Seen on Ebay K-O-T pfffttttt

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Post by clubsprint »

I did a search after looking at those Ebay ads that appear at the top of posts. King Of Tone pedals for $360.00 to $435.00 for what is essentially two modified Marshal Bluesbreakers in one box. What sort of morons buy these? Is there more than one born every minute?
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Post by Greenmachine »

Well, when I look in the mirror every morning, I must admit the first word that comes to mind isn't "moron"; nevertheless, I'll offer up my experience as a sort of psychoanalysis of the "boutique" pedal fever that hits so many people.

Never been a "boutique" buyer before. Fanciest pedal I ever bought was a Fulltone OCD a couple years back. When I signed up four years ago to the KOT waitlist, I was a "noob" here. Still consider myself to be "noob-ish" in most respects, but I digress ...

Two years later and perhaps 10 builds or so under my belt, I get an email:

"Your at the top of the list! You can buy a KOT!"

I bit. I saw an opportunity that had been a long time coming and in a short time possibly gone.

When it arrived my response was: "hmmm ... it's a good overdrive, but certainly not worth $300-$400 [especially now that I can roll my own]"

It's still on my pedal board and gets frequent use, but it's mostly significant because it's my one brush with 'boutique' pedals - which of course I now realize is a pretty silly reason to buy a pedal.

I don't regret buying it, I'd do it again. Looking at it next to all my homemade stuff (and the fact that it's singularly 'boutique' in my array) makes me laugh.

:D
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Post by Barcode »

clubsprint wrote:I did a search after looking at those Ebay ads that appear at the top of posts. King Of Tone pedals for $360.00 to $435.00 for what is essentially two modified Marshal Bluesbreakers in one box. What sort of morons buy these? Is there more than one born every minute?
I'm not gong to defend excessive price tags, but if I hear one more "it's just x circuit tweaked" arguments against price, I'm going to vomit. WHAT the circuit is is about the last thing that influences price. There are SO many other factors, most of which don't even have to do with the pedal itself.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. There is so much more to retail pricing (in any industry) than labor + parts...

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Post by atreidesheir »

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
I sell jewelry on the side and my wife sells handbags.
I can buy really nice gold plated ladies' cz cocktail rings for $6 each wholesale. The suggested retail is $20. I sell for $10-12.
And I am mentioning a near zero labor endeavor. I have perspective on pricing and narrow market forces.

There is more to it than parts and labor for sure. Startup cost and effort, risk-taking, and so forth.
But I would NEVER defend the pricing of the KOT. That is like saying you cannot call Paris Hilton a worthless ho, because... why?

There is nothing wrong with saying the pricing is too high to those of us that know what is involved in these endeavors. I went to your website link in your signature. The mods and services of PJ pedals are priced fairly. I would say they are extremely fair and in line with services offered. Actually a real bargain.

What exactly are you saying AnalogMIke is offering that warrants the ultra premium pricing?

Love the look of the Throwback Fuzz btw. NIce!
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Post by Barcode »

Thanks for the kind words!

No, I think I'm not being clear. I think the KOT is overpriced for sure. I'm just saying that it isn't because it's 'just' a modified BB. DAM pedals bring big bucks, and they are 'just' cloned fuzzes. I dont disagree with the argument, just the conclusions it is based on. I'd explain further, but I hate posting from my phone :)

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Post by clubsprint »

I guess the "boutique" market isn't for me and I find asking $400 odd for a pedal that contains some one else's intellectual property just insulting. I guess it must appeal to the same sort of person who must buy "name" brands regardless, but that's not me. There is a saying "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining" that comes to mind here. It's the sort of buying decision that has made Apple so huge. Of course not all can or want to build their own stomp boxes but $400 plus for an Analogman or Cornish pedal (C'mon). As Darryl Kerrigan says "Tell him he's dreaming"

Waring-Anti Apple rant:
We have an Ipod in my house (bought cheap from some-one upgrading and it still doesn't work (besides my wife giving up our credit card number)) versus my open Architecture noname media player that cost about 1/10 the price.
The funny thing I've found is Apple also must be experimenting with biological warfare. it seems that when you buy an iProduct you are infected with the iDisease.
This turns normally sane and sensible people into crazy people who feel that they have to defend their purchase decision no matter what. I mean how can you explain the success of the iPad web browser? Most of the iProducts don't even have USB slots. Brand junkies, phew.

