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How much were Pre-CBS Fenders selling for in the US in the early 1980s?

DRS

Member
Messages
11,524
In 1985, at a guitar store, I had a choice between an original 61 Tele with a white pickguard in good condition for $600 and an Ibanez Proline for $560. I bought the Ibanez because it was red and shiny and I could get financing on a new guitar. I was attracted to the Tele but didn't have the cash. Now, that was Canadian $ and in 1985 that's $450 USD for a guitar with what would be considered to have very light relicing. Incredibly desirable. What is that guitar worth now, $15,000 USD?
 

bluejaybill

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
897
I picked up my '64 sunburst strat, all original, for $700-750 around 1979-1980. Still my number one!

But they went up fast after that.

My recollection is that a nice burst was around $7500 then, as were the korina guitars. That was a lot of jack in those days, certainly too much for a struggling guitarist like myself! I did pick up a '66 Custom telecaster then for under $500 from the local paper, no one wanted it because it was transition year and not pre-CBS.
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
8,890
I paid 250 for a worn '60 strat in '76. By '80 or so, I was getting offers of a grand. I still have it.
I have buddy who bought a '60 P in '73 I think he said it was. Paid 50 bucks for it. Guy wanted like 75 but all he and his buddy could come up with was 50. He still has his as well.
 

lpnv59

Member
Messages
624
In ‘74-‘76, I worked in a used gear shop in Harvard Sq. 60’s Strats were 275-325. Maple neck 50’s were about 450-550 as I recall. In ‘76 I bought myself a 56 Gibson Goldtop on a trip to NYC at We Buy for 600 and traded up a year later with a ‘59 burst for 2k at the store I worked at. We had another burst come in previously that was very flamey for 2600 (page 99 in BOTB)that I missed out on. Another employee saw it first. 50’s Juniors were 250. 60’s SG juniors were 150ish. Reverse Firebirds were 3-400 bucks because they weren’t as common. But in ‘80 I paid 200 for a pretty clean reverse F1. Jazz masters and Jaguars were 100 bucks cause no one wanted them. Mustangs were even cheaper because they were a kids guitar
 
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Redbell

Member
Messages
1,433
Slightly different but I bought a mid 70's Strat for $500.00 in the Eighties. Hardtail, Huge headstock, 3 bolt, wouldn't keep in tune so I moved it on for about the same price. Probably just needed a good setup but I didn't know any better.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,589
I'm too young to have firsthand experience. I've read/heard many accounts that these older Fenders were not desirable at that time and that one could buy these classic Pre-CBS guitars, basses, and amps for as little as $100-$200 at that time.

For those of you that bought a Pre-CBS Fender in the early 80s and/or had a friend/bandmate that bought one… What model/year/finish was it? How much did it cost then? Were there any modifications or was it a refin?

What year do you consider the Fender Pre-CBS market really took off?

Just curious. Thanks!
In the early to mid-80's, in Houston, I recall pre-CBS Fenders going for around $750 for say, a 50's Strat, less for Telecasters.
 

Bluzeboy

Member
Messages
7,854
I have buddy who bought a '60 P in '73 I think he said it was. Paid 50 bucks for it. Guy wanted like 75 but all he and his buddy could come up with was 50. He still has his as well.
I was with my friend in the early 70’s bought a 57 black beauty for 50 from a pawn shop..
 

jayn

Member
Messages
980
I used to get the newsletters from Gruhns and Guitar Trader (?? - the one in NJ that was a big dealer). My recollection is a maple board Strat was $1700-2500 back then, '57 were the most desirable. Slab board Strats were $995, generally. Of course, back then a '59 LP was $2750-4500 depending on condition.

At the time, it seemed like the pre-CBS market had taken off even though those prices are laughable now.
 

fernieite

Member
Messages
184
First of all, I'm impressed that any of you can remember what you paid for a guitar or amp way back then! I must have really done too many drugs. :confused:

I had a 63 Esquire / tele that I traded for a 1970 (was told it was a 69) les paul sunburst deluxe here in Toronto in about 1982. I think the value of the tele was about $800? Probably similar to what you'd pay in the US, I guess.

