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Guitars as investments?

Dunkle 05 Jun 01 - 06:49 AM
clansfolk 05 Jun 01 - 07:08 AM
Gary T 05 Jun 01 - 08:25 AM
kendall 05 Jun 01 - 08:48 AM
Murray MacLeod 05 Jun 01 - 09:05 AM
SINSULL 05 Jun 01 - 10:06 AM
Peg 05 Jun 01 - 10:10 AM
GUEST 05 Jun 01 - 11:13 AM
Willie-O 05 Jun 01 - 12:29 PM
Willie-O 05 Jun 01 - 12:30 PM
Willie-O 05 Jun 01 - 12:51 PM
Justa Picker 05 Jun 01 - 01:38 PM
Justa Picker 05 Jun 01 - 01:44 PM
Peter T. 05 Jun 01 - 07:53 PM
kendall 05 Jun 01 - 09:01 PM
Willie-O 06 Jun 01 - 09:00 AM
Bartholomew 06 Jun 01 - 10:09 AM
LR Mole 06 Jun 01 - 10:26 AM
Big Mick 06 Jun 01 - 10:32 AM
Rick Fielding 06 Jun 01 - 10:44 AM
Willie-O 06 Jun 01 - 12:04 PM
pattyClink 06 Jun 01 - 12:13 PM
Willie-O 06 Jun 01 - 12:23 PM
Justa Picker 06 Jun 01 - 02:14 PM
Dunkle 07 Jun 01 - 06:58 AM
kendall 07 Jun 01 - 08:40 AM
clansfolk 07 Jun 01 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 07 Jun 01 - 09:24 AM
Gary T 07 Jun 01 - 09:38 AM
Justa Picker 07 Jun 01 - 10:06 AM
Tim Leaning 03 Sep 09 - 02:06 AM
Mooh 03 Sep 09 - 08:22 AM
open mike 03 Sep 09 - 11:44 AM
open mike 03 Sep 09 - 11:45 AM
Wesley S 03 Sep 09 - 02:07 PM
Doug Chadwick 03 Sep 09 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 04 Sep 09 - 01:50 PM
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Subject: Guitars as investments?
From: Dunkle
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 06:49 AM

On my mind recently: does anyone have thoughts about buying instruments as an investment, to keep (and not play?) for a certain amount of time, and sell once it has gained value? Are there instruments (I'm thinking of guitars) that are almost certain to appreciate, so that as an investment they're as close to a 'sure thing' as one might imagine? What about, for example, Martin limited editions, the signature models? Not that I have any money to invest anyhoo... Don


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: clansfolk
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 07:08 AM

If you buy a guitar and don't play it you've lost the profit!!!

OK lets look at putting a guitar away as an investment - In 196... I bought an EKO guitar brand new - £30 what would be be worth now? £100 - £150 on a good day, if you compare price/wages now to then - I guess the guitar cost me about 3 weeks wages - what's that now £1000???????? more???? glad I didn't keep that one!

I bought an Ovation Baladeer in 69/70 second hand for £100 about 3 weeks wages then - anybody want it for a £1000 - ovno!!!

I have a nice collection of instruments ranging from the 19th century - I don't thing any would be "Worth" more now (money)- than when they were bought.

Yes invest in instruments - they will more than pay you back but with pleasure not money

just one old folksingers opinion......

Pete


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Gary T
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:25 AM

Most guitars need to be played to fully develop the tone characteristics of the wood, which is one thing that makes vintage instruments desirable.

In terms of collecting anything, it is generally recommended to seek items that you like for their own sake, and with a bit of luck you may also see their monetary value appreciate. All too often those who acquire things solely in hopes of later turning a profit are disappointed.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: kendall
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 08:48 AM

I hate to say it, but, you can hardly go wrong buying a Martin. It can be done,however, the new cheap ones and some of the 1970's models are not up to standards. If you can buy an old herring bone, reasonable, grab it.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 09:05 AM

kendall is probably right, an old Martin is just about the safest investment you can make. At the very least, you won't LOSE money.

