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Just because you guitar is old does not mean it's vintage.

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  • Just because you guitar is old does not mean it's vintage.

    What is a vintage guitar?


  • #2

    King of the cork-sniffers. He's basically speaking to protect his business.

     

    I was in his new shop about 2 months ago. It seemed like this mausoleum dedicated to the very idea of celebrating the price of everything and the value of nothing.

     

    Pretty much loaded with collectables with a slight tip of a hat to the concept of tools for making music.

     

    There are so many cool tools for making music these days. I kind of found the experience a bit quaint and boring.

     

    Guitars made today...even Asian stuff is of a better quality and sound than a huge sample of that "vintage stuff"

    news flash: a 1960's television isn't better than a hi-def plasma screen....An apple Newton doesn't beat a new laptop.....And an old 60's Gretsch isn't as well built as a new Japanese one.

    "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

    Comment


    • kayd_mon
      kayd_mon commented
      Editing a comment
      I've read posts on here that said the 70s was a bad era for guitars. I've played one 60s vintage guitar (a Guild Starfire VI, which was awesome), and my '51 Epiphone archtop acoustic. I don't think I've ever played a real 70s Gibson, Fender, or anything. So I suppose I can't truly vouch for the 60s era and earlier as producing the best guitars. I do know that my new ones are pretty nice, though.

    • lz4005
      lz4005 commented
      Editing a comment

      guitarcapo wrote:

      Guitars made today...even Asian stuff is of a better quality and sound than a huge sample of that "vintage stuff"

      news flash: a 1960's television isn't better than a hi-def plasma screen....An apple Newton doesn't beat a new laptop.....And an old 60's Gretsch isn't as well built as a new Japanese one.


      There's a lot of great stuff being made today, and a lot of crappy old stuff. 

      That being said, comparing electronics and guitars is silly. The difference in technology between a 60's TV and a modern one is night and day. A 60's Gretsch and a modern one are, on paper at least, almost identical electronically.


    • Phil O'Keefe
      Phil O'Keefe commented
      Editing a comment

      guitarcapo wrote:

      King of the cork-sniffers. He's basically speaking to protect his business.


       


      I was in his new shop about 2 months ago. It seemed like this mausoleum dedicated to the very idea of celebrating the price of everything and the value of nothing.


       


      Pretty much loaded with collectables with a slight tip of a hat to the concept of tools for making music.


       


      There are so many cool tools for making music these days. I kind of found the experience a bit quaint and boring.


       


      Guitars made today...even Asian stuff is of a better quality and sound than a huge sample of that "vintage stuff"


      news flash: a 1960's television isn't better than a hi-def plasma screen....An apple Newton doesn't beat a new laptop.....And an old 60's Gretsch isn't as well built as a new Japanese one.




       


      George Gruhn has probably forgotten more about vintage guitars than most of us will ever know.


      As far as what he was saying in that video clip, I mostly agree with him. Just because something is old doesn't mean it's desirable. The period when large corporations who knew nothing about musical instruments ran those companies was dreadful.


      I was a teenager in the 70s, and that's when I started playing guitar. The Norlin era Gibsons were definitely a lot more "hit and miss" than the earlier ones. The 70s era Fenders were also the lowest point in that company's history. Today's guitars - from both Fender and Gibson - are more consistent, and generally MUCH better in terms of build quality and materials than the vast majority of the 70s era guitars.


      Sure, some of the 70s era instruments play and sound good - you can definitely find some "good ones" out there if you look, but in general, what he's saying is right on the money. At the time (70s and into the early 80s) we all preferred the earlier instruments. We all lamented the drop off in quality that we saw happening in the 70s and the poorer quality of the "new" guitars at that time was a big part of the reason the whole vintage guitar market took off like it did.


      If you want a "golden age" guitar, you're going to have to pay for it... usually dearly. But if you just want something to make music with, you're probably better off getting a new guitar than trying to find something from the 70s and then try to convince yourself that it's a "vintage" guitar in the same sense of the word that a pre-war Martin, or a pre-BS Fender / pre-Norlin Gibson is a "vintage guitar." Chances are, it's not even close. And odds are that the new guitar from today is a better built, better sounding and better playing instrument than that "old guitar" from the 1970s is. Gruhn is just telling it like it is. Heck, he could profit off of selling 70s era stuff in the "vintage market", but instead, he's staying consistent and still admits that it's generally not as good as new stuff, so save your money and get something new instead of paying big bucks for a 70s era guitar just because it's "old."


