The Stratosphere's curious business model...

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by AxemanVR, Jan 6, 2021.

  1. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

    Messages:
    4,109
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    For those who may not know what "The Stratosphere" is, it's a web based retailer that apparently buys factory new guitars, then parts them out, selling each piece individually.

    Anyway, at the end of 2020 I was cruising their website and noticed a Gibson SG Standard neck and body assembly:

    a SG Body.JPG


    Wondering what the total cost would end up being if I acquired all the other parts to basically complete a factory original guitar, I looked further into it and found that everything was available on their site! In fact, it seems very likely that these parts were taken from the same guitar since they only had one set of each available at the time.

    So, after adding up all the costs I decided to order each part individually. My final overall expense, (including tax and shipping) ended up being much lower than a completely assembled factory new guitar with a gig bag ($1499 as of this time)...

    • Gibson SG Standard Body and neck with strap buttons and back plate: $814.99

    • Loaded pickguard with all electronics and volume/tone knobs: $221.99

    • Gibson aluminum Nashville bridge and tailpiece: $55.99

    • Grover tuners $45.10

    • I didn't get the gig bag but found a genuine Gibson hardshell case instead: $177.14.

    b SG PG.JPG
    c SG TP.JPG
    d SG case.jpg


    So, all told I essentially spent $1315.21 for a brand new Gibson SG Standard with a hardshell case - which is $183.79 less than the same thing with only a gigbag (I just had to assemble it myself):

    z.JPG


    I have to wonder what the rationale is here. After all, they could make more money selling it as a whole rather than parting it out, right? I mean, I would have thought that buying everything individually would have ended up costing me more, not less! Not only did they have to pay someone to disassemble everything, but also box them up separately, list them separately on their website and finally ship everything separately (they did combine shipping on two of the items).

    How does that make sense?

    Well, needless to say I am very happy with my latest acquisition and even learned a little bit about how the new Gibsons are designed and assembled (it's pretty much all "plug and play" these days).

    Anyway, all you DIY types out there may want to consider this route if looking for a new guitar... you might actually save a pretty penny at the same time...



    `
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
  2. Blue Beagle

    Blue Beagle Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    29
    Messages:
    1,134
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    I imagine they’d get a huge discount compared to MRSP from the manufacturers as they buy in a fairly significant volumes and regularly.
     
  3. Ace38

    Ace38 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    50
    Messages:
    916
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK.
    90% of what they have is "take one photo and reuse it over and over". So one time expense there. As much stuff as they have I'd be STUNNED to find out they're paying anything close to retail for it.

    They've been at it awhile, so its working out for them. Almost 7 years since the website was registered says WHOIS.
     
    bluesguy62, Miotch and AxemanVR like this.
  4. Theron

    Theron Strat-Talker

    Age:
    33
    Messages:
    180
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2017
    Location:
    Indiana
    I like them myself...occasionally I want a body color/fretboard combo that isn’t available so I like the ability to mix and match
     
  5. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

    Messages:
    4,109
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    `
    Well, then there are certainly super deals to be had if you buy parts from them!

    Of course they'd be undercutting other retailers. I suppose their business model must make a profit for their suppliers so no one cares?



    `
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
  6. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

    Messages:
    12,233
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    I'm sure they get good wholesale discounts. I think they singlehandedly changed the guitar market, and helped force the hand of Fender in making replacement necks/bodies. Stratosphere was making mega bucks, and Fender wanted a piece of that.
     
  7. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    60
    Messages:
    6,589
    Joined:
    May 2, 2016
    Location:
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    1st..they ain't paying what you're paying when they buy.
    2nd if you're paying msrp then you're overpaying to begin with
     
  8. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

    Messages:
    4,109
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    `
    $1499 is the "markdown" price:

    x.JPG


    Besides, even the so-called "markdown deal" is pretty much non-negotiable these days anyway for the average consumer - unless you happen to have some sort of "coupon" at the time of your purchase I suppose...



    `
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
  9. Ace38

    Ace38 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    50
    Messages:
    916
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK.
    I think you're assuming that Fender, Gibson, so on and so forth see their products as anything other than just that. They want to put good quality out, but in the end its just a way to make money. Once its paid for I'd bet they could care less what you do with it.
     
    drp146, fos1 and Miotch like this.
  10. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

    Messages:
    4,109
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    `

    Either that, or none of their other competitors has complained about it enough yet!

    Anyway, put it together yourself and save a chunk of cash seems to be the main take away here...


    `
     
  11. edro

    edro Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2020
    Location:
    Republic of Antarctica
    Just an FYI for folks that don't know....

    MSRP: Some magic number that fell from space

    MAP: Minimum Advertised Price (NOT a HUGE margin for profit. MAP is the price you see on websites/ads and explains why everybody's price on a certain piece of gear is the same. Get on the phone with em and they CAN go lower.... Manufacturer sets MAP.

