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Has the Vintage Guitar market topped out?

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  • Has the Vintage Guitar market topped out?

    I looked on Gruhns guitars the other day and found they had moved into a new store. So I looked at their prices and I waskinda shocked to find a  vintage 1957 fender strat going for $22,500. The guitars like that in the 1980's the would go for over a hundred grand or near to it. Now this one is refretted, but still. I see other deals at other vintage guitar places also.
    So the question is.... do you think the vintage guitar market has reached a peak and is now in decline?

    EF8415FenderStratocaster1957VG++, two-tone sunburst finish, exceptionally light weight, (7 lbs 2 ounces), refretted with board re-fin (excellent professional work), early 1960s brown Tolex Fender HC$22,500.00

  • #2
    Well, there are fewer people with that kind of cash to be spent on a collectible. People don't exactly shop for original 50s Strats for their bar gigs. But who knows? Maybe when there are so few left for sale, the price will shoot back up.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><b>Guitars:</b> 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)<br><br><br><br><b>Pedal Chain:</b> BBE Green Screamer -&gt; MXR Distortion III -&gt; Boss CE-5 -&gt; EH Stereo Pulsar -&gt; Boss DD-20 -&gt; BBE Boosta Grande<br><br><br><br><b>Amps:</b> Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5<br><br><br><br><a target="_blank" href="http://soundcloud.com/andrewalderman">SoundCloud</a></div>

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    • #3

      The market for vintage peaked a few years ago. It

      Comment


      • Bucksstudent
        Bucksstudent commented
        Editing a comment
        It's a collectors market, and I've never met a guitar player who could throw around 20,000 dollars. All the rich people I know invest in property, businesses, and some art. There are people who can't play a note who invest in guitars, but I have yet to meet one.

    • #4

      webe123 wrote:

      ...and I waskinda shocked to find a  vintage 1957 fender strat going for $22,500. The guitars like that in the 1980's the would go for over a hundred grand or near to it. 


       

      A great condition 1957 Strat that wasn't own by some well known musician has never had market value of over US$100K.  A few Les Pauls and Flying Vs, yes, not Strats or Teles.  

       

       


      Comment


      • icycool123
        icycool123 commented
        Editing a comment

        Its tough to speculate whether prices will rise again. But the reason for the demand for these looks to be dropping. People wanted vintage in the 70's to 90's cos of the supposedly drop in quality of modern guitars compared to new. Right now  great guitars are being made in most price ranges.There is also a good number of boutique makers that put out great work. Aside from the collectors with cash to burn, its hard to see people choosing vintage over modern equivalents.


    • #5
      I think there are a lot if wishful thinkers out there that think the vintage market is still in the stratosphere. I see less collectible Vintage fenders linger. A couple of Jaguars and Mustangs in my area will just not sell in 2k plus range. The bastard cousin being the amp market is also down. I see 50s Bassmans all the time, they linger long enough for me to assume buyers are scarce. 60s Bassmans are super common at 600 range now as well.

      It's like a lot of things it can be valued at an arbitrary number, the only thing that matters is what people are willing to pay. I would say in ten years when market stabilizes and people are willing to take a loss on guitars they over paid on are selling prices will drop even more, IMO. A lot of sellers that refuse current prices also bought when market was inflated

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      • #6
        Personally I will always find intrinsic value in an original vintage guitar. It's not a re-issue. It's the real thing and to me there is something to be said about that. But from a playability standpoint as others have said I just don't see the point. Options are plentiful and prices are relatively low.

        One thing I will note, players my age seem to be very apprehensive of "used" gear. I've had people vehemently oppose going used because it does not have a warranty. Seriously.....

        Comment


        • Bucksstudent
          Bucksstudent commented
          Editing a comment
          Good points, Danny. Why hasn't someone with common sense like you posted more?

      • #7
        Thinking about baseball cards (or comic books, or Star Wars figures or whatever), the internet and ebay kinda killed all those things. When I was 10, I had to go to a local shop to find that elusive Wolverine comic, and if they didn't have it, I had to keep dreaming. If they did have it, then I'd pay whatever they were asking, because I couldn't just google the book and find it for cheap somewhere in another state. Same goes for all collectibles, and vintage guitars are just that.
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><b>Guitars:</b> 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)<br><br><br><br><b>Pedal Chain:</b> BBE Green Screamer -&gt; MXR Distortion III -&gt; Boss CE-5 -&gt; EH Stereo Pulsar -&gt; Boss DD-20 -&gt; BBE Boosta Grande<br><br><br><br><b>Amps:</b> Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5<br><br><br><br><a target="_blank" href="http://soundcloud.com/andrewalderman">SoundCloud</a></div>

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        • #8
          Desirable hardwoods are getting more scarce. I could see this affecting acoustic market. With electrics I really doubt it will change much.

