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Honestly, it all boils down to consumer's perspective. To me, a mass-produced bass should NEVER be worth more than 2.000£. 

I think the Stingray Specials are a notch above the USA made Fenders and I believe they should be more expensive but right now the Stingrays are ALMOST DOUBLE the price of a USA Fender. That is just bonkers, no matter how you put it or what excuses they give.

I have no idea why and I'm sad they didn't even bother to explain. In my perspective, that makes me not want to buy a Musicman product as of right now.

Will see how the market responds but hopefully it doesn't cater to these expensive price jumps - otherwise we, as the consumer, will be in trouble.

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15 hours ago, drTStingray said:

To indicate how far off piste you are with this, I found the attached invoice from 2010 the other day.... £700 for a new MM bass in 2010 would have been less than a new one in the early 90s so was an absolute bargain!! 

image.thumb.jpeg.e0f5f26bf409b45b12ba993daa4202d5.jpeg

 

Thanks for this - thought I was going a bit (more) bonkers for a minute there! :)

 

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1 hour ago, NancyJohnson said:

I keep trying to put something together to support prices US vs VS, but am struggling to keep it clear.  Let's initially agree that street prices for the Snowy Night StingRay are effectively double here against the US (Andertons; £3,000 against Guitar Center; $2,300/£1,750).  We have no idea what price Ernie Ball sells to Guitar Center for, nor do we know what they sell into Strings & Things for before they sell into Andertons. 

Truth be known, every business these basses go through will be adding a charge that ultimately gets passed onto the end customer, so in the US the distribution chain is likely to be short, Ernie Ball > Guitar Center, whereas over here it's more likely to be Ernie Ball > Strings & Things > Andertons; plus you'll need to factor in shipping, tax duties, $/£ exchange rates, to land these instruments here, so things will fluctuate.

I worked in retail finance (wristwatches) for ten years, one of the biggest watch companies on the planet, and was staggered at the levels of markup, the manufactturing/parts cost for a watch costing £800 street may only account for 15% of the selling price, so it's feasible that a $2.3k bass may only cost $300 to manufacturer.  The key thing here though is we don't know what ErnieBall sell into Guitar Center for, any more than we know the landed price to Strings and Things and what their selling price to Andertons is, but be sure that they won't be selling on for a £10 profit per bass.

 

This is why my most recent bass purchases have all been custom builds - I know what price the components are pretty much and I know how much time the builder spends making the thing, more or less, and I have some sort of idea of the overheads involved; and I can take a view as to whether all those factors, combined with the ultimate quality of the finished instrument, means the bass is 'value for money'.  As others have said, I know where I prefer to put my - in my case - considerably less than £3k.

Edited by Bass Culture
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11 minutes ago, Bass Culture said:

This is why most recent bass purchases have all been custom builds - I know what price the components are pretty much and I know how much time the builder spends making the thing, more or less, and I have some sort of idea of the overheads involved; and I can take a view as to whether all those factors, combined with the ultimate quality of the finished instrument, means the bass is 'value for money'.  As others have said, I know where I prefer to put my - in my case - considerably less than £3k.

My two Lulls are well detailed elsewhere, certainly Bass Direct (who handled the sale this side) took a cut, but to be honest I could have done it all myself and gone direct should that opportunity have been made available to me at the time (it wasn't), but I suppose I can dine out answering questions such as, 'You paid how much??' for a while yet.

Otherwise, go vintage.

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On 22/04/2021 at 08:28, NancyJohnson said:

 It's just about putting sparkly finishes on 45 year old designs.  

 

You make that sound like something bad. Do I need to re-think my wardrobe?

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My personal belief that with the rise of 'Buy Now Pay Later' finance options on almost every website, it allows people immediate access to expensive instruments without having to save up. As such, you can up the prices without it seeming as bad. 

Here's an example on a Stingray 5 Special. The monthly cost of £98 seems moderately bearable, except when you look at total amount payable and APR. But I think instant gratification will win out a lot of the time.

10732120_financecalc.png.59f995d88821ec4b4693d99948694e63.png

Edited by Machines
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43 minutes ago, Machines said:

My personal belief that with the rise of 'Buy Now Pay Later' finance options on almost every website, it allows people immediate access to expensive instruments without having to save up. As such, you can up the prices without it seeming as bad. 

Here's an example on a Stingray 5 Special. The monthly cost of £98 seems moderately bearable, except when you look at total amount payable and APR. But I think instant gratification will win out a lot of the time.

