Guitar store owner agreed w/me regarding falling vintage prices (that's one...)

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Mike Eskimo, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    Back when computer memory chips were VERY expensive. I held onto my collection hoarding until the price already sky high went up just a LITTLE BIT MORE! I waited too long, the memory changed, my stuff was a candidate for the scrap heap, if I had just have had sense enough to have unloaded it before it became worthless, I could have bought a pretty nice guitar with the money. My greed, and changing technology allowed me to shoot my own self in the buttocks without even having to take aim!
    drlucky likes this.
  2. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    In a world with this much hubbub, virtual reality, instant gratification, easy digital formats, backing tracks, guitars are old skool and fuddy Duddy right?

    Nup. There's more kids than ever noodling.

    The vintage guitar market has always been driven by rich old (mostly white) dudes. Guess what? There's more of them than ever.

    There's never going to be any more 50's, 60's, 70's real Fenders. If you want a bargain vintage Fender buy a BF, SF Twin, Super, Pro Reverb amp. Lack of places to use them dropped price on them more than ten years ago, but it seems to have bottomed out. They're still a DIY servicable classic immortal amp with freely available parts for anyone willing to learn.

    Guys buy cheap guitars: News at Nine - they always did. Where do we think all the Silvertones, cheap import amps, gorillas etc came from? They've always been with us. Many of them are landfill.

    In the new gig economy, bands with good sound and the newer, lighter, cheaper sound systems (we've got 1000watts FOH I can carry in myself at once) are making a big comeback to live venues around us. Who are the biggest patrons? 20-somethings. Poker machines are out, due to licence fees for venues. Going to a bar with real music for free that has cheap beer and shots is affordable. Yes, there's room for DJs and electronica too.

    Amps including "classic' tube and modellers have never been more freely/cheaply available. Does that make expensive amps redundant? Nup.

    Our lead singer is a millennial and she engages directly with the audience. They groove to noughties punk, new songs, Fleetwood Mac, rock classics, punk, r'n'b new and old. Good music, played by practiced people with enthusiasm, is appreciated. Canned music doesn't have the spontaneity.

    All the time we're talking to kids about our guitars, amps, drums, how to start bands, get gigs.

    And while America is in decline like most Western nations with declining birthdates and aging population, the swell of youth in second and third world countries is astonishing. Who are their heroes?

    Some of them are American guitar gods, like Delta Blues guys were for Brit teens.

    I've been on this site 20 years and then guys were predicting a crash because 'guitar bands are dead'. Guess what? BF amps like PRs have just gone up and up - $1000+ for a BF VibroChamp. Things like the 84 Super Champ I just bought have gone from $200 amps to $800+.

    In the meantime 70's Teles and Strats have climbed inexorably into the mid 1000's, that once were considered duds.

    There's more live tours than ever because downloads have killed CDs and artists need to perform to make dough. That makes the artist more accessible, and inspires more to do the same.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
    frank4001, scottser and Snfoilhat like this.
  3. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2009
    Wow you are all such a bunch of negative nellies. Rocks dead, Only old nearly dead guys buy vintage guitars. I'm surprised anyone posts a NGD thread at all on TDPRI.

    Meanwhile in the real world, the vintage dealers seem to be doing fine. Norm was at NAMM talking about his 220,000 Youtube subscribers his 270,000 instagram followers and how social media is changing his business model. Bonamassa has 340K followers and all he does is post vintage guitars.

    Fender keeps filling my instagram with new bands that have gigs and play guitar. If you look at the top 200 tours in the USA last year you will see it's dominated at the top by guitar based bands. Indie radio is filled with guitar oriented music.

    as for the value of vintage guitars sure the value is down from the peak in 2008, what isn't on the collectable market but if you look at overall prices they haven't dropped that far. Most guitars are still double what they were back in 2004.

    New guitar sales exceed sales of any other instrument or dj equipment by a large multiple.
    Larmo63, 0 2339 and FenderGyrl like this.
  4. Modernelove

    Modernelove TDPRI Member

    Sep 27, 2016
    New Jersey
    I think that guitars will always be popular. I think certain stuff will always be worth a lot, like the fiesta red strat the OP mentioned or a burst. I think a problem is a lot of vintage guitars aren't really rare enough to fetch the prices they ask for. A 60s or 50s sunburst strat is pretty easy to find where I am, I've even seen a few at Guitar Center. I don't think they are rare enough to really deserve the tens of thousands of dollars they go for but that may just be me.
  5. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    But here's the kicker: no-one needs a 60s Strat. You can buy a $200 Chinese Fender that is entirely adequate for 80% of the needs of anyone buying it - even a pro. A Camry is an entirely adequate vehicle for 90% of the population.

