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Why the fascination with "older" guitars?

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

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    @Digiplay I have no interest whatsoever in any guitar that was "road" worn in a factory. :rolleyes: Nor am I interested in reissues of Teles that have a 7.25" neck radius, or an odd (to me) wiring scheme that is "vintage."

    Of the reissues that you named, the only ones that mildly interest me are the Epiphone USA made Casino and Texan, in that order. (Yeah, guess what band I was a fan of back in the day?)

    But short of a significant and unexpected sizeable cash windfall, I'll never buy either one.

    Fiesta Red likes this.
  2. Ed Driscoll

    Ed Driscoll Tele-Holic

    Aug 19, 2003
    South of Dallas
    The best historic and reissue guitars are great instruments that look like the instruments the musicians who inspired us played during their heyday (or in some cases still play). But there's a bit less "fear factor" involved. At the guitar shows in Dallas and Arlington, I've played a couple of Tom Wittrock's '58 and '59 Les Pauls. I couldn't handle the pressure of owning a single instrument as expensive and delicate as an original Les Paul, but my 2000 Gibson Historic reissue gets me close enough sonically for my needs, and it looks fantastic. It's a very different beast than my 1983 Les Paul Custom. The reissue is quite a bit lighter, and the bridge being screwed directly into the wood makes for a very different sound than the '83 Custom. The '83 Custom, despite being heaver, sounds thinner, and like a generic humbucker-equipped guitar. So while they look like generic Les Pauls, they're effectively two different instruments.
  3. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2018
    Erie, CO
    We live in a golden age of cheap, mass-produced guitars of astonishingly good quality. If you just want a solid playing/sounding axe it's very easy to get there for $500. If you want something with character, or any uniqueness or sense of history...you go old or you go expensive.
  4. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

    Feb 12, 2020
    Southwestern, USA
    When wood is no longer used, that may be the case. Until then, each one will be need to be measured.

  5. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Missoula, Montana
    some things just look and feel better with some miles on them. I would put blue jeans, belts, boots and telecasters on that list, and a lot of women too. I like old guitars. I have a few. My main stage guitar lately is modern as heck, though -- stainless frets, locking tuners, anti-hum circuit, great guitar.
  6. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 25, 2019
    West By God Virginia
    NoTeleBob likes this.
  7. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    For me, tone, pure and simple. I owned a lot of more modern stuff thru the years and bought with no preconceived idea what so ever as to what guitars had tone that made me happy. I came up in the 60s and 70s when the music i loved and love to this day was made, yet i never made conscious decisions on what guitars to buy based on what thos bands played. I have never followed the crown in any area of my life. But heres the thing.....along with guitars that weren't traditional, i also bough more traditional guitars and over the years i gravitated completely away from anything but strats, teles, and a LP's, especially specials. It's all i use now and for one simple reason....i find the tone and response to my input withthose just seems right. No weird sonic flaws or anything. In recent years i have bought a few non traditional guitars and they just never sound right. PRS santana....turn the volume down for cleans (i'm old school in my methods) and the tone loses all it's crispness and clarity, no matter what pickups i tried or how big a bleed cap i used. Same with a epi nighthawk, the LP like thing with a fender scale. It just sounded all wrong. Ibanez modern strat types like RG's etc....they just don't sound right to me either. None of them seem to clean up right or have the right dynamic and respond to my hands the way i need.

    So there ya go.....it may have to do with the fact the music i like fits vintage guitars better. But like i said i never follow the crowd, it's just that to me strats, teles and gibsons (tho mostly fenders, as i'm a fender guy big time) just allow me to get every sonic detail i need and want from them while modern guitars, at least those I've owned never do. I think a lot of people feel the same. For whatever reason those vintage designs just sound and feel right, and between a few of them can cover all bases. Oh, and i use vintage designs of those models too. I don't like the sound/feel of modern fenders and gibsons.
  8. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    with older guitars there is a certain level of hands on to the build and this can be verified with the age of the instrument, which were available to the consumer as afinished product , now all companies use a cookie cutter CNC machine, use lesser woods , cheaper electronics , and QC is missing , sending out instruments with fret sprout , no fret leveling, cheaper frets, warped necks and sub par finishes as standard , and all the while demanding top dollar for the decal on the head stock, but as the sheep we are we buy these and revere them as if blessed by the deities .

    OH Yeah an older guitar may have some historical relevance, maybe!
  9. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 18, 2019
    Hoover, Alabama
    Here's what I've learned in my limited experience with guitars :)

    I hear all the time questions such as which guitar/pickups/etc. have the most twang (twang is different to different players, btw), what guitar, a Tele, a Strat, a Les Paul, a Gretsch, a whatever, will sound the most country/new country/blues/funk/rock/etc.?

    What I've learned is......................................................................................................................

    It's the damn player who makes a guitar sound however they want it to sound through their hands, technique and style!