      The 70s were so bad, that it nearly led to the demise of both Fender and Gibson in the 1980s. Had Bill Schultz and partners not purchased Fender, and had Henry Juszkiewicz and David Berryman not purchased Gibson in the mid 1980s, and turned their respective companies around (and credit where credit is due - both companies are putting out MUCH better products today than they were in the 70s), chances are that they'd both be long gone by now.


       


  • #3

    A better statement would be that just because a guitar is vintage doesn

    Comment


    • gardo
      gardo commented
      Editing a comment

      jpnyc wrote:

      A better statement would be that just because a guitar is vintage doesn


    • Phil O'Keefe
      Phil O'Keefe commented
      Editing a comment

      jpnyc wrote:

      A better statement would be that just because a guitar is vintage doesn


  • #4
    I would walk in to this tool bag's shop once.

    Once.

    Im quite sure I would not be allowed back in when I was done there.

    "You´╗┐ people keep on raining. I'll still be the parade." - Diamond Dave.



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    • #5

      He is, in my opinion, one of the biggest pantloads on earth and his entire 'belief' structure is based on bull****************. Also, the way he over-enunciates makes me want to wrap my hands around his throat and watch the life leave his eyes.

      Still, someone who's been selling guitars for 40+ years is going to pick up some credible wisdom along the way, he's definitely correct about some stuff. It's just a matter of how relevant are some of the differences he flogs as being critically important.

      One thing he notes that is absolutely true is that instruments from the 70's, in many cases, are significantly WORSE than those made right now, which are incredibly well made, yet people will still buy them CUZ'N THEY'RE OLD AN' OLD GUITARS GOT SPECIAL SOUNDIN' WOOD!

      There's a weird phenomenon that occurs right in a certain IQ range where people are intelligent enough to explore and appreciate different, esoteric possibilities, but not quite intelligent enough to firmly conclude one way or the other. This is where corksniffers exist.

       

      Comment


      • #6

        In my opinion and from my own experience, just because your old guitar is not considered "vintage" by "vintage guitar collectors" does not mean that your guitar isn't a really good guitar.

        The very best electric guitars I have ever played were 1950s and early 1960s Gibsons and a mid-1960s Epiphone Riviera.  However, the best Les Paul I ever played was a 1974 Norlin-era Les Paul Deluxe.  I have two other Norlin-era Gibsons.  Both are nice and neither was incredibly expensive.  Two of my Fenders are CBS-era.  I like both of them.  One of my archtops is a 1977 Guild X-175.  I doubt George Gruhn would call it "vintage".  But he might think it is a good guitar.  I also have a 30+ year old Peavey T-60. I really doubt Gruhn would call that a "vintage guitar".  But it plays well, sounds good, and only cost me $200.

        Comment


        • heem6
          heem6 commented
          Editing a comment
          I saw George Lynch speak once and he made an interesting statement that one thing to consider about the vintage market is that the people who originally purchased the '58 Les Pauls and the '60's Strats did not buy them because they were vintage, they bought them because they wanted a brand new guitar, made with the latest technology.

      • #7
        I have worked on many Guild Acoustics from the 70's & they sounded great. I have also heard some of the so called grail guitars that did nothing for me.

        Comment


        • #8
          No offense, but that doesn't seem to make sense. I mean, things tend to deteriorate over time, unless you're talking about wine.

          For guitars wearing in, I see some of that. The neck finish changes under constant use, making it feel more comfortable over time. Other than that, things will wear out more than they'll get better.
          Guitars: 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)Pedal Chain: BBE Green Screamer -> MXR Distortion III -> Boss CE-5 -> EH Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-20 -> BBE Boosta GrandeAmps: Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5SoundCloud

          Comment


          • gardo
            gardo commented
            Editing a comment

            kayd_mon wrote:
            No offense, but that doesn't seem to make sense. I mean, things tend to deteriorate over time, unless you're talking about wine.

            For guitars wearing in, I see some of that. The neck finish changes under constant use, making it feel more comfortable over time. Other than that, things will wear out more than they'll get better.

            I'd say yes and no ,acoustics and electrics are very different.  Many people, myself included, feel that an acoustic will sound better after time if it has been well cared for. With electrics I follow the "things wear out " line of thinking. 


          • Bucksstudent
            Bucksstudent commented
            Editing a comment

            kayd_mon wrote:
            No offense, but that doesn't seem to make sense. I mean, things tend to deteriorate over time, unless you're talking about wine.

