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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. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    ^^^ Nice!
    Three Brazilian RW slabs, mmm.
    I love those and the curved board later necks with no skunk stripe.
     

  2. teleman2016

    teleman2016 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    56
    25
    May 14, 2016
    Schenectady, New York
    In the late 80s I taught in a guitar store that had lots of vintage stuff coming in and I spent a quite a bit of my earnings on it. Japanese businessmen frequented the store and bought for investment and store owner complained about it. That mindset of collecting along with ease of ebay/internet searching to rationalize top $ result in hoarding. Prices will fluctuate but I don't foresee any significant corrections.
     

  3. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    Nashville
    There's no shortage of wealthy Americans who also have collections of 100+ items that we already know about let alone the guys who keep it to themselves (which is the majority I'd suspect). The Japanese investors are likely out of luck though, haha, when they let items go they ask well over the selling price of anything comparable as it is so if they are moving items it's not back to the states.

    Interest declining and perhaps the passing of older collectors might make a temporary price correction but I don't see anything significant happening contrary to what I used to believe. The more I look at the it the more I realize it's merely a matter of concentration of wealth on the dealer/buyer end. The only difference between a collector and a hoarder is cleanliness. If in 10 years 1/3rd of the amount of rich folks were interested in golden era instruments/amplifiers you'd simply see their collections triple in size.

    Golden Era stuff already doesn't move that fast unless it's a killer deal or a holy grail item because everyone's waiting on richy rich to walk in and not care about the price tag.
     
    Redd Volkaert likes this.

  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Really, at this stage of the game, 50 years on, who cares about vintage guitars, except rich investment seeking hoarders?
    "Vintage" guitars have been sought after since the late sixties.
    I personally find the religious reverence afforded to classic "iconic" guitars kinda sickening.
    They are just well crafted chunks of lumber with the odd metal bit thrown in.
    New guitars are better.
    They are built smarter, are more dependable as tools, and are cheaper than ever before.
    You can buy excellent copies of the originals for a fraction of the current cost of a "vintage" piece.
    Being a nearly 60 year old coot, I have lived to see the 70s drek made by the major manufactures (Big G & F) afforded "vintage" status.
    They were sub standard then, they are sub standard now, but with a hefty price tag.
    Bah, phooey, and humbug.
    There, I feel better.
    Hand me my cudgel, glasses, and hearing aids, and get off my lawn!
     

  5. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 3, 2015
    Philadelphia
    As the OP, I just wanted to pop back in for a moment. Personally I don't have the means not the inclination to buy a vintage guitar. I'm a bedroom player who gets maybe an hours playing time in a week- and I'm just a beginner. I find my squier partscaster Tele to do the job. I don't subscribe to the vintage=better point of view either. It might be cool to have a vintage guitar, but I won't go looking for it when new guitars are as nice as they are for fraction of the cost. The closest I may ever get to "vintage" is my dad's 1989 CS Strat, but god willing he's going to be playing that for another 20 years or more.



    I just wanted to get a better idea about the landscape of vintage guitar collecting. Because as someone has said- despite what some may say or think, these guitars are not rare. They are/were mass produced in the thousands, Continually for decades. We're not talking hand made by a single person where only a few dozen are made in a year. And I was just a little confused by the extremely high prices. But in the end it's like so many other things- collectors, hoaders, speculators, call them what you will. I collect many different things and I see the same sorts of behavior all over. But I collect for enjoyment. Collecting for investment though, is foolish. Nothing will be truly "collectable" because everyone collects everything in the hopes of a big return down the line.

    Buy property if you want an investment that will give you a return in the future.


    I also tend to think that with each progressive generation you're going to get less and less people that are interested in 50+ year old instruments, given that the alternatives are so much less expensive and of equal if not better quality. Not to mention shifting tastes in popular music and how it's created. I'm going to live to see the Telecaster turn 100 years old, and I don't think it's going to have much of an impact on popular culture when it happens unfortunately.
     
    savofenno likes this.

  6. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    In our Humble hamlet there is a a store that sells Peavey eq, and because there is a large chain store that does the Gibson , Fender and associated products, Peavey is all thats left.
    Any ways on the cieling of the Peavey store , they have mounted a bunch , maybe 60 guitars and amps that are old like hagstroms, supros , they Have an early 70 Ricky 4001, a 60's Fender Mustang, and a few interesting units like that but none are for sale, and the same for the amps , old Fenders , Beltones , Pepcos, etc none for sale they have a 70's gibson 1275 double neck some one swapped out the bridge pickups with gold covers , the guitar is chrome. If they did sell any of this it would cost your left testi and your first born a total waste, period.