    I'm willing to bet that Jimi Hendrix, and had not all of us become used to how he sounded because he did use a Strat, and if the Strat had not been invented, he would still have sounded like Jimi Hendrix, been just as great, had he used a Les Paul instead :)
    61fury likes this.
  10. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 15, 2017
    Harvest, Alabama
    New Versus Old Guitars
    (a poem)

    I love new guitars
    I also love old ones
    It's kind of like with women and cars
    and those guys who bought and sold guns

    Sleek and shiny
    fun to hold
    Big or tiny
    Young or old

    Whether it's women or axes
    I just love to hold 'em
    If there was any money left after taxes
    I bought if they sold 'em

    So forgive me my passion
    I don't care if they are Les or Leslie
    and no matter what the fashion
    strummed by Chet or Elvis Presley

    I just love all guitars
    whether they are vintage or faux
    when I write my memoirs
    I might draw a bow

    Across my new Gibson Les Paul
    or a relic'ed Fender Tele
    I'm not Jimmy Page at all
    more like Machiavelli

    I'm a flawed guy, I admit it
    and I'm long in the tooth
    If it's wrong then I did it
    Like Oswald or John Wilkes Booth

    But I have one redeeming feature
    I love all guitars
    I'm like a teacher and Preacher
    though I hang out in bars

    So here's the bottom line
    and if I'm lying, I'm dying
    each guitar is like a sacred shrine
    that I'm always selling and buying

    How will I be greeted you ask
    at the great pearly gates?
    Will I be taken to task
    for my disreputable associates?

    Or will I be greeted with kindness
    and cheerful gentility
    for my eternal blindness
    and guitar lusting ability?

    I like to think it'll be the latter
    when my funeral hearse, followed by many cars
    carries me to where it won't really matter
    that I obsessively loved guitars


    Okay, I'm gonna shut up now.


    Digital Larry likes this.
  11. knopflerfan

    knopflerfan Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 18, 2012
    In the woods
    Well stated.
  12. Leonardocoate

    Leonardocoate Tele-Meister

    Nov 16, 2015
    I recently acquired a bunch of drums that where made in the 50's, 60's and 70's....They sold like hot cakes....The sound was the draw. drums and cymbals where made differently back in the days and therefore have tonal qualities that can't be replicated and are desired today...cymbals covered with patina have a warmer sound and that takes time to develop. Today we pay a premium for hand wound pick ups and custom made necks (hand made necks)...Maybe some folks think they are getting a finely crafted instrument...They probably aren't
  13. Goldenshellback

    Goldenshellback Tele-Meister

    Jan 5, 2020
    I think the internet has really popularized vintage guitars, old or just old looking. I owned guitars in the 1960’s, they were all used guitars, not in great condition and I have never once wished I still had them. I don’t recall anything special about them.
  14. Gary135r

    Gary135r Tele-Meister

    Mar 4, 2020
    My 50 year old granddaughter loves to brag about her Grandpa's 2020 built Telecaster.
    Disclaimer: She's 3 years old now.
  15. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 24, 2013
    The Shmudson Valley
    They were good enough for Granddad so they're good enough for me.

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
  16. Steerforth

    Steerforth Friend of Leo's

    May 17, 2009
    Recently, a bunch of scientists figured out how to make diamonds out of coal in a very short time, instead of all the time that it takes the natural way. You can Google it.

    It therefore seems to me that it should be a trifling matter for them to take new Martins and turn them into pre-war Martins.

    The world has enough diamonds. Let’s get our priorities straight.
  17. idburn4u

    idburn4u TDPRI Member

    Jun 30, 2010
    san diego
    The fascination really should be with the older player who’s honed his craft.
    Faithfully mastered their style, their voice

    in-spite of early arthritis & failing eyes
    Hands that play with feel
    Where tone is formed
    Earning every notes respect

    It’s the coolest of players that define the instrument
    It was never, ever about a guitar
    From the beginning it was about music
    Thank god for that and the mature among us, who play
  18. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I don't think is a conundrum at all.

    Back in the 60s most of these guys were young, and young people always want the new thing. Now most of these guys are - more mature? - and they want what mature guys always want which is a taste of their youth. But there are not enough of those to go around, hence the price, hence the reissue market. I generalize, but we're talking about market trends here.

    For today's younger set, guitar playing is an anachronism, a throwback to a different age, like Artisan Pickle Making - just as vinyl has its appeal over streaming services, playing an instrument with your hands is a way to disconnect from the always-on-a-screen way of the modern universe.
  19. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    It was really important to me in the 1970s that I have pro gear (1970s). Based on what I was hearing/seeing, I partly selected each guitar, amp, etc. based on what road bands in my area used, as well as the major acts. I figured that if I had the same gear as anybody, that meant that I could play in their league.

    I might suck, but I won't be able to blame that on the gear that I had. My whole attitude was, and is, is that I was as good a guitarist as anybody, with a very few exceptions. Believing this to be true, I would always try for the higher level, whether or not I deserved to be there. I was pushing, pushing so hard to have adequate technique that I found this little mindgame helpful in my development.

    I talked to as many musicians as I could, and had no doubt that I really had a long way to go before joining the highest ranks of musicians on the stage.

    Hmm, part of what made older classic guitars attractive for me, was that they projected an air of competence. The idea was to overwhelm the punters with the showbiz stuff, so that it took longer for them to realize that I still had problems.
  20. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

    Jul 20, 2010
    People started hunting for older guitars in the mid to late 70s, because the sloppy guitars from Fender and Gibson under CBS and Norlin were terrible quality.
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