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When does it become "vintage"?

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some people say 20 years old is vintage. on another forum they do not consider it vintage unless it's pre-1965

 

I think it would be nice if we could get a group of the knowledgable from different forums to decide what "vintage" really is. Maybe pre-65 is antique, with any instrument that is 25 years old or more being vintage.... just an idea...

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20 yrs., I believe, is the norm - although I believe it should be taken into account if the instrument is still being made; changes from 20 yrs.ago to today in mfg. techniques & materials; & most important, if that axe, 20 yrs, ago, and certainly more importantly today, had/has a "vibe". That's what vintage implies to me.

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I have been buying and selling used instruments with some called "vintage" for many years. By definition, much like automobiles, guitars and other instruments are usually considered "vintage" starting at 25 years old and fully documented and in completely original condition. However, there is much more to the term. Having an "old" guitar doesn't itself make it a "vintage" guitar, as the term more closely has been viewed as reflecting a certain period pertaining to each manufacturer when build quality, materials, finish, craftsmanship, and attention to detail made instruments highly desirable to collectors. This is the more elusive but accurate description of "Vintage". My web site Vintageguitarsales.com deals with this on a weekly basis. People want too much money because they own a 1971 Les Paul Deluxe. Yes old, but build quality at its' worst. Sandwich mahogany body, maple neck, pronounced neck volute, cheap mini humbucking pickups, large flared hourglass headstock, these guitars which some may play nicely people do not want as collectors. Yes Pete Townsend had one and stuck a standard humbucker in the middle position on it, but no one else really collects them. So as an example, the term "vintage" at best can be problematic. But for people who deal in the dollar value attached to the term, it is identified somewhat more closely as "old and desired" as opposed to "old" only.

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I have been buying and selling used instruments with some called "vintage" for many years. By definition, much like automobiles, guitars and other instruments are usually considered "vintage" starting at 25 years old and fully documented and in completely original condition. However, there is much more to the term. Having an "old" guitar doesn't itself make it a "vintage" guitar, as the term more closely has been viewed as reflecting a certain period pertaining to each manufacturer when build quality, materials, finish, craftsmanship, and attention to detail made instruments highly desirable to collectors. This is the more elusive but accurate description of "Vintage". My web site Vintageguitarsales.com deals with this on a weekly basis. People want too much money because they own a 1971 Les Paul Deluxe. Yes old, but build quality at its' worst. Sandwich mahogany body, maple neck, pronounced neck volute, cheap mini humbucking pickups, large flared hourglass headstock, these guitars which some may play nicely people do not want as collectors. Yes Pete Townsend had one and stuck a standard humbucker in the middle position on it, but no one else really collects them. So as an example, the term "vintage" at best can be problematic. But for people who deal in the dollar value attached to the term, it is identified somewhat more closely as "old and desired" as opposed to "old" only.

The norlin time brought out awesome guitars still.

I dont own one, but i might one day.

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A lot of times it depends on the circumstances.

 

For example, if you're trying to SELL a Gibson from the Norlin era, many will claim those aren't vintage guitars.

 

But when the same people want you to BUY a Norlin Gibson, it's "vintage pure".

 

The whole collectibility-issue is nonsense to me. Some people pay too much for "vintage guitars", others spend a fortune for a stamp or Madonna's old underwear.

 

I don't know if a Custom from '84 is vintage, but I'll bet it's a great guitar.

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A lot of times it depends on the circumstances.

 

For example, if you're trying to SELL a Gibson from the Norlin era, many will claim those aren't vintage guitars.

 

But when the same people want you to BUY a Norlin Gibson, it's "vintage pure".

 

 

+100 It depends on if you're trying to sell it or buy it.

 

I've always heard the 25 year mark as determining it as vintage. But dyanacoustics' point is well made. Old doesn't necessarily mean vintage as vintage denotes a certain quality where as old is just....well... old.

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+100 It depends on if you're trying to sell it or buy it.

 

I've always heard the 25 year mark as determining it as vintage. But dyanacoustics' point is well made. Old doesn't necessarily mean vintage as vintage denotes a certain quality where as old is just....well... old.

 

 

I guess my EB-2 is just old, then. It was modified when it was new, and it's in great shape, but it is not stock and therefore not a collector's item. Playing, not collecting, is more important anyway.