The ironic thing is that before Martin standardized their neck-making operation, all their necks were individually hand carved, and it is a crapshoot as to whether you get a playable instrument or not. I used to own a D-18 in the 70's that had a neck which looked like it was carved by a chinpanzee. I refined it to make a really nice playable instrument, and ruined its value in the process. Did I care? No. The whole concept of guitsrs as investments pisses me off almost as much as woodworking tools as investments. Invariably, the items (which were designed to be used by experts) end up unused in the hands of the unskilled.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: SINSULL
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 10:06 AM

An old herringbone reasonable???? One turned up on the Antiques Roadshow. The girl's father had bought it second hand to play on camping trips. The conservative estimate was $15000. Kendall, can you define reasonable?


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Peg
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 10:10 AM

My friend Fritz has two beautiful old Martins, one of which is a 1969 edition (sorry I do not know the specifics) and since he works in music retail he stays aware of their value...he plays them still, too, though not as much as he used to.

If I knew how valuable it would later become, I never would have sold my old "lawsuit" Tachamine! Then again I regret selling it because it was simply a beautiful guitar.

Peg


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:13 AM

When I have to play an electric, I have a Fender mustang my freshman roommate gave me because it wouldn't make any noise. I had the wiring monkeyed with until it would, and then later removed the(icky-looking) baby blue paint, replaced it with a grey wood stain and a friend put, I think, thirty coats of flat lacquer over that. Last year the electronics were redone back to the original specs. I had this collector guy look at it recently and he said,"You ruined its collectability when you took the blue finish off." Seems to me a guitar that doesn't make music is just a paperweight. Pretty one, though.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 12:29 PM

Guitars are lousy investments, financially. All the good investments have already been made. There are no "reasonable" old herringbone Martins anymore. Prices might still go up, but you have to start with somewhere over $5000 US, have it tied up for years, and the instruments have to be carefully and expensively maintained.

Some "reissue" models have themselves become vintage collectibles, notably the late-60's Martin D-45's. There were about 300 of these made and they now sell for about $25,000 US, representing as they do the end of the Brazilian Rosewood era.

It's guesswork, but if you find a guitar made by a recently-established luthier that seems particularly fine, that's at least a good buy, and if the maker turns out to be the next Grit Laskin or George Lowden, its value will soar. Probably won't happen but at least you have a good guitar at a good price--not the worst thing that can happen to you.

Frankly, I think buying a guitar NOT TO PLAY on the hopes of making a financial killing later, is shameful and immoral. Guitars are made to be played, and should be available to players who are willing to pay a reasonable price for them, not hoarded by would-be millionaires to make them even less attainable to players.

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 12:30 PM

Guitars are lousy investments, financially. All the good investments have already been made. There are no "reasonable" old herringbone Martins anymore. Prices might still go up, but you have to start with somewhere over $5000 US, have it tied up for years, and the instruments have to be carefully and expensively maintained.

Some "reissue" models have themselves become vintage collectibles, notably the late-60's Martin D-45's. There were about 300 of these made and they now sell for about $25,000 US, representing as they do the end of the Brazilian Rosewood era.

It's guesswork, but if you find a guitar made by a recently-established luthier that seems particularly fine, that's at least a good buy, and if the maker turns out to be the next Grit Laskin or George Lowden, its value will soar. Probably won't happen but at least you have a good guitar at a good price--not the worst thing that can happen to you.

Frankly, I think buying a guitar NOT TO PLAY on the hopes of making a financial killing later, is shameful and immoral. Guitars are made to be played, and should be available to players who are willing to pay a reasonable price for them, not hoarded by would-be millionaires to make them even less attainable to players.

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 12:51 PM

Guitars are lousy investments, financially. All the good investments have already been made. There are no "reasonable" old herringbone Martins anymore. Prices might still go up, but you have to start with somewhere over $5000 US, have it tied up for years, and the instruments have to be carefully and expensively maintained.