    NGD, or NAD, NOAD is about rewarding ourselves. Like new Mercedes, Cadillac, Mustang day. $xx,000 is a ridiculous price for two hunks of hand carved non-exotic woods screwed together by semi-skilled Mexicans in a big tin shed that originally cost $150 including case. Of course it's ' not worth it'.

    But who of us, if we got a lottery win or unexpected bequest, wouldn't go perusing vintage dealers (or maybe looked at PRS Private, Gibson Historic, Fender CS)? It's got nothing to do with commonsense.
  6. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    This has been the consensus, from what I can tell, on TDPRI for a few decades.

    And, you fellas are still wrong as you're just completely forgoing the demand side of the equation plus you're not taking in the major increase in diversity among the younger generation...they sell Zeppelin/Floyd T-Shirts in the teen section at Target, think about that for a minute.

    All it takes is a small group of enthusiasts to scoop up all the "golden era" instruments they desire as the numbers of those instruments pale in comparison to yearly production totals in the past 3 decades. Never underestimate the collector mentality and never doubt the extreme purchasing power of a few percent of the population which continues to grow every year!!!

    That's not even bringing the thousands & thousands of them which are already in museum collections and out of circulation.

    Sure, the pool of interested buyers might be smaller...but they'll also have more dough than ever.

    The vintage market for the most part has gone the way of the economy as it is a luxury market thus it's no surprise it had a tank with the last major crash, that wasn't the fault of "interested buyers."
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
    Rustbucket likes this.
  7. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

    Dec 24, 2016
    Boulder, WY
    I predict that piccolo will be the next big thing. Piccolo heroes will emerge and have groupies and wild piccolo parties. There will be high dollar modelers to recreate vintage and famous piccolo tones. Forums will erupt over piccolo tonewoods. Everyone will want cool piccolo player clothes and haircuts. Best to start your vintage piccolo collection now.
    oyobass, Ben-Zion, chris m. and 3 others like this.
  8. Telecasterless

    Telecasterless Friend of Leo's

    Jan 29, 2011
    los angeles
    Doesn't it seem like the world should be awash in guitars?

    I mean there were X number of guitars (seemingly a lot) in the 1980s right? And old guitars (except maybe a few) don't get junked like cars do, right? And Gibson and Fender have been rolling out new guitars for decades now (as well as a bunch of other companies), and although the population is increasing, due to lack of "guitar heroes" it seems fewer youngsters are playing guitar, so it just seems that the supply should be so much greater than the demand. That's my back of the hand economics.

    Maybe what you guys are saying is that is what is suppressing the price of vintage equipment, that VE is basically going unnoticed and everyone (or young people anyways) are buying up all the new stuff and just tossing the 10+ year old equipment aside. Maybe it's become total mass consumerism.

    Interesting thought there. And for the GCs of the world, they really have to perpetuate that to survive, and to also sell a zhit ton of other gear that people are into now just to survive.

    I'm having deja vu now - I think I wrote this on a thread six months ago
  9. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 23, 2004
    The wild west of Ireland
    I can see all the sides of this topic and dont know what to think, ie, where it's all going.
    The traditional market for vintage gear with personal memory of the eras involved is inevitably going to shrink.
    Guitar magazines in 2018 offering to help us play like Hendrix and Blackmore is rather like someone in the 1970s still considering Al Jolson as being hip and relevant.
    Vintage guitars might just become 'old' again.

    But as mentioned, there are lots of kids getting into classic rock bands again. Obviously they aren't all as vacuous as we oldies tend to think, and many of them seem to realise that much of the music they are being fed is shallow corporate-controlled crap. Our old stuff from the 60s and 70s is 'good music' had to be good with the old technology...and in general still had an aspect of rebellion and individuality.

    This might keep the electric guitar market going....but it might not save Gibson and the 'high end' market.