10732120_financecalc.png.59f995d88821ec4b4693d99948694e63.png

My first car only cost £650.00.  It likely made me feel as happy as that Cost of credit fee would make the purchaser sad!

 

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4 hours ago, kyuuga said:

Honestly, it all boils down to consumer's perspective. To me, a mass-produced bass should NEVER be worth more than 2.000£. 

I think the Stingray Specials are a notch above the USA made Fenders and I believe they should be more expensive but right now the Stingrays are ALMOST DOUBLE the price of a USA Fender. That is just bonkers, no matter how you put it or what excuses they give.

The US Fenders truly are mass produced instruments - Musicman are more on a par with PRS, Rickenbacker or US Custom Shop Fenders (team built) - they certainly contain as much manual input and finishing and are not high volume in the Fender/Gibson sense - these really are the Fords of the instrument world. 

So you're really not comparing apples with apples and we all know that the prices of those types I've mentioned are actually on a par with one another.

We also know that Fender's business model included parking vast quantities of instruments with retailers (indeed they would have to accept this to be dealers). Do we even know whether we've seen the true, 2021 Fender instrument prices in the UK or are we still talking sale of historic warehouse or dealer stock? 

Seeing all the other Covid related, supply chain related, shipping related issues (see other threads for people's problems getting items shipped to/from abroad, including the US), I'm not surprised prices have gone up - I'm not happy about it but that's the way it is - simple economics - short supply = higher prices. 

We'll just have to stump up more for these instruments in the future or do without them - and I won't be doing the latter!! 

PS the Stingray Special design was 2018 - whilst the 4 string is based on the 1976 design/ shape there are a vast number  of differences - but retaining enough of the original design - so the sparkly colours are a different (in my view pretty good) set of colours on a three year old product. 

Sparkly coloured Stingrays first appeared around 2000, but weren't produced for long - and lamented by Stingray fans after - I think they listened to the market introducing them on the 2018 Stingray Specials (along with other more traditional colours).  

Edited by drTStingray
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1 minute ago, TheGreek said:

One for sale on Gumtree - used.

Before looking have a guesstimate what a used sparkly 2020 MM (special edition apparently) might sell for.

https://www.gumtree.com/p/guitar-instrument/music-man-ltd-edition-06-of-85-bfr-stingray-4-hh-bass-guitar-in-pink-champagne-sparkle/1403203782

It’s a BFR, so not truly indicative, but I was £100 off.

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Having said that, I remember Bass Direct had one of those in stock as I saved the photo.

CDD7E8CE-3B0E-453B-AAE0-DBC76D2FBFC3.thumb.jpeg.ab8645014b446952f46cb3794ba512e1.jpeg

I don’t recall it being referred to as a BFR though, but it may well have been. Perhaps they all are? Memory again may not be serving me well, but I seem to remember the price as £2799.

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6 minutes ago, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

Having said that, I remember Bass Direct had one of those in stock as I saved the photo.

CDD7E8CE-3B0E-453B-AAE0-DBC76D2FBFC3.thumb.jpeg.ab8645014b446952f46cb3794ba512e1.jpeg

I don’t recall it being referred to as a BFR though, but it may well have been. Perhaps they all are? Memory again may not be serving me well, but I seem to remember the price as £2799.

It was a BFR - the Bass Direct price was actually two or three hundred lower than the Andertons price (they still had a couple of them advertised last time I looked). 

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18 hours ago, drTStingray said:

The US Fenders truly are mass produced instruments - Musicman are more on a par with PRS, Rickenbacker or US Custom Shop Fenders (team built) - they certainly contain as much manual input and finishing and are not high volume in the Fender/Gibson sense - these really are the Fords of the instrument world. 

So you're really not comparing apples with apples and we all know that the prices of those types I've mentioned are actually on a par with one another.

We also know that Fender's business model included parking vast quantities of instruments with retailers (indeed they would have to accept this to be dealers). Do we even know whether we've seen the true, 2021 Fender instrument prices in the UK or are we still talking sale of historic warehouse or dealer stock? 

Seeing all the other Covid related, supply chain related, shipping related issues (see other threads for people's problems getting items shipped to/from abroad, including the US), I'm not surprised prices have gone up - I'm not happy about it but that's the way it is - simple economics - short supply = higher prices. 

We'll just have to stump up more for these instruments in the future or do without them - and I won't be doing the latter!! 

PS the Stingray Special design was 2018 - whilst the 4 string is based on the 1976 design/ shape there are a vast number  of differences - but retaining enough of the original design - so the sparkly colours are a different (in my view pretty good) set of colours on a three year old product. 