Some "reissue" models have themselves become vintage collectibles, notably the late-60's Martin D-45's. There were about 300 of these made and they now sell for about $25,000 US, representing as they do the end of the Brazilian Rosewood era.

It's guesswork, but if you find a guitar made by a recently-established luthier that seems particularly fine, that's at least a good buy, and if the maker turns out to be the next Grit Laskin or George Lowden, its value will soar. Probably won't happen but at least you have a good guitar at a good price--not the worst thing that can happen to you.

Frankly, I think buying a guitar NOT TO PLAY on the hopes of making a financial killing later, is shameful and immoral. Guitars are made to be played, and should be available to players who are willing to pay a reasonable price for them, not hoarded by would-be millionaires to make them even less attainable to players.

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 01:38 PM

The first order of business is that a vintage or investment grade guitar is ONLY worth what a like-minded, informed buyer, is willing to pay.

The second order of business is to thoroughly do your homework (research and find out everything you can about the collectability and DESIRABILITY of those Martin(s) you are thinking of acquiring as investments.) There is a wonderful sight devoted to the collecting of Martins here. (Click on the Martin headstock icon to find out more.) You might also want to pick up a copy of Washburn and Johnson's "Martin Guitars - An Illustrated History".

Some people buy them strictly as investments where they sit in their case in a climate controlled environment. Like others have mentioned THEY NEED TO BE PLAYED regularly to retain their tone.

I recently acquired a 54 year old OOO-21 that while an outstanding piece NEEDED to be played as it had sat in its case by the previous owner for 3 years. I can tell you that after a week of playing it every day for 2-3 hours a day, there was a phenomenal difference in its sound compared to how it sounded when I first got it. (It opened right up to how you'd expect a guitar of this age to sound, but, it didn't sound that way at first.)

With respect to Limited Editions and Signature series, treat these as you would a new car. As soon as you buy one, they immediately depreciate from what you paid. Also, no one is going to reimburse you for any taxes you also paid for a new instrument which falls into either the limited edition or signature series. Personally if I had 10 to 15 grand to spend on an investment grade guitar I would inevitably purchase something older (35+ years) rather than something new, because a guitar doesn't develop its true tone for at least 5-10 years from the time its new...but of course you can get some great sounding NEW instruments that will only get better over time. You have to look at the number of these limited and signature editions being manufactured. The fewer made, the more collectable. (OOO-28EC's are not collectable as over 6000 have already been made, and they are easily replaceable. A signature series OOO-42EC in Brazilian is collectable because of the limited numbers made, and also because of the diminishing supply of Brazilian rosewood.)

Also, avoid buying someone else's custom made instrument. It may be very pricey and, it may not have custom features which are desirable to you. Another thing is that just because an instrument is a Martin, does NOT make it valuable. Certain models are far more desirable and collectable than others. You'll have to do your homework and research to determine what they are...but suffice to say nylon string and semi classical models from the 30's to present day, as well as their archtops, electrics, and ill-fated E models (as in OO-18E, OOO18E and D-28E) are not collectable or valuable, unless one really wants one and is foolish enough to pay the asking prices of sellers. These were acoustic guitars with DeArmond pickups and tone knobs drilled into the tops. Hideous!!! Also the real low end Martin's made in the 30s and 40s such as the O-15 and O-17 models are not real appreciative in value.

Having said all this, the very best investment grade Martins are older Brazilian rosewood models. In particular the market is really starting to heat up regarding late 40s and 50s era D-28's, as well as OO and OOO's from this era. But anything Brazilian made prior to 1969 is money in the bank and you won't lose a dime, provided you maintain the instrument. Obviously the older the instrument is, the more appreciative it will be in value. A typcial amount of time to see a return on your investment is 3-5 years, if it falls into either the really old, or pre-1969 time periods.

"Golden era" Brazilian rosewood instruments (those made between 1930 and 1944) are the most desirable and, the most expensive. This is why many would-be investors and collectors have now shifted their focus to post-war models. Somewhat more affordable and attainable, and in greater numbers. There are some excellent mahogany Martins made (D-18's as well as O, OO, and OOO-18's) pre-war, that are highly collectable, as well as post "golden era".)

