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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / How do you feel about vintage guitars?

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woody
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The prairie

Dec 27th, 2017 08:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a friend who owns some great early sixties guitars. Jazzmaster, SG, Telecaster, and a couple others I can't recall. Nice guitars with a lot of cool vibe, and they sound great. He's a very good player. He absolutely adores my bone stock 2004 ES 137. He has borrowed for recording sessions. He calls it a "forever guitar". Never sell that one he says.
Like 5Strats says, modern guitars are well made. And sometimes you get lucky and find exceptional ones.

jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it, be it
Dec 27th, 2017 09:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

DrKev,
I've a lot of vintage guitars over the years and can tell you that I've never played a newer production guitar that touched most of the vintage ones I've played or owned soundwise. I'm not talking about playability, I'm talking tone. A lot of older guitars play superbly, but just as many don't and require maintenance setup

Now of course there's plenty of vintage duds as well as modern, every guitar is different.

For example, I've owned or played many newer Gibson L-5's and Super 400's and not one has come close to to most vintage ones, but of course ymmv




stratcowboy
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USA/Taos, NM

Dec 27th, 2017 10:06 AM   Edit   Profile  

"And sometimes you get lucky and find exceptional ones."

I believe this to be true regardless of era of manufacture for any instrument.

BbendFender
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American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Dec 27th, 2017 11:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

Vintage ruined things for real guitar players. Suddenly, guys with money were buying up all of the older guitars. I remember when it happened. "Guys" from other countries hit the west coast and started buying up all of the older guitars. It seemed to be a different type guitar each year. Then, they were gone! Prices were too high for musicians. Tons of guitars were just sitting there not being played but looked at. Big guitar shows started and it seemed only a few dealers owned all of the really good guitars and amps. Heck, I'm tired of writing about it. Rant!

RDR
Contributing Member
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I tried to think

but nothing happened!
Dec 27th, 2017 11:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

Had an old one once and sold it. It was cool to have for awhile and was a good guitar, but got too valuable for me ('69 Goldtop). Sold it for a good price and got a lot of modern gear.

Once I went into Rainbow Guitars in Tucson in the late 70's with a fistful of money to buy an older Strat. I was disappointed that their vintage room was completely empty! The salesman said that 'some guy from England' came and bought them all. Damn.

Coral Head

Sunshine State

Groupies needed
Dec 27th, 2017 11:57 AM   Edit   Profile  

Being relatively vintage myself, I owned a number of vintage guitars before they were vintage. A Firebird, a Jazzmaster, a Rickenbacker 12 string, and various others in the sixties.....most of which I kept until a few years ago when I "cashed in". I have a variety of guitars today and I am exposed to many more that my friends own. I really do not like old semi-worn out stuff. I would rather play a guitar that is recent that doesn't need a bunch of TLC. IMHO electric guitars are mainly dependent on electronics for their sound. Pickups, pedals and amps make the sound - new or old. And I know people who have new good acoustics that sound better than my vintage Guild and Gibson. So for me, the mystique of a vintage guitar is about nostalgia, not about playability or sound.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Curled up

in the fecal position
Dec 27th, 2017 01:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

Here's my view of this.

The way the brain works--it makes us humans behave in an odd way when when comes to old guitars vs. new guitars.

In blind listening or blind playing tests, the vast majority of players could not reliably tell the difference between a guitar that's five years old and one that's 70 years old.

I'm gonna get philosophical for a minute.

A guitar is something with qualities that go far beyond just making sound. "Tone" is way more than something that hits the eardrums. Someone said years ago that guitar players listen with their eyes too.

Guitars are a very personal instrument, because unlike most other instruments, you don't simply address or hold the guitar. You wrap your arms around it; you hug the thing. It has to fit your hands, body, and playing style. It becomes an extension of you.

Players can have intense emotions that connect them to their guitars. They develop relationships with them and assign/attribute human qualities. The guitar becomes a sentient being; it communicates with the player. Many players even go as far as naming their guitars.

