From rcob–(at)– Sun Oct 8 11:21:45 CDT 1995
Article: 66277 of
From: rcob–(at)– (Ron Cobb)
Subject: Re: Price of a new Nighthawk ST3 ?
Date: 7 Oct 1995 17:40:31 GMT
Organization: Channel 1 Communications
Lines: 85
Distribution: world
References: NNTP-Posting-Host:

In article , plan1–(at)– (Mike
Dege) wrote:

> Netters – I am new to the bargaining shenanigans of guitar dealers.
> I am looking at a new Gibson Nighthawk ST3, the list on the guitar
> says $1525. The salesman wont really give me a straight answer
> over the phone as to how much he will discount it. I caught the
> end of a thread about guitar prices list vs for real. So what would
> a good price, fair price, terrible price be for this guitar. Also,
> does anyone own one out there? Any horror stories or praises?
> I would appreciate any advice ASAP since I plan on bargaining with
> the salesman soon… Thanks
> Mike Dege – plan1–(at)–

Dealers typically pay around 50% of list price for a guitar. Plus, the
manufacturer ships the guitar in a case, so the dealer does not pay an
additional fee for the case. Most music stores that maintain stock,
overhead, sales staff, etc. typically don’t like to sell for less than 80%
of list…hence their profit margin is around 30% to cover the cost of
rent, staff, etc. Mail order companies that deal in volume will usually
quote you a price of around 70% of the list price. Expect a little higher
price from the “color-catalog” mail-order places (e.g., Musician’s Friend,
etc.). They can afford to still make their profit margin. Occasionally,
you’ll get a mail order place (on guitars at least, less so for electonic
gear) that will go as low as 60% of the list price. When you get this
kind of quote, usually they give you some story about that being the price
for the guitar, and the case is listed at $135, so throw in another $95
for the case. They will get it back up to around 70% one way or the

Most manufacturers put limits on the lowest price that an authorized
dealer can sell the product for. Some manufacturers do not allow dealers
to give prices over the phone (e.g. Alesis). A dealer can get in trouble
with the manufacturer for selling too low. In my experience (still
somewhat limited, and only as a consumer), most manufacturers do not like
their gear selling for less than 70% of the list price. Occasionally for
guitars there will be overstocks, and you’ll see a dealer “clearing out”
Ovation, or Takemine or Washburn or whatever guitars for 50% off!!! Count
on paying extra for the case though, and the dealer likely has the
permission of the manufacturer to clear the stock at cost (+ a little

That said, if you walk into a local music store and find the Nighthawk ST3
of your dreams, expect to be able to bargain them down to around $1,200.
If they are overstocked, or if it’s been in stock for a year, or even last
year’s model, you’ll pay a little less. If you call some mail-order
places that offer very competitive prices (e.g., New York Music, see ads
in Guitar Player), you might be able to get the guitar for around $1000
plus shipping. Of course you can’t really get the feel of it until you’ve
bought it. And there’s no guarantee that the mail-order place will set it
up properly (some do, some don’t). If you absolutely DON’T like the one
you get, some places will take it back within 30 days (but you likely will
pay shipping both ways and perhaps a restocking fee).

One final choice is to look for one used. You should be able to find a
used one for much less than a new one. While still in Nashville I bought
a factory mint with tags Nighthawk SP3 (dot inlay 3pu version, not as
fancy as the Standard) used from a guy for $400. Unlike most SP3s that
come with gig bag, this one came with a Gibson hard shell case. Granted I
had to shop fairly hard to find this deal, but I bet you can find an ST3
used for under $700.

As far as the sound goes, Gibson does not lie in the ads when they say
“the brightest Gibson ever”. The guitar is light compared to a Les Paul
especially, but even lighter than a typical Strat. The SP3 pickups are
mini humbucker at the neck, single coil in the middle, and humbucker at
the bridge. THere is a five-position switch, and the tone knob is a
pull-pot, giving you 10 different combinations of pickups. BUT, no matter
what combination, I absolutely cannot get the mellow low-end sound of my
LP rhythm pu with this guitar. It basically gives you 10 different tonal
varieties of bright. If your tastes and style run more toward bright than
mellow, this may be the guitar for you. The feel of the neck on mine is
very LP-like, but the sound is more like a Strat. I love to play jazz
with the LP rhythm pu, but can’t begin to get a good mellow (non-bright)
out of the Nighthawk. Then again, the Nighthawk is my favorite blues

I’ve rambled on too long. Good luck. IF you have further questions give
me a reply. I can’t guarantee the factual content of all I’ve said..I
just reported my experience with shopping for gear over the years. Your
mileage may vary.



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