          I also have a theory about strats. I believe that my generation has been thoroughly been desensitized to strats because of Squiers. The Squier strat is the definition of mediocre 14 yr old kid guitar. I know crazy theory but I don't think future generations will have the kind of strat worship necessary to carry these guitars as big money collectibles. A great deal of the investors already checked out, now the players and collectors are left. Slowly the collectors are coming out of the picture and its just us players.

          People forget just how many fenders are out there. Silver face amps for days, plentiful amount of blackface fender if you really want it. Compared to other manufacturers these guitars are super common. Sure collectible grade are still rare, but player grade there are a lot of.

          Comment


          • Bucksstudent
            Bucksstudent commented
            Editing a comment

            danny-ZW8Hl wrote:
            Desirable hardwoods are getting more scarce. I could see this affecting acoustic market. With electrics I really doubt it will change much.

            I also have a theory about strats. I believe that my generation has been thoroughly been desensitized to strats because of Squiers. The Squier strat is the definition of mediocre 14 yr old kid guitar. I know crazy theory but I don't think future generations will have the kind of strat worship necessary to carry these guitars as big money collectibles. A great deal of the investors already checked out, now the players and collectors are left. Slowly the collectors are coming out of the picture and its just us players.

            People forget just how many fenders are out there. Silver face amps for days, plentiful amount of blackface fender if you really want it. Compared to other manufacturers these guitars are super common. Sure collectible grade are still rare, but player grade there are a lot of.

            This is where I can't agree with you.

            There are some great Squiers out there, and terrible, embarassing American guitars.

            Fender make such amazing models that I have yet to own an American Fender. My Strat is an MIM (A model they recently discontinued too), and I have owned several Squier examples.

            If the American vintage market for Fenders was at a lower price, I'd be all over them, but I can't even afford an American standard these days.


        • #9

          The vintage guitar market, like all other viable markets, is cyclical. The economy is still rather **** now, and we're only seeing a comeback in some areas (the housing market is just beginning to heat up in SoCal in recent months -- whether that will sustain is anyone's guess). When the economy really starts heating up again, there will be a lot more disposable income around for things like vintage guitars. So just wait. Guitars aren't going the way of 5.25" floppy drives anytime soon.

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          • soundcreation
            soundcreation commented
            Editing a comment

            noisebloom wrote:

            The vintage guitar market, like all other viable markets, is cyclical. The economy is still rather **** now, and we're only seeing a comeback in some areas (the housing market is just beginning to heat up in SoCal in recent months -- whether that will sustain is anyone's guess). When the economy really starts heating up again, there will be a lot more disposable income around for things like vintage guitars. So just wait. Guitars aren't going the way of 5.25" floppy drives anytime soon.


            Again though....who's going to be buying them?

            Certain gen Xers like myself are probably just as fascinated by 80's charvels and jacksons as we are by pauls teles and strats. 

            And others are probably just as likely to value a Technics 1200 as those guitars. 

            Guitars may not be quite the 5.525 floppy...but they also are no where near as cared about by the younger generations as the old.


        • #10

          Remember when all these old "junk" guitars were basically being given away and now they are big money collectibles. Some can claim they saw it coming but I doubt many did. Trends are unpredictable by nature

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          • #11

            I don't know if the "vintage guitar market" has topped out.  But it is still going and is doing all right.

            After looking at Gruhn's listing I decided to go to gbase.com, a good database of older guitars listed by dealers, and do a search for 1950s Stratocasters.  Prices ranged from just under $9000, basically a partscaster, to $120,000 for an almost new looking and completely original 1954.  Most of them were $20,000 to 30,000.  The really fine specimens were considerably more than that.

            I have no doubt that good examples of 1950s Telecasters, Stratocasters, Esquires, Broadcasters, Nocasters, Gibson Les Pauls, some D'Angelico and most D'Aquisto archtops, Stromberg archtops, certain Gibson archtops, 1950s Explorers, Flying Vs, ES-335s, ES-345s, ES-355s, early Gibson doublenecks, and certain pre-WWII Martins, and a few others will always be high dollar "collectibles" for many years into the future because of their places in the guitar's history and evolution.

            However, most older guitars, including many that play well and sound good, are not too incredibly expensive.

            Comment


            • soundcreation
              soundcreation commented
              Editing a comment

              Roy Brooks wrote:

              I don't know if the "vintage guitar market" has topped out.  But it is still going and is doing all right.

              After looking at Gruhn's listing I decided to go to gbase.com, a good database of older guitars listed by dealers, and do a search for 1950s Stratocasters.  Prices ranged from just under $9000, basically a partscaster, to $120,000 for an almost new looking and completely original 1954.  Most of them were $20,000 to 30,000.  The really fine specimens were considerably more than that.

              I have no doubt that good examples of 1950s Telecasters, Stratocasters, Esquires, Broadcasters, Nocasters, Gibson Les Pauls, some D'Angelico and most D'Aquisto archtops, Stromberg archtops, certain Gibson archtops, 1950s Explorers, Flying Vs, ES-335s, ES-345s, ES-355s, early Gibson doublenecks, and certain pre-WWII Martins, and a few others will always be high dollar "collectibles" for many years into the future because of their places in the guitar's history and evolution.

