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Why the fascination with "older" guitars?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Digiplay, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Let me start of by saying that I'm not referring to the real vintage guitars of the 50's/60's, and I'm confident that the MAJORITY (I say MAJORITY as a disclaimer to keep from offending members who can afford/own them) of us members could not afford them :)


    I'm referring to the Fender Reissues, Road Worns, the Gibson Reissues, the Epiphone Reissues, etc.


    Back in the 60's, most guitarist wanted the newest, most current guitar, and as my same age best friend guitarist loves to say:


    "We could have bought used 5'9 Les Pauls, 50's Telecasters, Stratocasters for nothing/a lot less than what a new guitar costs, but we didn't want an old guitar, we wanted a shiny new one!".


    I've noted a consensus here that the current guitars, regardless of where they are made (yes, even guitars made in Mexico :) ), are consistently better made guitars than ever before, so why the fascination with buying a Road Worn, a Nash, a Les Paul '59 Reissue, etc., all of which are meant to recreate/resemble a guitar that was made a long time ago?


    What happened to that 60's mentality of I'd rather buy a new Standard Les Paul, or an American Professional Tele/Strat?
     
  2. Danb541

    Danb541 Tele-Afflicted

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    nostalgia maybe?
     
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  3. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    Haven't you answered your own question?

    Ppl luv old looking guitars and they can get them with better construction than ever before. A modern reissue.
    .
     
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  4. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    To be nostalgic, does that mean one is most likely to be a person no longer young again? :)
     
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  5. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    Part 1) People love antiques. Applies to almost everything. We can't buy most of the 50's and 60's guitars as they've been priced out of reach. So we buy "road worn".

    Part 2) I think the perception is that quality only drops... and perhaps with the exception of some very recent efforts by the manufacturers, it might be MOSTLY true. So, at least in the case of "accurate" re-issues, supposedly they have the quality of yesteryear and got the attention of yesteryear style builders and techniqes.

    Part 3) Then again, I can recall when the new guitars of the late 70's 80's and 90's were disdained... and somehow now they are becoming somewhat desirable. I suspect they'll be the accurate re-issues of tomorrow.
     
  6. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Let's see if other people agree Ess Eff :)
     
  7. 4 Cat Slim

    4 Cat Slim Friend of Leo's

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    You bring up an interesting point. During the late sixties or very early seventies,
    older guitars were simply older and used guitars in music stores. I had no idea that one day, I'd appreciate an old arch top with a single coil pickup, much less have any real use for one.
    Similarly, used car lots were full of late 50s vintage Chevrolets and
    1964-'66 Ford Mustangs.
    Who knew??
     
  8. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Part two of what my best friend said was:

    "Had I known then what I know now, I would have bought as many of those old guitars as I could, and I would be a very rich man Jerry!!!".
     
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  9. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Ask Ray Wylie Hubbard...

     
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  10. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

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    While I readily agree that new budget guitars are light years ahead of the budget junk we had in the 60's, I don't concede at all that all current guitars are better made than all old guitars. Each guitar has to be judged on its own merits. I have played new guitars that are exceptional and new guitars that are stinkers; same with old guitars. If making guitars really was an exact, repeatable science, then you could pull 10 identical models of a guitar off the wall at a guitar store and they'd all play and sound exactly the same, but we know that's not how it works.

    As for why I like older guitars, I like a well worn neck and a guitar gets a little patina from being played, which increases the chances that it was one of the good ones. People tend to play the good ones and keep the duds in their cases.
     
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  11. El Famoso

    El Famoso Tele-Meister

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    I would think most of the people on this forum would appreciate that people still like things that are older :twisted:
     
  12. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Agreed and also about the well worn necks.
     
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  13. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    Over time those older guitars started looking worn-in and kinda cool. There's also the nostalgia factor. People like classic cars; I'd totally rather have brand new one with a warranty and that new car smell.
     
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  14. USian Pie

    USian Pie Tele-Meister

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    Pop culture is fake through-and-through.

    Celebrities congratulate themselves and give each other awards for being celebrities.

    We praise people who have the courage to agree with... everybody.

    In music, there is no need to actually record a perfect take anymore. Someone will fix the bad timing or the out-of-tune note.

    We make digital simulations of electronic equipment designed and built decades ago.

    For musicians playing popular music in 2020, playing electric guitar is costume play. It's about looking rock and roll (or "country"). In current musician fashion, that means looking like some dues have been paid.

    You can buy brand new blue jeans that look worn, too. Same thing. New isn't cool.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
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  15. 41144

    41144 Tele-Afflicted

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    It's a bit like something else in life ... you never forget your first!

    For me, in terms of 'real/brand name' guitars the first time I actually handled one, not even mine mine but someone else's (if that's not too weird given my earlier comment ;) )- it was a Telecaster in 1964.

    I have no idea exactly what it was (ie build year etc) other than it was Fiesta Red and it was in 1964. Couldn't even say it was 7.25" rad. neck .... but, when Fender brought out the AV64 and then a Fiesta Red model .... well, you just got to haven't you?

    As for the rest, sure nostalgia is probably the main point of all these re-issues - and there's plenty of us old fools still trying recapture that magic :cool:

    On the pickup thing ... all my guitars have pickups as close to 60s specs as can be - 'cos I like 'em.
     
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  16. Blister

    Blister Tele-Meister

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    I think the electronics have improved where we really suffer is in the poor quality of or lacking of quality Woods
     
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  17. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    It's all a matter of perspective.

    Back in 1987 I was playing a '74 Fender Jazz Bass through a 100 watt blue metalflake tuck 'n roll Kustom.

    This rig would be hip as hell today, but back then it was lame, out of style gear that nobody wanted.

    One of the other guys in my band played a Charvel Model 4 through a JCM800...cutting edge at the time, and still somewhat desirable, but would sell for about half of what my dorky ass rig would be worth currently.

    Perspective.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
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  18. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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    After one slightly tainted experience I know that I don't know enough to buy vintage safely, so I buy new and shiny, very occasionally used if in excellent condition.
     
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  19. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have yet to meet a more conservative group of people than the supposedly wild men of rock.

    Me included.
     
  20. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    When I was young, in the 60s and 70s, older (1930s-1950s) guitars WERE better.
    Better made, better sounding, and best of all, they were priced like used instruments.
    When the masses of us wannabes (like me) discovered the older guitars were better, the prices went up.
    Thats the blessing and curse of the (electric) guitar.
    It’s fairly easy to get “good” on, and millions of us did.
    Big demand for the older stuff, and the big companies took notice.
    They started making instruments the old way.
    Brilliant!
    From my old guy perspective, it took those big companies (Big G and F) a good ten years to smarten up.
    Now younger players don’t necessarily agree older is better.
    New stuff is better built, way more consistent, and is very reasonably priced.
    Things are way better now, IMO.
     
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