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

When did 50's & 60's instruments become so desireable?

pete74

Member
Messages
133
Reading a post on facebook from one of my favorite pro-guitarists Bruce Kulick. He was talking about touring in the late 70's with Meatloaf and using a 62 or 63 strat.

This got me thinking as I was born in 74 I have no concept of what things were like for pros in the 70's.... Were these guys just playing what they had, or did they seek out late 50's/early 60's guitars then for the same reason we want them now? If the latter, when did it start?
 

Oinkus

Member
Messages
4,695
Most of the many guitarists I knew and played with in the 70s wanted a new guitar. Used guitars were something poor people like me bought , generally Teles were dirt cheap that is why so many people played them. Only guitar that was on the list of must haves for me was a Les Paul Custom , Standards were considered to be less well built.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,902
I graduated from high school in '74 in Los Angeles, and in my circle of friends, 50's and 60's guitars and amps were well known and desirable by then.

They were also more plentiful - a '58-'60 Les Paul was @ $2200, 50's Strats were $1500, 60's Strats $1100-$1200. Also helped by the fact that Fender is in So Cal - lotta used Fender gear around then.

It was in the early '80's when the collecting market really took off - the US balance of trade deficit w/ Japan was huge, and they had to spend their dollars somewhere, so a lot of collecting markets want up - Classic cars, real estate, sports memorabilia - guitars and amps too!

Thanks, Dana O
 
Last edited:

Barquentine

Member
Messages
1,937
I started playing in 1974. I can't remember when vintage guitars became a thing. I can remember being amazed when 70's guitars started being regarded as desirable because I played loads of those and, on the whole, they weren't very good. The only vintage guitar I've owned was an all original 1969 SG Standard. I like SG's but this was easily the worst guitar I've owned. I'd take a modern guitar any day.
 

Tommy Biggs

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,181
I would window shop 48th Street in the mid 70s, prices for 60s guitars were over new prices then. Not like now, but noticeably higher. I have a Gibson book from 1976 that mentions the holy grail-ness of the 59 Bursts, and the high price!
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,633
Late 60s basically. The bluegrass crowd probably got there first and acoustic instruments were the first 'vintage' guitars (violins having started the trend a good 150 years previous) with pre-war Martins and F5 mandolins coveted long before the electric world caught up, and you can see people like Dylan and Neil Young hunting out older acoustics from early in their career, but as soon as a few players picked up on the fact some influential people were playing 'old style' Les Pauls they started to command a premium. There was certainly a growing feeling in the late 60s that earlier Gibson, Fender and Martin guitars were different/better than the current ones.

Pretty sure George Gruhn has been dealing in 'vintage' guitars since 1970 if not before.
 

JPIndustrie

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,313
Same story as the performance cars of the era ... manufacturers and American business had a lead on innovation; hubris and earnings statements eventually took all the fun out...

I'd argue as well that the trends are similar to the automobile market, and continue today - I think we're getting some of the best output from the current day 'American' factories in electric guitars and fast cars...
 

ns2a

Member
Messages
100
Same story as the performance cars of the era ... manufacturers and American business had a lead on innovation; hubris and earnings statements eventually took all the fun out...

I'd argue as well that the trends are similar to the automobile market, and continue today - I think we're getting some of the best output from the current day 'American' factories in electric guitars and fast cars...
Thank you for saying that about guitars AND cars!
 

JPIndustrie

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,313
Thank you for saying that about guitars AND cars!
and honestly, I'd liken the latest trend into 70/80s cars is similar to the growing 'love' (really reversal of tastes) for guitars of this era. The trends are again very similar
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,522
I became I aware of it in the 80s when Fender put out the AVRI ‘57 and ‘62 reissue Strats. I also lived in Illinois and was aware of Hamer Guitars and their association with older instruments.
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
5,051
.