Guitars also provide a connection to the past. Virtually all players are influenced by others that came before them. Nostalgia is an extremely powerful force, and we humans are superstitious creatures. For some, simply knowing they're playing an old guitar (or one similar to their mentor/hero) inspires them to be a better player.

And being a better player is what really matters.

Many players pay money to go to museums and see guitars that were played by famous people. They can get close to a famous guitar. It's a religious experience; it's like getting blessed by the Pope Hisself. If photos are allowed, they take pictures so they can relive the experience later. This reinforces the connection to the past, and provided further inspiration.

It probably also has a lot to do with re-capturing youth for some players, but I'm no Sigmund Freud.

I have some old stuff (1965 Mustang, 1920's banjos, and a few others). Is it better than newer stuff? No, but it inspires me when I need the inspiration. And I hope that makes me a better player.

Beyond strictly collecting, there is a reason why there are guitars from the past that are desirable today as player instruments. Just like the good ones, there were plenty of bad guitars that rolled of the lines back then. The crappy ones were given to the kids over time and they got thrashed and trashed. The ones that survive today were treated well for a reason: they were good guitars then and they're still good guitars now.

Modern production is even better than in the past: quality control is more critical because margins have dropped. As a result, a good guitar is cheaper today than in the past (accounting for inflation). You can spend $300 and get a guitar good enough to gig with.

There is no correct answer to the "which is better" question. If you think you can hear and feel a difference, then you hear and feel it. If you think you don't, then you don't.

What we each perceive is our own reality.


Viera
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Santee CA

I forgot my tagline
Dec 27th, 2017 01:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

DrKev and BbendFender pretty much nailed it IMHO.


VanGoghsEar

USA

Dec 27th, 2017 02:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Guitars are a very personal instrument, because unlike most other instruments, you don't simply address or hold the guitar. You wrap your arms around it; you hug the thing. It has to fit your hands, body, and playing style. It becomes an extension of you."

I wanted to light up a cigarette...and I don't even smoke!

I've got a couple of almost Vintage guitars one of them is collectible, a 1980's Fender Black and Gold Tele. It's heavy as lead, but mine is a great player. The other one is a 1970's Westbury Standard. That one plays as easily and sounds as good as any guitar I own. I can't say either sounds better than any other because of their age, but it is cool to own a fairly rare guitar like the black and gold Tele and it didn't cost a lot. I got it for $1000; which is less than most new American made Fender Teles sell for today and the Westbury was a yard sale find for $150 (I was offered $350 for it 20 years ago, but I didn't want to sell it) So you can get collectible or vintage for reasonable amount of money.

5Strats
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Edmond/OKC

GospelBilly!
Dec 27th, 2017 02:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

"I wanted to light up a cigarette...and I don't even smoke!"

LOL!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Curled up

in the fecal position
Dec 27th, 2017 02:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

If I ever influence anyone...I hope it's not to take up smoking!

BobbyMac
Contributing Member
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California Escapee

Don't look at me with that tone of voice
Dec 27th, 2017 03:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

I greatly admire vintage guitars, especially Fenders and Rickenbackers (me being born in Fullerton, CA, in 1952) because I associate them so much with my youth. But I would never buy one at today's prices. It just makes so much more sense to buy a vintage reissue or custom shop model today.

SonicBlue

Sunbury-on-Thames

Dec 28th, 2017 05:17 AM   Edit   Profile  

Consider today's instruments and the steady flow of purchasers unhappy with new guitars they've bought to the extent they send them back. I'm guessing the same happened in days of yore, that just as many, if not more poor quality guitars entered the market.
Old and quality are not synonyms. An old guitar can be just as horrible as one of today's Friday afternoon specials.