    We'll see...
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
    Ben-Zion and Flakey like this.
  10. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

    Jan 20, 2014
    Kids like technology.

    Here's a modelling amp that has 15 amp models, 50 effects, weighs 10lbs, has an AUX in, you can plug in your headphones, will work forever, and it costs $99.

    Or here's this vintage tube amp that has 1 sound, weighs 35lbs, will require pricey maintenance, and costs $1600.

    In a way this is a good thing. Kids are so familiar and comfortable with technology that they can hear things with (fairly) unfiltered ears. They can hear that the latest modelling amps actually do sound fantastic, and that a Squier actually does sound & play very well. Plus, anything vintage (or even stock Fender/Gibson amps/guitars) is simply out of the question financially.
    Telemarx, Flakey and Mike Eskimo like this.
  11. HolyTele Tube

    HolyTele Tube TDPRI Member

    Jan 5, 2018
    Prosperity, Sc
    I’m one of the in between generation I think two factors are in play.

    First ever since antiques road show, EBay, Reverb, etc. prices have gone through the roof. It’s natural that they come back down some now that that we seem to have hit saturation.

    Second kids don’t want to play their parents guitars. I have been playing acoustic guitar longer and I do wonder if when my generation retires they will be much more excited about a Taylor 614 than a pre war Martin. Same goes for electrics. I love the guitars I play but the golden ages of fender ended before I was born.
  12. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005
    Montclair, NJ
    IMO, it comes down to demographics. The baby boomer generation created, disrupted, changed every market, every age phase they passed through. Now, for whatever they wish to sell, there are fewer buyers (relatively) than sellers. Behind the numbers game is a certain buyer psychology, a belief system.

    Add several successive recessions to the impact of demographics ... you get a market where buyers of used musical instruments expect any sale price to go down. No matter how reasonable it is to start, if I wait or bargain, it'll go down. That kind of thing. So the dominant motivation for many/most buyers seems to be price rather than utility. Similar to how job scarcity affected the job market over the last 15 years or so. Hiring managers got so used to saying no, to having the luxury of endless applicants, they actually forgot how to say yes. Lost the urgency to get things done.

    That's how selling anything feels right now. Vintage or otherwise. It's all uphill.
    Rustbucket and Mike Eskimo like this.
  13. BobbyJames

    BobbyJames Tele-Meister

    Sep 13, 2017
    As someone who would fall into the "younger clientele" I both agree and disagree with you.

    I agree because I know that strats and teles, particularly the higher end stuff, doesn't sell well compared to bright coloured and overly pointy stuff - BUT, I also know a lot of older guys who've never been interested in "higher end" gear

    I disagree because I also happen to know a lot of fairly serious younger gear heads with some serious budding guitar collections. I myself have saved enough to own a decent Martin acoustic and Strat, and, as a huge Springsteen fan, I'm picking up my first (VINTAGE STYLE) tele from the shop next week. There's an iPhone app called Vampr where you set up a profile and can meet all sorts of musicians for jams and stuff, which is where I've met a fair few - plus the instagram guitar community has both young 'guitar heroes' and audiences. I commonly read on guitar forums that the kids aren't interested in gear anymore, but I think its just that they're not interested in forums, which is a shame. Other forms of social media have definitely taken the kids from really cool communities like this.

    I agree that we need another guitar hero, most of the younger gear-heads I know are similar to me in that they have a parent's music collection to thank for their music taste.
    william tele likes this.
  14. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    Plundertown (Gasville) OR
    I have observed one reliable rule of guitar economy: everything I want to buy is going to cost a lot, and nothing I try to sell is worth anything.
  15. Gmountain

    Gmountain Tele-Holic

    Jun 7, 2015
    Why would anyone want to buy a vintage guitar, really? The new ones look the same. The new ones sound great. So why spend thousands of dollars on a guitar that isn't really a whole lot different than a new one? Makes no sense, unless there is some kind of provenance to a famous person, or you just have unlimited money to burn.
  16. Crashbelt

    Crashbelt Tele-Meister

    Mar 15, 2017
    Cambridge England
    Vintage guitars are very questionable as investments.

    I've played many vintage and modern guitars and have ended up pretty convinced that my refin 53 Tele and 55 LPJ are by some distance the greatest guitars for the blues/rock gigs we play. I accept that's pretty subjective!