            For guitars wearing in, I see some of that. The neck finish changes under constant use, making it feel more comfortable over time. Other than that, things will wear out more than they'll get better.

            Well, wine hits a peak, and then disintegrates into poop. Electric guitars haven't been around long enough to really show if they can all last or not. In that sense, they are aging like wine, depending on the maker and vintage.


            I've owned guitars made in the sixties and seventies, and I have two that are aging very well. The P90's on my Raven from the 60's are some of the hottest pickups I've ever heard. One day, they'll mellow out and sound sweet. Then the magnets will die. The wood will crack. It'll be hanging on a wall or in a trash can. Good thing I didn't get it as an investment.


          • thewthrman
            thewthrman commented
            Editing a comment

            kayd_mon wrote:
            No offense, but that doesn't seem to make sense. I mean, things tend to deteriorate over time, unless you're talking about wine.

            Actually, I am talking about wood that isn't properly dried and being rushed to production.  Under the finish, that wood is still "undecided".  In the first few years, especially in a less expensive guitar, that wood might get really twisted.  If you go to music go round and see a guitar with a twisted neck, I am betting it didn't come that way from the factory.  I am suggesting that an old guitar has settled down.  I'm not saying it is any less likely to twist.  But in an old guitar, if it was going to twist, it would have happened already.

            I don't know about them sweetening.  And certainly old guitars can deteriorate.  I do note that you have a bunch of relatively new guitars that you seem to be defending.


        • #9

          I can't imagine the guitars that George Gruhn actually considers "vintage" not being hard to obtain and very expensive.  Those are, for the most part, mid-20th century American classics.  They just happen to be guitars.  Most of the really good ones have already been collected.  The odds of finding a really good deal on a non-student model 1950s-mid 1960s Fender or Gibson is slim to almost non-existent.  In my opinion, the best reason to buy one of these "vintage" guitars is because you absolutely have to have one.  There is nothing wrong with that.

          Although some old/"vintage" guitars cost tens of thousands of dollars most do not.  But if you happen to have, say, $10,000 to spend on a guitar you will have your choice of lots of nice well maintained playable old guitars, some of which might actually be considered "vintage".  $10,000 will get you a late 1960s Stratocaster, Telecaster, or Les Paul or even a mid-1950s single cutaway Les Paul Special or a late 1950s Gretsch 6120 or 1960s ES-335.  You could definitely find a mid-1950s single cutaway Les Paul Junior for $10,000 and might have a few thousand left over.  And if you look around you might even find one for $5000.  Most of my 1950s and 1960s guitars were less than $5000.  $5000 can get you a really nice Gibson ES-330TD.  And sometimes you can find ES-330s for less than $3000.  Most cats aren't hip enough to know about the ES-300.  But for around $3000 you can get one of those.  $3000 can also get you a mid-1960s Gretsch Country Gentleman.  $2500 is enough to buy a mid-1960s Gretsch Tennessean.  Aside from the Artist Award, $3000 is enough to buy most 1960s and some 1950s Guild hollowbodies and semi-hollowbodies.  Sometimes you can find them for less to considerably less than that.  Those are just some examples I can think of right now.  But I am speaking of good clean well maintained playable examples that you might find at a place like Elderly Instruments or Action Music.  One can certainly spend less than $2500 and acquire a very nice old guitar too.

          I don't disregard CBS-era Fenders, Norlin-era Gibsons, and Baldwin-era Gretsches simply because I have found some I like.  I don't consider them "vintage".  But I think they look cool.  And some of them are very good players.  The fact that I have read negative comments about 1970s guitars does not deter me.  I don't like all of them.  I don't want to own every model.  I have a 1968 Fender Bronco, 1976 Jazzmaster, 1974 Les Paul Deluxe, 1972 ES-325, early 1970s EB-3L bass, and a 1979 Gretsch Country Club.  The Country Club and Les Paul Deluxe are particularly nice.  I will consider others as I find them.

          The only downside I can see with old/"vintage" guitars is that many did not make it to the present time in very good shape.  The odds are very high that if you spend any time at all hunting for old guitars you will encounter many examples that have issues and problems that prevent them from being good playable musical instruments.  Many folks give up on old guitars at this point.  It is certainly more convenient to buy new and recent used guitars.  And there are lots of very good recent guitars that are much easier to acquire than a good playable older guitar.  But if you happen to like old guitars or are interested in them I think it is worth your time to keep looking for them.  The fact that I have been able to acquire several nice older guitars is a good enough indication that there are some good old and playable guitars that are out there.

