Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Interesting take on "vintage" guitars.......


onewilyfool

Recommended Posts

Interesing viewpoint, it makes sense in a lot of ways. I certainly would rather spend my money on a nice new guitar before I spent it on a beat up old one. Seems like guitars which are 20yrs old or less are being tagged as vintage and the prices they are being sold for are outrageous. Of course there is always the mojo factor with the old guitars, but hey if you keep a guitar long enough it will eventually get it's own mojo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:People should own an instrument that they can afford and aren’t afraid to play. You don’t need a 1954 Strat to play good music. It's not the guitar itself that is the important thing. The important thing is to learn to play and enjoy yourself doing it.

 

 

so true!

 

thanks wiley for sharing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as flattops are concerned, imho he underestimates the extent to which the major builders had compromised sound for stability. Goes for Martin, Gibson. Guilds were little tanks. It wasnt jsut the rosewood. And it wasnt really until the mid 90s (not the 80s) that things began to get straightened out.

 

I can see the attraction of old guitars-- a little bit of history, there. But he's right in saying its a market for collectors, not average joes. Jury's out, tho, on revered models still (mostly) out of production, like a short scale L00 (unless you can pony up for a legend or a Greven).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who's Ed Roman?

 

Oh yeah, the bazillionaire in Vegas.

 

You know what they say about opinions. They're just like a part of the human anatomy that everyone else has, and they all stink but your own.

 

A $500,000 Les Paul that never gets played is worth about as much as the jeans that I can't fit into.

 

A refinished 1980 LP Firebrand with Dimarzios, Mighty Mite speed knobs and a repaired headstock crack that gets played 4 hours a day through a Musician's Friend Behringer amp is worth more. At least in a practical sense; there's no bragging rights.

 

Oh wait, it's becoming much clearer now! It's all about who has the most expensive toy!

 

If I were to clean house and sell off the guitars I own for the bragging rights and only kept the ones I actually play, the house would have a lot more room and I'd have a lot of cash. But then I couldn't brag about what I own, could I?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can understand the silliness of the obsession of "vintage" guitars and whether or not it has the "proper" tuners or whatever, but I absolutely love my "66 Gibson F-25 - nowhere near "original" - but an insanely beautiful sounding guitar and I attribute that in part to the age of it. Whatever the reason, I think they improve with age and being beat up does not hurt it much. Mine has amost no "collectible" value but I bought it to play, not sell for a profit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grampa,

 

I feel the same way. The author of that article seemed to lean towards your view as well. They are a musicians tool first and foremost...to enjoy the art of making music and learning new things, not to hold for a good resale value.

 

Just my 2 cents

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Vintage" is just another name for "Antique".

 

My long ago deceased Great-uncle had a theory about antiques:

 

"Antiques are things that didn't work well enough, or no one liked well enough to

wear out."

 

Smart man, my Uncle Bill.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't care less about vintage instruments, or money as it relates to guitars. I buy guitars for their tone, to be played - period. But I've read Ed's opinions in several of his screeds, and/or those by others that he finds worthy to post.

 

Ed's thoughts on guitars generally revolve around how much Ed's cut is from a given manufacturer, and if he doesn't like the deal, he starts working on buyers with resale value tales of terror, even when it means shooting himself in the foot in the process.

 

My own feeling on guitar resale values is that buying a guitar for its potential future resale value is like marrying a woman because she'll agree to an acceptable divorce settlement.

 

If reality in the guitar world reflected Ed's opinions, I'm pretty sure we'd be closing up shop here, and all you Gibson-loving Ed Roman defenders would have to go register at the UMGF. You should probably Google up some more of Ed's opinion pieces before you decide you agree with him, or rush to defend his opinions for him.