Want to buy some snake oil?
Xenu will prevail.

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Post by tyronethebig »

For that kind of scratch you could buy all the materials (iron, pcb, etchant, laser printer, etc.) and the time it takes to get one you could learn how to do it.
Mike S.

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Post by Barcode »

tyronethebig wrote:For that kind of scratch you could buy all the materials (iron, pcb, etchant, laser printer, etc.) and the time it takes to get one you could learn how to do it.
Although not everyone wants to do all that. I know it's hard for people like us to understand, but for some people it's worth that scratch to get a nice sounding pedal. Not me, but to some people :P

But there isn't anything wrong with it. The market bears it, there is plenty of info around now. If they still think it's worth that much, more power to them.

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Post by clubsprint »

tyronethebig wrote:For that kind of scratch you could buy all the materials (iron, pcb, etchant, laser printer, etc.) and the time it takes to get one you could learn how to do it.
You could build 3 or 4 projects, buy something for the kids and still take the wife out for a nice meal (always a good idea) :lol: :applause:
Xenu will prevail.

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Post by mictester »

I was recently considering how I price my builds. Bearing in mind that I don't do it "commercially", and that it's just done to pay for holidays for me and my wife, I calculate it like this:

Cost of case: this is a (more or less) fixed price, because I almost always use the same type of box, drilled on the same drilling jigs. The paint is "Plastikote", the lettering is "Letraset" and the varnish is a spray matt finish for car bodies (lasts forever!).

Cost of mechanical bits: sockets (I usually use Switchcraft), knobs, rubber matting (under the pedal - stops it slipping), internal mounting pillars, switches and pots. Again, this is a fixed price because everything is common to each build (except for pot values, of course). Some gear has balanced XLR connectors, by the way.

PCB: I don't usually use commercial PCBs in my gear, and I only use Veroboard for prototypes and builds for my own use. "Professional" stuff always goes on PCBs. Incidentally, "tagstrip" has NO Mojo value whatsoever! I sometimes etch my own PCBs, or if I'm doing a "run" I'll get them made by a nearby PCB manufacturer.

Components: I don't waste time and money on "Mojo" components. I'll say it again (and I've put on my asbestos pants) - capacitors of equal values used at well under their working voltage rating ALL sound the same irrespective of materials. Also a modern 2N3904 will sound EXACTLY the same as a 1970 BC108. I avoid germanium transistors - they're expensive and have tolerances that are too wide for sensible design. I do use germanium (or Schottky) diodes where I need a soft conduction curve or low forward voltage drop. I use standard 5% metal-film resistors everywhere and avoid unusual values (I stick to "E12" values).

Construction time: This is usually surprisingly quick - loading components on to a PCB could be done by a monkey! Any AOT (adjust on test) components are stood off the board during testing, and when finalised are fitted close to the board like everything else. Off-board wiring is kept to a minimum, but doesn't take long to do if you plan it first. Final testing doesn't take too long, and I seldom find that I want to change anything after the AOT stage.

Adding it all together - I just built a six-op-amp overdrive-type effect, with four controls, a toggle switch and my usual momentary footswitch, with jack in and outputs, Piher pots (conductive plastic ones - they don't crackle), and the board waterproofed for a working musician who plays in the tropics (cruise ships), rechargeable battery, and a separate universal supply charger. The materials (including the pre-built charger) came to ~£30. The board was one I had in stock. Construction, adjustment and testing took three hours. Out-of-the-door price £150 including a lifetime of warranty support, because it'll last the guy for the rest of his working life! That charges my time at about £40 per hour - in my professional life I get £350 per hour, so it's a bargain!

The guys charging £400 - 500 for a two-transistor "mojo"-filled, usually poorly built Fuzz are just charging what the clueless on TGP will pay. My builds are seldom clones of anything else - I have too many musically useful ideas of my own for that! I was recently told (by a very well-known "Kinky" guitarist who lives in Muswell Hill) that I should charge the "going rate" for my pedals. I explained my costing philosophy to him, and he agreed that more people doing "home-builds" should charge that way - he still likes the fact that the three pedals he picked up lately cost him less than £500 altogether!

