Reviving the "Why vintage guitars are not worth the money" discussion

Mjark

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Not for show, but because of lack of quality in modern many tools. Musicians are craftsmen as well.
Maybe so, But reasonably priced guitars today are better quality than they ever were.

I have friend that has a 64 Strat that’s spooky good sounding but I don’t think year it was built has much to do with its tone. They just got some great wood that month/week/day. The same thing could happen today.

He also has a 63 which is fine but not the same as the 64.
 

Tele-friend

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While it would be wrong of me to follow your investment advice based on one account of a perfectly anonymous poster who’s age you do not know, I’ll say again, one way to find out.
Ask your own kids.
I am not making an investment advice for anybody (if it sounded like that, don't listen to me 😜) I don't own any guitar just because of the potencial increase of value, I play all of them, no closet queens. Even my '74 avatar photo Tele Deluxe.
I am a millenial, my kids are not even in primary school so there ain't no reason to ask them about vintage guitars.
I just wanted to stress out that some young folk, me included, still like vintage instruments 😀🎸
 
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Boreas

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Maybe so, But reasonably priced guitars today are better quality than they ever were.

I have friend that has a 64 Strat that’s spooky good sounding but I don’t think year it was built has much to do with its tone. They just got some great wood that month/week/day. The same thing could happen today.

He also has a 63 which is fine but not the same as the 64.
I agree.

Frankly, IMO, CHEAP guitars are made better than they ever were. On this site, I tend to hear quite a few complaints about reasonably priced big name guitars. And yes, not all vintage guitars a great guitars. Generalizations should not be made with any category of guitar.

But many craftsman prefer the better (virgin) steel and wood in old hand tools to the new ones of recycled steel and tree-farm wide-grain wood. They seem to take and hold an edge better. Plus, they can often be found and purchased by the dozen at auctions.
 

Telekarster

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Heck.... would I like to have a 50's Fender or Gibson, or a Dumble ODS or SSS? You betcha! Am I gonna fork over the bread to own em? Ha! Heck no. Even if I had the $ I wouldn't do it. I'll rock my partscasters and dumble clones, oh... and my klon clones, and be content. I can find a heck of a lot better things to do with 100K I can promise you that :)
 

StephenDeBoard

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As with everything I believe a vintage guitar should be assessed on a case by case basis. I've played some amazing guitars that happened to be vintage 1950s or 1960s and I've also played some modern guitars that are amazing. Even with mass produced guitars, every instrument is its own thing.

For me, I have two reissue guitars that I've gotten to compare to their vintage originals and in both cases I preferred playing my reissues. The first is a 2011 Gretsch DSV Duo Jet that is a reissue of a 1955. I have modded this guitar more than any other and more than I ever intended to but I've made it my own. My friend has an original 1955 Duo Jet and the necks on both are almost identical. They feel very close except that mine feels tighter, has more clarity and is overall more fun for me to play. The other is a 50th Anniversary Epiphone Casino also from 2011. I found a vintage 1961 Casino at Guitar Center Hollywood and again, the neck was almost identical but I liked the tighter feel and clarity of the reissue over the original.
 
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jays0n

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I have two 80s Fenders (I know it was already pointed out 80s guitars are not gonna be worth notin). I bought them because they are just like two guitars I had in the 80s that I stupidly sold (for nothin) and missed. I like ‘em, and will keep ‘em, but it took a lot of work to make them play good/reliably and feel good.

So I can see folks buyin a vintage guitar because they miss a similar one, and then I guess any price might seem okay to them. I got my two old ones pretty cheap but as I said, I paid in elbow grease.

When I recently saved enough spare cash to buy myself something nice, I chose a new PRS so I knew it would feel and play great right away and I would not need to work on it.
 

regularslinky

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I refuse to believe that old guitars have some magic juju that makes them sound better than comparable quality new guitars. For instance, Rick Kelly makes great T-style guitars out of very old wood, by hand, in his little shop in NYC. There is no reason to believe that a Tele made by Fender in 1951 is necessarily an objectively "better" instrument than a guitar made by Rick Kelly in 2021 - other than the fact that the Tele costs WAY more $.

The 1951 Tele might be "worth the money" to a buyer for its collectibility, nostalgia, cool factor, or investment value, but it's not "worth the money" because it sounds better.

I admittedly have no experience with 1951 Teles, but I do have a 1962 Harmony VibraJet and a 1978 Gibson "The Paul." The Harmony is a mediocre guitar now, just as it was the day it was built. The Gibson is a fine guitar now, just as it was the day it was built. Both got more valuable, but not better, with age.
 

Toto'sDad

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You already know what I spend my windfall on, two new cars and a major home renovation. I don't think I'll lose interest in cars or guitars but I don't expect my ability to get the most from them will last forever.

I know I'm not going out playing a guitar, but I had always hoped if I can't just go to sleep one night, and stay that way, that I'd conk out right after I hit a really good shot on the golf course.

I for sure hope it isn't for forty-three dollars and a watch.
 

loopfinding

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While it would be wrong of me to follow your investment advice based on one account of a perfectly anonymous poster who’s age you do not know, I’ll say again, one way to find out.
Ask your own kids.

Eh, I sort of agree with him...though I think prices will just plateau vs inflation (and not
crash) at some point.

