A vintage guitar is an older guitar usually sought after and maintained by avid collectors or musicians. While any guitar of sufficient age can be considered a vintage instrument, the term is typically applied to guitars either known for their sound quality or rarity.
As early as the 1970s, musicians and collectors began to recognize the value of older instruments. The mass production of both acoustic and electric guitars in that era served to highlight the quality workmanship and materials of the older instruments. Historians, such as George Gruhn, helped to codify both the monetary value and sound quality of these guitars for both collectors and musicians.
Examples of well-known vintage electric guitars are 1950s and 1960s era Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul. Examples of well-known vintage acoustic guitars are Martin and Gibson models typically previous to the 1970s.
Vintage acoustic guitars are also collected, including 1930s era Recording Kings, among others.
1912 Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Style U
1932 C. F. Martin 0-18T Tenor guitar
1951 Fender Nocaster
1954 Fender Stratocaster (Miss Daisy)
1954 Fender Esquire
1958 Fender Stratocaster
1957 Fender Stratocaster
1953 Gibson Les Paul (Goldtop)
1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard
Silvertone model 1454 by Harmony
1960s Truetone by Kay
1962 Danelectro Shorthorn model 3022 (Bronze)
1940 Recording King by Gibson
Vintage guitars as an investment
Values of vintage guitars have risen considerable in the past 30 years, and are considered by some as a stable investment. While the average value of these instruments has risen and fallen roughly equivalent to other more traditional areas of investment, particular models of guitars have seen very steep increases in value. For instance, 1959 Gibson Les Pauls which may have sold in the early 1970s for less than a thousand dollars are valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Early Martin acoustic guitars, especially those known as pre-war models (prior to the Second World War), can realize values in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Makos, Jeff (August 1996). "Would You Buy a Used Guitar from this Man?". The University of Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Sound Investments". The Sun. 22 April 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- KingofKays.com, Vintage oddball electrics from America, Japan, Italy, and more.
- My Rare Guitars, Extensive collection of 1960s electrics.
- Vintage guitar and bass, detailed fan site on vintage American and other guitars.