    I've done better at the local pawn shops, I got a 96 american Strat for 250.00 CDN it needed work but it was worth it.
     

  7. Masterbuilt

    Masterbuilt Tele-Holic

    626
    Oct 28, 2004
    London,UK
    Joe Bonamassa and John5 bought them all! But seriously there are loads of guys about the globe with huge huge collections, plenty of them are dealers like Dave and Norms Guitars. Some stuff never sees the light of day. I know of guys with absolutely mint 50's Teles that sadly are so pristine they are locked away. Seriously.
    I remember being at US guitar shows in the mid 90's and seeing booths with no guitars formsale but merely rented to store the guitars purchased on the day. These were Japanese guys probably deales and collecors and they were buying serious amounts of vintage guitars. Most of these will be locked away in Tokyo vaults and haning on CEO walls by now.
    I still notice today that the Japanese are buying up old John Page era Masterbuilt Fenders too, so much US stuff has headed east. No wonder the good stuff is hard to come by these days.
     
    savofenno likes this.

  8. old guitar player

    old guitar player Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 7, 2007
    the basement
    I have never really understood the "mystique" surrounding vintage electric bolt-on necked guitars. I am more interested in vintage acoustics or hollow body archtops since I love the sound of an old vintage Gibson or Martin or any old acoustic guitar.

    Electric solid body guitars with bolt on necks are just tools of the trade for me. I have played many old strats and teles and to be honest I'd rather have a newer one. I think that was also the mindset of most guitarists back in the day and probably why so many "partscasters" were built or modified with extra pickups or switching. People like to experiment.

    Even the most famous strat of all time (Clapton's Blackie) was a $100 partscaster that he assembled from using parts from other old strats.
     

  9. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 3, 2015
    Philadelphia
    So I keep hearing about the Japanese collectors buying lots of vintage gear... I wonder how much was lost in the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
     
    Habou likes this.

  10. OhMyMy

    OhMyMy TDPRI Member

    14
    Jul 28, 2015
    Maine
    I'll never get the prices vintage stuff goes for. To me old guitars are just old. I can't justify the aging of the electronics and wood for the prices they go for.
    Someone at the Fender custom shop could do a vintage reissue with the same body wood in the same shape, the same shape neck in the same wood with the same fret wire, cloth cover wire and pickups would to vintage spec. Yet there is some collector laughing his ass off because he thinks his vintage guitar with the exact same parts is just better. The wood is aged and so are the electronics in the old guitar. Other than that what is different? The old wire is better? The pickups? The old slab of ash or alder better?

    I also play drums as my main instrument. The vintage drum market is NOTHING like the vintage guitar market. A vintage 50's drum kit by big name company like Ludwig or Gretsch will sell for nice price, but not that much more or even equal to a high end or boutique new kit! Lots of old kits get parted out and guy use the parts to restore other old kits. Re-cutting a bearing edge will decrease the value a bit but some players do have them re cut anyways if the edge is wrecked and they want to play the drum. I would. They don't see the value in hoarding an unplayable instrument because they know it is worth more to some if they can use it. We still think of them as working instruments, not collector pieces. Guys will have beautiful rare drums restored rather than keep they in their current beat up condition. The beat up condition might go for more, but nt that much more and the owner would rather have it look amazing. It's worth more to him restored than beat up even if the collectors value goes down. The wood is old, and the drums sounds amazing.

    But what makes people think a vintage guitar of the same wood and metal much more valuable? Is it all hype and speculation to prey on the wealthy to buy stuff and hoard it? Its an instrument! Play the dang thing!
     

  11. bloomz

    bloomz Tele-Holic


  12. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

    643
    Feb 10, 2010
    Low Lands
    Don't forget that the vintage-is-better thing took off in the 1970s when a 1960 strat was just a little over 10 years old and was indeed way better than the new guitars produced then. Almost every self respecting professional strat playing guitarist was using a pre-CBS instrument in 1980. You would have to be crazy to prefer the current production guitars back then. Up to 1990 the reputation of the vintage instrument continued to grow but it was still mainly a musician oriented market with the occasional collector only interested in pristine instruments. A good but player condition pre-CBS Strat could still be had for about the same money as a new high end models. Teles and other Fender models were even cheaper. It all turned ugly when investors started to get involved. Prices went up from twice what a new high end model cost to a factor of 10 and beyond during 1995 to 2005. In 2016 pre-CBS Fenders are still out of reach for the enthusiast with only an average income (let alone average musician).
     
    savofenno likes this.