Know some kid players (10-15 years younger than me) with interest and some family money behind them that are into getting whatever they can, even if it’s post CBS or Norlin era, and paying top dollar for what older folks thought was trash.

Don’t underestimate the power of idle money.
 
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Winky

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The sound and playability of vintage is perhaps more mythology than reality. I can't see myself ever bothering.

If my playing level warranted it, my "investment" would be in something new. Something that "corrected" the mistakes of the past like the volume control location on a Strat, and headstock on a Les Paul. It would (if I were buy one at this moment) likely be a custom Suhr. It would be specced exactly as I wanted. It would play perfectly, sound great, stay in tune, and just be a better guitar in any objective sense than a vintage guitar costing much more. It would grow old with me. It would be mine and mine-alone, not a hand-me-down and not collectible to anyone but me.
 

Guitarteach

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Some people conflate their love of MONEY and STATUS with what makes a good musical instrument IMO. They know the price but not the value.

It‘s not a musician’s marketplace today. There is a lot of financial speculation now.

The best musician‘s instrument is the one you pick up for every gig or session. For me that is a 6 year old, off brand oddball. I have acquired nice old guitars over the years from the 60’s and 70’s but they have just aged with me for three or four decades.

I’ve never bought a ‘vintage’ instrument because it is ‘vintage’. My main Tele is a featherweight 2012 50’s Baja because it beat out US made deluxes and standards and old instruments for tone and feel in my hunting. A ‘roadworn‘ I played was dry sanded and felt really cheap and nasty. Wear areas are slick and smooth and full of skin grease and stage muck.

And relics.. the whole sad fakery of that I find just pathetic… ‘buying’ rather than ‘earning’.

That said my ‘63 Casino I got for £60 and a JCM800 (behind a ‘72 345 I also picked up cheap 40 years ago) is a time worn vintage dream.. a perfect tone time machine.. but it just feedbacks like crazy on a small stage, so impractical outside a studio setting. I keep it to pass on, not sell.

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dickey

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New guitars or amps don't interest me in the slightest. I only play original vintage Fenders,Gibsons,Mosrites, etc. While new guitars generally have better fit & finish than originals, they don't have the dynamics, tone or touch sensitivity that vintage guitars have, and this cannot be manufactured into a new guitar.
 

Aftermath

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New guitars or amps don't interest me in the slightest. I only play original vintage Fenders,Gibsons,Mosrites, etc. While new guitars generally have better fit & finish than originals, they don't have the dynamics, tone or touch sensitivity that vintage guitars have, and this cannot be manufactured into a new guitar.
Yeah, people don't want to hear that. I have played really expensive new gibson models, they just sounded very clean, boring, and not very rock n roll to me. It is not about price either, because those old danos and supros have never been that expensive and they sound much better as well.
 

Happy Enchilada

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I'm on record as stating I'm only interested in a guitar (or whatever) as a "functioning tool". (BTW....band name alert) I hold no reverence (other than my respect as an icon) for an old guitar. In Telecaster related stuff, I put together my ideal Tele-style in 2019, for somewhere around $500. No vintage Fender meets my requirements, so spending more money would be pointless. I DO love many vintage amps, but a skilled technician can replicate those.....at least well enough to fool my ears.
I guess if a quirky old instrument can create a unique sound that floats your boat, that's the way to go....but I'm not looking for "quirky". :):):)

^^^^This. A guitar is a tool you use to make music, such as a rifle is a tool you use to harvest game and a fishing rod is a tool you use to catch fish. Sure, the "vintage" or "antique" models are fun to gaze at ... and great to inherit if you're so lucky ... but when opening day dawns, I want my modern hunting rifle or graphite fly rod and reel, just as when I'm going to be performing in front of an audience, I want a tool that I can count on to get the job done and God forbid allow me to have the confidence to be more artful in my noisemaking.

This goes double for "vintage" amps with all their necrotic wiring and fragile tubes: I much prefer my Quilter with its solid state reliability and tones that are IMHO as musical as the ones that come wheezing out of the $4000 1963 Super Duper Master Reverb Deluxe corksniffer special. Plus the only person in the room who even knows or cares is ME (see countless threads @ nitro finishes vs. poly).

Because modern gear is more reliable, I will practice with it more, which makes me a better player. And if I'm playing out, I don't spend the entire time with one eye on the bandstand to make sure some neer-do-well doesn't make off with my Precious. I can take say a Korean Hamer that's a clone of their US Studio and upgrade it with pots, switch, jack, tuners, and pickups and end up with a great player that has zero theft appeal. Heck, I did this with a $139 Firefly 335 copy and loved it.

Or to paraphrase Siggy Freud, "Sometimes a guitar is just a guitar." 🥸
 

421JAM

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I don’t care what collectors do. But for players, whether vintage is better or worse ultimately doesn’t matter all that much.

Music to most people is about storytelling more than it’s about playing with tools. A lot of people feel that old instruments have stories to tell that have been earned through their years of use, which enriches the story they are trying to tell when they make music on that instrument.

It’s unquantifiable, but it usually costs more money.

Music performance is also about image for a lot of musicians. In that case, an old beat up guitar (or a new relic) fits the image some musicians are trying to present better than shiny new guitar would. Ask Keith.
 




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