How do you justify buying a vintage nowdays in this market?

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by bibir, Dec 5, 2017.


  1. bibir

    bibir Member

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    Is used to be for the imvestment in the late 90s early 00s, it used to be special and nothing compares. Is that still the justification now?

    My real question is for guys who are buying a 15k vintage.. I hope this is not considered offensive, how much are you making a year? Do you regularly buy a vintage? Did you use to own a couple since teenagers and have been trading it for another vintage ever since? I'm making roughly 75k a year and can't justify myself into buying one. I have been contemplating this for five years but still can't justify myself into spending 10k for a guitar, especially in this used market nowdays. I mean some of the vintages must be just ok, but not special. W

    How many of you guys are still buying a 10-20k guitar nowdays?
     
  2. Super Reverb Swell

    Super Reverb Swell Supporting Member

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    Firrst, I think the percentage of people spending over $10k for a guitar is fairly small. Those that still do it do it because they can. I don't think anyone is really buying and holding something that expensive with the hopes of it increasing in value significantly (maybe I'm naive). I imagine most popular vintage sellers (Norm's, CME, FrettedAmericana) do a lot of business internationally where certain model guitars didn't really get exported which is how they move expensive gear quickly.

    Most guys I know buying vintage won't spend over $4k, because there are plenty of deals to be had and that's basically as much dollar for modern boutique stuff. Personally, I look for player condition stuff. It really comes down to if it gels with me or not though in terms of justification.
     
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  3. bibir

    bibir Member

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    I am also at 4k, I have 3 late 60s es, about 75% original. But these player vintage is what I think will be pretty worthless in a few years.. IMHO
     
  4. NewLeaf09

    NewLeaf09 Supporting Member

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    You can't take it with you? Relative importance?
     
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  5. Super Reverb Swell

    Super Reverb Swell Supporting Member

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    I am getting a little nervous about that myself, but I think they will continue to hold value for the time being. The whole industry is in a downward trend due to younger generations not having as big an interest in guitars and the older generation selling theirs. Things may change if Gibson goes under next year though.
     
  6. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Member

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    Never never never buy a guitar as an investment.
    You’re much better off to do other things with your money.
    Buy because you love the guitar. Anything else is just bragging rights and a my xxxx bigger than yours.
     
  7. bibir

    bibir Member

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    I never meant it as an investment. But I wonder what condition is OK to buy a 15k guitar. I can afford it, probably. But I can't let myself into buying one. Do I want a 1959 ES335? Yes!! But when should I buy it? If ever..
     
  8. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Member

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    Then let me ask, why? Why do you want one? Have you ever played one? Have you actually ever seen one? What’s the motivation here?
     
  9. 27sauce

    27sauce Supporting Member

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    I buy vintage because it’s the last place I can find a deal on a great(ymmv) guitar.
     
  10. bibir

    bibir Member

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    Because I have a 1967 335 that are great, but still lacks of something. If you think I'm chasing ghosts, I'm not. I have been satisfied with my two MB strats, that is after 20 strats. I am also good in telecaster with my ww10 and trussarts. I can't really say that with 335. 1962 of course is just a metaphor, I want an original pre 65 335, whichever one inspired and satisfied my lust. Why it has to be full original (hence the 15k price tag)? I believe that a full original will hold it's value, but isn't liquid at all. Even with full original, where I live , I'd be lucky to be able to sell it within two years.

    I have my reasons. I'm just wondering when is the right time to pull the plug? Or shouldn't I ever ?
     
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  11. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    I buy vintage because I love them, no other reason. I've been fascinated with then since I was a teenager, I have a couple of shelves full of glossy A4 books on them, I spend at least a little time every day looking at them on the internet and up to a couple of hours every day playing them. I'm having a bit of a break from playing out this year, but when I'm gigging they come with me. The money is a frustrating practicality but since I have no dependents and no other major expenses I feel like I can justify spending most of my disposable income on them, maybe with a little to one side for a holiday here and there.

