I've noticed that both Fender and Gibson have been steadily raising their prices for the last 2 years. I didn't follow them before that time, so I can't really say.
In 2006, you could buy a brand new SG
Standard for $1099 and a brand new American Standard Telecaster
In 2007, the SG
went up to $1249 and in 2008 it went up again to $1499. I think it's now at $1599!!
In 2007 and 2008 the Tele pretty much stayed around the $950-1000 price point, so this big jump on Fenders is quite a bit different than the previous $50-75 annual increases.
I've also noticed that the Rickenbacker 360 has gone from about $1200 to $1850 recently as well.
In Econ 101, they teach you about "elasticity of demand", which is the idea that every product has elasticity
. The demand for highly elastic
products/services will vary greatly based on the price. The demand for inelastic
products/services will not vary much at all based on changes to the price.
Corona Beer is a good example. They have been testing the elasticity of the demand for their product over the last 18 months. Have you noticed how a 12pk of Corona used to be 10.99, then 11.99, then 12.99, etc. Now it's $15.99!!! At what point will people stop buying it and switch to something else? Those greedy f***ks at Gambrinus obviously think their product's demand is highly inelastic.
Same deal at Fender and Gibson. How far can they push the price of a Les Paul
before people stop buying? They think that their demographic is the aging baby boomer and that as many/most are now empty nesters, they will have the disposable income to indulge their lifelong dream...