Finally - I do it for fun, not profit. I'm flying over to the 'States later today for three weeks, funded by some pedal builds. It's a good way of saying "thanks" to my wife for putting up with the noise and mess of me building things!
"Why is it humming?" "Because it doesn't know the words!"

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Post by grrrunge »

mictester wrote:I was recently considering how I price my builds. Bearing in mind that I don't do it "commercially", and that it's just done to pay for holidays for me and my wife, I calculate it like this:

Cost of case: this is a (more or less) fixed price, because I almost always use the same type of box, drilled on the same drilling jigs. The paint is "Plastikote", the lettering is "Letraset" and the varnish is a spray matt finish for car bodies (lasts forever!).

Cost of mechanical bits: sockets (I usually use Switchcraft), knobs, rubber matting (under the pedal - stops it slipping), internal mounting pillars, switches and pots. Again, this is a fixed price because everything is common to each build (except for pot values, of course). Some gear has balanced XLR connectors, by the way.

PCB: I don't usually use commercial PCBs in my gear, and I only use Veroboard for prototypes and builds for my own use. "Professional" stuff always goes on PCBs. Incidentally, "tagstrip" has NO Mojo value whatsoever! I sometimes etch my own PCBs, or if I'm doing a "run" I'll get them made by a nearby PCB manufacturer.

Components: I don't waste time and money on "Mojo" components. I'll say it again (and I've put on my asbestos pants) - capacitors of equal values used at well under their working voltage rating ALL sound the same irrespective of materials. Also a modern 2N3904 will sound EXACTLY the same as a 1970 BC108. I avoid germanium transistors - they're expensive and have tolerances that are too wide for sensible design. I do use germanium (or Schottky) diodes where I need a soft conduction curve or low forward voltage drop. I use standard 5% metal-film resistors everywhere and avoid unusual values (I stick to "E12" values).

Construction time: This is usually surprisingly quick - loading components on to a PCB could be done by a monkey! Any AOT (adjust on test) components are stood off the board during testing, and when finalised are fitted close to the board like everything else. Off-board wiring is kept to a minimum, but doesn't take long to do if you plan it first. Final testing doesn't take too long, and I seldom find that I want to change anything after the AOT stage.

Adding it all together - I just built a six-op-amp overdrive-type effect, with four controls, a toggle switch and my usual momentary footswitch, with jack in and outputs, Piher pots (conductive plastic ones - they don't crackle), and the board waterproofed for a working musician who plays in the tropics (cruise ships), rechargeable battery, and a separate universal supply charger. The materials (including the pre-built charger) came to ~£30. The board was one I had in stock. Construction, adjustment and testing took three hours. Out-of-the-door price £150 including a lifetime of warranty support, because it'll last the guy for the rest of his working life! That charges my time at about £40 per hour - in my professional life I get £350 per hour, so it's a bargain!

The guys charging £400 - 500 for a two-transistor "mojo"-filled, usually poorly built Fuzz are just charging what the clueless on TGP will pay. My builds are seldom clones of anything else - I have too many musically useful ideas of my own for that! I was recently told (by a very well-known "Kinky" guitarist who lives in Muswell Hill) that I should charge the "going rate" for my pedals. I explained my costing philosophy to him, and he agreed that more people doing "home-builds" should charge that way - he still likes the fact that the three pedals he picked up lately cost him less than £500 altogether!

Finally - I do it for fun, not profit. I'm flying over to the 'States later today for three weeks, funded by some pedal builds. It's a good way of saying "thanks" to my wife for putting up with the noise and mess of me building things!
Insightful and well balanced explanation! Everytime i read something you write, i like you even more :D I wish more people would be as down to earth with their diy hobby/obsession as you seem to be...
A true believer in the magic of Sherwood Forest Pedal Pirates
---
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Post by atreidesheir »

mictester wrote:I was recently considering how I price my builds. Bearing in mind that I don't do it "commercially", and that it's just done to pay for holidays for me and my wife, I calculate it like this:

Cost of case: this is a (more or less) fixed price, because I almost always use the same type of box, drilled on the same drilling jigs. The paint is "Plastikote", the lettering is "Letraset" and the varnish is a spray matt finish for car bodies (lasts forever!).

