The price of vintage guitars

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The price of vintage guitars

Postby The Breeze » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:30 pm

Seriously, how much would you pay??
I know a good guitar is worth some dough, I've struggled trying to with cheaper guitars where the sound just falls of your fingers with a good one.
The elusive tone... Is it all in the guitar? I will never sound like SRV because I will never be SRV, so how much is his number 1 wife worth as an instrument?

I ask because I have only just recovered from seeing a 59-62 (can't remember the exact year) Les Paul on eBay for £105,000.00 (sterling).

Now I have just seen Les Paul's own white one for sale at $500,000.00.
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby jeffl » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:00 pm

those are wallhangers. that's a different matter than a "player". The more money you make playing a guitar, the more you can rationalize paying for one, but I don't think you want to gig with expensive guitars.. at least not in bars.
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby texas blues » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:26 am

Within the last 2 years Joe Bonamassa has bought 3 '59 LP burst's. He's toured with all of them. You can see one of them on his Live at Beacon Theatre DVD. He also has toured with Tom Whitrock's '59 Burst, "Sandy", and another '59 borrowed from Joe Ganzler. As far as pricing, ebay is not representative of the true market value when looking at BIN prices compared to what guitars are actually selling for. As in ever 'thang else, if I wanted '50's wood, if I really wanted the guitar, price is secondary. It just might be a little tougher to come up with the jing for it. It's also a little difficult to 'splain buying a '54 GT and having to hide it under the spare bedroom bed to gather dust to justificate the purchase for inquiring and snoopy minds. mrs. blues says all my guitars look alike anyhow. That being said, vintage wood is all cool and the gang but for the most part I wouldn't spend six figures for it. Nobody in my audience would know what I'm playing unless I told them. Still, I'd love a crack at a '54 just for my own sakes.
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby Disciple » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:51 pm

As in all collecting, there are the cars you drive and the ones you block and polish. Lures you fish and the ones that never see water, much less real sunlight.

A good fisherman can catch fish with a carrot while a lousy one might drown trying. :blink:

My luthier buddy tells me about the spenders who always blamed the instrument and occasionally about the real players who made everything sound good.

You can't make a smooth cut with a rough saw but if your good you'll at least cut square and accurately, having the finest saw doesn't ensure either.

Enough analogies, :wha: the better the guitar the more you'll likely play it unless it is so valuable it intimidates you. If you are re-mortgaging to buy one, perhaps seek counseling. :wink: :wink: :wink:
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby The Breeze » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:38 pm

Good to know that some are being played.
But they were still mass market consumer goods when they were made, hardly a Stradivarius.

texas blues wrote:vintage wood is all cool and the gang but for the most part I wouldn't spend six figures for it. Nobody in my audience would know what I'm playing unless I told them. Still, I'd love a crack at a '54 just for my own sakes.


I'm with you there Texas, just to see, but I doubt if there is much of a difference between them and a custom shop LP.
£10-15k sounds about right to me, but even at that price I wouldn't buy one. I'd still go for the custom shop.
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby ricbleu » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:32 pm

IMO it doesn't make a blind bit of difference given that a decent manufacturing quality standard has been reached. And here I'm not referring to a certain 'tone' which can be created within the electrical set up. But I'll bet that if you gave Peter Green (in his finest hours) a Les Paul or Epiphone LP made yesterday, add some reverb and he'd still produce those haunting solos and tasteful fills. Ok he wouldn't have that 'out of phase' sound, but it's not that that gave him his touch. Likewise any number of quality guitarists who have created their own style irrespective of what extras have been inserted into the electrics of the instrument. All of the above refers to electrics, but the same could be said of acoustics. Bert Jansch (RIP) didn't care what he played -in fact Yamaha supplied him from their L series - but his first few albums were made on borrowed guitars. So I'll go down and buy a Yammy L series and sound just like Bert, that's all there is to it...right? Wrong. It was the man holding the guitar that created the music and the hours he spent sitting on the edge of his bed learning and learning and learning. The instrument was, in a sense, just the tool he used. Ok chaps, I've got the tin hat on.....fire away. :D Peace.
ps oh, and fwiw, I simply couldn't own an instrument of that quality (or car, or house), cos it's just not me. I'd feel like a middle aged dick (is that allowed?) with too much money fulfilling his adolescent fantasy. On with the flak jacket....spare me boys, spare me... :lol:
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby The Breeze » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:50 pm

Flack jacket on eh Ric?? Here comes the anti-tank... :twisted:

ricbleu wrote:I simply couldn't own an instrument of that quality (or car, or house), cos it's just not me. I'd feel like a middle aged dick (is that allowed?) with too much money fulfilling his adolescent fantasy. On with the flak jacket....spare me boys, spare me... :lol:


Now I'm not sure that you would be buying an instrument of quality. Better than the 70s/80s fare, but better than todays custom shop examples? How about a Duolian, lots of mojo, but still budget models of their day. £2k for one is a fair price and many believe the modern Nationals are better...
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby Jakeblues » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:10 am

If you've got piles of cash, fine. For the rest of us, there plenty of alternatives. There are plenty of new or recent guitars that sound nd play every bit as good, or better than their vintage counterparts. Sure. I'd lode to own a museum piece. I don't have to worry about that anytime soon though.
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby Disciple » Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:33 pm

Reading this again I realized almost nobody actually answered the question.

