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Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 10:30 pm
by plikestechno
When I see so many great synths on Ebay, the first question that springs to my mind "If this person wants to sell this so bad, why do I want to buy it?" When you see Jupe 8's, Polysixes and MS-20s up for sale all the time I wonder if these synths really are all that great and better than the Octave Cat SRM and JX-10 that I already have? If these synths are really amazing why do they get sold so much?

But for the most part I think a lot of these synths get sold and resold because people are buying low and selling high. If you bought a Jupe 8 for $500 and had the chance to turn it into a couple of Serge panels or a Matrix 12 you'd be willing to pull the trigger a lot easier because you only paid five hundred for it as opposed to $5000.

I am guilty of this surely. Almost everything I've gotten cheap ($400 or less) I've resold for much more expensive items except my Stix 305 and MC-202. My rack of full length keyboards I've gotten for cheap ($500 for a JX10/PG800 and 4 M64Cs is the most I've paid) but I'm loathe to sell them unless I can sell them locally to prevent problems. It's so hard to find boxes for them and I'd just worry about them getting busted up or loosening up.

And yet I feel the itch. The Stix and 202 are great machines and I may regret selling them but still feel the itch to sell them for that profit, to get something better, bigger, rarer with the amount of my initial investment.

When you guys sell do you sell because you truly do not find the instrument useful to you or do you sell because the hefty profit may go into your pocket or on gear you'd never imagine affording?

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 10:44 pm
by Yoozer
You'll rarely get people who will squarely admit that they do it for the profit - after all, the rest of us lament the fact that there are no cheap vintage synths anymore and see them as the evil masterminds that caused it ;).

It could also be because you'd read the stories and the legends surrounding these machines (this probably works for the JP8 more than the Polysix) and that once bought they don't turn out to be complete audio LSD with rainbows and kittens. Then the seller realizes that he now has to live for 4 months on water and ramen, and putting it on eBay then is not that hard of a choice.

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 10:54 pm
by Z
Being Texan, I grew up with the Blue Bell Ice Cream ad "eat all you can and sell the rest." That's sort of my attitude with synths. I started flipping synths in the early 90's when analogs were plentiful here in Dallas, putting ads in NY Times, Chicago Tribune & LA Recycler, later on rec.music.makers.marketplace and now here on VSE & EBay. Making a couple hundred bucks on reselling a synth certainly helps put some extra cash in your pocket to buy the stuff you want.

Also, now that there are a lot of "boutique" items that cannot be demo'd at your local music store, we're pretty much forced to buy something to try it and resell it if it doesn't suit our needs.

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:15 pm
by Solderman
For the most part, my guess is a big "Not on purpose", in parallel with Yoozer's response.
I'd bet most people agree that big stupid prices are due to increased demand, not inflation from flip-addiction.
I'm not saying collecting synths can't be like collecting comics, just that generally the attitude at time of sale is usually different:
You find some studio piece to be cumbersome, or not useful, and want to trade-up, with the eventual hope of finding more permanent(and often more flexible) studio pieces.

Heh, two mentions of the JP8 being a disappointment, already. Last week I told my best friend I was thinking of selling mine because the cost for servicing it desperately needs might equal nearly half of what I paid for it. If anything, people sell gear because they don't want to deal with the hassles that come with gear after getting bored of them. That includes just taking up studio space and an extra channel strip, btw.

If there's any addiction involved, I propose it starts with hearing something and saying "I want THAT sound, and will be a miserable SOB until I can have it". That is, opposed to scrutinizing your gear inventory and saying "Well I could get alot for THAT doohickey."

And as for flipping for profit? One who succeeds at that is probably clever enough that they should be trading on the stock market instead of the used gear market.

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:18 pm
by BoxPhenom
I think there's no shame in flipping synths and I admit in doing it as often as I can!
People that actually use synths are glad to pay the price for the one they want rather than the one they happen to find. They are also happy to pay for a synth that's been tested and serviced rather than take a chance.
I flip synths but I do it responsibly and always make sure everything works without issues. I feel I provide a service.

If synths were only available in the local ads or at flea markets all the packrats would hog them and real musicians wouldn't have a chance to play them!

That said I do make music on a regular basis (not professionally anymore) and I like to keep a studio running smooth so I won't just sell something I use to make money. I keep the two separate and sometimes decide to keep a synth I bought with the idea to flip it.

Flipping lets you try a lot of synths, I've formed the general opinion that the most coveted expensive stuff usually is not overrated.

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:39 pm
by tyrannosaurus mark
Yeah it is an addiction! It's because you want to try all the legendary synthesisers, but can't afford to own them all at once. Buy to try :)

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:44 pm
by JSRockit
I have never ever sold any synths. I would not know the answer as to why people do such things. ;)

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:45 pm
by braincandy
Yoozer wrote:You'll rarely get people who will squarely admit that they do it for the profit - after all, the rest of us lament the fact that there are no cheap vintage synths anymore and see them as the evil masterminds that caused it ;).
Well said, Yoozer.

