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

Telenator

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My only interest in the Vintage Market these days would be making money.

There was a time when I though it was important and that vintage guitars had a certain mojo to them, but, so do modern guitars.

I went on a two year quest to find a vintage Strat I could live with and enjoy. The result of my search is that vast majority of vintage guitars are firewood. And the new guitars available are soooooooo much better than the decrepit old wrecks people are offering at exorbitant prices for guitars that tune poorly, with strings hanging over the edge of the neck, and poor action with so many flaws to play around, I just wanted to put them out of their misery.

This is only my opinion, based on the way I play and record and use a guitar. I have owned several vintage guitars and amps, and honestly, they're just not worth it to me. I find even the Fender Relics to be far superior at a fraction of the price.

I won't knock anyone's love of musty old things, but they won't be found in my collection. (unless I'm flipping it)
 

Peegoo

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The original question needs to be qualified to actually become useful information, such as,

Q: "I want to buy a guitar. Are vintage guitars worth the money?"

A: No. If you're a guitar player and you want a guitar to play, there are far better affordable options that will get you the sounds you're after.

and...

Q: "I want to buy a vintage guitar because it will provide me a physical connection to many years past, and perhaps help me capture and re-live a little bit of my youth in the process. Are they worth the money?"

A: Absolutely they are.
 

Happy Enchilada

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This is one of those threads that can go on forever.
My personal opinion is that "vintage" gear is wonderful if you can afford the maintenance issues and you're cognizant of the fact that when you kick the bucket, your heirs will haul 'em all down to Goodwill and donate your "old guitars" which they have no use or appreciation for.
I also prefer guitars and amps that function when you flip the switch and can tolerate a little rough handling.
Newer gear is often better for this reason for me.
Same goes with firearms. Some guys collect old fowling pieces or some such that make great wallhangers, but if they're not family heirlooms, I don't understand the point.
I'd rather have fewer in my "collection," all of which are ready, willing, and able to go "bang" when the whistle blows or Bambi pokes his head up. YMMV 🦌
 

LOSTVENTURE

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I am in complete agreement with Peegoo. It's all about your personal preferrences. Personally, I think that the values of the older instruments have most likely peaked, for several reasons. Just keep that in mind before commiting any cash to the deal.
.
 

Nogoodnamesleft

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In 1992 I bought a 1966 Fender Electric XII. I didn't buy it because it was a vintage guitar. It was a used guitar and the cheapest 12 string I could find. It was lovely, and I regret selling it. And yes it was fascinating at times to wonder what it had been through the 26 years before I bought it. But the decision was driven by economics.

Several genres known for a specific guitar style (shoegaze anyone?) because the artists, like many of us, were cash strapped and at that time things like offsets were out of fashion and relatively affordable, like my Electric XII.

Guitar collecting took off and at todays prices I would not have considered that guitar at what it costs now. I'd probably be looking at a Danelectro 12 string or maybe a Hagstrom. Or maybe something like the mystery Schecter thing I saw one day about 7 years ago that I didn't buy.

Was it nice owning and playing a guitar from 1966? It was a nice guitar. Fantastic even. But that's because it was a beautiful, nice playing, nice sounding instrument, not because of the year.
 
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421JAM

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when you kick the bucket, your heirs will haul 'em all down to Goodwill and donate your "old guitars" which they have no use or appreciation for.
Guitar playing thrift enthusiasts everywhere LOVE your heirs.

But this is why you write a will. If your family doesn’t appreciate them then give them to a friend who does. Or sell them before you die and spend the money on yourself, or start a college fund for your grandkids, or something. Or maybe tell your family while you’re still alive what your guitars are worth so they don’t treat them like garbage when you die.
 

Flyboy

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I have come full-circle when it comes to guitars. Having spent thousands on guitars and buying one pre-CBS Fender and several expensive guitars, I have no longer got the ache for anything 'vintage'. I have sold all the expensive guitars (Bar the Lowdens and the Guild acoustic) and get as much enjoyment out of partscasters and low-end kit like Harley Bentons. Big money (for me), I've put into commissions, rather than vintage.
 

bottlenecker

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I'm waiting for this thread to die so I can start my own Reviving The Reviving The... post about posts about every guitar made before the year 2000.
 

