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Thread: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

  1. #1

    Default Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    Do new mandolins ever go on sale? Are there Black Friday sales? Or end of season sales? It seems that the prices, from what I can tell, are set by the manufacturer. Do they go on sale? Or is there a season ending sale i.e. These mandolins must go to make room for the next years model. Just wondering... I love many of the mandolins in the classifieds. Not to be cheap but if I can get two instead of one, it seems like a win to me . Not sure how much wiggle room their is on price....

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    Maybe some of the retailers will chime in with more detail, but basically there is manufacturers suggested list price and NOBODY ever pays list price -- these days. I say these days, because there was a time 30-40 years ago when it was common for a local store to charge full retail or in some cases more than retail if they could get away with it. My buddy bought a brand new 1972 Martin D-35 and paid $1250 for it from our small town Martin dealer, who was the local piano store. If you check a Martin retail price list from back then, the suggested retail price was closer to $375-400. Another example was back in the early 80's and the Honda Accord had such a demand that people paid more than list for them, I forgot the term Honda used, but it was right there on the window sticker, I'll call it an idiot tax......ahh, the good ole days.....................

    Today, prices are pretty much public knowledge. You can check online prices with Musicians Friend, Guitar Center, etc. and you can see what the mandolin you want is going for. Some of those same sellers also advertise on eBay with similar discounts. Another way to get a good deal on a "new" instrument is sometimes blemished instruments are sold at substantial discounts. Check around.

    Good luck with your search!

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    Generally speaking, no.

    Mandolins are still a super niche market (compared to guitars) and aren't as subject to deals like that. For the highest end mandolins you're paying for what you get, no more, no less. Obviously you may get a bargain on a I sed instrument every now and then but that's luck.

    As far as quality beginner mandolins up to intermediate like Eastman and Kentucky, you might find a blemish model or a shopworn one with a slight markdown (for example I got my Eastman MD515 for about 100 cheaper than normal because it was a factory blem).

    You'll probably find deals on rogue and similar instruments, but in general you should stay away from those (unless of course you simply don't have the funds in which case they're great starters).

  4. #4

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    The simple answer is yes.

    The big box/online stores frequently have sales either on individual items, including mandolins, or as percentages of total purchase (e.g. 15% off). Depending on the rules, these discounts can apply to most of what they carry, including high-dollar Gibsons. Biggest downside is the same as it always is from these sites: you're buying instruments likely without setup so you will need to have that done at your own expense.

    The smaller boutique dealers, many of whom have a presence here at the Cafe, also have occasional sales on mandolins but usually at a smaller scale for a limited number of items. But if you are patient and have some luck you can save some serious cash. I actually bought my Northfield on sale, which I haven't seen happen before or since so anything is possible.

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    Supply and demand. Once listened in on a conversation between a buyer and a dealer on a fairly high end mandolin. Buyer was trying to negotiate a better price. Was told the dealer was going to get another one in a year. Maybe. No reason to drop the price.

    Buy used for a deal. Guy I know followed an e bay auction for nine months. He had a nice Weber he was trying to get $2800 for. Relisted it three or four times. It was finally sold for $2000.

    Bigger factory made instruments can be replenished so priced accordingly. Anyone have figures on mandolin vs guitar sales? If you told me 1000 to 1, I'd believe you.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    If you're selling it's too low, if you're buying? It's too high.
    Find what trips your trigger, get it set up properly, play as much and often as you possibly can, any money take the hind most. What the heck!?
    Timothy F. Lewis
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    One of our cafe sponsors, The Mandolin Store has a Black Friday sale every year after Thanksgiving. They also will have new items on sale due to small imperceptible blemishes every so often too.

  9. #8
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    I've gotten some sale prices on a new mandolin and a guitar from Amazon, both great instruments but I had to setup the mandolin, but it was at a really good price
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  10. #9
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    I have been told by dealers that the standard mark-up on new musical instruments (I'm sure there are exceptions, don't jump all over me on this) is around 100%; the dealer pays about half of the manufacturer's list price for the instrument. The dealer -- except in those cases where the manufacturer restricts authorized dealers' discount flexibility -- can set a "sale price" that gives him/her the desired profit above the dealer cost.

    Thus a mandolin that "lists" for $1000 may cost a dealer $500; if it's sold for "30% off" ($700) the dealer makes $200 on the sale, which is a "40% profit" ($200/$500 =40%). There used to be a slew of mail-order or on-line dealers who would offer "40% off," reflecting the lower overhead of not having a brick-and-mortar establishment. If the 100%-mark-up rule held, they would still be making a 20% profit at that level of discounting.

    Example: the ubiquitous Kentucky KM 150 lists for $495. Musician's Friend is selling it now for $282, which they call a "price drop." This represents a 43% discount below list price. If we assume MF paid $250 for each KM-150, they'd realize a $32 profit on each sale, or 13%. However, a high-volume seller like MF may well be able to get a deal from Saga, Kentucky's parent company, and pay significantly less than $250 per mandolin. And it's up to the dealer to determine what an acceptable profit margin is, what items can be offered as "loss leaders" to draw in potential customers, and what arrangements they can obtain from manufacturers and distributors.

