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

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

  1. $ongWriter

    $ongWriter Member

    Oct 4, 2012
    Near Nashville
    I started buying vintage because I realized by the time I'm 70...they will all either be at Vince Gills house or in Japan. And one you fall in love with them...the newer guitars just don't do it. Plus, I usually buy a vintage guitar that is priced right!!...and is great. I'm not doing it for the investment. I do it because I love the history and mojo and sound of vintage guitars. Simple as that....and my two sons who also play guitar are glad I'm spending my money on that instead of vacations in the South of France. I just purchased 1 of only 10 1949 shade top Martin 00-18''s amazing...the first thing out of my sons mouth after he hit a few chords was, "I get this one when you die!!"
  2. BlackbirdVintageMusic

    BlackbirdVintageMusic Member

    Sep 23, 2017
    For what it's worth, the Japanese aren't 1/50th the guitar-gobbling monsters Americans make them out to be. England has been outbuying them for all but a few of the last 60 years.
    smiert spionam likes this.
  3. edwarddavis

    edwarddavis Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    Bristol Connecticut
    Good luck my friend
    Life is short and very hard
    You beat this thing so you can do what ever you can
    My prayers are with you
    shallbe likes this.
  4. shizzaq

    shizzaq Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2007
    Kansas City, MO
    I’ve never lost money on vintage gear. I can’t say the same for boutique gear. I don’t buy the crazy stuff though. Currently I have a 66 Mustang and some 60s Fender amps. I am thinking about getting a 62 Les Paul Jr at some point. The vintage ones cost about the same as a new custom shop version.
    martyncrew and smiert spionam like this.
  5. sonhenry

    sonhenry Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Texas/Alaska/UK, depending
    I'm not sure I'll ever spend that kind of money on a guitar. I'm cursed with remembering when they were all just old guitars. So, if you want that start at 30k$, party on...

    But I'm still finding old affordable guitars. My standards have changed. I've always bought ahead of what was cool. So when everyone was complaining about the post-CBS fenders, I was picking them 4-bolt neck fenders up cheap and playing them. I sold them off a few years ago and bought a couple 3-bolt strats with stagger poles when folks were complaining about the 3-bolt necks not being stable. I kept one and sold the rest. Now I'm picking up late-70's Teles and silverface Princetons and selling off the tweed amps. Ride just ahead of what's in demand, and buy great examples of whatever people are smack-talking, sell it later when folks catch up- that's how I justify it. Oh, and don't get attached. Once you name them you can never sell them...

    I still have too many guitars and amps, but my wife will have one hell of a yard sale someday.
  6. FlyingVBlues

    FlyingVBlues Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2002
    Virginia & Cortona Italia
    This year I bought an all original 1963 Tele and a 1954 Les Paul Custom with issues (non-original tuners, pickguard, strap buttons, switch tip, jack plate, removed Bigsby, refretted). The pickups and electronics are original and the guitar is a beast. Although I have some excellent modern guitars (Collings, Gibson Historic’s, PRS Core, Suhr) I’m at a point where I would much rather purchase old wood than spend money on reissues or expensive boutique guitars that take a long time to be delivered, and may or may not be the right guitar for me.

    In my opinion anyone who buys a vintage guitar primarily as an investment is taking a substantial risk. I bought these two guitars, and the other vintage instruments and amps I own, because I love older guitars and amps and I wanted the enjoyment of playing them, and I could afford them. The vintage guitars and amps I own may go up or down in value, and that isn’t a concern for me at all since I don’t have any plans to ever sell any of them. A lot of the vintage stuff I own were just inexpensive used guitars back in the late 60’s to mid-70’s when I bought them.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
    martyncrew, Bluzeboy and Thedude99 like this.
  7. juniorlespaul

    juniorlespaul Member

    Apr 18, 2017
    One of the only good things about being in my '60's is that, when I first started playing guitar, you could buy 50's to 60's electric Gibsons and Fenders at the Hollywood GC for less than $500. In late 1968 my brother (a pro musician) took me to GC and picked out a 1958 Les Paul burst and a 1964 Deluxe Reverb for $350! Almost 30 years later, (at the same time the stock market was freaking out bull) at the end of our gig in W. Los Angeles a nerdy looking guy in a biz suit approached me and asked if he could see my guitar. I never even considered guitars as investments, or that some would increase in value. After hesitating, I plugged it in for him and he could play well. Then he said he was a collector from Dallas, would I consider selling it for $400K? And of course I thought he was just joking, and he passed me a business card and said to call him if I wanted to sell, cause my guitar was one of the best examples he had seen. I soon discovered that old Pauls were selling for crazy $. A month or so later, I delivered the guitar to him at his home in Dallas, and bought a house along the Calif. Central Coast. Ten Les Paul's later, I wish I still had that one, but I also still have the house. In the present market, and with numerous questionable experiences on Reverb, I believe guitars are real bad investments, except for the joy they give you and others.
  8. porterburst

    porterburst Silver Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Been through a lot of gear, and I'm at the point where I don't care if it's old or new. If it sounds and feels amazing, and I can afford it, that's what I go with.
    shallbe, ssdeluxe, CharlieS and 2 others like this.
  9. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    I'm trying to find someone to do work on a '60 ES345 that's in need of significant restoration - who would you recommend?
  10. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Frankly, I don't know now. The guy I used to do the Fool SG replica became unreliable, so I don't recommend him anymore. I haven't really explored any work like that in the last 4-5 years, sorry.
    MasterEvan07 likes this.
  11. Anje

    Anje Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2005
    I'm sure there is a good amount of skilled persons to take care of a vintage guitar in the US.
    From what I know I'd highly recommend contacting Hogy for restoration/repair/refret work; he's a member here.
    slimdave likes this.
  12. Yam the BOMB

    Yam the BOMB Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2017
    Southern Indiana
    So in other words you are single. And answer to no one.

