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A Vintage guitar is an old guitar usually sought after and maintained by avid collectors. Many experts and professional musicians agree that the quality of craftsmanship, first and foremost, attribute to the allure of vintage guitars. New models of electric guitars are mostly patterned from the familiar designs from the 1950's and 1960's. However, most modern instruments are mass produced which does remove an element of excellence that was spawned by the woodworkers of yesteryear [1]. Besides the considered better sound quality because of the craftsmanship it also is considered a safe money investment[2].



In the late eighties vintage guitars became increasingly popular among musicians. Musicians discovered some old instruments sounded better than the new ones. Many of these old guitars, mainly electric guitars were discontinued in the past. Afterwards those objects became collectable objects. Some of them are considered sounding better than new guitars, because of old production methods, such as more hand work/luthierie instead of the newer industrialized products.

Examples of vintage guitars are for instance the pre-CBS guitars of Fender. Fender Telecasters,Fender Mustangs, Fender Jaguars and Jazzmasters were vintage guitars which afterwards became well-known and desired objects because Nirvana and Sonic Youth began playing on second-hand versions. CBS bought Fender in 1965, and by 1970 "pre-CBS" had become a catch-phrase for a quality Fender. In that corporate era, product quality also suffered at Gibson, Gretsch, C.F. Martin & Co and other U.S. brands[3].

Danelectro is a famous example of a cheap mass product, which afterwards became collectable guitars. Also, guitars from other manufacturers like Gibson, Rickenbacker, and Epiphone have out of stock models which nowadays are expensive on Ebay.

Also other vintage musical instruments and equipment like amplifiers, Roland tape echos, effect pedals (stomp boxes), Rhodes pianos, analog synthesizers are nowadays sought after.

Due to the desire of old looking guitars, Fender began producing so-called relic guitars with scratched off paint.

Also rare guitars like for instance the Gittler guitar became increasingly expensive objects, because of the combination of the relative small amounts it was manifactured in and the cultural appreciation of this applied art object. The Museum of Modern Art, MOMA has one instrument in their collection.

Vintage guitars as an investment

For bands it's financially safer to buy second hand vintage guitars instead of new equipment, because the price won't decrease very fast after purchase. There is a tendency to speculate by investing in instruments produced in small series. The Gittler guitar and Fender Swinger are known examples of this. Like vintage cars and other applied art objects vintage guitar are considered more stable in price as an investment than art or shares, due to the lack of fashion trends present in art and it's proven useful value being an instrument to play on. In the nineties Japanese investors bought large stocks of 60s guitars, regarding it as a safe investment. Also European retailers import American guitars since the Euro increased in value related to the Dollar. Sonic Youth is known for owning hundreds of expensive guitars bought for a very cheap price in the eighties, which afterward became very expensive objects. Their bus was stolen in 1999 with a large part of their stock. The Stratocaster #0001, currently in the possession of David Gilmour has become a very expensive collectible object.This guitar was originally owned by Leo Fender who gave it to Seymour Duncan and sold to Pink Floyd's main equipment coordinator and guitar technician Phil Taylor for the meager sum of $900 in the early 1970s. David Gilmour purchased the guitar in the late 70's for an unknown sum that allowed Taylor to purchase a house soon afterward.

Famous vintage guitars




Bass Guitars



Famous rare guitars

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ [1][2][3][4][5] Five articles with pros and cons information about vintage guitar investment.
  3. ^


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