    Large-scale on-line dealers, who do no set-up or prep work on the instruments they sell, can offer steep discounts. I assume that "price drop" is the equivalent of putting the KM-150 on sale. I understand that Gibson Co., for example, keeps a tight rein over its dealers, as to what discounts they're allowed to offer.

    So, yes, you can find mandolins "on sale," primarily the more entry- and mid-level instruments, which command a broader market than the top-line brands and models. If you look up a given make and model on Google, you'll find competitive listings that are well below the "list price." I'd go as far as to say that paying "manufacturer's list price" is more the exception than the rule, in this era where everyone with a computer can comparison-shop.
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  12. #10
    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    As mentioned above, The Mandolin Store does have a Black Friday sale every year.

    In general, there's a lot of hype about list price vs. sale price in many businesses, and music stores are no exception.

    Having come from a retail background, I know that every dealer is acutely aware of how long an item has been in inventory. If they have an item that's not selling and been on the shelf for a long time, most would be willing to negotiate the selling price.

    On the other hand, if it's a hot selling item that turns over very quickly at the asking price, it's much harder to get a dealer to budge on the price.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  13. #11
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    Bernunzio's is running their Jazz Sale with good prices on Eastmen:
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    2007 Hester A5
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  14. #12

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    Do new mandolins ever go on sale?
    There is pretty much a perpetual sale on mandolins, but since they are such a niche product you may not have the same level of choices that you would find with something else. At any one time, you should be able to find a great deal on a couple of models (may not be the models you want though).

    Are there Black Friday sales?
    The whole Black Friday thing used to be legitimate. Now, aside from a few loss leaders, there is not a widespread difference in price.

    Or end of season/year sales?
    For the most part, instruments do not go stale and need to be sold off. The exception is when something is being closed out or redesigned. Maybe every 5-10 years there will be a significant change to a line of instruments. When this occurs, the makers will stop production and sell off the vast majority before the change occurs. Around the time the new models are ready to ship, they will often discount whats left. This is rarely a high number of mandolins. It may be a couple, on rare occasions maybe 20, but keep in mind, there are not many mandolins made to begin with, meaning, there are not going to be hundreds of a closeout model. They are just not made in those volumes.

    It seems that the prices, from what I can tell, are set by the manufacturer. Do they go on sale?
    "MAP"' is a rule set by many manufacturers that limited the price an instrument can be advertised at. It can be sold for any price the dealer decides, it just can't be publicly advertised. Most brands have MAP, but not all. Kentucky does not.

    Now, MAP is typically set around the price needed for a dealer to be able to sustain carrying the product. It is in the manufacturer's best interest to keep the end user's price down, so they move more product, but not so low that the dealer has to drop the line or go out of business. An average dealer cannot consistently sell below MAP and stay afloat. Some can, but it is built into their business model.

    Not sure how much wiggle room their is on price....
    Contrary to popular belief, the real discounts are going to be with the high demand, fast moving products and usually with the high-volume dealers. If something doesn't turn quickly, you need more markup to stock it. After a period of time, the dealer may discount it to recover some of the investment, but they will not turn around and order another, so these deals are the exception rather than the norm.

    Smaller dealers have trouble taking a loss on instruments. This is not necessarily the case with the largest dealers. They are moving such a large amount of product, that a good percentage can be taking a loss at any given time (as long as other products make up for it). Hence things like this KM-150 deal... Here is a case, where they do not even have the mandolin (these are back-ordered right now), yet they advertise this price and do serious damage to the competition (like me). I have 12 of these KM-150 on order right now and I am pretty close to cancelling the order. I am actually close to dropping the Kentucky line entirely. For me, it is not sustainable at the street prices. I have to charge more, and ultimately look bad for doing it. The Kentucky mandolins are good instruments, but most dealers are best off avoiding the brand. Stocking them, is a questionable business decision.

    Now we see the other portion of the discount strategy.. It is not so much that they can sustain their business while selling everything at this level of discount, but they can absorb the expense of a percentage of products being sold at heavy discount and lay waste to the weaker competition.

    In this case, the same thing is happening to them:

    I guess the point of this is, that the deals are out there. The reasons for the deals are a little more complex and do not necessarily reflect what you should expect on a particular model at a particular time. If you are open to different models and ready to jump when you see the deal, you can score stuff at well below dealer cost. I see it all the time.
    Robert Fear

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  16. #13

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    At the store where I bought mine (was not a chain store), all the price tags had an original and a sale price. I've grown to not believe this trick anymore.

  17. #14
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    Portland, OR

    Default Re: Is there such a thing as new mandolin sale prices?

    I got my MD 315 new from a reputable music store (not big box) for roughly half the "retail" price because it had a small nick on the top near the bridge under the strings. I did have to pay for a good setup, but that was worth it.

    Deals are out there...

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