Cost of mechanical bits: sockets (I usually use Switchcraft), knobs, rubber matting (under the pedal - stops it slipping), internal mounting pillars, switches and pots. Again, this is a fixed price because everything is common to each build (except for pot values, of course). Some gear has balanced XLR connectors, by the way.

PCB: I don't usually use commercial PCBs in my gear, and I only use Veroboard for prototypes and builds for my own use. "Professional" stuff always goes on PCBs. Incidentally, "tagstrip" has NO Mojo value whatsoever! I sometimes etch my own PCBs, or if I'm doing a "run" I'll get them made by a nearby PCB manufacturer.

Components: I don't waste time and money on "Mojo" components. I'll say it again (and I've put on my asbestos pants) - capacitors of equal values used at well under their working voltage rating ALL sound the same irrespective of materials. Also a modern 2N3904 will sound EXACTLY the same as a 1970 BC108. I avoid germanium transistors - they're expensive and have tolerances that are too wide for sensible design. I do use germanium (or Schottky) diodes where I need a soft conduction curve or low forward voltage drop. I use standard 5% metal-film resistors everywhere and avoid unusual values (I stick to "E12" values).

Construction time: This is usually surprisingly quick - loading components on to a PCB could be done by a monkey! Any AOT (adjust on test) components are stood off the board during testing, and when finalised are fitted close to the board like everything else. Off-board wiring is kept to a minimum, but doesn't take long to do if you plan it first. Final testing doesn't take too long, and I seldom find that I want to change anything after the AOT stage.

Adding it all together - I just built a six-op-amp overdrive-type effect, with four controls, a toggle switch and my usual momentary footswitch, with jack in and outputs, Piher pots (conductive plastic ones - they don't crackle), and the board waterproofed for a working musician who plays in the tropics (cruise ships), rechargeable battery, and a separate universal supply charger. The materials (including the pre-built charger) came to ~£30. The board was one I had in stock. Construction, adjustment and testing took three hours. Out-of-the-door price £150 including a lifetime of warranty support, because it'll last the guy for the rest of his working life! That charges my time at about £40 per hour - in my professional life I get £350 per hour, so it's a bargain!

The guys charging £400 - 500 for a two-transistor "mojo"-filled, usually poorly built Fuzz are just charging what the clueless on TGP will pay. My builds are seldom clones of anything else - I have too many musically useful ideas of my own for that! I was recently told (by a very well-known "Kinky" guitarist who lives in Muswell Hill) that I should charge the "going rate" for my pedals. I explained my costing philosophy to him, and he agreed that more people doing "home-builds" should charge that way - he still likes the fact that the three pedals he picked up lately cost him less than £500 altogether!

Finally - I do it for fun, not profit. I'm flying over to the 'States later today for three weeks, funded by some pedal builds. It's a good way of saying "thanks" to my wife for putting up with the noise and mess of me building things!
I disagree about ceramic disc capacitors, but I can prove nothing. Everything else parallels my own limited experience and philosophy. I appreciate the time spent to type that out. A lot of useful perspective in that practical post.
Thank you, mictester.

one question,
when you mount components on pcb or vero, do you solder as you mount or do you use some kind of adhesion or tape to secure them and solder them all at the same time?
"Contemplate it - on the tree of woe." :Thulsa Doom

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Post by Barcode »

mictester wrote:I was recently considering how I price my builds. Bearing in mind that I don't do it "commercially", and that it's just done to pay for holidays for me and my wife, I calculate it like this:

Cost of case: this is a (more or less) fixed price, because I almost always use the same type of box, drilled on the same drilling jigs. The paint is "Plastikote", the lettering is "Letraset" and the varnish is a spray matt finish for car bodies (lasts forever!).

Cost of mechanical bits: sockets (I usually use Switchcraft), knobs, rubber matting (under the pedal - stops it slipping), internal mounting pillars, switches and pots. Again, this is a fixed price because everything is common to each build (except for pot values, of course). Some gear has balanced XLR connectors, by the way.