When the famous late 50s Gibson LPs were out they sold so poorly that the guitars were replaced with the SG at half the price point. Those LPs ended up in pawn shops where the kids who would later be rock stars found them for cheap.

J Mascics of Dinosaur Junior saw an add for a used Strat at his local music shop. He had saved up enough money for it and when he got there the price was wrong. So he looked around the shop some and found an old Jazzmaster selling for a low enough price it fit the cash he had. He continues to play Jazzmasters and has the JMJM signature Squire guitar now.

Hendrix/Clapton/and others of that era all traded guitars around. They all played used gear because they couldn't get new gear. English players had a hard time importing Fender guitars and amps, which kicked off Marshall and Burns and encouraged Brian May to build a guitar from scratch with his father.

.
 

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,596
Hendrix didn't seem to have any problem with the CBS strats that he played!
not to be pedantic, but those earlier CBS strats are still pretty well-loved. people didn't like it when they switched to a 3-bolt neck and made a couple other design and quality changes. an early '68 strat is very similar to a '59 strat in all the ways that count. aesthetically, it has a bigger headstock, pearloid dots instead of clay, and, etc.

by the 70s you had a bunch of changes that were instituted to make mass production easier: poly finish, skunk stripe neck, 3 bolt neck joint, bullet truss rod, less body contouring, etc. its not that these changes were all bad out of hand, but they were symptomatic of economies of scale and less of a commitment to quality.

I would say early CBS strats were very close to late 50s and early 60s strats in terms of quality. They were slightly less handmade than golden era fenders but still very good guitars. A mid-70s strat I would put more on par with your typical import guitar of today if not a little worse. Some are going to be great, some are dogs, but by in large i would say gun to your head they are probably comparable to mexican fenders or G&L legacy guitars.
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,719
i've heard the knocks against 70s strats, but Yngvie and Billy Corgan played 70s strats and honestly, they sounded fine.....

not to be pedantic, but those earlier CBS strats are still pretty well-loved. people didn't like it when they switched to a 3-bolt neck and made a couple other design and quality changes. an early '68 strat is very similar to a '59 strat in all the ways that count. aesthetically, it has a bigger headstock, pearloid dots instead of clay, and, etc.

by the 70s you had a bunch of changes that were instituted to make mass production easier: poly finish, skunk stripe neck, 3 bolt neck joint, bullet truss rod, less body contouring, etc. its not that these changes were all bad out of hand, but they were symptomatic of economies of scale and less of a commitment to quality.

I would say early CBS strats were very close to late 50s and early 60s strats in terms of quality. They were slightly less handmade than golden era fenders but still very good guitars. A mid-70s strat I would put more on par with your typical import guitar of today if not a little worse. Some are going to be great, some are dogs, but by in large i would say gun to your head they are probably comparable to mexican fenders or G&L legacy guitars.
 

Benz2112

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,943
They became desirable as G and F went into a malaise period in the mid to late 70's. By the 80's, there started to be vintage guitar shows, shops started sending out circulars with used inventory. This just ramped up more as stores started getting buzz, the internet happened, more celebrity players started collecting, snowball effect.
 

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,596
i've heard the knocks against 70s strats, but Yngvie and Billy Corgan played 70s strats and honestly, they sounded fine.....
yep there are good ones and bad ones. lots of people playing import guitars that also sound great! I also think that individual guitar difference in tone (barring pickups) is a very overblown discussion, particularly when it comes to touring musicians who can play loud (which nullifies a lot of body to body sound difference) with professional sound support and production etc. I DO think it is relevant when people are talking about guitars that cost more than >$5000. I dont think any 50s, 60s, or 70s strat is worth the markup yet as a nice one is going to be head and shoulders more expensive than newer fenders that can be bought or built in that same range. I think that some 80s and 90s strats are getting to the point on the depreciation curve where they are starting to get attractive.
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
10,874
I was jamming with a guy in 74 with two , a 62 and a current 73-74. He always preferred the old one.
 




Trending Topics

Top