    I have other vintage and modern guitars that don't get played much that I'm now thinking of maybe moving on.
    Paul Jenkin likes this.
  17. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    Apr 14, 2011
    The Land of 10,000 Lakes
    The one caveat to your theory; I'm assuming you're pattering it on when the Japaneses were buying a lot of American vintage guitars in the late 1980-mid 1990s. This rapidly escalated prices on vintage instruments. The Japaneses new and affluent middle class became very obsessed with American middle class culture of the 1950-60s. The "new" electric guitar was part of that along with rock n' roll, cars. etc. The Chinese will need to also go in that direction for your theory to be true. Will that happen? I don't know but my guess is probably not. Cultural Chinese/American relations are somewhat new and haven't formed in the same manner that Japaneses/American relations had. If China is buying anything its their cultural treasures that had left their country over the last 2 centuries.
    Mike Eskimo likes this.
  18. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

    Aug 17, 2017
    Essex, UK
    I agree. I can think of a lot better things to "invest" in but, for those who haven't played guitar much and want to experience what a vintage guitar feels and sounds like, it's worth getting one - so long as you can afford it. I'm not talking the multi-thousand £ Gibsons and Fenders, etc. but there are a few relative bargains to be had.

    I've got a 64 Gretsch Corvette and I've enjoyed using it. That said, I prefer playing my more modern guitars and there may come a day when I move the Gretsch on to someone else who might want to see how they did it, way back when...
  19. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2008
    For anyone older/boomer-ish, think about why you wanted what you wanted gear-wise. At least 75% of the lust was because of a song or artist that you heard or liked - or you liked how they sounded.

    Kids aren't hearing and seeing music made by any of those vintage guitars/amps.

    And for the small amount who revere (really revere) Beatles/Stones/blues/whatever - the amount of them who can afford any of it is far, far tinier.

    College student loans ? Rents ? Inability to buy houses ? That stuff takes precedence over a 1970 Princeton Reverb.

    And, add to that the shift of millenials into "side-hustles" (not keeping one job your whole career, instead doing a bunch of stuff to make ends meet and for the experience) And yeah - "the experience(s)" ! Kids want to travel way more than older generations. The Net made everything seemingly possible. And once you're there - you can post that you're there !

    And you can't buy $2,800 plane tickets when you're buying vintage gear.

    Gear - yes. Newer, inexpensive gear ? Sure . The same gear as the old dude listening to Super Session for the 800th time ? Nope.

    Yeah - the kids might even want to buy relic or vintage re-issue stuff because it's cool but not because it's tied to anyone they like. But if they saw the real vintage guitar the reissue is based on hanging next to it at market price ? They'd just laugh. Why would anyone..?

    At the end of the day, it's all about numbers/demographics as posted above.

    There aren't enough youngsters that want to buy what the oldsters have - at the prices the oldsters want for them.

    It's a big V, with the boomer guitar rock enthusiasts at the top and the young laptop crew at the tiny end of the funnel...
    Chicago Matt and Flakey like this.
  20. Marc Muller

    Marc Muller Tele-Holic

    Oct 10, 2006
    The electric guitar was invented by Rickenbacker on his Hawaiian Lap steel in 1931. At the time trumpet players were the rock stars. 40's still polite electrified jazz guitars where sax players got all the chicks. Les Paul and Leo introduce the solid bodied electric in the 50's. Along with RnR, music made faster louder, tech advances all fueled by the atomic bomb driven baby boomers, electric guitar burst onto the scene, redefining popular music and American culture itself. Fast forward to the early 90's. Shaking the world more than an atomic explosion itself - boom! - the internet.

    Now kids make music on computers and give it away free on the internet. I teach a Rock and Roll and American History class at a university and am astounded how little today's college kids know about guitar music, or for that matter, world events. Most don't watch TV, period.

    I have a wonderful collection of guitars, amps, gear. Really only planned that my wife would sell after I'm gone. Life took a twist and I find myself badly injured after a mountain bike ride, after 10 years of competitive cycling. Heartbroken to not only be looking to list these beautiful pieces but also to see how little they're actually worth!

    I just played my 68 thinline with Roger McQuinn the other day. Memories, thoughts and feelings of when I got the guitar and listened the his music when it came out. I think I'll hold onto that one for a while.......
    Wish me luck.
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