Which new guitar will appreciate most over next 25 years?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by dark_rainbow, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. 55custom

    55custom Member

    May 14, 2005
    It's difficult to predict, because what started the collectibles decades ago was based on tone, quality, rareity and what the rock icons used. But in current times, collectibility is based on a number of additional factors.
    Reputations of certain guitars are being socially engineered on the net these days. And with so many builders and manufacturers, there is a lot of competition. This is far different than the circumstances circa 1980.

    The custom shop instruments from large manufacturers are in jeopardy because they are not the best builders of their own instruments. Also, there are tens of thousands of special issue, limited edition guitars from Gibson and Fender alone. Some of their values are based upon mere memorabilia mentality amongst specific age groups, and are subject to decline like any other temporary fad.

    Meanwhile much of the vintage market, which has a lot of cool guitars, has proven to be the most vulnerable, having the largest downturn in values at around 50%. High risk investments now.

    So, going forward it is difficult to say which guitars will take center stage in the future, because the criteria for establishing that kind status keeps changing every few years.
    And who knows what the 20 year olds now, will be thinking when they're 45 years old, and what criteria they will be using to spend big bucks on a certain guitar. They can change their minds several times between now and then.
  2. Lemuel

    Lemuel Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2009
  3. Lambone

    Lambone Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2009
  4. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I was thinking the same thing.(accept they do something for me:D)

    Big time appreciation on the very early models already, let alone another 20-25 years...
  5. phillygtr

    phillygtr Member

    Jun 28, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    Interesting. I've often wondered how older Taylor guitars will do in the future market. They're always putting out a new and improved pickup system in the acoustic electrics, their older models had big chunks of the side taken out to support the pickup control panel. Maybe they'll never face Martin's problem of having their new guitars competing (& failing in comparison) with their older ones (would you rather have a '34 D-28 or a 2011 model?). Do people complain that Taylor doesn't make 'em like they used to? Probably not. On the other hand, what does that do to their potential for appreciation?
  6. mudster

    mudster High Prairie Wrangler Silver Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2009
    I think that these guitars will increase in price if purchased at current market prices for used instruments: Grosh Electrajet custom [particularly the 2 p-90 and 2 - humbucker versions], LsL T-bone (tele style) and Saticoy.
    Thorn guitars may also increase although they don't show up much used as they are fairly reasonably priced when compared to other makers. LsL are still a bargain at current prices new, although the recent price increase lessened this. Honest dealers still have some in stock at the original price.
  7. cteaghin

    cteaghin Member

    Aug 12, 2010
    This is exactly what I was thinking. Fine hand crafted archtop guitars seem to increase in value.
  8. magnus02

    magnus02 Member

    Jan 15, 2008
    i think the guy who said a builder with a short run of high quality guitars that are later seen in the hands of a 'rockstar' are your best bet...

    not sure if it was from any single guitarist but look at Zemaitis, he's fairly modern, passed away without making a ton of guitars, and you can get close to 6 figures from the good ones...

    i think that you need the right combination of factors like that. I'm totally biased, bc I play one, but I think people like Michael Stevens are making guitars that will appreciate greatly. He builds limited numbers, they're not too 'bizarre' of guitars, but they're insanely well built and he has a history with starting the Fender Custom Shop.
    I think Gustavsson could be a similar situation.

    Early PRS and maybe other brands that start off as one man companies/very small companies that do things by hand and then move to mass markets will be others. I'm not sure how PRS started but if some one man show turns into another brand like that, i'm sure his original hand made runs of guitars will be worth mucho $$$.

    They will be very few but come on, there will absolutely be modern produced guitars that appreciate far above inflation in the future.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  9. 55custom

    55custom Member

    May 14, 2005
    Not sure if anyone has done the math yet, but in 25 years, in 2035 a.d., there will be over 1,000,000 guitars that could be considered special or collectible by various groups. This includes vintage, neo-vintage, boutique, custom shop, limited edition, guitars.
    And what has already been proven is that as time goes on, there is actually more disagreement, than agreement, as to which ones are best.
  10. Marble

    Marble Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    I highly doubt the Chinese will be able to do that. Why would anyone interested in owning a great guitar get a Chinese knock-off of it? That would be like building a kit car and saying you own a Lambo. Real impressive...
  11. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

    May 5, 2005
    Madison WI
    A good call there. It completely depends on which guitarists become icons and what guitars they play.

