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At what $ do the good ones show up?


theflyingturtle

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Silly luthiers. They know about big repairs on guitars, and the delicate art of the setup, but most really don't have much time for following the old guitar market. Yes, many luthiers go to the vintage guitar shows- if they are regulars, they see what is, and what isn't moving, or what still hasn't moved. It's quite the buyer's market these days. What's meant by "pre-war", anyhow? It might be more appropriate for herringbone Martins, but the 1940's are considered to be a golden era for Gibsons. Shop with your ears, your heart, and your gut; something will move you soon enough at a fraction of that number.

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This is an extremely relative question as the good ones come on every shelf.

Take Jinder's word when he mentiones his Insp. by Texan (which we still need to hear).

 

Talking conventional high-end guitars you don't need to go, neither all the way back or up there to find a good one.

Why choose pre-war for pre-wars sake.

 

Another thing is that the high priced real oldies vary too. They're all old, yes, but some will have it more than others.

And some will be 'bad' and doggy for the tag.

I would seek high and low. And if I seriously wanted the pre-war flavor (if we accept such a term), the search would be concentrated down below 1950.

Again, , , your Q is abstract, so is the luthier's idea.

Ask him to wrap some nuances around the statement then tell him and us what exactly you're after, , , and why.

 

Cheers

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I have accepted the fact that I will never own a Bacon & Day Senorita or Oscar Schmidt Custom jumbo 12 string. But no big deal.

 

Not saying they are worth $10K but if you know what you are looking at you can score an amazingly rare and wondrous pre-War Guitar on the cheap. I snapped up two in the past decade. The first is an Oscar Schmidt Galiano jumbo - basically the same guitar as a Schmidt Sovereign. Got it for $225 with a hardshell case mainly because there was no logo or label to be found identifying the guitar so few knew what it was. It is perfectly playable but still needs some work. The second guitar was found in a trash bin - a pre-War Regal jumbo 12 string. My heart skipped a beat when I saw that coke bottle headstock and Washburn-esque "smiley" bridge. This one shows up in the 1939-40 Regal catalog. I ended up laying out about $500 on this one to get it back on the road. But you could go a lifetime and never see one of these guitars come up for sale.

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I have accepted the fact that I will never own a Bacon & Day Senorita or Oscar Schmidt Custom jumbo 12 string. But no big deal.

 

Not saying they are worth $10K but if you know what you are looking at you can score an amazingly rare and wondrous pre-War Guitar on the cheap. I snapped up two in the past decade. The first is an Oscar Schmidt Galiano jumbo - basically the same guitar as a Schmidt Sovereign. Got it for $225 with a hardshell case mainly because there was no logo or label to be found identifying the guitar so few knew what it was. It is perfectly playable but still needs some work. The second guitar was found in a trash bin - a pre-War Regal jumbo 12 string. My heart skipped a beat when I saw that coke bottle headstock and Washburn-esque "smiley" bridge. This one shows up in the 1939-40 Regal catalog. I ended up laying out about $500 on this one to get it back on the road. But you could go a lifetime and never see one of these guitars come up for sale.

That's exactly what goes into scoring a potentially fine prewar instrument without having unlimited financial resources. If you know your stuff, which means learning all you can, exercise patience, and keep an open mind - what you find may not be what you're looking for at the moment, and the source may be unexpected - luck will be more likely to favor you. The chances of scoring a real prize at a guitar show or through a big-time dealer these days without paying top dollar aren't good at all.

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This is an extremely relative question as the good ones come on every shelf.

Take Jinder's word when he mentiones his Insp. by Texan (which we still need to hear).

 

Talking conventional high-end guitars you don't need to go, neither need to all the way back or up there to find a good one.

Why choose pre-war for pre-wars sake.

 

Another thing is that the high priced real oldies vary too. They're all old, yes, but some will have it more than others.

And some will be 'bad' and doggy for the tag.

I would seek high and low. And if I seriously wanted the pre-war flavor (if we accept such a term), the search would be concentrated down below 1950.

Again, , , your Q is abstract, so is the luthier's idea.

Ask him to wrap some nuances around the statement then tell him and us what exactly you're after, , , and why.

