Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

How rare are vintage guitars? Or: Vintage guitars, where did they all go?

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by hellopike, May 20, 2016.

  1. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Many of those with substantial numbers of vintage guitars bought them as either trading stock that would appreciate or rationalized them as collectibles that would appreciate long-term. Now many of those instruments can't be sold at a breakeven price. They will stay off the market until prices recover or circumstances force liquidation.
    black_doug and Jerry_Mountains like this.

  2. ripgtr

    ripgtr Tele-Holic

    Oct 12, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I have some old stuff that would certainly be considered vintage now. A couple would be very sought after.
    One I have had for 40 years, the other, a few years more.
    Unless some unforeseen tragedy happens, I do not plan on selling them as long as I can play them.
    I know other people who have vintage stuff, cause they got it decades ago.

    I worked part time in a place that did used music stuff, in the 90s. Yea, a lot of high end stuff old stuff went overseas. Don't know if any of it will ever come back.

  3. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    Well, they weren't always vintage; for a while there they were just a buncha old guits. Sometimes this happened:
    telemnemonics likes this.

  4. RedWhiteBlues

    RedWhiteBlues Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Jul 6, 2014
    Yikes! That hurts my eyes!

  5. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    That neck is certainly not vintage, so that must be ebay vintage and rare.
    savofenno likes this.

  6. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2008

    Don't worry - in the next 5-15 years every single one that still exists will be for sale. It's already started - with asking prices as high as they'll ever be.

    Meaning : in 3 years you might see some grail Tele you've always lusted after suddenly hit the market at a price you can afford. And 2 years after that, another one just like it will be half of the price you paid.

    How low will they go ? Ask the millenials or Gen Y'ers if they're interested in any of it...
    Rock-Ola, savofenno and hellopike like this.

  7. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

    Feb 10, 2010
    Low Lands
    There may be 3 to 4 thousand Blackguard Telecasters still in existence of which the majority are probably player grade instruments. There is still a lot more younger people that both play the guitar and have a high income. Although it will certainly be lower than what we seen past 30 years I am not that worried that demand will cease coming 20 years.
    Last edited: May 23, 2016

  8. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Sep 25, 2008
    Berwyn, IL
    The actual number made, or existing today is not the whole story. The desirability has to be factored in. There were roughly 5500 Telecasters, Broadcasters, and Nocasters made by 1954 which is not a small number, but compared to the number of people seeking them the number is quite small. There are guitars from this era available on any given day, but because they are desirable by a much larger number of people than can ever be satisfied, the cost is exorbitant prohibiting many from ever acquiring one.

    As a hypothetical example, on the other hand, there may be a Kay guitar or other lesser known brand that was made in small numbers (far fewer than 5500) because they just didn't sell at the time. There would be some people out there who would be interested in collecting them because they like the oddities, but the number of collectors would be small therefore the cost of the instrument would be far less than another guitar made in greater numbers.

  9. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 3, 2015
    Would you say the number of people actively seeking (not just people who would like to own one) a 1950 through 1954 telecaster exceeds 5000? I don't know much about guitar collecting, but it seems like an overestimation to me. Is the vintage guitar collecting world that big?

  10. Pliny Junior

    Pliny Junior TDPRI Member

    Mar 5, 2010
    Shreveport, LA
    Mike Eskimo has been around the block a few times, and always writes with an air of earned experience, so he may be tuned in - but then again, who really knows about the direction of vintage guitar pricing over the next 5-15 years? I believe there are some vintage guitars that will see values continue to rise. Further, I wouldn't disregard "millennials", or any such labeled group, from enjoying and buying vintage guitars, even at "high" prices.

    With regard to early blackguard Tele's, certainly these guitars are not impossible to find. They're around, especially if originality and condition are not an issue. But few have survived in verifiable original condition - even fewer have survived in verifiable pristine original condition.

  11. PixMix

    PixMix Tele-Holic

    Aug 30, 2008
    Today you have at least twice as many vintage guitars from the golden decades ('50s and '60s) than the total number of guitars produced in the '50s and '60s. Go figure...
    savofenno likes this.

  12. Tele wacker

    Tele wacker Tele-Holic

    Jun 15, 2009
    Wichita is nice.
    "Vintage Guitars: Where did they all go?"

