DEALERS - Do They Actually Add Value?
Maybe you experienced poor customer service before (we’ve been there). Or worse, maybe you got screwed over and have lost trust in working with dealers. Or maybe you think that it is cheaper to go directly to the builder to save on the “dealer’s cut”. There are many reasons why people get disillusioned by the concept of dealers.
Being collectors first, we certainly understand these sentiments (having had them ourselves!). However, in our experience, working together with a dealer actually has more upsides than one might think. Here are just some of them.
Shorter waiting times
As dealers have prior arrangements with their luthiers, it is very often you would be able to find an earlier build slot with us instead of going directly to the luthier. In fact, some luthiers (e.g. Isaac Jang and Joel Michaud) only take orders from dealers as their lists are getting too long for them to offer to the public. This means that the only way to get build slots from these builders is to go through a trusted dealer.
2. Existing stock
Don’t want to wait for 6 months to 2 years for a guitar to be built? No worries! Going through a dealer means that you can purchase an existing guitar without having to wait for it to be built. Even in this market of highly customisable hand built guitars, dealers often have stock which fits your criteria. The dealer would also likely have pre-owned guitars for those who do not need their own personally customised guitar, and want something more affordable. You may even find something entirely unexpected which you like when browsing through your dealer’s inventory!
There is also great benefit in having the chance to try a guitar before buying it. Purchasing a guitar which you have had the chance to play ensures that it will be to your liking. If it is not possible for you to make it down to the shop, an alternative is to hear the already-built guitar recorded by the dealer for a more objective idea of what the guitar sounds like. You can check out some videos of ours here, or simply ask us what we think!
3. Cheaper guitars?
Contrary to what you might think, it might actually be CHEAPER to go through a dealer. Sometimes, dealers might have existing stock from when the base price of a luthier was lower. This would mean that the guitar would be cheaper than ordering directly from a luthier based on his or her existing base price. On some occasions, a dealer would have also pre-ordered build slots in advance. For the same reason, this could mean that the build slot the dealer has available would be cheaper than the existing prices of the luthier.
Alternatively, you might be able to take advantage of sales periods to get the guitar of your dreams at a steal!
Even without sales, most dealers will not charge a premium. We personally pride ourselves in not selling guitars at a premium above what our luthiers sell at. So even without the benefits above, you will not be paying more for the same guitar you could have gotten from the luthiers themselves.
As the supply of luthier built guitars are often low, there is a good chance you have not played the brand of guitar you have your eyes on. This is where a dealer may come in to give you insight on how a particular luthier’s guitars sound, using a guitar that you might be familiar with as a benchmark and point of reference. As dealers, we have played literally hundreds of guitars of almost every brand and luthier and are in a good place to advise you on your next purchase. This is provided to you at no extra cost, as we charge the same price as (or potentially less than) if you went directly to the luthier.
5. One stop shop for all your guitar needs
There are many people who purchase more than 1 guitar, and we even have some clients who exceed 100 guitars in their collection. To amass such a collection, it would be difficult to deal directly with 100 different luthiers. Instead, using a broker to facilitate the guitars that would go into their collection saves time. The dealer can also assist by providing input on what guitars they should spec.
Apart from all the practical reasons we have stated above, one other reason is to build relationships with others as enthusiastic as you about guitars. This is perhaps one of the most important reasons why we do what we do. Fostering a friendship with fellow guitarists is what we focus on first and foremost, and our customers often end up becoming our close friends.
The business model of being a luthier built guitar dealer is that of high costs and low margins. It isn’t about the money for us, but about celebrating art and music. We aim to share the passion that we have with you, and in the process embark on this lifelong journey of guitars together.
This is the second of the series of articles we’re putting out.
If you enjoyed this article, you may look forward to the upcoming ones where we answer some of the nagging questions about guitars you've had, such as "What is considered as "Good” Tone" and "How many Guitars do you actually need?".
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