. They were $650 when they replaced the Mexican Standards, which were $599 then. You'd have to go back about ten years before that to when they were $400.


My first MIM Strat was back around 1993/1994. I think it was $275. Bad fretwork. I sold it back to Sam Ash for $75.
 

Nadnitram

Squier-Meister
Jan 1, 2020
305
Ohio
My primary concern is whether or not I can break even if I sell it. Country of origin affects the value, of course, but it wouldn't prevent me from buying a guitar as long as it's priced right. I don't have enough play money to be comfortable taking a loss.
 

Eddie

My Squier is on Fire !!!
Nov 5, 2016
19,224
New York
My primary concern is whether or not I can break even if I sell it. Country of origin affects the value, of course, but it wouldn't prevent me from buying a guitar as long as it's priced right. I don't have enough play money to be comfortable taking a loss.


I agree. That's the issue with pricey imports. They depreciate like crazy. A $1000 LTD EC-1000 can be found for $500 (sometimes even with a hard shell case). That's some serious depreciation ... but would make a good deal pre-owned.

I guarantee that if I purchased a $1000 Shijie ... no matter how much I think it's worth it and how well it plays, I'd be lucky to sell it for $400.
 

Nadnitram

Squier-Meister
Jan 1, 2020
305
Ohio
I agree. That's the issue with pricey imports. They depreciate like crazy. A $1000 LTD EC-1000 can be found for $500 (sometimes even with a hard shell case). That's some serious depreciation ... but would make a good deal pre-owned.

I guarantee that if I purchased a $1000 Shijie ... no matter how much I think it's worth it and how well it plays, I'd be lucky to sell it for $400.
I generally avoid buying new guitars. I'd much rather be the guy buying the used EC-1000 with a hard case for $500. Plus, I'm paranoid about putting a scratch or ding on a pristine guitar, but I am perfectly fine buying a guitar that already has one.

The exception for me is a 12-string acoustic. I've owned at least 4, and they often have high action, bridge problems, or belly bulge problems from being kept in standard tuning for long stretches of time. So I caved and bought mine new. It will live its life tuned a full step down.
 

Eddie

My Squier is on Fire !!!
Nov 5, 2016
19,224
New York
I generally avoid buying new guitars. I'd much rather be the guy buying the used EC-1000 with a hard case for $500. Plus, I'm paranoid about putting a scratch or ding on a pristine guitar, but I am perfectly fine buying a guitar that already has one.

The exception for me is a 12-string acoustic. I've owned at least 4, and they often have high action, bridge problems, or belly bulge problems from being kept in standard tuning for long stretches of time. So I caved and bought mine new. It will live its life tuned a full step down.


Same here. I try to avoid new guitars also, I only have a few new ones. But the tricky thing about pre-owned guitars is that it's tough to find what I want, and when a good deal pops up, someone else grabs it. :(
 

duceditor

Squier-Axpert
May 29, 2014
15,091
The Monadnocks, NH USA
That's the issue with pricey imports. They depreciate like crazy. A $1000 LTD EC-1000 can be found for $500 (sometimes even with a hard shell case). That's some serious depreciation ... but would make a good deal pre-owned.

It is a very human quality to evaluate most everything in the near magical realm of The Now. -That as if what is now is even likely to be so tomorrow.

My first Fender was a late fifties Tele, given to me in the mid `60s, after a musician friend found it in the junk bin at a popular local (LI) music shop.

"What??? Someone threw away a late fifties Tele???" Yes. And in the early `70s I sold it for a couple of hundred dollars. What do you think it'd sell for today?

My guitar bud in all of my earliest bands played a late `50 Les Paul. He bought it at Sam Ash in the early `60s for $125. Check out the selling price of those today. (Hint: If he still had it he could have taken an early retirement simply by selling it.)

But you may be thinking, "yeah, but they are not Asian."

When I was a kid I got lots of laughs with a rubber stamp I had that allowed be to stamp "Made in Japan" on things. Hah! Hah! "Made in Japan" then meant junk.

My Squier VM offsets, now nearing ten years old, could likely be sold for almost twice what I paid for them. And my once "who want one of those?" Yairi would now sell for about six times what I paid for it.

Now none of the above matters to me because resale price has no real effect on my own guitar purchase choices. But even if it did, would I ever have been able to evaluate long term any of these guitar's eventual worth?

"Today" is only 24 hours long. And when the word is used metaphorically it really isn't that much longer.

Buy. What. You. Like. To. Play.

Crappy diction and punctuation, that. But it still makes sense.

-don
 

Upstater

Squier Talker
Apr 11, 2022
13
NY/NJ
The only guitar I ever imported to the US was one of the MIJ Fender Traditional 60s line after they did a major upgrade in 2018, I think. Examples being a Switchcraft switches, US hardware/plastics/electronics. I was able to get one from a FSR order for a Japanese retailer that came with significant upgrades in the body as well, Alder body, etc. including shipping and taxes/customs it was $1200. Compared to my buddies American Original version, I like mine better and it was $1k less. I upgraded the tremolo to an American, bought boutique pick ups and I’m still ahead $900 on his American and recently, the US factory’s fretwork has been mediocre at best when compared to what MIJ is putting out. My $.02!

Obligatory pic

9B03A0E4-391C-484D-9D57-ED2DFFC3B191.jpeg
 

Conghaille

Squier-holic
Jul 12, 2016
1,414
Chicago adjacent
IMO there are a lot of imports worth $1k new. Only one I have is a PRS Hollowbody. Unless you want luxury (exotic woods, etc) or a different specific tone, you can’t do better.

There is no place in my heart for nationalism or valuing nostalgia over innovation.

Never understood why a worker in one country was more deserving a job that a worker in another country.

And if spending $1k on an import guitar that looks, sounds, and plays great is crazy, then what is spending $7k for an R0 with blemishes and scratches? Phil McKnight can tell you.
 

danzigdan

Squier-Nut
Feb 10, 2014
874
WNY
If the quality and workmanship is top notch with NO issues and NO modding to be done, I'd possibly buy an import for that much. However what's the resale/used value going to be, $700? I might look at used MIA then at around $800-$1000.

Interesting this topic came up. I just saw that Charvel is making an "affordable" version of Jake E. Lee's signature guitar. It's $1299 without a case or bag. Are those Indonesian or Mexico? I don't know.
 


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