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Do expensive vintage electric guitars actually get sold?
Let's go for a trip into the realm of the ridiculous, the vintage electric guitar market.
Seen above is a real 1958 Fender Stratocaster for sale. Yes, the price tag has original misspelled as origional.
Was this '58 Strat the most expensive guitar I saw the day I took the photo? No. The most expensive was a 1961 Gibson Black Beauty Les Paul commanding six figures:
It truly was not that long ago that you never saw any Fender nor Gibson with that kind of price tag, but here we are.
Who buys these things?
Collectors. Guys with a lot of money to spend; that's what gets you a high-value vintage electric. Money and only money talks here.
I actually don't get sticker shock when I see this stuff:
At this point of my guitar playing life, I've seen many ultra expensive guitars where in the end they just all seem the same.
There's also something I really want to point out. None of these are rare. If they were truly rare, you couldn't even find any for sale.
Oh, I found plenty for sale:
It's not like getting one of these requires many months or years of searching. All you need is a big wad of cash, and then you can be the proud owner of a 1950s or 1960s antique electric guitar.
Buy to play; not to display
I am guilty myself of buying an old electric, albeit a very low tier electric. However, I didn't buy to collect but rather play it, which I do.
To anybody thinking of getting into old electric guitars:
I can assure you owning That Vintage Guitar isn't enough. I'll tell you exactly what will happen. Let's say you actually spend the money and get That Vintage Guitar. At first, you'll be happy to own it. Very happy, in fact. But in a year, or maybe even just one month later, you'll want it out of your life. At that point you will understand very well why so many vintage electrics are for sale. People, including collectors, buy them, get bored, and sell them back. You will do the same...
...unless there is something very specific about a particular old electric that makes it worth buying, and I'm not talking about collector value. If a certain guitar only made from X to Y year that has a very specific sound and playing characteristic you desire, that's a definitively good reason to buy one.
Otherwise, get something new instead. And bear in mind everything will work perfectly on that new guitar. If something breaks, you actually have a warranty where you can get it fixed for free.
An investment in yourself as a guitar player with a new electric is just as good as with vintage.
Published 2022 May 6
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