    NET: What the dealer pays from manu or jobber for the gear (Shipping is added to NET. Some manu/jobbers screw dealers with shipping) So Cost to dealer is actually NET + Shipping in most cases. High volume dealers don't care as they sell stuff like ice cream in August every day. They sell at MAP anyway....

    Do a google search on a specific item, click Shopping up top of results page, and you'll see that about everybody has the same price for the item in new/unopened condition. That is MAP.

    A nice Lester may MSRP at $5K but everybody has it marked for say $3200 (Just pulling numbers out of my blow hole) $3200 is MAP. Some sell for more than MAP (usually smaller volume places, mom & pop stores, etc.. In a mom & pop, anything is an investment as they may look at that item for a while before it sells, binding their money up for a time... They gotta eat too, so they may/probably sell a bit higher than online superduper online retailers....)
     
    Baelzebub likes this.
  12. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.

    Messages:
    26,962
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    Location:
    Initech, Inc.
    I've purchased a couple things from them here and there but have generally found their prices to be on the high side.
     
  13. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Most Honored Senior Member Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,874
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR, USA
    Not really an answer to the question, but I think they also sell modded guitars, don't they? I've seen guitars listed as a standard MIM Strat that had been modded with Lace Sensors and an Eric Clapton mod, for instance. I thought that was Stratosphere, but maybe I'm thinking of someone else? 920D mod shop, perhaps?
     
  14. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Most Honored Senior Member Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,874
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR, USA
    Yeah, I bought a Fender Elite Strat neck from them for my partscaster on eBay - It may have been somewhat on the high side, but I was familiar with Fender necks and it's what I decided on.
    I used a Warmoth body for that partscaster, and I've wondered if a Warmoth neck would still fit well in that body now that it's all assembled with a Fender neck. The tech who assembled it said he had to shave the neck pocket a little bit to get the neck to fit well because it was too tight originally.
     
  15. Belexes

    Belexes Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    57
    Messages:
    682
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2019
    Location:
    Idaho
    I have found some great deals on that site.
     
    AxemanVR likes this.
  16. edro

    edro Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2020
    Location:
    Republic of Antarctica
    If you have a local mom & pop store, drop by and buy a set of strings, some picks, etc....Something you need... They are trying to at minimum keep their doors open... They have utility bills, personnel costs, taxes from hell, mortgage or rent, etc., to pay before they see a penny profit...

    I've heard folks ***** and moan "Where did all the local shops go? I need this cable now! I need a setup now. I need electronics fixed in my guitar now."
    Well, sport, where do you buy all your stuff? -uhhh, Sweet, MF, ZZ, Zoo, Ash, GC, etc...
    Well there you go...

    It is what it is but if you have opportunity, help keep your local shops able to pay bills and such...

    or there won't be any.....
     
  17. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

    Messages:
    4,109
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    `
    All the local music shops around me are chain stores, so I have no loyalty towards them...


    `
     
    drp146, Roll Tide and edro like this.
  18. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

    Messages:
    4,109
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    `
    Right?

    That's why I was so surprised. In fact I was originally going to use a set of Seymour Duncan pickups I have laying around and save a few bucks but decided to get all the parts to basically make a complete factory original guitar instead. With some of the money I saved I bought a separate Gibson pickguard and loaded the PUs on it to swap back and forth...

    IMG_8582.jpg
    `
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
    BuddyHollywood likes this.
  19. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    8,940
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Location:
    Running with Scissors
    That is a Gibson thing. They always show msrp and unlike Fender who’s msrp matches the map Gibson is way higher. Look at their site and you’ll see LP standard fir msrp near $4K yet they sell everywhere for $2,499. Fender shows msrp of AO 60’s as $1,999 and stores sell for $1,999. Gibson and Martin are pretty much the only ones who still price like this.

    Just FYI too I have never paid even the map price either. I was looking at a LP special today at lunch at GC. Tag says $1,599 just like their site and Sweetwater. My sales guy tells me he’ll knock 10% off that. Told him I’d think about it and on my way home I call my guy at Sweetwater and he says he can knock 15% off if I want one. You just gotta ask. I could have gotten my Sweetwater guy to sell me that SG for $1,275 but of course it would not have the case.
     
    Bob the builder and AxemanVR like this.
  20. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

    Messages:
    4,109
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    `
    Well, going by your math:

    Without the hardshell case I basically paid only $1138.07 for a brand new Gibson SG Standard. Add the gigbag ($110 from the Stratosphere w/ tax & shipping) and I would have still only paid $1248.07 for the same basic retail package - almost a 17% savings (15% off of $1499 = $1274.15).

    So, either way, I still feel pretty good about my purchase...



    `
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021