Whilst it could be seen as a U turn, it definitely isn't in my eyes so let me explain why I think its important to give Vintage guitars another go after several years of staying clear of them.
The last words spoken to me before closing my account on Vintage guitars was "If we checked yours Richard, we would have to check all of them".
That was all I needed to hear to verify there was no way I could continue trying to provide excellence in a market that was dominated by cost cutting.
To understand what has changed it is important to understand the mentality of the guitar industry. If you provide extra discounts to the masses - they will give it ALL away. The industry is dominated by faceless online stores with nothing more to offer than a price that is better than the next guy. This is where the destruction of a brand begins if you allow it and this is without question what happened to Vintage. There were big discounts available and artificially inflated retails - adding to that the quality issues and lack of support and it was just too much for me to bother with.
So whats changed? Two very important things...
1. Discounting structure has changed. Now, you only get the "standard" margin IF you are a main dealer - rather than getting the standard margin PLUS the extra ££s (which were all just given away anyway by desperate retailers selling on price). As a result the retail price is more realistic at retail and there is much less "OTT discounting" going on as a result because there just isn't the margin to be given away.
2. I had a good chat with the distributors new guitar tech who sounded very proud of his involvement and he reassured me that they do now check the guitars and to check mine would be no problem (wow - fantastic!). Of course I do not expect the level of work we do but just the safety not a pre delivery inspection is re-assuring if they know we won't accept a certain grade (plenty of others will so its no problem to them).
So - a more stable pricing system and better attention to quality control pre delivery and I am hoping I may be able to help a few more of the guys on more limited budgets WITHOUT compromising my quality control and personal ethos.
Vintage guitars are truly brilliant value and I have never doubted it but the way the product has been sold historically has made it impossible for a true specialist to warrant selling them.
Hopefully that has all changed. Of course you won't find my prices to be the cheapest but you will get a £55 set up free of charge, 6 and 12 month free follow up checks/resets and me available all hours to chat to if you have any problem or just need advice and direction.
Oh yes - and I personally play test every guitar that leaves the door!