A hobby player or collector may well overlook this as they're not relying on it to make a living, but I'm also of the opinion that an instrument must be played to be an instrument, otherwise it's nothing more than a few hunks of wood hanging on a wall, just another person's idea of art. Nothing wrong with that, there are far stranger works of art in the world, but if it ain't played, it ain't a guitar.

thumbpicker
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St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Dec 28th, 2017 09:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

If it sounds good and plays well it's a keeper. I've seen several guitars over the years that were ancient and looked like hell but played and sounded wonderful. On the other hand I've had the same experience with modern stuff and not at a "boutique" cost.
Whether it was built with cnc help or strictly by hand and is a one off boutique build the quality can be there on any instrument. Paying more for worn out hardware that needs replaced or rebuilt isn't really my idea of a good deal.

Mikeyguitar
Contributing Member
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PA - USA

THAT...IS...RIGHT!
Dec 28th, 2017 01:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

I don't know...I tend to go opposite of Peegoo:

If the guitar feels good/comfortable in your hands (more than others), and it's intonated correctly - it's a good guitar.
It's tough to find a bad sounding guitar that's set up properly. Sure, some amps can sound pretty bad. But plug a guitar into a good amp, it's going to sound good.

That's really it for me - feels good in my hands and it's intonated.

So I have no problem owning a nice vintage guitar - though I wouldn't pay for one.
If it didn't strike my fancy, I wouldn't have a problem selling it.
I think the whole "mystique" thing is overblown.

Sure, it's cool to have something old, something that connects you to the past. Heck, that's why I love "American Pickers".
But that's nostalgia.
...perhaps I just don't connect with "vintage music" enough for the nostalgia factor.

Having said all that - I own a cool-looking blue tiger striped Jackson Soloist.
It feels pretty good in my hands...but I look at it more like a piece of art.
I mean...who plays a Jackson Soloist these days, right? lol


I also have a Les Paul Custom that's about 40 years old. It feels great in my hands with that non-baseball bat neck. Sounds good, too.
Still, I've thought about selling it numerous times.
I mean, do I really NEED that guitar? Not really. I guess in that sense it connects me to the past - that I haven't sold it. I've owned it for most of it's 40 years.
...but perhaps I'm just wishing I could get more than the current rate. :^)

(This message was last edited by Mikeyguitar at 03:29 PM, Dec 28th, 2017)

Taildragger
Contributing Member
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USA

an acquired taste some may never acquire
Dec 28th, 2017 02:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

To echo what others have said: my skills are not sufficient to warrant spending big bucks on cool vintage stuff. I'd be too worried about having it get ripped off anyway.

Plus visual signs of age/wear like finish checking, nicks, buckle rash, cigarette burns and worn off lacquer don't hold any visual charm for me (which is also why the whole "relic" deal leaves me cold). To each, his own, but that's my personal preference.

I generally buy new, mid-priced instruments, but have only spent a little more than $1K once. Generally, I stay between $600 and $900 with case. As with most things, I have found that there is a noticeable step up in quality from "entry-level" to "moderately-priced" but that one must pay ever increasing numbers of ducats from there on to yield additional increments of improvement.

I haven't ever had any current-production, "boutique" instruments and the only vintage ones ones I've ever owned were an old Kay and an old Silvertone.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

Dec 28th, 2017 04:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

My heirs will have plenty of vintage guitars in 40-50 years!

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Life makes a man tired.
Dec 28th, 2017 04:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

My heirs will ask, "what is all this weird crap?!?"

BbendFender
Contributing Member
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American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Dec 28th, 2017 05:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have owned some really cool and valuable vintage guitars. I didn't pay much for them but I'm sure they are worth a thousands$$.
It is also sad if you happen to own and really valuable guitar and take it to a guitar show. Then some dealer says "the volume knob has been changed, no way this guitar is worth $50K, because of the knob, I'll give you 5K for it and that's it."

BrentD
Contributing Member
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Michigan

5 DIFFERENT CITIES 15 DIFFERENT MORONS.
Dec 28th, 2017 08:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

Then when they sell it, it's "only the volume knob has been changed, no way this guitar is worth $50K, but because of the knob, I'll give it to you for $49,995 and that's it."

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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / How do you feel about vintage guitars?




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