I played these guitars through my first amp a 1956 tweed deluxe. Sorry, I don't remember what I paid for it in 1978. :rolleyes: I sold the tweed and les paul in 1987. You guessed it - I don't remember how much I sold them for! ;)
 
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griggsterr

Member
Messages
6,843
They were bringing very good money by then. Much of it helped by the cover of Derek and the Domioes album.
I live in the midwest and in the the early mid 80s vintage was pretty hot. But once the dayglo orange and glam stuff took off you couldn't give vintage away except to collectors who still paid good money for it. When I was 17 I bought a very early strat with a thermometer looking case. I traded a minister my yamaha acoustic and $75 for it. Mind you $75 then was about $400 now. I traded that guitar to a local music store that gave me an ugly non reverse firebird and $500 for it. I thought I had won the lottery. He in turn sold the guitar to Stephen Stills.
 
Messages
2,064
A good friend of my Dad's bought a '58 or so sunburst strat in 1978 at a pawn shop for around $200 down in Florida. He sold it through a newspaper ad for 13k around 2003 to someone in Wisconsin. Then he bought an RV which he barely used and now the RV is worth nothing, uhg. I wish I'd known...my Dad used to tell me about "Ray's Vintage Strat" but I figured that was one of his drunken tall tales, come to find out the story was legit!



It ain't pre-cbs, and isn't the 80's...but the Black '73 Tele Deluxe I used to have I got for about $700 in 1997 or thereabouts, got almost 2k when I sold it on ebay in the early 00's to guess who....a japanese buyer!
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
8,890
Much of it helped by the cover of Derek and the Domioes album.
When I bought my '60 in early '76, there were the maple neck ones hanging up. THOSE were the ones that went up a lot, because of that. I remember them being around a grand (give or take, I don't remember exactly). They had some newer ones I didn't like much, and then I saw this older, beat up rosewood one. $250. I didn't even haggle, I was a kid, what did I know. The guy selling it said no one wanted the rosewood ones.
 

84Bravo

Member
Messages
11,548
In 1985 a friend bought a beautiful mint 1954 sunburst Strat, serial number on the backplate, for $1750 from Silver Strings in St Louis. Two weeks later I watched in horror as he attempted to attach a term spring with a screwdriver that slipped from the spring and chattered across the back of the guitar.

You could buy an original but played Broadcaster that same year for $1500.
 

jiml

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,665
Yup.

Giuliano's in White Plains had a mint 60's Mary Kaye Strat that sat in the case forever. It was $950. Next to it was a few 'Bursts for $2k.

If time travel is invented soon, I'm heading there with $5k in cash.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,054
Reasons we are seeing a wide variety of prices in this thread:
  • Responders aren't paying attention to the OP's request and just giving prices on items that aren't pre-CBS Strats. :)
  • There was a big difference in the market pricing between 1980 and 1989 (the 80s).
  • A lot of the responses reflect that the market was "local". In other words, since there was no Internet for easy buying/selling, you often ran across one of these beauties locally for the "used guitar" price and often a great deal. This was an era when pawn shops sold gear based on what they paid for it, not the national retail value.
  • You went to a guitar show (pretty uncommon in the 80s) or a vintage dealer (also uncommon) and paid the premium price (still a great deal compared to today's prices). The vintage guitar market was very small at the time.
 
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Jack Daniels

Member
Messages
1,901
I’m blown away if those are really the “going”prices on pre-CBS fenders. I was a vintage dealer in the 80s and sold to other dealers. In 1984 for,example, I would search and buy mid 70s strats local for around $400 and sell them for $600 at retail. Early 70s were bought for around $500 and sold for $750. Anything Strat from the 60s vintage range were already comanding close to a grand in fair shape. 50s broadcasters and no casters were all the rage due to Albert Lee, Ray Fleck and easily $1500-2000. Same with 50s Strats. Sunburst Les Pauls (burst) were already $8-10k.

Of course there were deals to be had back then. But that is not the same thing as going rate.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,902
In CA during the 80's, the balance of trade with Japan was hugely in favor of Japan. The Japanese had to spend their dollars somewhere. Some chose real estate, some chose vintage cars, some vintage instruments. Modest prices at the beginning of the 80's, heading toward way higher price levels in the later 80's. Fun fact - by the mid 80's, Japanese investors owned over 90% of property in Hawaii, and had significant holdings in Los Angeles as well.

Of course, vintage guitars were becoming more popular, and plenty other people bough them, not just Japanese investors. As TreeofPain wrote above, the vintage market expanded. Also, there was a big difference between the early 80's and the later 80's as far as price level.

Gibsons were the higher priced vintage guitars in the 70's and early 80's, but Fender caught up, Martin too, and others!

Thanks, Dana O
 




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