    No married man could do that.
    bibir likes this.
  13. Creighton

    Creighton Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    Because boutique guitars are almost approaching the same price ranges? I'd spend 4k-8k on a vintage tele and own a piece of Fender history before I would spend the same on an overpriced boutique build. Don't get me wrong, there are many great builders out there, but not for the same price as the real thing.
    crashbelt likes this.
  14. JustinReagin

    JustinReagin Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2012
    Home of the Bi-Polar Weather
    Perhaps put away for a few years, and do it. Then it seems less of an impact? Psychology. Otherwise, screw it, if you always wanted to do something, you've got one life. I went back and forth on a custom build guitar for years and finally said screw it, spent the $6k or so, and never looked back. Don't regret it 3 years later at all.
    crashbelt likes this.
  15. hogy

    hogy Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    When I got interested in guitars, it was the early '80s. I was very heavily into the Blues scene that was happening at the time, and ALL of my guitar heroes played vintage Strats. Anson Funderburgh, Ronnie Earl, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray, Rory Gallagher, etc.pp.

    A vintage Strat is all I wanted, and I made it happen. And then the search started for particular years, particular tones, particular colors. Stuff was getting (relatively) expensive already, but still doable. I remember my first fiesta red '63 Strat for $3500, and how everybody thought I was stupid for sending that much.

    Long story short, I just stuck with old guitars. Never even owned a new guitar, ever. I never had to "justify" what I bought, because I always enjoyed the hell out of it, and never lost money. I traded up for tone and finally found all my Holy Grail guitars. Sold a couple of those and regretted it very much, so now I'm not selling anything else I know I can't easily replace in terms of tone.

    These days I am whittling it down a bit, but only to consolidate everything into a handful of killer pieces. End goal is to get down to under 10 guitars that cover everything and represent the best of their kind. I'm better than halfway there. Those I intend to keep and play until I no longer can, at which point I don't care what happens to them.

    I no longer consider myself to be a "collector" because I play everything and intend to wear stuff out as best I can. I no longer "save" anything. My biggest regret is selling an unbelievable, early '54 Strat because the frets were worn down to nothing. This was at the height of the craze, end I didn't want to "devalue" it by refretting. Now I have no idea where the money went, but I still miss that Strat. Dumb!
  16. misterturtlehead

    misterturtlehead Member

    Jun 23, 2013
    One thing that all of my nice old guitars have in common is that once I played them I knew I was going to buy them. I didn't have to spend any time thinking about whether I should buy them or not.
    crashbelt likes this.
  17. Sampler

    Sampler Silver Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2013
    I bought this jar years ago and it comes in handy for this kind of stuff.....

    csweldon and derekd like this.
  18. GAD

    GAD Wubbalubbadubdub

    May 22, 2008
    I have many vintage guitars. None are Gibson or Fender though (all Guilds). I can afford whatever I want but I don’t see the value in a $15k guitar. I have a few that are $4k+ but they’re Gibson Historics.
  19. A. Deafman

    A. Deafman Member

    Sep 19, 2019
    Ottawa, Canada
    I love this approach and attitude. Absolutely love it.

    Unfortunately the "golden age" vintage guitar market has driven prices out of reach for the average player or enthusiast. A common enough complaint that it's become a cliche, I know. I don't mind it - it's a market-driven reality and makes perfect sense - but it's sort of a shame that my young daughter, who currently plays bass, won't ever be able to afford to own a 50s or 60s-era instrument. I certainly can't, so I get my "old, played-in" vibe from 70s and 80s stuff. Many golden age instruments will become museum pieces or part of a hoard somewhere.

    So yeah, play them til your gone, and insist their next owners do the same. This is what I plan to do.
  20. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

    May 14, 2017
    I have several excellent vintage guitars and got them all at reasonable prices. They are not hacked up "players" guitars, either. I find that over about $4K (I rarely pay over $3) we're looking at wealthy collectors more than players, and we're talking about instruments with little to no additional musical value, just pricey qualities like condition, some weird color, etc. that have value only for people I consider a little strange and excessive in their acquisitive possessive mania. Unless we need to stock about 100,000 guitar museums, we're not going to need all these self-curated collections of models people won't even like in 20 more years. Prices are already soft, and soon enough there won't even be bargain hunters to fork over short cash because no one's going to want your '72 SG, Pelham Blue or not. Why would they? Ditto antiques, for that matter. Or classic cars. We're not gonna be here, and nobody's going to care much for our stuff.

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