In today’s modern time, everything can raise its value due to its age. Old timers from 20th century, old violins, old paintings, and so on.
It seems that the age is raising a value of everything. But what do we mean when we say the word value? If you’re a guitar player, you may ask yourself whether old, vintage guitars have their value? By value, we don’t mean historical value. No.
By value, as far as vintage guitars are concerned, we mean sound quality. So, the question remains: Are vintage guitars good enough to be played today? Is their sound quality good enough to stand the test of time? Here, in this article, I’m going to try to find an answer to these types of questions.
Stay with me!
Are Vintage Guitars Really Better?
Vintage guitars are better than regular guitars only if they alone are good quality guitars. What does that mean? It’s simple. If a guitar is good enough, it will be good (and even better!) decades later.
Of course, that’s the case only if the guitar is properly taken care of. On the other hand, some cheap, low quality guitar won’t get significantly better as years go by.
But, if a guitar itself is fairly good in its quality, it will get better through time. Why? It’s physics.
When you play guitar, you strum, or pluck those guitar strings. Strings vibrate. But not only do strings vibrate. In fact, a whole guitar body and neck are vibrating also. It’s called resonance.
When there’s a source of a sound, that source emits sound frequencies. Guitar body picks up those string frequencies and then it starts to vibrate similarly.
After years of regular playing, wood becomes loose. When internal structure of wood loosens, it vibrates more freely. The freer the vibration of guitar body is, the sound is better.
Vibration is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to sound quality. More vibration equals higher sound quality.
So, yes, you can say that vintage guitars are in fact better than new guitars. But keep in mind this: They are really better only if they’ve been played on regularly through years and only if they’ve been properly taken care of.
If those two preconditions are not met, a guitar won’t get better as the time pass by.
By the way, check out the article from this page about whether guitars get better with age, to find out more about this subject:
How Old Does A Guitar Have To Be To Be Vintage?
There’s no straight answer to this question. That’s because it depends on time, and time is not a static category. Time is flowing, constantly.
If you talk about electric guitars, it’s obvious that 50 years ago there were not vintage guitars around. That’s obvious.
Still, we can be precise to some extent. No one would call a guitar from 90s a vintage guitar. It’s just too young to be called vintage!
You can say with certainty that guitars from 70s, and before, are real vintage guitars. However, in 10 years or so, guitars from 80s will become vintage, too. So, the bottom line is this: Every guitar has a potential to become a vintage guitar.
That term is not static and independent of time.
Why Are Vintage Guitars So Expensive?
Let’s say you want to get yourself one cool, vintage guitar. All of a sudden, you find out it’s so expensive, and your dreams get crushed! Too bad.
Why is that so? Well, it’s basic economy principle. It’s fundamental principle of supply and demand. A lot of people want to have a vintage guitar for themselves, so consequently a price gets higher and higher.
Why is the demand for those vintage guitars so high? To answer that question, you have to ask yourself: Why do I want a vintage guitar for myself?
It’s because of famous history of rock ‘n’ roll. Rock music made a huge cultural impact on our society in the last 60 years. It’s part of our culture now. It’s not only music, it’s the attitude, it’s politics, it’s the part of who we are!
Since there wouldn’t have been a rock music without guitars, guitars are highly wanted. All of those famous guitar players like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Angus Young, Slash etc. made the electric guitar highly wanted today.
Since there’s a high demand, the price is high also.
Are Vintage Guitars A Good Investment?
Yes, vintage guitars are good investment, that’s for sure! In future years, the price of those can only go up.
Now, you’ll have to be cautious in investing in a good vintage guitar. You don’t want to invest in some cheap, unrecognizable guitar brand that’s not wanted enough.
Old Strats, Les Paul’s or Telecasters are certainly good investments, as they marked up the rock ‘n’ roll history in 60s and 70s. However, there are certain guitar brands that weren’t so popular back in the day, and who knows if they will become popular in the future?
It’s your turn to study the market and to anticipate how things will move in the future. There’s no magic formula, but you can say with certainty that yes, vintage guitars ARE good investment.
Are Vintage Guitars Going Up In Value?
Some are going up, some no, but generally – yes. Again, it depends on many unpredictable factors. For example, today, you can found Les Paul’s worth in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Do you know that situation when some famous musician dies, and suddenly his albums start to sell like crazy?
It’s the same with guitars. A lot of guitar players have their particular guitar brands they use through their whole carrier.
For example, there’s this legendary guitar Brian May uses. It’s called The Red Special. It has its unique and authentic sound. Fun fact: Brian May plays with a coin! Check out what change does it make to play your guitar with a coin, here.
Anyway, you can bet that this guitar, bought in the 80s, will get so expensive in the future, for let’s say 20 or 30 years.
How Can You Tell How Old A Guitar Is?
There are few ways with which you can tell the age of a guitar to some extent.
First, you have to find out the country of origin. Then you have to look up at what exact model this guitar is.
Now, just google that model and find out the years when that guitar models were being produced.
Without this cues, it’s really hard to tell the precise age of a guitar.
If you have a guitar and really want to know its age, but you can’t tell for yourself, it’s best to take your guitar to professional examination.
Vintage Vs. New Guitars – Main Differences
Now, let’s talk about main differences between vintage and regular (non-vintage) guitars.
As it’s been stated already in this article, vintage guitars generally sound better. That’s because they vibrate more freely. That’s why they usually have richer, fuller tone when they’re being played.
However, as it’s been said, that will happen only if they’ve been taken care of properly and regularly through all of the previous years of use.
Guitars can last for decades if they’ve been taken care of regularly. However, electronic parts tend to degrade over time. Electronics just tend to get bad. Pickups rust, and wires inside can broke.
That’s why you’ll need to replace parts on your guitar in order to make it last. Vintage guitars often have parts that are much harder to find and replace. It can be really hard to find those.
With new guitars, that’s easy. You just have to go to guitar shop and order a part you need.
Again, this is described above. Vintage guitars are significantly more expensive than new, regular non-vintage guitars. It’s because of historical reasons. And also because people like to collect old things!
However, those are good investments. Their price will likely go up as years come.
If you have a vintage guitar, it’s crucial to maintain it regularly. Check some articles from this page about guitar care.
Here it is, the end of this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you find some valuable information, I’m glad.
Don’t forget to check out other interesting topics from this page.
Cheers, and rock on!