I used to really resent flippers because it meant less steals to be had if I was searching for something I really wanted. But I think anyone who's honest would admit to flipping something for 3-4 times what they paid for it if they could. It would be stupid of me not to do that (although I haven't had the chance to do so), as I don't have loads of cash for gear and I often have to sell things in order to afford other gear purchases.

I used to troll for "deals" all the time in Dallas pawns back in the late-90s/early-00's, but I think Z probably out-hustled me for the best stuff. :D

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:49 pm
by Z
braincandy wrote: I used to troll for "deals" all the time in Dallas pawns back in the late-90s/early-00's, but I think Z probably out-hustled me for the best stuff. :D
Ha! Not so much then since I was taking a break from music at that time. I had weekly "routes" in the early 90's, but the internet and eBay have killed the pawn shop deals.

Sure do miss $50 CR-78's, SH-101's, TB-303's :)

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 12:09 am
by braincandy
Z wrote:
braincandy wrote: I used to troll for "deals" all the time in Dallas pawns back in the late-90s/early-00's, but I think Z probably out-hustled me for the best stuff. :D
Ha! Not so much then since I was taking a break from music at that time. I had weekly "routes" in the early 90's, but the internet and eBay have killed the pawn shop deals.

Sure do miss $50 CR-78's, SH-101's, TB-303's :)
Then it was OMNI26. He has a knack for picking up hellacious deals.

My best deal was a CZ-101 for $35 from a pawn in Irving. I sold it a year later for $125, although I initially purchased it with the intent of keeping it, so I don't count it as a true flip.

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 12:42 am
by diezdiazgiant
I flip but its by no choice of mine. I'm an idiot with my money, and I just perpetually buy and sell stuff. And with the exception of a korg electribe I bought new everything I've bought I have managed to sell for usually a profit and sometimes twice what I paid for it (I'm not gouging anyone I have just had some damn good deals).

I had a rotary speaker cab I bought for 40 or 50 dollars, resold for 200. Jx8p bought at 70 sold for 200.

I might try to do it more now, a buddy of mine is a tech and cuts me deals. Last time I saw him he was bragging that the shop he works is now an authorized moog repair center

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 1:23 am
by Automatic Gainsay
I became a sort of flipper by accident, and realized that it's really the way to go as far as finding the synth you really want/like.
Because there weren't the demos on YouTube that there are today, I would buy synths simply by reputation or aesthetic. When I found that their sound/functionality/interface didn't please me, I would resell them to buy something else. I accidentally discovered that they were often selling for more than I bought them for... which allowed me to buy slightly more expensive synths.
So, technically I was test-driving more than flipping, but as I made more and was able to buy more, a couple of times I bought synths I didn't care if I'd like or not, so I could sell them for profit to buy bigger/better synths. Amusingly, such was the case for the Korg MonoPoly, but I ended up loving the thing so much I didn't sell it for years.
I think flipping simply for the sake of sales would be horribly boring, though.
My pseudo-flipping days are over. There are no more deals, and no more synths I want (that I, or anyone, can afford, anyway).

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 1:35 am
by BoxPhenom
Automatic Gainsay wrote: I think flipping simply for the sake of sales would be horribly boring, though.
Good point, you have to love synths to know enough to flip, or hate them I guess.

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 1:39 am
by Joey
I make most of my money off of flipping synths, its how I eat, and buy new gear.

My job pays c**p, so any spending money I have is from flipping gear.

I scour craigslist, ebay, and various mailing lists every day looking for deals, and then flip them on ebay.

Re: Do people get addicted to flipping synths?

Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 2:03 am
by EmptySet
I look at it this way… never before have there been so many pieces of nifty gear available as such affordable prices. Stuff I drooled over as a kid is now within my grasp. And if you don't like something, the giant garage sale in the sky that is the internet lets you offload it pretty quickly. (compared to pre-internet days). It almost ends up like a library where you can "check out" gear and return it to the net when you're finished. Why blame someone who plays this game? It's great fun and the internet has made it that much more feasible. It's not people's fault if, like where I live, gear is usually cheaper on the local craigslist than it is on eBay. You can pick up a nice piece locally (nice price, because demand is low here) and sell later on eBay (where demand is high?), and sometimes there's a price gradient. Lucky you. You just got paid for what many of us is a hobby.

Yes, in some ways it sucks… like when your local music store that used to be cheap now tries to rape you by looking up "the going rate" on eBay. But other times you come out ahead. That's the brave new world we're in for better or worse (I tend to think better).