What are your thoughts on Vintage versus New Telecasters/Guitars?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Digiplay, May 22, 2020.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Holic

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    Whenever I (or possibly you) look back at old videos of the bands I love, for some reason whatever guitar/gear they are using, I tie the guitar/player/sound to that snapshot of time.


    I was a teenager in the 60's, and in every band I played in, EVERY guitarist always wanted the newest model guitar, either brand new or used, they could afford at the time.


    As the years have passed I notice a love of those then new model guitars that are now old :)


    Going out on a limb here, but I would bet that the majority of guitarist who prefer the vintage guitars over the current new ones are most likely older individuals that have a direct connection age/era wise with that gear.



    But then I ask myself if I was a teenager now, would I want an old/vintage guitar, or would I want to buy a new one, and when I think on it, I probably would do the same thing the teens/players in the 60's did, and that is to buy the newest new or used guitar/gear models I could afford.




    Please note that I'm sure there will be exceptions to the question, but I'm speaking from a general rule point of view :)




    So three questions:

    1) If Jimi Hendrix had just turned 26 TODAY (when he started using a Strat), would he use a 1968 one, or a newer one?
    2) Will whatever current model guitar/gear that the current youths favorite band are using today be considered vintage in 50 years as well?
    3) If vintage guitars are "better" than new guitars, how can Fender/Gibson/etc. stay in business selling "inferior" new guitars?
     
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  2. Slap Axe

    Slap Axe Tele-Meister

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    1)Newer because vintage costs a fortune
    2)Maybe
    3)Because vintage costs a fortune
     
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  3. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Afflicted

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  4. Togman

    Togman Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  5. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here’s what I think-

    When I first started, I wanted the latest, newest stuff. I didn’t want old used crap.

    A few years in I was playing with guys a lot older than I was, and I got bitten by the vintage bug. HARD. I got super deep into in. And was even in the business for a while during the peak of the mega craze.

    Now I’m the older guy, I’m a lot more experienced, and I actually really know what makes a guitar better for me. I want new stuff.

    Old gear is for either collectors, or players who are in denial and don’t mind trashing investments with maintenance, repairs, and upkeep. Because that’s what vintage stuff is. It’s an investment. Unless you have the money to blow on valuable stuff to drag around to gigs and beat up on the road. No judgement either way, everybody has to do what works best for themselves.

    Personally, I don’t really like vintage gear. It’s super cool from a historical standpoint. I love holding it and gawking at it and geeking out over it. But I’d rather play a new guitar.

    I like larger frets. I like fully intonatable bridges. I like two way truss rods. I like flatter fretboards. And a lot of other modern improvements. They make for better playing guitars. Not to mention, modern manufacturing is light years ahead of the vintage stuff as far as consistency and QC goes. For every truly magical vintage Strat or Les Paul I’ve played, I’ve also played one that was a complete and utter dog. Honestly, the overwhelming majority of them are someplace in the middle. But don’t tell that to their owners. Confirmation bias is a helluva drug, and most of them are hardcore addicts. These days even if I get the hankering for a vintage guitar, I’d rather have a nice reissue or replica. There’s a better than good chance I’d have to sort through a dozen or more actual vintage pieces to find one that stands up next to current QC, and then it will cost exponentially more. For what? Bragging rights? No thanks.

    I prefer vintage voiced amps. But there are a plethora of modern alternatives, some of them very affordable, that make vintage style sounds just fine. They won’t electrocute the user, you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to buy one, and it won’t be devalued and ruined if you gig it 200 nights a year and beat the crap out of it.

    Maybe I’m jaded. But whatever. I still love the stuff. There’s no denying it’s cool factor. But I no longer feel any need to own any of it.
     
  6. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I was a teenager in the '60s, lived in SF, playing guitar then, saw all the great classic bands, yada yada. And now today, I'm not all goo-goo for vintage guitars. I still have a Strat that I bought in the seventies. It's a good guitar, but I like the new stuff even better.

    Some vintage guitars are great guitars, but a great many of them are just "old" guitars - not worth a premium price.

    For the most part, you get a much better guitar now, with today's precision manufacturing and modern features - certainly at a very reasonable price, as well. Hard to argue with that.