PCB: I don't usually use commercial PCBs in my gear, and I only use Veroboard for prototypes and builds for my own use. "Professional" stuff always goes on PCBs. Incidentally, "tagstrip" has NO Mojo value whatsoever! I sometimes etch my own PCBs, or if I'm doing a "run" I'll get them made by a nearby PCB manufacturer.

Components: I don't waste time and money on "Mojo" components. I'll say it again (and I've put on my asbestos pants) - capacitors of equal values used at well under their working voltage rating ALL sound the same irrespective of materials. Also a modern 2N3904 will sound EXACTLY the same as a 1970 BC108. I avoid germanium transistors - they're expensive and have tolerances that are too wide for sensible design. I do use germanium (or Schottky) diodes where I need a soft conduction curve or low forward voltage drop. I use standard 5% metal-film resistors everywhere and avoid unusual values (I stick to "E12" values).

Construction time: This is usually surprisingly quick - loading components on to a PCB could be done by a monkey! Any AOT (adjust on test) components are stood off the board during testing, and when finalised are fitted close to the board like everything else. Off-board wiring is kept to a minimum, but doesn't take long to do if you plan it first. Final testing doesn't take too long, and I seldom find that I want to change anything after the AOT stage.

Adding it all together - I just built a six-op-amp overdrive-type effect, with four controls, a toggle switch and my usual momentary footswitch, with jack in and outputs, Piher pots (conductive plastic ones - they don't crackle), and the board waterproofed for a working musician who plays in the tropics (cruise ships), rechargeable battery, and a separate universal supply charger. The materials (including the pre-built charger) came to ~£30. The board was one I had in stock. Construction, adjustment and testing took three hours. Out-of-the-door price £150 including a lifetime of warranty support, because it'll last the guy for the rest of his working life! That charges my time at about £40 per hour - in my professional life I get £350 per hour, so it's a bargain!

The guys charging £400 - 500 for a two-transistor "mojo"-filled, usually poorly built Fuzz are just charging what the clueless on TGP will pay. My builds are seldom clones of anything else - I have too many musically useful ideas of my own for that! I was recently told (by a very well-known "Kinky" guitarist who lives in Muswell Hill) that I should charge the "going rate" for my pedals. I explained my costing philosophy to him, and he agreed that more people doing "home-builds" should charge that way - he still likes the fact that the three pedals he picked up lately cost him less than £500 altogether!

Finally - I do it for fun, not profit. I'm flying over to the 'States later today for three weeks, funded by some pedal builds. It's a good way of saying "thanks" to my wife for putting up with the noise and mess of me building things!
certainly a fair assessment.... when doing it for fun and not profit. Standard retail markup is going to be 2 to 3 times your total cost. This total cost would include not only your parts and labor, but marketing, utility expense, insurance, trade shows, R&D (not just new circuit R&D, but sourcing parts from cheaper/better vendors, etc.), internet service, computers, workspace rent or mortgage, tools, tool upkeep, consumables (boxes, solder, wire, etc.) and
myriad other business expenses which have to be factored into the cost of every item you sell. It's easy to point fingers on price when you aren't doing it as a business, because you don't have to worry about the business expenses.

Again, that's not to say that I agree with his pricing for that particular pedal, but I AM saying that $300 isn't always out of line as a pedal cost. $400 does seem a crazy amount overpriced, I'll admit.

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Post by Tonetweaker »

I certainly like mic's rationale for what he charges. Makes a lot of sense, especially if there's a "love of the game" aspect to what he designs and builds. At the same time, I can't fault a boutique builderr for charging a premium for their gear, either.

Is a KoT really worth $400? Well, it depends on who you ask. Certainly not to me, or to many of the experienced builders here... but it obviously is to somebody. From my understanding of the situation (including the info Greenmachine posted above), Mike has a line of guitarists stretching around the block waiting for years on end just to dump their cash to get their hands on one. As DIY'ers, we happen to know what makes it tick... and we have a fairly good idea of how to replicate the sound, so to us, it may seem foolish to spend that much on a pedal we can reproduce for far less... and will probably enjoy building ourselves (hopefully). For us, half the fun is the discovery, experimentation and build... not to mention the satisfaction of knowing that we figured it all out ourselves, and didn't have to pay that premium price just to have someone hand it to us.