          I have never detected "mojo", "magic", "special powers", or "special sauce" in old guitars, "vintage" or otherwise.  But some sound better than others.  Some that sound really good don't play all that well.  Or one of those guitars might not suit your preferences.  I have also played some very nice playing older guitars that did not sound particularly special.  However, I have played and heard some stellar sounding older guitars.  One was a pre-WWII Martin OOO.  I personally chose a 1934 National Style O over several other more recent brass bodied resonator guitars because it just had THAT SOUND when I played it.  The new ones came close.  They cost almost as much.

          The first thing that attracted me to the old guitars I have is that I thought they looked cool.  The fact that I liked the way they played and sounded was what made me actually buy them.  I like modern music and I like old music.  Some of my older guitars sound right when playing modern music, especially with more modern sounding amplifiers.  Some are better suited toward "retro" styles.  But some of those old school sounds fit in with contemporary music.  I hear lots of 1970s funk and jazz in hip hop.  One of my favorite guitars to make hip hop beats with is a 1952 Gibson ES-150.  I also use an early 1960s Danelectro, a 1990s Telecaster which definitely isn't "vintage", some 1970s Japanese acoustics, and just about any of my old guitars.

          But as much as I like old/"vintage" guitars, I do not think it is absolutely necessary for a guitar player to play or even be interested in old guitars to have a fulfilling musical life with the guitar.  It really depends on your own personal tastes, how hard you are willing to look, and how much you are willing to spend.  

           

           

          Comment


          • #10
            Well, you make a valid point about the magnets. I was thinking in general, stuff just wears out. For instance, an old guitar played every day will need multiple refrets over its "lifetime". How many times can you refret a guitar? I honestly don't know, but at some point I think the fretboard would start cracking.

            Guitars: 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)Pedal Chain: BBE Green Screamer -> MXR Distortion III -> Boss CE-5 -> EH Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-20 -> BBE Boosta GrandeAmps: Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5SoundCloud

            Comment


            • Gitter
              Gitter commented
              Editing a comment

               


              kayd\_mon wrote:
               I was thinking in general, stuff just wears out. For instance, an old guitar played every day will need multiple refrets over its "lifetime". How many times can you refret a guitar? I honestly don't know, but at some point I think the fretboard would start cracking.


              As noted, it boils down to how much effort you're willing to put into it.

              They've kept strads alive for 400 years. Some of them have required major overhaul at multiple points in their lives (I mean, FOUR HUNDRED YEARS is just a long **** time to keep one playing instrument in working order)


              I'm presently (or should say, "still" - the project has been stalled for a while due to time) restoring a pretty early 19th c Figure 8 peghead Romantic Guitar, which is one of the earlier iterations of the 6 string guitar as we know it. This one's pushing 200 years old...

              asda


              Basically full disassembly at every joinery point, scratch fabricated fretboard, bridge and bridge pins, it was made with a verneered three piece back and the joints are basically disintegrated so I have to completely re-veneer it with birdseye sheets, then rebuild the joints with probably rosewood... and there are body cracks, top-cracks that require inlay pieces... You get the idea.

              They can be kept alive forever, if you're willing to put the effort (if you have the skills) or the money (if you don't have the skills) into it. Most people aren't, they retire them to wall-hangers, simply because it's not financially viable to pay someone to do this. The amount of work I'm putting into this is worth 10X what the resulting instrument is, but I just kinda wanted to play Bach on a guitar that was around when he was so to me, as a hobby, its worth it.

              Attached Files

          • #11
            I understand where you're coming from, I think. But still, at some point they must decline, as all things do. I was speaking in general, and guitars can't be an exception.

            As for defending newer guitars, well maybe, but that's not my aim. I'm just pointing out that physical objects wear out over time. Electrical and mechanical devices especially. I have one guitar built in '51, and it's still in good, playable shape. But it is also certainly beginning its decline, as the finish is very worn, etc.
            Guitars: 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)Pedal Chain: BBE Green Screamer -> MXR Distortion III -> Boss CE-5 -> EH Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-20 -> BBE Boosta GrandeAmps: Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5SoundCloud

            Comment


            • #12
              Now that is cool.
              Guitars: 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)Pedal Chain: BBE Green Screamer -> MXR Distortion III -> Boss CE-5 -> EH Stereo Pulsar -> Boss DD-20 -> BBE Boosta GrandeAmps: Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5SoundCloud

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