 

Cheers

 

Yes Em7 it is abstract and will continue to be as I have only limited experiences with vintage guitars. I think what my luthier was trying to say was that all of the old guitars have been found, accounted for, and a price range has already been set. Sure there may be a mint D-28 under some old grandma's mattress that hasn't been played in 70 years but aside from those lightning strikes all of the old guitars are in private collections, for sale, or being used by fine folks such as yourselves and all of the really good stuff is in Eric Clapton's collection or Stephen Still's collection, etc. The really good stuff, the kind that Vince Gill collects, either the best sounding or the guitars in the best conditions have reached a price point that reflects their desirability to a collector and as such I would have to say that, very generally, that sub $10,000 vintage guitars seem to represent the "player's guitars" in tone and condition. All of the good stuff is bringing in nothing less than five figure prices and not accessible to most players. Here's an overreaching, blanket statement: The good ones don't ever reach the showroom floor because the serious collectors are already on Ghrun's speed dial. So I am swimming in the shallow end of guitar buying. That's fine but I do wonder what the high end stuff has in the deep end of the pool. I know that if I see a guitar on George Ghrun's website that has the term "exceptionally fine sounding instrument" chances are the price begins at about $20,000 for desirable prewar dreads. So does the $10k mark really represent the threshold for the "good stuff? How much better do the exceptional guitars sound? I am trying to establish my own criteria as I search for vintage guitar. Who knows, the price tag may never meet my subjective threshold for setting my wallet on fire. I am looking for a guitar that touches my soul, that wants to say what I want it to say and I haven't found it at the price level I am shopping at. If what I am looking for doesn't exist except to be a construct in my own mind, I'd like to know that.

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I know where there are a couple of cosmetically challenged but physically sound and incredible sounding prewar L-00s for under £3000.

 

I absolutely disagree with your luthier that the "good stuff" kicks off at $10,000. The RARE stuff, perhaps, but I've played plenty of rare and valuable guitars that have just plain sucked. A pre CBS Strat that a store locally to me had in stock a couple of years back (and implored me to try) was over £25,000 and was an absolute bag of cack. A prewar D28 that a friend of mine owned for a while (before getting spooked by owning such a valuable instrument and selling it) was a plunky, thunky, unpleasant to play guitar with very little going for it. My humble '67 J45 destroyed it in every way.

 

On the other hand, there are some truly exceptional '50s J45s and J50s out there which are floating around in the £4000-£5000 bracket.

 

Vintage guitars are a real curate's egg. Time, wood curing and the romance of an old guitar go a long way towards masking shortcomings, but if anything I would say that vintage acoustics are more variable than modern examples, and perhaps (because of the higher price) more of a critical investment. You have to spend some time with a guitar to know its right.

 

This is why Glenn at Glenn's Guitars is my favourite vintage dealer in the U.K.-deals from home, has a gigantic stock of beautiful instruments and will happily spend hours one-to-one, making sure you find the right instrument for you and using his many years of expertise to suggest guitars you may not normally gravitate towards but that suit your style more than the ones you would normally grab.

 

I have no affiliation with Glenn, just a very happy customer who has enjoyed every deal I've had with him over the last 10yrs.

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This is an extremely relative question as the good ones come on every shelf.

Take Jinder's word when he mentiones his Insp. by Texan (which we still need to hear).

 

Weirdly enough, I was playing through a few of my guitars and deciding which to take out for tonight's bar gig, and when I picked the Texan up I thought "hmm, I should do a video demoing this at some point, as I keep banging on about how good it is"!

 

Watch this space...

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I know where there are a couple of cosmetically challenged but physically sound and incredible sounding prewar L-00s for under £3000.

 

I absolutely disagree with your luthier that the "good stuff" kicks off at $10,000. The RARE stuff, perhaps, but I've played plenty of rare and valuable guitars that have just plain sucked. A pre CBS Strat that a store locally to me had in stock a couple of years back (and implored me to try) was over £25,000 and was an absolute bag of cack. A prewar D28 that a friend of mine owned for a while (before getting spooked by owning such a valuable instrument and selling it) was a plunky, thunky, unpleasant to play guitar with very little going for it. My humble '67 J45 destroyed it in every way.

 

On the other hand, there are some truly exceptional '50s J45s and J50s out there which are floating around in the £4000-£5000 bracket.

 

Vintage guitars are a real curate's egg. Time, wood curing and the romance of an old guitar go a long way towards masking shortcomings, but if anything I would say that vintage acoustics are more variable than modern examples, and perhaps (because of the higher price) more of a critical investment. You have to spend some time with a guitar to know its right.

 

This is why Glenn at Glenn's Guitars is my favourite vintage dealer in the U.K.-deals from home, has a gigantic stock of beautiful instruments and will happily spend hours one-to-one, making sure you find the right instrument for you and using his many years of expertise to suggest guitars you may not normally gravitate towards but that suit your style more than the ones you would normally grab.

 

I have no affiliation with Glenn, just a very happy customer who has enjoyed every deal I've had with him over the last 10yrs.

 

 

Brilliant! Jinder, genuinely, thank you for that response. It added a lot. My big take away is how you defined price being more relevant to rarity. That's a fresh idea to me.

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That's exactly what goes into scoring a potentially fine prewar instrument without having unlimited financial resources. If you know your stuff, which means learning all you can, exercise patience, and keep an open mind - what you find may not be what you're looking for at the moment, and the source may be unexpected - luck will be more likely to favor you. The chances of scoring a real prize at a guitar show or through a big-time dealer these days without paying top dollar aren't good at all.