I would fork out up to $3000.00 for a guitar that really sent shivers thru me, that seems to be the upper end of most quality built consumer grade guitars. Beyond that I'd feel as if I was paying for something that simply wasn't a tangible difference. I realize there are many guitars beyond that range that still fall into regular Joe status but I just don't believe they are remarkably different enough to justify the costs in most cases.

I'm not an antique lover and elitism makes my skin crawl, for a guitar to be worth more than the current market value of it's counterpart it most likely is sporting some assigned status that isn't really part of the tangible or inherent value.

My first guitar is a hand built Strat replica. By me and a buddy who is very very good at his trade. It's worth much more than the sum value of it's parts to me but reality and truth suggest it's barely worth more than the sum total of it's parts. Perfect example of emotional value as opposed to actual value.

If I can't sell my "emotional value"; :roll: then using Spock like logic I can't justify buying someone elses. :lol:

There is a You Tube video of Jack White clunking together a really raw one string Diddely Bo. I mean salvaged paint peeling 2x4, broken bottle / crushed can stuff with common spike nails and some cooked pick up. Twisted wires and gum for tape type craftsmanship. He makes that thing sound amazing. Somebody would more than overpay for that thing and chances are they would drive everybody flucking crazy with the ungodly sounds it's capable of.
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby Lo-Fi » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:02 pm

There was an article that appeared in Money magazine in the late 1990s stating that vintage guitars were a better investment than property in Mailbu. They were of course basing this largely on the then current values of pre-War Martin D-28 Herringbones, late 1950s burst Lesters and such.

Being a geezer though has its benefits because I go back far enough to a day when most of these "vintage" guitars were just "used" guitars. In the 1960s I bought used guitars not because I preferred them but because that was all I could afford. And I have owned some doozies - 1950s Teles, Esquires and Strats, a Gibson Firebird and 1930s L-00, Fender tweed amps , and on and on.

There are theories all around for why prices soared like they did. I recall going to the Dallas guitar show in the 1980s and watching Asian gentleman pushing carts filled with tweed cases which I assume all had guitars in them, many of which were destined for collectors overseas. Availability got tighter with each guitar to depart. There were just less out there to be had. Others blame the baby boomers who, as their bellies and wallets expanded, started longing for the guitars of their past and so initiated a buying frenzy driving prices up.

These days though I just don't care that much about all the vintage stuff. Certainly on one hand it is easy for me to say that as while I do not play electrics any longer (with the exception of a 1950s Oahu Lap Steel) I still own a 1942 Gibson J-45,1946 Gibson LG-2,1960 Gibson J-200, and 1956 Epiphone FT-79. But my idea of a vintage find these days is an elusive X braced Kay jumbo or a minty Harmony Sovereign.

What I discovered was no matter what guitar I am holding in my hands I just sounded like me. On the other hand though, those old Gibsons ain't going no place.
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby Jakeblues » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:15 am

Is it all in the guitar? No. I can play a variety of guitars and it's going to sound like me (for what ever that's worth). Lately, I've been trying to make a Telecaster sound like almost everything else (with limited success). A really great player can bring out the best in any instrument. No amount of over-priced vintage mega-dollar mojon will make a poor player sound more than marginally better. A nice guitar MIGHT inspire you (but sometimes a crappy one will too.)
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby michaelm » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:34 am

I was trying to keep my mouth shut on this one, but here goes anyway.

The Breeze wrote:. . . Now I have just seen Les Paul's own white one for sale at $500,000.00.

To me, that's $2000 for the guitar, $1000 for the brand name and $497,000 for something like 'Collectable Vintage' whatever the devil that means.

Back to the original question:

The Breeze wrote:Seriously, how much would you pay??

I think that I should be able to get a good guitar -- acoustic, electric, reso, lap, whatever (except maybe PSG) -- for some where between $200 and $2000. Or I might get lucky and pay less, might go double that for the right instrument, but ultimately I'm buying a guitar, not making an investment. As usual, all just my two cents worth. :cool:
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby Bant's Bluz » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:06 pm

This thread is timely for me. Next Tuesday, I have an appointment to take a look in the "inner sanctum" of an old music store in my burg. The owner has a Dopyera Bros Dobro. I have no idea as the the model or anything relative. My plan is to look for obvious issues, take lots of pictures, and send them to an internet acquaintence who deals in such things. During my initial conversation said owner of the square neck dobro threw out numbers of $800 to $ a grand. I just don't know if I want to put that kind of money into an instrument soley for the purpose of an investment move.

That having been said, I'd appreciate any advice on items to look for on this old dobro.
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby The Breeze » Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:25 pm

michaelm wrote:I was trying to keep my mouth shut on this one, but here goes anyway.

The Breeze wrote:. . . Now I have just seen Les Paul's own white one for sale at $500,000.00.

To me, that's $2000 for the guitar, $1000 for the brand name and $497,000 for something like 'Collectable Vintage' whatever the devil that means.


I forgot to mention, vintage 2002.
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Re: The price of vintage guitars

Postby ricbleu » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:07 am

michaelm wrote: but ultimately I'm buying a guitar, not making an investment. :


That's my position too, Michael, and I'd like to think it would hold out in the face of a $$$$ windfall. :D Peace
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