    Popularity & rarity are big factors. I'm thinking that bolt-on guitars are being made in such great amounts nowadays (and in my opinion are often overpriced) that the sheer glut of them will make it difficult for any one of them to gain huge value, unless the next Hendrix plays one

    My bet would be stuff like the Languedoc mentioned above, and maybe Gibson Custom Shop Les Pauls (maybe)
  12. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Exit row seat
    Except when they don't -- archtops crashed and burned a few years back. And they're the very definition of a "niche market" item -- just because you have one that's worth $50,000 doesn't mean you can find a buyer any time soon.
    Darby Crash and enharmonic like this.
  13. traviswalk

    traviswalk In the Great State Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2007
    Paradise Valley
    An unmolested '54 Strat.
  14. Matt Griffin

    Matt Griffin Member

    Jan 26, 2019
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    There are two ways that I've seen guitars leap in value.

    1) First is the PRS model. High-quality, smaller batch guitars for a while, then they go mechanized and lose the magic. Think pre-CBS Fender as another example. A big leap in manufacturing throughput results in an irrecoverable quality drop. So if there's a smaller builder right now that is making high quality stuff (let's say Jennings or Electrical Guitar Company or Danocaster) and then makes the leap to large scale manufacturing, perhaps thanks to an acquisition by a bigger company, then you'll have that magic mix. Mass awareness + limited run of higher quality guitars.

    2) Small batch of instruments made for a limited period of time, never popular in their day, then someone famous popularizes them and off they go. I'd put aluminum neck guitars like Kramer and Travis Bean in this category. In the 90's you could buy these for nothing, and there was one in very guitar shop. Now they're multi-K prices, mostly due to one mister Steve Albini. You could make a similar argument for the Airline, Supro, etc. guitars and Jack White. Hell, even crappy old Silvertones go for over $1000 now.

    But for all of these there will always be small batch stuff that never gets a dedicated audience to drive up the cost.

    Ah, well. As my dad always said, there are only two prices that matter in a negotiation: what you're willing to sell it for, and what I'm willing to pay. So I guess you find a guitar you love, that costs what you're willing to play, and call it a day. Some day if you go to sell it, you'll either get a little more back (storage fee) or lose a little (rental fee). Wither way you played a guitar you loved for a while so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  15. desertrat07

    desertrat07 Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2011
    Santa Fe, NM
    Don't know about 25 years from now, but everybody listing their Danocasters on Reverb apparently believe market value has tripled in the last couple of weeks. I could see a similar thing happening with Ronin's most desirable models. In 25 years, my money would be on Koll.
  16. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    Northern MD
    The instruments thatdraw the big bucks today seem to be the iconic instruments that were at the very forefront of rock & roll.

    Maybe take a look at the instruments played by the iconic artists of rock and pop’s various evolutions over the decades as some kind of indicator of what might be desirable 30-40 years from now?

    As for the small company builders or companies that are recognized as being at the “top of their craft” today, they’re niche even by the standards of their own times. I wouldn’t bet on any “boutique” instrument of today being highly sought after decades from now, save for those that were built using the materials and methods of the classics, and perhaps others that represented advancements in the state of the art of luthiery...but that “market” will be even more niche than it is today. That would be my bet.
  17. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    I wonder if the OP has been waiting 8.5 years for this insight.
    TubeStack likes this.
  18. Ferret

    Ferret Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2014
    If boutique guitars of one kind or another appreciate, it won't be because of high build standards alone. People are making great S, T and G-style guitars today and, if there is still a great demand for those styles in 20 years, people will still be producing great ones in the boutique market then. The ones that stand the best chance, IMO, are those that are highly distinctive and which would not be easy to copy. Perhaps something like a Mirari, but I'm only guessing about how difficult it would be to clone. And for that to happen even to the great distinctive guitars of today, someone has to play them publicly on a big enough stage to bring them to the attention of future players. We don't even know whether guitars will matter much to the broader public in 20 years time. They might disappear as fast as silent movies and mandolin orchestras. I don't expect that to happen, but nobody knows.
  19. Flogger59

    Flogger59 Member

    Sep 15, 2010
    No one can know that, and anyone who says they do know is lying.

    Why? Because we do not know who or what is coming down the line. Hell, when Les Pauls went out of production the music played on Les Pauls had yet to be invented.
    enharmonic likes this.
  20. Jimmy3Fingers

    Jimmy3Fingers Member

    Nov 8, 2012
    Probably anything I DON'T own...

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