 

Uncle Buck :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i have no idea who this guy ed is. seems like his ideas are fairly provocative though. i thought the article was interesting. the author's points were well taken but don't apply to me as i would never consider (even if i could) dropping that kind of money on a guitar. it did make me think about the fact that i've been considering buying a j45 from my birth year and whether or not the few grand that would set me back would actually be worth it. i guess when i think of a guitar as "investment", the investment is in my happiness. i pretty much only hope it will retain it's monetary value in the event the day comes that i have to sell it or wish to trade up. i try not to be foolish about it but sometimes it's a totally emotional decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I admit it. I'm a vintage guitar guy, especially Gibson Acoustics. I don't see a vintage guitar in the same light I see other "antiques". To me a vintage guitar is a mix of sound and craftsmanship and artistry and history. I like thinking about the lives they've lived. I like the vision of Gibson's employees spending WWII cobbling guitars together out of any wood they could get, just to keep the company in business - and producing some of the finest instruments ever made. I like thinking of all the places they've been and all the folks who might of played them - Robert Johnson or Woody Guthrie or Hank Williams. I like how amazing looking they are, with aged wood and faded finish, maybe some personal touches added by a long ago owner. And I love the sound - that great chime that only a well made guitar has. They have personalities that a brand new guitar just doesn't have.

 

I agree that they should be played, but even if they're not - maybe they're just too old or too expensive to play - I'm glad that they're still around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

New or old it depends on the sound and the condition. I have always been amazed at the original L-00 being considered such a great guitar. The L-00 (old) was a favorite of the Blues players because it was easily obtained and cheap. I think the newer L-00 creations are a much better guitar, they are made with better wood, and better care. I have seen a few L-00 made in the last 5 years that are better sounding than the originals.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like vintage (I'm old myself), but we know that vintage doesn't make something better. Example: A J-45 from the 40s, is considered better quality than those made in the 50s & 60s, and the J-45s made in the 80s & 90s are better quality than those of the 50s & 60s. I wish I could afford a J-45 or SJ made in the 40s, but personally I think they are extremely overpriced.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess, I'm getting into that "Vintage" category myself......lol.......damn, I hope MY sap doesn't crystalize!!!!

 

By the way, I went to the Healdsburg Guitar Festival this year. Luthiers come in from all over the world, including Australia, Europe Canada, and Asia. I played a LOT of guitars from Archtops to Parlors, to regular flat tops.......A lot of guitars had a lot of sizzle (appearance) but very few actually had the steak (sound) I'm talking about guitars from $8K to $30K and up!!!! Big name Luthiers whose guitars couldn't stand up to an off the shelf Gibson or Martin. One guy took me aside and advised me this: Do not buy a guitar expecting that it will "age" and "cure" and "mellow" and sound better in the future. If it sounds like crap now, it will sound like crap in the future. Old or new, expensive or cheap, I only buy a guitar when it has the 'tone' and the feel. It has to feel good in my hands, play smoothly and sound good. Simple. All else is mental masturbation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with with the vintage guitar advocates spoken above. I have been into them for while. I have bought many and sold many. I have sold/traded several that would have made GOOD investment sense to have kept. But for different reasons (usually neck/action reasons) I have gotten rid of them. I like to feel close to .... and play them.

In my opinion, the one thing you can count on when buying an older guitar, is stability. It pretty much is what it is. If you like it...its a keeper. It ain't like some of these people on the forum complaining about dimples in the their new guitars' soundboards and whether they should send them back....

 

I,m sorry, but the wood used in many of the vintage guitars is far superior to the 2nd and 3rd growth stuff that goes into the new stuff.... Guess I've stepped on enough toes!

 

Think about it...why are vintage guitars going for such crazy money? THEY ARE SUPERIOR....at least some of them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently purchased a 1946 LG2 for $2300 bucks. Not much more than you would pay for a new J45, and less than my local wants for a J45 TV. The LG2 has obviously been played a lot, has the marks to prove it, and is one of the best sounding guitars I've ever played. It has a huge sound for a smaller body, a great big rumbling bass, fat mids and beautiful trebles. Strum this puppy and your chest vibrates. Amazingly responsive too with a nice, loose feel to it. Nothing tight about this guitar. Frankly, I haven't played anything new I've liked as much. I love knowing it's made so much music in its life, and that it still has plenty of music left in it. Seems like a good value to me. You can still find value in old guitars if your patient.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like old guitars. If I could aford a good one' date=' I'd buy it. But they aren't the value they once were, before the collectors and speculaters got in and drove the bubble. Supply/demand. [/quote']

 

There will be an adjustment in the vintage market as population demographics evolve. Usually, an item will remain popular when it is attached to personal history and memories such as we see with collector cars and vintage guitars.