However, to someone whose only interest is in plugging in and jamming away, it may very well be worth every penny... if it provides the sound they want. Plus, I think the fact that they have to wait... and wait... and wait... and then spend a car payment's worth of cash on it only adds to the mystique of the magic little box.

So, if you are Mr. KoT and running a for-profit business (regardless of expenses and overhead)... why not get a premium price for a product that people are willing to pay (and wait) for? We may say he just tweaked an existing design, he obviously did it well enough to impress the vast majority of people who buy them. He built a solid reputation and is now reaping the benefits of it. There are many "bootweakers" that get openly mocked here, and often end up being exposed to the general community (including the "no-tech" guitarists) for poor build quality, simple cloned circuitry and drastic overpricing. The more ridiculous the pricing in those situations, the more likely it is that they are quickly exposed.

The KoT, however, seems to retain it's price point in resale, even after all these years, which tells me that whatever he's putting into those little golden boxes, he's doing a fair job of it. Demand is still high, and he hasn't had to reduce the price to keep people interested, so why should he?

Same goes for guys like Cornish. When admired guitarists (like Mr. Gilmour) keep a pedal on their board for decades, it's bound to attract notoriety and build the creator's reputation. The relative rarity and expense only add to that in some musicians' eyes. As we often find out later, it may not turn out to be some revolutionary design... but whatever it is, people are paying big money for it. If it sounded like shit or was a simple clone, it would quickly drop off the radar, only to be replaced by the next "flavor of the month." Hell, the Cornish stuff even seems to hold some mystique here in the DIY community, right? He's even had some of us buying them, just to figure out what the hell it's doing. That's a pretty smart cookie in my book. Like it or not. :P

So, at the end of the day, why do we consistently blame even the decent boutique builders for cashing the checks? :lol:

Apologies for the long-winded post. I just found the points in this thread particularly interesting.


Cheers...
Steve
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Post by tyronethebig »

That's why I build too mictester! I build to take the little lady out and to build another for myself, keeps things fun for me. And I guess for some guys (apparently a lot of em), dropping 400 isn't a problem. I used to kinda look down on the guys who charged that much for a ugly, swirley, TS but if someone wants to give it to em, great. Id never buy certian cars, but I realized I didn't care when they drove by. After listening to a few dudes go on and on about the kot and morning glory, I kinda hoped they'd go buy them both...then they would have the ultimate rythems *dripping with sarcasm*
Mike S.

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Seiche
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Post by Seiche »

two questions to think about

1. mictester do you pay taxes on what you sell or is that just "a favour for a friend"

2. 400 bucks is certainly enough to build a couple of KOTs and get all the materials etc. but will that hold value in resale? no. And that's what most normal musicians are concerned about. "can i sell this to buy dope?" :blackeye

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Barcode
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Post by Barcode »

Seiche wrote:two questions to think about
2. 400 bucks is certainly enough to build a couple of KOTs and get all the materials etc. but will that hold value in resale? no. And that's what most normal musicians are concerned about. "can i sell this to buy dope?" :blackeye
sad but true :lol:

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atreidesheir
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Post by atreidesheir »

Wow, that is too often true. But I think most buy KOT for bragging rights to their peers and sometimes they convince themselves it is an investment they can make some scratch from the thebay.
I used to buy comics. I claimed to everyone it was an investment. I have never sold a comic book in my life.
"Contemplate it - on the tree of woe." :Thulsa Doom

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Post by Barcode »

atreidesheir wrote:Wow, that is too often true. But I think most buy KOT for bragging rights to their peers and sometimes they convince themselves it is an investment they can make some scratch from the thebay.
I used to buy comics. I claimed to everyone it was an investment. I have never sold a comic book in my life.
:lol: You too? :D

I think that's definitely part of it. There are also those who will swear it is something different letting their eyes fool their ears. But, in the end, I know I play better when I feel like I'm playing on better gear, so maybe there is a psychological factor.

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clubsprint
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Post by clubsprint »

I think Ill release two tubescreamers in a box,call it the iTone and charge about $899 for it. :lol: :lol:
Xenu will prevail.

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