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Well I decided my 1970 Kalamazoo ES-330 was a collector's item when I saw them going for $5,000 on eBay. Since I play sax, wind synthesizer, guitar, flute, vocals, percussion controller, and sometimes keyboard synth on stage, and in addition often need to switch instruments very quickly, I bought an Epiphone Casino to play on stage (Gibson hadn't re-introduced the 330 at that time). I just couldn't see putting the 330 in a position where it was easy to get banged up.

 

The Casino is about 90% the guitar that the Gibson is, and it actually sounds better plugged in due to the fact that it has Duncan P90s in it.

 

But I don't buy my instruments to be collectors. I generally use my instruments until they are worn out. I play music for a living, and I do one-nighters, both of which are very hard on an instrument. By the time I'm done with them, there is usually very little resale value left in them.

 

I now play the Gibson at home, and bring either my Casino or my ESP to the gig.

 

And even though I have no intention of selling the 330, I will now consider it Vintage, after all it's 40 years old!!!

 

GuitarCousins3.JPG

 

Insights, incites and a little self-amusement by Notes ♫

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I'm guessing my '84 Les Paul Custom isn't quite there yet?

 

 

Great thread and a great question! It often makes me laugh at what EBAY sellers try to pass off as vintage.

 

[thumbup]

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some people say 20 years old is vintage. on another forum they do not consider it vintage unless it's pre-1965

 

I think it would be nice if we could get a group of the knowledgable from different forums to decide what "vintage" really is. Maybe pre-65 is antique, with any instrument that is 25 years old or more being vintage.... just an idea...

 

That sounds about right. My '83 HD-28 is not considered vintage like the old Martins that were "voiced" by the luthiers. I mean using their fingers to tap the wood in various places, then remove some wood here or there, and tap again. This labor/skill-intensive method wasn't fast enough to keep up with demand, so Martin took some of the better sounding examples from each of their luthiers, measured all the differences, came up with a weighted average, and now they're all standardized. That doesn't mean they all sound alike, as with any wood instrument, there will be some variation. The '83 'bone sounded good when new, but she's really opened up in the last ten years and is much more resonate...I can feel it in the vibrations on my chest.

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dyanacoustic is essentially correct, in my view.

 

Age alone does not constitute vintage. One dictionary definition of vintage includes "denoting something of high quality, esp. something from the past or characteristic of the best period of a person's (or in this case, company's) work."

 

Now we can all argue about what the "best period" is, but I will stand by that definition. Bottom line, it ain't merely age.

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My 71 Deluxe and 76 SG may be just old rather then "vintage". It depends who you ask. As for Norlins being rubbish,dont believe it.Try some your self. I have had SG's and Les Pauls and les paul Customs from the 1990's to 2007 . The 71 is my favorite.As for the quirks,pancake ,volute etc,they make no difference to how it plays or its tone ,which are both superb. Dont believe the "all 70's Gibsons/Fenders are rubbish " myth.Judge each guitar on its merit,those who believe otherwise are missing out.lespaulandsg.jpg

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It's 26 years old......consider it vintage.....keep it.......don't sell it.......

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Sometimes when I think of the term 'vintage' I use it in the sense that the guitar being described has attributes that current production models don't have (for better or worse) and (using quasi ATF Curio and Relic language) a significant portion of their value or 'identity' is derived from those attributes.

 

Case in point, I have a '77 Telecaster that I got new and it's all original. I don't consider it 'vintage' because it's no different than any other run of the mill Tele. On the other hand, I have an original '83 Strat that was made during the Smith Era of CBS, when they went back to the 4 bolt neck plates, began scooping the bodies more like the 50s models, went back to the smaller headstock, and (footnote in history here) it came through with a black pickguard, knobs, and pickups dated 1979 (all other early 80s ones had white plastic unless the leftover inventory was used up like on mine). Fender went through a brief period where they were cleaning out their parts bins and older parts got used up. I consider this guitar to be more 'vintage' than the Tele because it represents a snapshot in the timeline of Fender's history, specifically CBS's Swan Song and a valiant but failed attempt to recapture previously held glory. I also have an '83 P-Bass with '81 electronics and a '79 serial number on the headstock. Same thing, using up leftover parts. I don't consider either of them to be worth more, but they should be left intact.

 

I would probably consider Gibson' attempts at SuperStrats in the 80s as vintage for the same reasons.... or even some of the more odd 80s/90s SGs too (Kahlers, black hardware, etc).

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