Sparkly coloured Stingrays first appeared around 2000, but weren't produced for long - and lamented by Stingray fans after - I think they listened to the market introducing them on the 2018 Stingray Specials (along with other more traditional colours).  

The Fender factory in California turns out more guitars than EBMM, but it isn't half as big as you might suppose. It is inaccurate to portray Fender as churning out a vast number of lesser quality instruments in comparison to an EBMM factory which produces  small numbers of high quality artisan- made guitars with a superior degree of integrity.

I've  had a fair few new EBMM basses over the years, and some of them were great, some not so great in terms of their construction quality. Just the same as my experience of the USA Fenders. 

 May I ask, how do you know that EBMM are experiencing greater production costs and supply chain problems due to fallout from covid? Is that what EBMM have said or is it something you are supposing ? Business models, supply chains and the like are the concern of the manufacturer and their dealers. If they make a mess of things and can't get their goods to market at a realistic  price then it's not the consumers role to make  up excuses or explanations on their behalf .

Are EBMM subject to these alleged  increased costs more than other manufacturers of a similar size, such as G&L, for example? ( I mention G&L because I have consistently found them to be better made than EBMM basses with equally good proprietary hardware and their own signature sound, just like Musicman. )Why aren't  all the others following suit and jacking up their prices to such a degree? I totally understand (and share😊) your enthusiasm for Musicman basses, but because you have been  a repeat customer over many years ,EBMM owe  a debt of loyalty to you, not the other way around.

Ultimately as buyers we will look at three grand for a new Stingray and then look round at what else you can get for that money.  In my estimation the 2021 Stingray Specials are overpriced by about a grand  (certainly £800-£900)for the quality of guitar that they are.

 

Edited by Misdee
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AFAIK Musicman has reduced production for Covid related reasons. The worldwide cost of shipping has also increased massively, along with delays.

My only disagreement with your post really is comparing US Fender with Musicman - the truer comparison is with Fender US Custom Shop (team built) as that involves a similar level of manual input, and much of Musicman's guitar output is using figured maple, for instance, which may increase costs. I wasn't really talking build quality - although I agree Fender US has had improved quality for some while now. So have all the cheaper level instruments from non US production. 

I also like G and L (apart from not getting on with the MFD pickups) and have never really understood why such bargains are to be had with their instruments, especially second hand.

I don't really understand how Fender could have had it's best year for sales last year (in a Global pandemic affecting production and some elements of shipping) from a supply angle unless the majority of instruments sold were either already with retailers, making them less affected as immediately, by current conditions or they, somehow are able to absorb more of the cost increase, production downturn (unless the manual input is minimal) and can respond to increased demand in the light of the issues mentioned. Otherwise it doesn't add up. 

We will just have to wait and see whether some brands have been able to insulate in the longer term,  consumers from the pandemic and related (or in some cases not) issues affecting costs. 

Edited by drTStingray
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17 minutes ago, drTStingray said:

My only disagreement with your post really is comparing US Fender with Musicman - the truer comparison is with Fender US Custom Shop (team built) as that involves a similar level of manual input, and much of Musicman's guitar output is using figured maple, for instance, which may increase costs. I wasn't really talking build quality - although I agree Fender US has had improved quality for some while now. 

I don't believe Stingrays are made by a small tight-knit team of highly experienced craftsmen. Apart from the size, Fender's Corona plant and EBMM's SLO factory are surely pretty similar: semi-skilled, low paid factory workers building the same sort of products out of the same materials, using the same machinery and techniques.

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On 22/04/2021 at 23:37, DaytonaRik said:

As a massive AC/DC fan I'd quite like the Cliff Williams #1 Workhorse replica but not at $7k!!!!  I'd probably be able to find a genuine late 70's/early 80's model and have lots of change for that kinda cash!

I tend to agree with you but at least any profit from the sale of his model went to charity. What made me laugh was for a good bit of his career he played loads of different basses!

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10 hours ago, pineweasel said:

I don't believe Stingrays are made by a small tight-knit team of highly experienced craftsmen. Apart from the size, Fender's Corona plant and EBMM's SLO factory are surely pretty similar: semi-skilled, low paid factory workers building the same sort of products out of the same materials, using the same machinery and techniques.

Team built Fender Custom Shop guitars, as I understand, are low volume, production line instruments with a level of manual selection and possibly input to assembly, such as materials - an example being the Pino Precision bass. Masterbuilt (put together by a craftsman) are a completely different and considerably higher price point - it's notable that many of the options on the Custom Shop build sheets for CS versions of standard guitars result in the guitar requiring to be a masterbuilt one (and thus into the much higher price range).