    And if Jimi were alive today, my bet is he'd be playing a new American Professional.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  7. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Holic

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    Hi ClashCityTele :)



    GREAT article!



    It reinforces what I initially said, and that is:

    Those original, iconic tones weren't created on "vintage" guitars
    Let's start with the most obvious and rather undebatable point: almost all of those guitars we revere for their vintage and aged tones weren't vintage when they were originally used. They were new or almost new.



    I ESPECIALLY liked the conclusion:

    Conclusion
    The classic tones that remain our references for greatness were generally created on newer guitars not yet afflicted by the rigors of time. They weren't necessarily better built by more skilled hands, and they certainly weren't crafted from wood that grew in an enchanted forest.



    Thanks for the link!

    Jerry
     
  8. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Holic

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    Hi my Brother in Arms from the same era DHart!


    I agree 100% that he would be playing one as well.



    Nice to hear from you!
    Jerry
     
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  9. dickey

    dickey Tele-Afflicted

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    There is no comparison. Vintage wins over new every single time. Custom Shop comes close, but no seegar. Not saying the TONE is better...what is better is the feel,touch sensitivity, & dynamics that new equipment just does NOT have. In layman's terms..the vintage guitar plays itself. Touch sensitivity. Cannot be built or bought. New guitars have much better fit & finish & quality of construction, however. Better consistency of quality.
    I still only play vintage original.
     
  10. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Holic

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    Hi dickey!


    Two questions :)

    1) Are you over 40?
    2) Do you thankfully have a good bit of disposable income (I know, it depends on from whose point of view :) )?


    Jerry
     
  11. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Afflicted

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    I like guitars that look old. I've been looking at a Tele Thinline (69) or Tele Custom (72) but they are modern guitars.

    I love the look of Yamaha Revstars but most modern guitars leave me cold. But an original vintage guitar is an old, worn, battered guitar with all the same problems as an old car.

    The quality of inexpensive guitars is a million miles away from what we had to put up with in the 60's/70's.
     
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  12. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Given we're talking the sale of electric guitars, I'd say it can ;)
     
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  13. BramptonRob1958

    BramptonRob1958 Tele-Meister

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    At 62, I find a parallel between Vintage Guitars and Classic Cars.

    I’ve owned both when they were New and have fond memories of both. They both offer an experience for the senses. They way they feel, sound and perform.

    The big “But” in the equation however, is that both Cars and Guitars in vintage format today are far, far overvalued for what they actually are.

    I’d love to own a 63 Split Window Corvette. Sadly, while the car invites sentimental emotions to the max, for the same money or less the Modern Day Corvette offers superior performance and handling. For me the Split Window is a dream car. If I had to choose, I’m positive that the New Tech Vette would offer a better fun factor experience. Meaning the 2020 Corvette could be driven daily, reliably and put a huge grin on my face just like the classic 63. The 63 however, would be reserved as more of a Weekend Warrior or Sunday driver.

    I respect the fact that the differences between cars and guitars is cavernous, I would hold the same view of a An Original Broadcaster. The price of the vintage Telecaster is so far beyond my 2020 Fender Broadcaster, there can be no comparison. For sake of argument, if I were lucky enough to own an Original, I would treat it the same way I would 63 Vette. Only bringing out on special occasions, worried that it would be damaged, devalued or otherwise abused or stolen or worse sold off for garage sale prices after my passing because my family just wanted to get rid of the junk.

    I don’t believe for a moment that today’s Broadcaster is a superior performer necessarily, I do believe that it will get played and enjoyed and not babied.

    I’m not sure that Vintage Guitar Market will continue ( the way it is today) when the “Boomer Generation” has passed. Collectors may prove me wrong, however, for the most part collectors have always driven the Vintage Markets in every commodity known to man. Art, Automobiles, Watches or what ever.

    I’m just not confident that the next generations will have the same emotional attachments to any instrument, Todays New or Yesterday’s Vintage.

    Value is a hard commodity price, obtain, sustain and quantify at the best of times.

    For me personally the best value in instruments, is actually the ability to buy Vintage Spec Guitars that are new or nearly new today. Not buying a Vintage Tele, Strat or Les Paul for many times the cost of today’s gear.

    If I’m going to spend Vintage Money, I’d much rather buy from Fender or Gibson’s Custom Shop.
     