loudboy

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My personal opinion is that "vintage" gear is wonderful if you can afford the maintenance issues and you're cognizant of the fact that when you kick the bucket, your heirs will haul 'em all down to Goodwill and donate your "old guitars" which they have no use or appreciation for.
I also prefer guitars and amps that function when you flip the switch and can tolerate a little rough handling.
Newer gear is often better for this reason for me.
Same goes with firearms. Some guys collect old fowling pieces or some such that make great wallhangers, but if they're not family heirlooms, I don't understand the point.
I'd rather have fewer in my "collection," all of which are ready, willing, and able to go "bang" when the whistle blows or Bambi pokes his head up. YMMV 🦌
I've got a '57 Tele that I've owned since 1978. Other than replacing the neck PU, which had been changed out to a late '60s one before I bought it, with an Antiquity, I've done nothing to it - never even had it set up, other than a truss rod adjustment when I moved out west.

I've also got a '78 SFPR, which I had tuned up by my tech when I bought it about 15 years ago. Also had it back to him to make the vibrato a little deeper, and I had to change the reverb tank and the power switch this year. Over a hundred gigs on it last year and no issues at all. I've also got an '83 Marshall JCM that is still kicking ass with no problems. Blew an output tube about 20 years ago.
 

mystichands

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I own several vintage guitars, but either inherited one, or bought the other ones a long time ago before they were overpriced. Nowadays I wouldn’t pay what people are asking for them. My mom’s old Martin 00-17 from the fifties was the first guitar I ever played, so I love it for personal reasons. My dad bought it new in 1959, for $125. Last time I looked on reverb, they were between 2 and 4 grand. My old Starfire lll, from 1966, cost me a grand, 20 years ago. I thought it was kind of expensive, but I really wanted it at the time. I’ve since gravitated to a Squier Tele and Epiphone LP Special, which while on the cheap side, play well, and I just like more than the old guild. So, my conclusion is that yes vintage is good, but modern mass produced guitars are fine too.
 

mystichands

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Thank you! I like vintage guitars but if may borrow a term from Bloomberg the market is overheated.

I agree about Guild I have a 1959 T100. It’s a cool guitar.
I also agree with you about old Guilds. I’ve got a’66 Starfire lll that I bought long ago before they were too expensive. It’s a unique guitar that I won’t ever sell(probably).
 

drewg

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I replied to the zombie thread on Ed Roman's rant. Not knowing it was quite dead. But the subject is interesting, so here is what I wrote:

What I find hard to take are the generalizations involved in these discussions. Haven't read the article ... but this dialog has been going on for years. It always ends the same for me. A binary choice: vintage or modern gear. Along with conflating collectors with those simply looking for interesting guitars.

Most vintage gear does not interest me, either in terms of price or inherent value. But there are little corners of vintage that do interest me. Not for collecting or value, more a case of unique things no longer made, with unique appeal. One case in point: old Guilds. I've always loved Guilds. They're overlooked in general, never come close to the bigger names in mass appeal.

A couple years ago I found an early 60s Guild archtop - a '62 Guild X50 - while looking for an older Gibson ES-125. I wanted a certain sound. Until recently, even the older Gibson ES-125s were relatively affordable. Anyway, found the X50 instead. And realized that this guitar was an alternate universe ES-125. Similar. In many ways, sonically, and in terms of build quality, better (IMO.) The Franz p/us being a big part of why. Guild has reissued some older models with those p/us, but not the X50. Then, through an aquaintance, a fellow Guild appreciator, I fell into a '61 Guild X-175, with two of those p/us. Here there is a modern equivalent, Guild's own X175 RI. I've played several, owned one. Nice instruments, not even close to the old one

These two old Guilds together cost far less than I'd have to pay for a vintage Gibson archtop. Maybe half of what it would cost for a used modern Gibson archtop such as the ES-175.

My takeaways: Vintage has appeal not generally, but specifically. Certain guitars or amps, certain brands. And a big part of that appeal is in the unique nature of the instruments themselves. Models no longer made, parts and quality different than modern. Bottom line: Forget the general wisdom. Let your own taste, ears and budget be your guide. There's more to vintage than just collectors and high prices.

You had me at “Old Guilds.”

I would add Kalamazoo acoustics to affordable vintage guitars whose sounds that just can’t be replicated.
 

msalama

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Because said troll wants to sell that bridge to ya.

So are they, or are they not, worth the money?
 

1hoofer

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Been playing since 1971, live gigs, social gatherings etc.
often speak to people after these events. Owned dozens of guitars, old and new.
Yet to have someone ask me how old my guitar is.
 




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