Inexpensive guitars from the 60s. Current prices.

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by WhatDoIKnow, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. WhatDoIKnow

    WhatDoIKnow Tele-Meister

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    This was originally going to be titled, "Talk me out of an inexpensive 60s guitar", because in my opinion inexpensive guitars now are built better than inexpensive guitars 50 years ago. Or 40, or 30.

    Anyway, my 50th birthday is coming up in June and I thought it would be fun to have a guitar from the late 60s. Gibson and Fender guitars from that era are a little more than I would like to spend at this time. I have considered a couple of SGs, but most in my price range are a little more modified from an original than what I would like. Tough to have it both ways.

    Any suggestions from that era that might be decent players? Not opposed to fun, interesting or odd-ball suggestions. I'm thinking in the <$700 range for what might be more of a wall hanger anyway.
     
  2. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Should be able to get a 60s Harmony Rocket or Harmony Meteor for that kind of money. $700-$1000 on Ebay. Great wall hanger, looks just like a nice guitar. The good ones are barely playable and sound pretty good with a good amp. Back in the day, that was a $50.00 guitar, not desirable.

    I recognize that this is your buy, not mine. But I can't imagine blowing $700 on something like that, I never would. You could get something really nice
     
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  3. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    Hagstroms are generally great guitars. The Univox Hi Flyers are cool MIJ guitars, as are Grecos.
     
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  4. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Meister

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    Some Guild Starfires can still be had for attractive prices. They’re great guitars.
     
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  5. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not '60s, but '70s - I'd get a Japanese-made Matsumoku. Aria Pro, Ibanez lawsuit, etc. Friend of mine bought this beauty a couple of years ago. Well made, and they're shooting up in value.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was lent a 61 SG "Les Paul Jr." in a band from our keyboard player when I was 19 or so. Wow! What a guitar. One P-90 that could do ssooooo much.
     
  7. gitold

    gitold Friend of Leo's

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    B1425BA1-5EE8-43BD-91F7-2D47C63195B3.jpeg I turned 65 last month and I wanted a birthday guitar so I know what you mean. I found this beautiful 1954 Epi for $850. If I was you I’d be looking for a 60s Supro or a Dan Armstrong from that era. They would be in your price range and most of them are playable. The 60s Japanese guitar weren’t playable in the 60s.
     
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  8. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Now that is cool.
     
  9. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

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    Guild, Hagstrom... yep, there were maybe considered "2nd tier" guitars because Gibson and Fender were the big names. good guitars though, along with Epiphone. add Aria guitars to the list as an (almost) second tier. they were considered a step down because they were from Japan (remember the times), but the truth is they were pretty dang good. then there is the slug of Sears/Wards level guitars sold under the names of Silvertone and Airline... they were made by various firms in the US and Japan. some are pretty good, but mostly they cost more now than they are worth as a player. there were other good ones made by Matsumoku under various names, but are starting to be collected. truth is there are a ton of newer, great guitars for less. I would only buy one outta that group for nostalgia. and I ain't that nostalgic anymore

    edit... Dan Armstrong, Supro. go check prices...

    add to that list Mosrite and Danelectro.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  10. Festus_Hagen

    Festus_Hagen Tele-Holic

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    Does it have to be a solid body, or maybe an acoustic?
     
  11. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    My little secret: look for Venturas. They made pretty good copies of most all popular guitars during that period.
    They used to be cheaper than dirt but they're starting to be noticed somewhat.
     
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  12. Straydogger

    Straydogger Tele-Holic

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    I had one of these Kapa Continental in the late 60's. Crap then and I'm sure they still are. But it

    was my first guitar and I wish I still had it. :) Kapa Continental.JPG
     
  13. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Harmony rockets. Double or triple pickups. They came with gold alfoil DeArmonds and others. I made a pickguard for one. Shortscsle, resllr nice for $$$$
     
  14. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    I think that it's really stupid that Kay , Harmony, Teisco, and other Thrifty Drug quality guitars now cost as much as good new Mexican made Fenders. Some of us Baby Boomers have WAY too much disposable income, which seems to be inversely proportional to their intelligence when spending that income.
    I've always kind of wanted a Kalamazoo KG2 (Gibson's Mustang wannabe), but I doubt if it's really worth the current asking price, when I could buy a nice new Squier Mustang for less.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  15. DonM

    DonM Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Hagstrom. Wow, there's a name I haven't heard in a long time.
     