              However, most older guitars, including many that play well and sound good, are not too incredibly expensive.


              Yeah but what are they selling for?  What they are listed for is totally irrelevent.  ESPECIALLY if it's a site for vintage "dealers". 

              I don't know where it was but someone a couple years ago here posted a link to a great article that showed the MOST of the vintage guitar bubble was dealers trading amongst themselves and driving the prices out of this world.  

              I suspect many of the ones you are seeing at the high end are STILL these guys desperately trying NOT to take a bath on them.  I'd bet it would ruin many of them financially. 

              Track that 54 for 120.   I'll bet you it will be up there for ages if it hasn't already been.


          • #12

            Topped out suggests it arrived at some sort of sane value equallibrium.


            It was a classic bubble that burst, it plays itself out again and again. always the same. Begin with a group of hardcore enthusiasts, then the 'discovery' phase where it starts to hit critical mass and the unwashed masses arrive. By the time Dentists are bidding against hedge-fund managers for (whatever the holy grail of the hobby is), you know you're in for a big letdown, eventually... and that's just the short term economics of it. As others mentioned, the demography is a major deal, too.


            Example: Factoring in for inflation, you're seriously in the hole if you bought a cherry Ford Model A in 1983 compared to what you can sell it for in 2013. The reason being, the guys who were interested in that era of autos as a cultural icon of their youth died off, what remains are the hard-core history buffs, but that's not enough to sustain mania pricing.

            There are so many factors that go into it- supply and demand is the ultimate arbiter of it all- but no doubt, vintage guitars was a typical mania no different than sports card mania or comic book mania, right now, there's a pretty fearsome mania brewing in vintage Nintendo games, year over year pricing of rare cartridges making fantastic gains.

            It always looks the same, hillarious how few can see it, and/or how many are truly mystified when in the presence of it.

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            • #13
              Op I never saw any Strat go for over 100k in the 80s unless it had belonged to Hendrix or something, and even then....

              The market is down but the real vintage stuff (not eBay/hceg vintage) has hit the antique/Americana market. Things go up and down but if you're buying something iconic and straight if you buy smart it's a pretty safe to put your money. Personally I have valuable guitars but I don't buy them for investments.

              Comment


              • #14

                There always seems to be some stability- at least tracking inflation- in the absolute tipy-top apex holy grail type stuff. So, say 1959 Les Pauls, certain celebrity instruments, etc. Likewise, there are far fewer stamp collectors today than there were in years past but the finest, most desirable examples still command a ton since the 'finest, most desirable' of anything becomes a matter of ego, detaches from sanity and prices more like art, less like a fungible product.


                At the end of the day, though, there is no implied 'cycle' here no more than Beanie Babies can be expected to 'come back around again'. The days of finding vintage Strats at garage sales is now basically gone but the days of insane pricing seems to be losing serious traction year after year after year. 


                That frosted my ass during 'guitar collector mania' were the asinine narratives that developed, whereby all manner of 'magical tonal properties' were ascribed to certain vintages.

                Once stuff from the 50's and early 60s dried up, well, now 70's Fenders carry a premium even though they were, generally speaking, utter garbage. Oh, of course unless you're selling your "Dan Smith" from the 80's or your "Prime, MIJ" example which has magical musical potency over the same thing made south of the imiginary line that seperates Ensenada from San Diego.

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                • noisebloom
                  noisebloom commented
                  Editing a comment

                  Gitter wrote:

                  At the end of the day, though, there is no implied 'cycle' here no more than Beanie Babies can be expected to 'come back around again'. The days of finding vintage Strats at garage sales is now basically gone but the days of insane pricing seems to be losing serious traction year after year after year. 


                  I was going to have a good snort about your Beanie Babies comment, but damn, look at the sick prices on eBay for that stuff. Makes vintage guitars look kinda tame.

                  http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=Beanie+Babies&_sop= 16


              • #15
                I think it's too soon to say if the market has topped out or not. I don't think that the vintage guitar market can be untangled from the general economy. The really expensive vintage stuff is not selling as briskly but it might take off again as the economy improves.

                I still see lots of vintage gear in the low/middle of the market selling on Craigslist. As vintage Fenders have become unaffordable to all but the wealthy, vintage Teiscos are going up in price because that's what the average collector can afford now
                I don't play the blues, the blues is just what comes out of me when I play.<br>----------------------------------------------------------------------<br>Harmonica (Lee Oskar &amp; Hohner Golden Melody)<br>Ukulele (National, Martin, Gibson, Kala)<br>Electric Guitar (Fender MIA Strat, AVRI Tele, MIM Duo Sonic)<br>Conga (LP &quot;shorty&quot; Originals Conga, Aspire quinto)

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