I’ve noticed over the past 6 months that wholesale prices on the items I carry have been creeping skyward at a fast pace. In fact, in the 10 years I’ve been doing this, I don’t think I’ve ever seen price increases this steep. For example, my cost on an Oak Grigsby 3-way switch increased 45% from Sept 2019 to March 2020. I’m seeing this with many of the items I carry, from switches to tuners to capacitors. I buy from 4 different distributers and they are all experiencing the same price increases with the manufacturers (which, of course, gets passed on to the retailers like me). The best explanation I’ve gotten has to do with where the items are made and where the raw materials come from.
For something like an Oak Grigsby switch, which is supposed to be made in the US, some of the raw materials may be sourced from outside the US. Tariffs on overseas imports have increased over the past year so that could be a factor if any part or raw material comes from overseas. Gotoh parts, which are made in Japan, have also experienced an increase and may source some of their raw materials elsewhere in Asia (as far as I know, there’s been no increase in tariffs on goods imported from Japan). Regardless, wholesale costs on some items are going up and that means my retail costs will continue to be adjusted the same. So if you see a jump in price on an item, don’t think I’m trying to pay for a new Custom Shop Les Paul.