Is the Recession Hitting the Archtop Market?

September 14, 2008

Nicolai Foss

Of course, the ongoing recession will eventually hit the market for archtop guitars like it will hit any market in the world economy. Perhaps we are already witnessing the first indications of a recession in the archtop market(s)? Here are some possible indicators. First, sellers of DeArmond pickups do not quote their usual insane buy-it-now prices. In fact, there is an 1100 model which, although there are only 3 days left of the auction, has so far only fetched 51 USD. Second, Archtop.com has had this Epi Emperor for sale for more than a month now. Third, there are simply more archtops for sale (on ebay about 25 % more than just 2-3 months ago), which may suggest that collectors are liquidating some of their archtop “positions.” Other indications?

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2 Responses to “Is the Recession Hitting the Archtop Market?”

  1. ronclegg Says:

    On the other hand, I’ve noticed that the inventory of non cutaway Gibson L-5’s from say 1936 to the early fifties has been cleaned out recently.. These guitars were going from a low of $5300 to about $7000. I noticed a new crop of similar instruments for sale in the $8-9K range. It’s pretty obvious that these instruments still sell quickly and sellers are confident in asking more.

    Sources: Elderly, John Stewart Archtops, Archtop.com,

    has anyone else noticed this?

    Ron Clegg


  2. Hi Nicolai and readers,

    In response to “Is the Recession hitting the Archtop market” I personally don’t know yet in relation to my business as it is too new. However, it might be intresting to know that in Australia the Archtop market is not big and it is getting harder and harder to find them in the shops. I feel that the new Archtop guitar market is not going well and the shops knowing this are not renewing their stock after a sale. One problem with the new archtop market is that there is an enormous choice for such a small but definate market. This makes it difficult for many shops selling new guitars to stock a big range of new Archtops as they are not a fast turn over product, like a Strat or Les paul. If the recession is affecting the new market sales I can see many of these newer guitars soon being discontinued. I think brands like the Eastman’s must be affecting the Gibson and others new sales, even though I am not that impressed by these cheaper carved tops but I know many are. The interesting thing about the rush on the latest carved Chinese Arch top guitars, is that it really should not matter if a guitar has a carved top or a laminated top, or even a pressed solid top as long as it sound right to you acoustically. On the other hand those that care more about the electrified sound of their new Archtop guitar could find that a carved top may be detrimental to what hey were trying to achieve with their electrified sound. Anyway, realistically I feel what ever the effect the recession makes on the guitar industry the Archtop market will feel the same. It would not be the first time the archtop guitar market has declined but it has always come back bigger and better because it has a much longer history behind it than the electrified slab.


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