Re: [Harp-L] Gear Cost Comparison

Regarding amps specifically, Scotty Moore's website has shots of Bill Black's 
5E6 bassman (forerunner to the '59 & slightly cheaper to build), Bill's cost him 
$355.50 in 1956, which when punched into the inflation calculator comes out as 
$2907.39, way more expensive than a SJ, Harpgear or a's a good time 
to be in the market for a harp amp.

From: Steve Power <stevepower@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, 2 August, 2011 5:46:59
Subject: [Harp-L] Gear Cost Comparison

To give some factual perspective to this debate I  have a 1950 Shure 520 in
it's original box with the original price tag still on it. The price was
$17.50.  Using an online inflation calculator this is the equivilant of
$162.50 today, which rather dispels the commonly held belief that the 520 was a 
cheap mic.
If we assume there wasn't much in the way of competition and
discounts compared to today then the actual MSRP would probably have been the 
MSRP on a Shure 520 DX is $149.00, albeit with argueably less quality.
However a Shure 520DX can be purchased new from several suppliers for roughly
$118. Had there been as large a market in 1950 as today one could imagine
similar discounts would have applied due to economy of scale if nothing

I couldn't find prices for 50s Fender amps when they were new but a 1952
Telecaster retailed for $189.00, equivilant to approx. $1600. A reissue '52
Vintage American Standard Telecaster MSRP is $2199 but are discounted down
to $1600 by several vendors.

Given this, albeit small, sampling one could assume that in real terms
instrument prices have remained stable.  However, one also has to look at
how many hours the average worker would have to put in to earn X amount of
dollars in 1950 v 2011. Also what percentage of income on average was
disposable in the two periods as well as a direct comparison in the quality
of the product.  I think, for example, you would be hard pressed to say
pretty much any boutique harp amp is better built or has better components
than what was used say in 1959 to build a Fender Bassman.  In todays terms
however, a new RI 59 Bassman is around $1300-1400 discounted. A SJ Avenger
is $1795. Is the Avenger at least a 40% better amplifier? All criteria to
judge would be subjective but IMHO, hell yeah and consequently good value
for money.

Bottomline, I think the debate is kind of pointless. There is no right or
wrong as a) there are too many variables, b) it's all subjective, and c)
what does it matter anyway? The really good players sound good no matter
what they use.

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