• TGP is giving away a Strat, Tele, and Jazzmaster. Click Here for full details.
    Click Here to upgrade your account and enter today!


Henry Terry

How TF do you guys remember exactly how much you paid for a guitar 50 years ago?
It is not hard to do so. In May, 1976, I bought a new Fender Stratocaster, with case, at the Sam Ash store on Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, New York for $ 325 plus tax. In July, 1980, I bought a new Gibson Les Paul Standard, with case, at the Sam Ash store on 48th Street in Manhattan for $ 600 plus tax.

Julio Iguana

I’m an old guy. I’m amazed by the choices and options we have today. If you’re too confused by all the available options you’re presented with, then sit down and let the world pass you by! The guitars made today are for the most part better made (precision), more versatile (dual adjustable truss rods, coil splitting, treble bleed) and on and on. Yes, the choices can be intimidating but ya know what, you don’t HAVE to buy! Keep it to yourself next time you’re peav....er, I mean peeved! I’m done.


World Heavyweight Champion
Gold Supporting Member
Your narrative is false.
Buying a new Fender or Gibson "back in the day" was a lot less affordable (for a comparable quality guitar) than it is now. That's why many (most?) famous guitarists from "back in the day" started with cheap, poorly made guitars from other manufacturers. Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar came from a Sears catalog. Paul McCartney and Rory Gallagher both started with guitars built by a company called Rosetti that were absolute disasters.
Better gear is more accessible to more musicians than it ever has been, and the affordable gear is of better quality than it ever was.


Rickenbacker maintains the old-school system of one guitar at one price point that the OP talks about. You want a 360/6? Only one to choose from in different colors. Prices are pretty much the same as in the '60s with inflation taken into consideration. They run a profitable business too, and Made in America. On the downside, if you don't have $2000 or so you can't buy one, at least not "new".

I have a Ric and it's a fine guitar. I never think about selling it because it's so fun to play and there's nothing else like it. On one hand, it's nice to not have to worry about "oh, should I sell my MIA Ric for a MIM or MIJ or MIK or MIC or MII, etc, which might be good enough for me to pocket the difference?". Perhaps people with Rics are less inclined to sell them due to this?

On the other hand, I think you do need companies like Fender today if you want guitar playing to reach as wide an audience as possible. A lot of people can't afford $2000 guitars.


You are going to let the guitar company tell you what guitar sound and plays best? Ok.

Spooky Action

OP, When my dad starts talking about the good old days, I remind him [MOD EDIT] Most of the beautiful perfection of the past is pure fantasy. Now we a re less poor.
Including the wonderful world of vintage guitars for the masses of all ages and price points.
Last edited by a moderator:


Enjoy the benefits of hard work.
Only if you can concentrate on what you’re doing.

Back in the early days, of Fender in particular, there were distinct models created for the budget market. Duo Sonic, Musicmaster and to a lesser extent Jaguar were less expensive alternatives to the top-of-the-line Strat and Tele.
The Jaguar was a step up from the Strat. And no, if I wanted a Strat I would not settle for a Duo Sonic or a Music Master. I glad Fender offers Strats at different price points.

Many businesses have figured out that they want to sell to all consumers not just the wealthy or those that sweat and save to get the best (or the perceived best). That’s why they try to sell items at all price points along the way.
Which is why I own an Epiphone Les Paul Standard instead of a Gibson custom shop R9 Les Paul Standard.


Ya nothing quite as bad as progress and choice , ya lets get back one model T Ford car in black.

Yippee back to "the good ol' days" where the only really good about them was, they are good and gone
Guitars cost a lot of money back in the day. That standard Tele would cost around $1500+ in today's dollar. Also, there are several price points making them more accessible to the person wanting to pick up the guitar and learn.

I like options. This has gotta be a troll, or uninformed post.
Hmmm .. I think it's for real .. I wish it was a troll .. I'm not getting the "uninformed" vibe inasmuch as i'm getting the "longing for the bygone days" vibe
I disagree with pretty much EVERYTHING that you said.

To start with, guitars were more expensive back then. MUCH more expensive. Entry level stuff was garbage.

You are also romanticizing vintage stuff way too much. Yes they are amazing FOR CERTAIN THINGS. Not for everything.

I'll make the case that a modern american professional telecaster made today is BETTER than a telecaster that you could buy in the '50s. It has saddles that offer better intonation, it has a much more playable neck, it has a treble bleed, and it has a much more comfortable heel. Also it's pickups do not run the risk of squealing.

It does not have the "mojo" but for the working guitarist it is a better, more reliable instrument.

If you are a serious guitar player that needs an instrument to WORK you don't need the custom shop or vintage stuff, not in the slightest.

Now, if you're an armchair warrior that likes to complain about stuff on the internet OTOH....
Well said

Trending Topics