 

The Galiano was actually scored at the Dallas Guitar show. A friend of mine who sells vintage guitars there saw it in the booth next to him. While he did not have a clue what it was he figured it was cheap and looked like something that was right up my alley. He knew he had picked well when he ran into Fred Oster heading into the booth. Upon seeing what my friend had in his hands, Fred, who obviously knew what the guitar was, commented on my friend's great find.

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Brilliant! Jinder, genuinely, thank you for that response. It added a lot. My big take away is how you defined price being more relevant to rarity. That's a fresh idea to me.

 

Unfortunately collectors control certain aspects of the market, but there are so many great "non collectible" vintage guitars that aren't top dollar expensive but will give a lifetime of joy and companionship to the right player, that it almost renders the prewar D45s etc a moot point.

 

My '67 J45 is a beauty, but other than that, my favourite vintage guitar I ever owned was a '66 B15. The humblest of all vintage Gibsons, all Mahogany, Adj bridge, ladder braced, skinny mid '60s neck, a student model.

 

I loved the heck out of that thing. Lovely, cuddly tone that was warmer than wood itself. Tucked under my arm and went with me all over the world in '07 and '08 as my dressing room warm-up guitar and late night hotel room writing companion.

 

I had to sell it when I got dropped by a record label and had a new baby daughter to feed. I sought out a couple of others a little way down the road and in bluer skies, but none of them had "it", the magic that my original £600 B15 had in spades.

 

There are heroes in the seaweed, as Leonard Cohen once said. £10,000 would buy a hell of a lot of heroes.

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The good ones don't ever reach the showroom floor because the serious collectors are already on Ghrun's speed dial.

 

You're probably right - all the connections standing in line are informed first - aficionados who know exactly what they're after and are willing to lay down the doe.

I don't have that much experience with real old guitars, but we have some good shops here and a rather big annual guitar-show too.

Vintage stuff never impresses me as a rule. Sometimes yes, other times it's as if they are gone, , , , hopefully only to sleep.

 

Paradox of course is that the place where the most precious guitars are presented - the Show - is the place where you have the least possibility to actually hear the instruments.

Buzzing like a crazed bee-hive as they are. So absurd and frustrating that I stopped goin' a few years back. Even though I had my own 12-fret on display.

 

 

Watch this space...

, , , already booked a seat

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I like my vintage piece.. Patients is key on finding good pieces without having to rely on stores. Anything they have is so called rare. And expensive. Probably because they had to pay alot to get them. I bet most put and 40% plus increase on anything they trade for or buy. Most are just not worth it.

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Right place, right time comes in to the equation too!

 

 

Not a vintage Gibson or Martin, but my RPRT was this incredible 1993 Lowden S35. It sat for sale and sat some more because it has Tommy and Phil E's signatures on the top, and moved shops a few times. I saw a thread with people laughing at and disparaging it and the person who let the sigs get done, thought it silly and gave it not one more thought.

 

Next thing I know, there is one similar listed at a pawn shop/second hand guitar shop I look at online.....in the car and away! And it WAS the one people were laughing at on the thread! Played it, sensational, sensational! Traded some guitars I hadn't played in years and it came home with me and a $1000 cheaper than advertised and a few bucks in fees!

 

There's my luck done - here it is, settling in at Chez BK beautifully with my preferred Elixir PB 12s, tuned down a bit, oh wow oh wow!

 

 

v1QUM7x.jpg

 

 

New, similar guitars are so much money!

 

eg, look at this one, not mine: Lowden S35

Koa Back and Sides / Adirondack Spruce top / Fingerstyle neck

 

The Koa Adirondack S guitars are noted for their bright powerful sound. Bigger and sweeter than you might expect this is a mighty little guitar quite capable of seeing off much larger rivals.

 

$7,799Sold

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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I think knowledge, a big portion of luck, and a relieable luthier contact are key when buying vintage guitars. I firmly believe great old guitars are still out there for us mere mortals still to find. I bought my first year 1942 Banner J-45 from a Guitar Center in Florida a few years back for $5000. The guitar needed another $1000 in repairs, but considering a total price of $6000 for an all original Banner J-45, I think is very good. The guy at Guitar Center didn't know what he had and was not a vintage specialist, which I guess was to my benefit.

 

Lars

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This thread is excellent! As is true of most "hunter and fisher" people, each of us has their own experience and subsequent philosophy and approach to success. Taken together, all of that provides a really fine base of knowledge. There's also a matter of definition coming into play here that's worth considering. If "really good" means pristine original finish and structural condition with excellent sound and playability, $10,000 might be a fair ballpark figure. My notion of "really good" is not that one. And, I suspect that each of us has their own definition.

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