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  16. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Danelectro/Silvertone.
    Cool, sound great. What more could you want?
     
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  17. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Meister

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    Harmony Rockets - and the Silvertones based on them - are great guitars. Nothing to apologize for and nothing to avoid. I've done quite a few tours with them. They're called "Wretsches" for obvious reasons (same scale length, similar to Gretsches, but cheap) but with the Dearmonds and bolt-on necks they sound a lot different.
    My number one for years was a 1446, the black one with Gibson-made mini-humbuckers (pole pieces like a WRHB; only ever on this one guitar with the craziest surrounds ever) and a Bigsby. Brazilian rosewood fretboard and bridge. A great guitar.
     
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  18. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    My avatar guitar was made in the mid to late 60's in Japan(Encore) for a British company that exported to America.
    Most of these guitars were made of cheap materials and the action was terrible. Lots of them had great pickups though.
    Mine took a lot of work to get the play ability right, the right pickups and electronics. Probably wouldn't have bothered if it weren't for the sentimental reasons of keeping it.
     
  19. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    With most of this budget stuff, the prices on Reverb and Ebay BINs are eye wateringly high but they made an absolute ton of these guitars and if you do a little research then take your time you can buy them for much more reasonable prices from sellers that want a quick sale. Lots of this stuff ends up with businesses that do house clearances and the more experienced ones know full well that selling a Danelectro or Harmony for $2k plus isn't quick or easy. I have a bunch of these guitars and about $500 is probably the average I pay.

    The main thing to be aware of with a lot of these guitars is they weren't very playable when they were new - sometimes the issues were fairly minor and what would nowadays be considered routine set up / repair work will get them posing really nicely, but sometimes the issues are beyond simple fixes. If you don't want a wall hanger, you either need to pick it up at a cheap enough price to easily flip it if you hate it or you need to get out and play them.

    Danelectros are exceptional guitars consisting the limitations of mid 20c budget manufacture. They're made from some of the cheapest materials that ever went into a guitar (brazilian rosewood fingerboards aside!) but a lot of thought went into making them easy for a beginner to learn on, so they usually play extremely well. I see the odd one with too much neck relief but one of mine came like that and a little heat press fixed it.

    Yamaha SA-5s, 30s and 50s are incredible guitars and they have to be one of the best kept secrets of the off-brand vintage world. They're very Gretsch-like but with 335 style high fret access and the build quality is over that of mid level 60s Gretsch (no binding rot to worry about for starters) and aside from tiny vintage frets they have very modern feeling necks.

    The Valco made guitars (Supro, National, some Airline) are generally very playable and often pop up at reasonable prices. I rapt regret not grabbing a lovely Supro double cut for $600 last time I was in the US, that was a great little guitar.

    Don't forget the big brands either - player grade Gibson Melody Makers, Epiphone Olympics and Fender Mustang/Duo Sonic/Musicmasters can still be found for three figure amounts, or if you prefer archtops the Gibson ES120t and its Epi equivalent the Granada is a great guitar for reasonably cheap. If you're looking at budget 60s stuff but worryng about playability, ny of these should play as well as the desirable models of the era (allowing for scale length limitations with the Fender stuff), although the big name on the headstock makes sellers get a bit starry eyed so finding bargains is harder work than it is with Harmony, Danelectro, Silvertone etc.

    Here are my cheapies - the semis are an Electra Pro, Yamaha SA50, Framus Fret Jet, Harmony H79 and Hofner Verithin and the solids are 1419 and 6027 Danelectros, Gibson Melody Maker and Fender Duo and MM

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  20. Stefanovich

    Stefanovich Tele-Holic

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    Does it have to be a guitar? I think you could get a cool amp from that era for less than $1000. My 1967 Ampeg Reverbojet was $380 (CAD).
     
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