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Epiphone Les Paul Special I P90 proves what's really collectible and what isn't


In my experience, there are a few hard truths when it comes to collectible guitars.

Any guitar promoted as a collectible from the start really isn't a collectible. An example of this are any of those high-end Fender Custom Shop "Heavy Relic" guitars.

Electrics that are sold as being collectible from the moment they first appear on the market are already overpriced from the beginning.

First of all, unless a kid was born with a silver spoon up his ass, there's no chance whatsoever that a kid would receive one of those Fender Custom Shop guitars as his first guitar. Not happening.

Second, custom shop guitars like I mentioned above have zero player's value as they're nothing but furniture.

Third, and most important, there's absolutely nothing magical about those multi-thousand dollar guitars.

"Guitars can be magical?"

Yes. Certain guitars are magical in the respect that they bring back fond memories of days gone by...

...but only the ones that people could actually afford back when they were new.

Ultimately, it is the cheap guitars that end up being magical years later and not the expensive kind.

"The one you remember" is usually the most difficult to find

At the top of this post is an image of a 2012 Epiphone Les Paul Special I P90. I own one of these, bought new for $89.

I did a search for this guitar just just to see if it was still available, and yeah, it is, but not the TV Yellow version. That guitar in that color is absolutely 100% gone. The yellow version didn't even last 7 months on the market. Very short run.

Maybe Epiphone will re-release the guitar in that specific configuration in that specific color again at some point in the future, but probably not for a while. I may be mistaken and they may release it again next year, but the point is that the 2012 models are now literally extinct.

Now of course you know there were a whole bunch of people who happened to be in Guitar Center when the guitar was there and they bought one, and it was probably a parent who bought one for their kid as their first guitar. That kid will play the guitar for a while, probably beat it up, not take care of it and eventually sell it. Years later, that kid will become an adult and kick themselves for originally selling that guitar and go out on eBay and try to find another one exactly like his first. Same year, same color, same configuration, same everything. At that point, whoever has one can command a high price for it because people are willing to pay big money for rare guitars - especially if it was a guitar the buyer used to own as a kid.

I'm not saying the '12 Epi Les Paul Special P90 is some masterfully-built guitar or anything like that. But I knew from the moment I saw the listing for it that it would sell real quick. And it sold out fast.

You know in 10 years that the kids who play these guitars today and eventually get rid of them will seek them out again when they become adults. Why? Because they're going to be looking for the stuff that recaptures their childhood; that's where the magic is, and that's why the cheap guitars are the true collectibles.

Remember, Fender Strat used to be "the cheap guitar".

Published 2013 Jun 13

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