    Go to some of the larger guitar shows and you will see where most of them are. They belong to the big dealers and most are unlikely to ever be played the remainder of their lives.
    I remember in the mid 70's we used to go to pawn shops and you could buy a 60's Tele or Strat for $200-250. Blackface amps were everywhere for $200 or so. Then the Japanese dealers swept across the US and bought up every Tele they could find. Then it was the Strats and then the LP's. Other great guitars and amps later. I went to a Dallas guitar show in the mid 90's and the Japanese dealers had one of the largest booths at the show but no guitars and no amps. Just tables. As people came to load in, they were buying every Fender tweed amp that came in the door. I was there for dealer day but I am not a dealer. I brought in a van load of vintage amps to sell to a guy in Dallas. Before I parked and came back into the bldg. he had sold all of the Fender tweed amps that I had sold him. What I'm saying is that most of the vintage guitars and equipment are in the hands of dealers and your average guitar picker can't come close to affording them.

  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Since the vintage guitar production era ended, the number of people with houses and beds to stash guitars under has increased exponentially.

    I would say there are certainly more than 5000 people on the planet who would like to own a blackguard.
    Maybe even that many just on the TDPRI...

    In the '90s I was a small time antique dealer in NYC specializing in photography, and there was a popular concept among antique dealers that all the good stuff was owned by old guys who were going to die in the next decade, flooding the market and bringing prices down.
    But AFAIK there is a new batch of old guys wrapping it up every year, so it's not like all the anythings are owned by the same age collectors.

    Talk is cheap and blackguards are not.
    The value of valuables goes up and down all the time, and speculators keep speculating.
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
    Matt G, richa and Redd Volkaert like this.

  14. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    My attitude towards vintage gear is that it's best to not even know too much about it. :D I'm never going to be wealthy enough to feel okay about spending that kinda cash (even if I did get to the point where it would be at least feasible), and so, even if playing a '50s blackguard is some kind of transcendent experience, man, I don't wanna know. It would just haunt me.

    Like Alexander Pope sez:

    When ignorance is bliss,
    'Tis folly to be wise.
    mojosman and PacificChris like this.

  15. cabra velha

    cabra velha Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Jan 21, 2016
    estados unidos
    There is a difference between rarity and desirability, 1000 of anything isn't really rare at least not in . . .say Stradivarius terms. Yet unlike truly rare Stradivari many of your most expensive Fender collectables don't get played that often which seems a little kooky to me.

    Personally (where is my beating-a-dead-horse gif?) I can't be bothered with the entire "vintage" Fender thing, I reject the notion that older electrics are better in any respect, I'm softer on this when it comes to acoustic steel string but I still don't think I'm interested in shifting money into playable vintage Martins or whatever as an investment. New guitars today are astoundingly good, now is the golden age of guitar luthiery.
    savofenno, hellopike and RyCo1983 like this.

  16. Redd Volkaert

    Redd Volkaert Tele-Holic

    Mar 23, 2003
    Cedar Creek, Texas

    Well said!!
    telemnemonics likes this.

  17. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    Young people honestly in general could care less about 50's strats and teles versus 70's strats and teles. It comes down to cost and playability. They'll buy a brand new American deluxe before they buy a vintage strat. Many will buy a reissue amp because they like the idea of new items. We are a generation raised on new items. Once the guys that are now in their 50's and 60's stop buying the guitars they've always wanted, the market will drop. Once tubes and components for tube amps get harder and harder to find, due to environmental regulations and such, vintage amps will go from players pieces to museum pieces and relics that are even harder to keep going.


    Note: as a young person who works on amps and appreciates older gear, I'm an exception. I just sadly don't find as many people that care in all honestly.

  18. cabra velha

    cabra velha Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Jan 21, 2016
    estados unidos
    This is what we all thought back in the 80s, I don't think its going to happen. For one thing 50s/60s guitars have reached a mythical level as status objects, and as for amps if anything there is more demand for tubes today than ever, not just for instrument amps but from the Audiophile tubesters. I think it is true that youngsters (hah I've never typed that word before now) would prefer to buy new and really the selection and quality of overseas source gear has never been better.

  19. Tele wacker

    Tele wacker Tele-Holic

    Jun 15, 2009
    Wichita is nice.
    There are lots of really nice, new guitars out there. Some good, new amps but I still prefer the older ones.

  20. ripgtr

    ripgtr Tele-Holic

    Oct 12, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Just a note.

    I did a sit in with a friend a while back, in a club here.
    The main guy was playing a '60 strat. My buddy was playing a '60 P-bass. So I brought my '60 strat.
    All were "player grade" to say the least, all had a lot of miles on them.
    I have had the strat 45 years, the bass player has had the P for 50 and the other guy, I know he has had it at Least 25 years.

    I think there are a lot of these that are in the hands of people who have owned and played them a while and that means they are off the market. I expect mine to be off the market as long as I can still play it, and nothing tragic happens that forces me to sell it.
    63telemaster likes this.

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