    I earn in the region of $30-35k and my guitar collection easily exceeds a years salary, which I try not to think about, but at the end of the day it's only money and they make me happy. I think 10k is the most I've spent on one guitar.

    Buying guitars as investments isn't a great idea, although I think the odds of recovering money on a vintage guitar are a lot better than on a lot of other high end hobbies The Gibson L-00 I bought for $3k ten years ago is comfortably worth what I paid for it - the Canon camera I spent a similar amount of five years ago is worth, what, $500? My dad's a sailing enthusiast whose big indulgence is a pretty nice boat, and he occasionally comments that the division of depreciation and maintenence costs on a high end yacht is such you can practically watch the dollars floating away in the wake.

    The state of the market and what will happen in the coming years is a big subject and worth a thread of it own. I think a lot of people write it off without really considering how many layers there are to it, but I don't see it collapsing overnight. Values might drop down a bit, the market might stagnate further as dealers try to continue pushing prices upwards in the face of a declining market, but your vintage guitar will almost certainly be worth something significant in the future.
     
  12. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Member

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    Good reasons.. as you know, the time to buy is when you see one.. that being said, you REALLY need to play it or if that is not possible have someone you trust completely play it.. I’ve owned a bunch of early 60s 335 345 guys and they are all over the map in terms of GREAT to meh, it’s okay. Depending on what you’re willing to pay I don’t really think prices are going to move much anymore. There were only so many of them made and a lot of them are disappearing now.
     
  13. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

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    A lot of folks here condemning the idea of investment. I've made my money back and then some on a number of items. I never regretted the investment.:) Buying gear for enjoyment as well as investment is ok. I would say buying gear solely for investment purposes only is inadviseable. Buy what you like, but bear in mind its value and rarity. I would also say that any portfolio should be diverse and predominantly comprised of more historically proven and reliable investments, with gear representing a small part. Gear shouldn't constitute all that you have for retirement. In the meantime, don't try to grow any more money than you can afford to lose.
     
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  14. yucatown

    yucatown Theory-free noodling enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    I’m in my 40s and own several vintage guitars. The idea that younger generations won’t like vintage as much as baby boomers is a myth. I used to have a bunch of boutique guitars and I sold them all in favor of old guitars.

    I do agree that you buy vintage because you love it, and not as an investment. If you’re buying with resale value as the first criteria in your mind, then it’s probably best to stay away.
     
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  15. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    If we're talking something like a Strat/Tele/LP/335/D-18, I wouldn't. There are simply too many quality reissues out there, and people have gone to such lengths to reproduce old parts that I'd have no idea what's genuine and what's not.

    However, almost the entirety of my sizeable vintage instrument collection isn't stuff that you can get modern replicas of. Even the highest-value pieces - such as a Rickenbacker 335 Capri, a National Style 4 Hawaiian, or a Gibson EB-1 - either don't have reissues or the modern equivalent is substantially different from the original. I buy them and I play them because I'm interested in the history and because I enjoy being different from every other musician out there. That's really why, in addition to not owning any vintage Teles, I don't own any modern Teles either - there's so much cool vintage stuff out there that they seem passé by comparison.
     
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  16. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    Yeah, this always comes down to millennials not being interested in the boomer's vintage guitars and I think the Xers get written out of the equation a bit too easily. We were there when the vintage thing was going crazy but most of us couldn't keep up with what the boomers were willing to pay for things, and now the boomers are beginning to release guitars back onto the market there are a lot of Xers who are now on much higher salaries than we were 20 years ago ready to pick up where they left off. It would be interesting as well to know who's driving the celebrity owned market, things like a D-28 used by Dylan for a while in the early 70s selling for $300k - are those going to boomers? I suspect there are a fair few Xers contributing to that side of it.