Im not aware of the standard US Fender manufacturing offering hand selected or higher cost woods etc etc - they all look to be standard to me - they are simply assembled at volume in the US rather than in a lower labour cost region, and often being a slightly higher spec, than say a Mexican version - the team built CS is a step up from that, and the masterbuilt is assembled/ built/parts selected by a named craftsman. 

The lower volume manufacturers, like Musicman, PRS etc etc offer instruments (particularly guitars) which have a higher spec than the standard stuff produced by the big manufacturers - AIUI we are talking vastly different levels of production also. 

For some people here, and because Musicman and Rickenbacker, for instance, produce basses as iconic as Fender and Gibson, assume the prices should be on a par - however Fender, for instance, is in a much higher volume market which makes a big difference (and basses are a small proportion when compared to guitars).

Thus comparing the prices in that way is really not valid as they are aiming at different market segments -  but with obvious overlaps - in spite of this I agree some of the prices  of these instruments are higher than I would like to see - anyone looked at the price of a new Rickenbacker recently?). 

Edited by drTStingray
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On 22/04/2021 at 09:18, neepheid said:

FWIW (not much) I would have bought a Big Al, if I could have afforded it :(

Seems these latest prices continue to mean I won't be buying a (new) EBMM any time soon.  We're talking multiples of what my car cost here - I'm clearly not their target market :D

Just bought a 2015 Big Al, picked it up yesterday in Cardiff, A1 nick, inc OHSC, first time played today......wow.  What a bass, superb, well impressed

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On 24/04/2021 at 12:08, drTStingray said:

AFAIK Musicman has reduced production for Covid related reasons. The worldwide cost of shipping has also increased massively, along with delays.

My only disagreement with your post really is comparing US Fender with Musicman - the truer comparison is with Fender US Custom Shop (team built) as that involves a similar level of manual input, and much of Musicman's guitar output is using figured maple, for instance, which may increase costs. I wasn't really talking build quality - although I agree Fender US has had improved quality for some while now. So have all the cheaper level instruments from non US production. 

I also like G and L (apart from not getting on with the MFD pickups) and have never really understood why such bargains are to be had with their instruments, especially second hand.

I don't really understand how Fender could have had it's best year for sales last year (in a Global pandemic affecting production and some elements of shipping) from a supply angle unless the majority of instruments sold were either already with retailers, making them less affected as immediately, by current conditions or they, somehow are able to absorb more of the cost increase, production downturn (unless the manual input is minimal) and can respond to increased demand in the light of the issues mentioned. Otherwise it doesn't add up. 

We will just have to wait and see whether some brands have been able to insulate in the longer term,  consumers from the pandemic and related (or in some cases not) issues affecting costs. 

There are so many great things about EBMM Musicman basses that it would take me too long to list them, and for my own sonic tastes at least, these new Stingray Specials are  just about the best -sounding Stingrays I've ever heard. They've tamed the treble a bit and added even more punch to the sound. But £3000 is a bit too optimistic on their part. It's asking Maserati money for a Volkswagen.

I take your point about the Fender CS comparison, but most Fender CS basses have quartersawn necks nowadays, and you can custom order to your requirements. EBMM basses  have flatsawn necks with no graphite  reinforcement, and   MM have become increasingly limited in the options they offer their customers. That is because standardisation is a way of maximizing efficiency and therefore profits.

All this business about supply problems, transportation issues ect really is the concern of the manufacturer, not the consumer. It's also probably a smokescreen/red herring to excuse the  decision to increase profit margins to offset the cost to their business of covid and the subsequent worldwide lockdown. They are taking a punt that we will be prepared to pay three grand for a bass worth two grand rather than deny ourselves the thrill of owning one of these glittering (literally) new offerings. I suspect very strongly that EBMM are looking to make back the money they have lost , it's as simple as that.

What will be fascinating is how well they have judged their potential customers. And if they succeed in selling their guitars at this price point then what next? Presumably the sky's the limit! And if folks don't buy EBMM'S at the new prices what will happen then?

Edited by Misdee
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Glad I manged to hold out and shop around for what I wanted fortunately.  very hapy with the 2015 Stingray and the Big Al is immense and so versatile.

They stand up against the two Shukers I have, completely different to the Magnum and very close to the Sandbergs but 3k for a new one is way over the top.........even if it is sparkly!

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