 

For myself, born in 1963, I never really had an uncle or a friend who owned a pre-war Gibson or Martin so nostalgia won't drive my interest as much as tone. My nephew who is 23, conversely, would be more attracted to a guitar he is used to seeing me with (later model Gibsons and Martins) and for him vintage is a term to describe the 1970s.

 

The one issue that has always tamed my desire for vintage guitars is maintenance. I recently put $2000 into my 1935 Trojan, for example, and where that cash improved the value of an already valuable guitar the investment made sense. Still, I have had to do major work on other old guitars that amounted to 60% of their value and that sort of thing, so this is always a concern.

 

If you buy a brand new guitar, you have warranty, and as long as you are on this side of the dirt - you don't pay for the fixes. Of course, most of us nowadays keep our guitars in climate controlled circumstances and we don't take the monster instruments camping - so maybe warranty issues are not as common as one might fear - but it is still nice to know if anything does go wrong that we can get it fixed for free.

 

I always promote the idea that tone and playability should drive purchases in the guitar market, not appearance or exclusivity. If everyone shopped this way, I think the maximum value of any acoustic guitar would range around $10,000. I found an original AJ once that had been refinished on the top with the most horrible burst I had ever seen and the fingerboard was so scalloped some of the arrowhead inlay was coming out. They still wanted almost $20,000 for the guitar and it needed a reset as well as a series of frets (at least to #7). These are the vintage stories that twist me up in knots - there is a big difference between a museum quality all original guitar and something Uncle Ted sanded out in the shed during a dry summer with humidity at 18%, and if people would stop over paying for these old boxes the market might come under control.

 

I believe my nephew, at 23, would likely pick up an old guitar and play it. He would likely make his decisions with his ears - "Am I hearing $2,000 here or $20,000?". I have had access to some of the most expensive and rare guitars in the world, and I can tell you nothing ever sounded like more than $10,000 to me. So, I find better value in a new AJ for $2000 than I do in a cracked and cleated pre-war Martin with a Koa top for $8000. Better yet is to have a Manzer or a Beneteau for the $8000 - then you are getting some amazing tone for your dollars.

 

Like most people here, I love the Gibson brand. However, I am open to the sounds of beauty no matter where they come from. I do own many vintage guitars, but the instruments I am inspired to play every day are mostly less than ten years old.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brendan! Great to see you on here. How is your nephew getting on with my former J45? I miss that guitar like crazy, it was a peach. At the time, though, I was financially strapped and, with three Gibson acoustics on my hands, one had to go!

 

I'm glad it went to a good home. Philip e-mailed me some time after he received it to say how much he was enjoying it, and that it had re-invigorated his playing and motivated him to play every day. I got a real kick out of hearing that. I hope he's still enjoying it :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I always promote the idea that tone and playability should drive purchases in the guitar market' date=' not appearance or exclusivity. I found an original AJ once that had been refinished on the top with the most horrible burst I had ever seen and the fingerboard was so scalloped some of the arrowhead inlay was coming out. They still wanted almost $20,000 for the guitar [/quote']

 

Good post. On a guitar forum of course, it's expected that tone and playabilty would be the number one priority. I think that at some point these old guitars shift from musical instruments to musical artifacts. Particularly those that are strongly associated with particular and poignant moments in history - the depression, WWII, etc.

 

There's a nice post going on at the UMGF right now with pictures of old-time bands. One shows a group of soldiers, one of which is holding an old AJ. To me, it's where these guitars have been and what they've lived through that make them valuable:

 

Old Bands, Nice Gibbys

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...