    I also don't think there's as little interest from the millennials as some people think the difficulty is that where as vintage guitars were always tantalisingly out of reach for me - every time I went up a pay grade the guitars I wanted seemed to go up the same amount - for a 20 something today they think they're as likely to own a 50s Les Paul or 335 as they are a yacht or a Ferrari. I work with a couple of them so ate really into their blues and early country so I took in my Gibson L-1 to show them - they loved it but they handled it like a museum relic and seemed genuinely surprised that it was just a guitar I have out on a stand for whenever I was in the mood to pick it up. They don't currently see this stuff as accessible, and it's a question of whether given a rise in disposable income or a drop in asking prices would stimulate the market - it's entirely possible it would but it might be a while until they know.
     
  17. Jazzmaster60

    Jazzmaster60 Member

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    I agree with the late 60’s Es335 being pretty good but actually lacking something . Last month I pulled the front pick up from a ‘69 335 and it didn’t have a visible neck tenon .

    Wide nut pre 1965 335 is definitely is the way to go .Now predicting the future is almost impossible but In my opinion it’s only the 100% original guitars that will sell , don’t buy it if you don’t plan to keep it .

    If you can’t afford to tie up your money don’t buy it . Instead buy a Blonde 83-85Dot reissue . I’ve read Charlie Gelber’s blog through twice . I want a 1963/1964 ES 335 so badly but not as much since I took Charlie’s advice and bought a 1984.

    If I had the cash I would buy a 100% all original Fender Telecaster custom as well as a pre 1965 Gibson 335

    There will probably be enough rich 50 year olds to keep vintage guitar prices stable ,( at best )for 20years . After that time I’m not so sure , it is very hard to hear guitar in popular music these days .

    Good luck
     
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  18. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    I don't give a flying f**k about the vagaries of guitar prices, be it "vintage" or "custom builder" or whatever.

    I do, however, love the idea of my grandkids playing the 1962 ES-335 or 1958 ES-175D or any of several custom-built guitars that used to be their granddad's. Music (and guitar playing) has proved to be a stable passion across generations in my family so it's a safe bet that, between my kids' kids and my brothers' kids' kids, a lot of my nice guitars will stick around my extended family for a few generations. That makes it worth whatever $$$ I've spent on them.
     
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  19. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    I've always bought guitars based on how well it plays, how it sounds, then vintage value. I played an Epiphone Les Paul Birdseye for years, and was happy with the usual pots/caps/tuners/toggle switch/pickups upgrade path. Then the chance came to buy a 63 Gibson SG Jr hulk for $500 with case. I sold the Epi, took the $450 and added the $50. Then I got a little nuts, and with my Fool SG/Cream fervor firmly in place, I turned it into a Fool SG replica.
    [​IMG]
    Yes, I paid a four figure number to convert it, and it became this when finished.
    [​IMG]
    I have a few vintage guitars, and this is the only one Gruhn Guitars called me about when I got the appraisal
    for it on the phone to check who worked on it. Now it's appraised by them for $10k. It's all about buying smart
    and being happy with the result. Granted I had top notch people work on this, in fact "legendary" might be
    an appropriate term, but I didn't do this for the appraisal price, I did it for me.

    You can't go vintage and look at it as an investment, you have to do it for yourself, and the enjoyment of playing
    a guitar that sounds right.
     
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  20. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Supporting Member

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    If you're reading a blog where the guy has never engineered guitars in his life and sits around all day pointing out "Cheap, Cost Cutting, Bean Counters" for literally everything done different in instrument design....you're doing your intellect a large disservice.

    You ever look at a historic/335 neck mortise without the tenon? It's two tiny sidewalls and a narrow base, a tenon is ONLY AS STRONG AS IT'S MORTISE. A neck joint is two pieces, not one, and not some mental phallic extension of a "tone machine."

    Charlie is a nice guy, but his towing the "bean counter" line is nonsense, plain and simple. Same goes for his "maybe you didn't get a dog" logic, as if if one sounds great others still can't. Total Rubbish.
     

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