  13. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    If you think you have found one contact Terry O'Riley of
    Twancentral...
    He is a world known authority on blackguards and Gretches
    and his whole store is full of vintage guitars. Formerly known
    as TerryOz on this website. ( No commercial affiliations).
    His opinion and knowledge are also highly regarded in the US.
     

  14. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 27, 2011
    Parts Unknown

  15. ripgtr

    ripgtr Tele-Holic

    664
    Oct 12, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I have a '60 strat. I got it cheap in '76 (well, $1000 in today's money).
    Tons of gigs, thousands of hours on it.
    It is worth a lot more now. If I could find something better now, I could see selling it and pocketing the difference. So far, that has not happened.

    I have played a couple CS '60 reissues that were really close, I would be happy playing them
    My partsocaster, which is kind of the parts of probably a couple dozen partsocatets I have built since I 'retired' the old one from road work, is pretty close.
    But there is something about the old one I just have not found in new ones.

    I have tried some masterbuilt stuff. didn't like it at all.
    The off the shelf AM stnd - ugh, I am not impressed at all.
    I played a K-line tele that blew me away, so I tried one of their strats (through a Sky King) and it did nothing for me.

    Why, I don't know. It isn't nostalga. A guitar is a tool. If it is a great tool, I like it. If not, I sell it.

    I will say I played a 330 reissue recently. Now, I did not have my '60 330 with me to compare the sound/pickups. But just playing it, I was blown away how good it was. Felt and played like the real thing, or really close.
    I don't think it is magic, or anything. but so far, I have not found anything to make me sell the old one. Heck, I still gig it and even in bars sometimes, cause it really is better to me than the other ones I have.

    I am not going by internet lore or I heard from someone, or I played one at a music store. Just my experience with a guitar that I probably have 1000 gigs on. It is still the winner for me, when I reach for a strat.
     
    Redd Volkaert likes this.

  16. Kingpin

    Kingpin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Here
    Collectability has little to do with function and everything to do with scarcity. Does a Ming vase hold water better than something you can buy at the Pottery Barn?

    The fact is, almost everyone on this board would love to own a vintage Tele if the price was right. The lower the price, the greater the demand. Unfortunately, the supply side of vintage guitars available to the market is relatively inelastic, and ultimately, finite. That scarcity will always support the price of vintage instruments... and collectors count on that. That demand under the surface adds a safety net to their investment.

    As the guitar-lovin' Baby Boomers recede from the market, that reduction in demand will end the rapid price increases in the vintage market. We're already seeing that today. But prices will not fall catastrophically, as some folks predict. There are too few pre-CBS guitars out there for that to happen. The world's population and disposable income will continue to grow over time, which will in turn support the price of almost all collectables.
     
    savofenno and Redd Volkaert like this.

  17. Grabsplatter

    Grabsplatter Tele-Holic

    819
    Dec 7, 2015
    Burgas, Bulgaria
    I wonder how many guitars have been lost due to the owner dying, and those left behind simply not knowing that the old, battered looking bit of firewood was a highly desirable '52...

    We all know exactly what we've got. But when the inevitable happens, do our families know what's what? I'm the only guitarist in my family, and only one or two of them know my battered old guitar is actually a CS Rory Gallagher.

    *I MUST document what guitars I've got, so there is something to refer to when I'm not around to tell/be asked*
     
    Matt G likes this.

  18. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 3, 2015
    Philadelphia
    Do you have a will? And yes, you should write down exactly what you have and it's value, in case something should happen unexpectedly. I have a small toy collection of plastic monster toys from Japan- maybe two dozen or so small 4" figures... To people that don't know what they are you might give them to a child or sell them for a few dollars... But to the right person it's a collection worth between $3000-$4000. Fortunately my wife is aware if something should happen to me.
     

  19. schmintan

    schmintan Tele-Meister

    105
    Apr 22, 2009
    Ireland
    Malmsteen bought a ton of them, scalloped the necks and stores them in a large unorganized pile in his studio.
    Joking aside this makes me feel sick.

     

  20. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    42
    Mar 1, 2010
    Kent, OH
    Now that I want a Jay Turser Shark Guitar, I can't find one. Who's hoarding them!?
     

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