  14. MrDeafeningGuitar

    MrDeafeningGuitar TDPRI Member

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    This reminds me on debate mechanical vs quartz watches, where in the 70s battery powered watches began new era in watch making, being a more precise than any mechanical watch, and most importantly a lot cheaper to manufacture.... Still, Swiss luxury watchmakers survived due to the ''soul'' of the mechanical watch and its heritage.

    If you look at it exclusively from a technical/mechanical point of view, new guitars are definitely better overall, no doubt about it. All the modern appointments & features are there for a reason. But If you're looking for some kind of "mojo" or inspiration, old guitars have they're place for sure.

    At the end it all comes down to a player, I'm sure Jimmy wouldn't play a Fender strat, he would play Ibanez or Suhr.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  15. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    @Jakedog - I see where you are coming from but think it is missing one key variabe: player grade vintage.

    I have Two 70s Tele Customs. They blow anything modern away that I've played. And I am not one to turn my nose up at modern. I love AVRI and AO. I love the Vintera series. But they are beat up. They were refretted (vintage medium jumbos). They have replacement bridge pickups. And most importantly for me, they cost about what an AVRI or AO reissue would cost.

    At that price point, I don't mind playing them and further making them mine (replaced the slipshod tuners on one of them). I recorded our latest full length album using the '73 on 95% of the tracking.

    They are magical and playable.

    I have no interest in collector grade vintage because I would be afraid to play and mod it to make it mine.

    Not sure if that makes sense to anyone but me.
     
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  16. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    There was a time in the 70s and early 80s when Fender was run by CBS and Gibson was run by Norlin. CBS bought Fender in 1965, Norlin took over Gibson in 1969. Real players often went looking for pre-CBS and pre-Norlin guitars because they were better, arguably, and they weren't very old, and they were still quite affordable. I remember being in a music store and there was a pre-CBS Strat available for $350 if I recall correctly-- not much different in price from a new one. This was around 1978. 1977 list price for a Strat was $595 but you could get a lower price-- more like $420. But they had the 3-bolt neck, bigger headstock, etc. So as far as Hendrix goes, he might have gone for the vintage one if he wanted to avoid a CBS product. Although you can see plenty of footage of him playing new CBS ones.

    Nowadays they make guitars every bit as good as the vintage ones so unless you are a collector I don't think it makes sense. You can even buy them pre-abused if you want lots of dings and scrapes on them.
     
  17. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    New guitars. Old, properly serviced amps.
     
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  18. SoK66

    SoK66 Tele-Afflicted

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    Were Jimi 26 today he would probably not play guitar at all.But that's a whole 'nother speculation...

    1) I'd say he'd play a modern shredder guitar, the Floyd Rose would be his garden
    2) Some of todays finer instruments will appreciate, but they will never be considered "vintage." That term is reserved for a particular range of brands and particular time periods, and is guarded like Fort Knox by the "Vintage MAfia", the dealers of such commodities.
    3) "Vintage" guitars are not necessarily better than current production, in fact a strong argument says they aren't from a strictly player perspective. I started playing guitar in 1961 and ended up a decade later running a music store. We put up with a very limited range of instruments produced by a small number of manufacturers and did what we could with them. Do an A/B of a "vintage" '63 Strat with a Custom Shop '63 reissue and you'll discover a few maybe starting realities. The modern '63 will have a better over all fit & finish, the electronics will have better tolerances, the pickups will be specially would by position, rather than just soldered in helter skelter, likely the fingerboard radius will be flatter and the frets larger to accommodate modern styles. In the day we just put up with whatever they produced and no one much cared what we thought back then. What the older guitars have going for them are arguably overall better woods (not always) and over a half-century of aging and vibrations loosening their fibers.

    There's no end to this argument, but bear in mind the "vintage" industry has a vested interest in keeping the mythology alive.
     
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  19. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Holic

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    Hi MilwMark!


    I know the obvious sensible important answer is TO YOU, but are you saying that no modern guitars are magical and playable?

    If not, I pity the younger than 50 (and many older than 50) great guitar players who are missing out by playing newer guitars (poor John Mayer/Blake Mills/Carlos Santana/etc.) :)
     
  20. Vanzant

    Vanzant Tele-Afflicted

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    You're more likely to not be afraid leaving the house with a new one...
     
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