Things that affect the value of older Martins (pre-1969):

Cosmetic condition:
- cracks: (whether repaired and stable or not) (but note that it is very common for Martins made prior to the 1980's to have what is known as the "standard pickguard crack", which is typically found at the side of the pickguard, or, at the bottom of the pickguard between the high E and B strings and extending all the way down to the bridge, caused by pickguard shrinkage, due to Martin's application of nitro-cellulose laquer over the pickguard as well as the entire top, the drying of which causes the pickguard to shrink and take some of the wood with it.) Repaired pickguard cracks are not an issue.

- play-wear: In one respect play-wear is a good thing, because it instantly tells you the previous owner played it a lot. But because play-wear also affects the cosmetic look of the instrument, depending on the amount of it, can reduce the overall value of the guitar in variable amounts contingent on the extent of the play-wear (unless it's Willie Nelson's guitar.) In many cases where the playwear is extensive both above and below the sound hole and above the end of the fret board, sometimes repairmen use "overspray" (re-laquer) the affected areas to strengthen them. This is not the same as refinshing as overspraying is not considered a gross alteration of the guitar's originality.

- action & intonation: If the instrument is properly set up, this is a plus to a potential buyer as it indicates the neck and bridge/saddle are stable (and possibly maintenance work was recently done (i.e. a neck reset, new bridge/saddle, replacement frets or fret dressing) so you don't have to spring for that, which can get expensive. If, on the other hand, you see a guitar with a shaved bridge and very little saddle to work with, this should be treated as a red flag, because it indicates 2 things; (1) the previous owner was putting off doing a neck reset, and shaved the bridge as a stop-gap measure, and (2) you're going to be the one responsible for replacing the bridge/saddle and doing the neck reset. Because of this you should deduct what the costs of doing these repairs will be, from the buyer's asking price.

Originality and Alterations to the Originality:

Anything that effects the originality of the piece can devalue it by up to 50% of its market value...and anyone who tells you differently is either completely uninformed or, trying to gouge you or rip you off.

The following are considered acceptable and normal maintenance and repairs without affecting the originality.

- replacement bridge: (must be identical materials and specifications to the original.) In other words, if you're replacing an ebony bridge, don't replace it with a rosewood one, and vice versa.) Also, if you are replacing a bridge with a through-slot saddle (the longer saddle) do not replace it with the shorter saddle, or here you are altering and devaluing the originality of the guitar.

- replacement nut or saddle: (use the same materials as the original, or upgrade to bone or fossilized ivory.)

- replacement tuning gears: fine, provided that (a) you don't have to drill any new holes in the headstock to make the replacements fit and fill the original ones (or again the originality is compromised), and (b) that you save the original tuning gears and include them with the guitar at such time as you decide to sell it.

- neck reset: standard piece of maintenance, and depending on the type of neck and internal neck reinforcement (either truss rod, steel or ebony bar) will need to be done once every 10-20 years, depending on the style of neck, the climatic conditions where you live and the amount of inherent neck relief which exists at the time.

- replacement frets or fret dressing : as long as the frets are of the exact same type as the originals

The following are considered alterations of the guitar's originality and can affect the market value up to 50% of its worth:

- refinishing : unless you are planning to keep said instrument for the rest of your life, this is something that should not be done. Refinishing the top, sides and back (devalues it 50% of its current market value)...even if only the sides and back are refinished (and the top left alone) or refinishing just the neck, the instrument is devalued. Refinished pegheads, with new Martin logos also devalue it.

- "Conversion" instruments: Commonly found on pre-1969 and 60's era, original straight braced Martins. These instruments have either had new tops with scalloped bracing or have the original tops, but the bracing has been scalloped to enhance the sound characteristcs. Devalued by 40-50%, although the selling line is "you get that great pre-war sound at a fraction of the price". These instruments are to be avoided as investment grade pieces, and should only be purchased if you're planning to keep them for life. They will always be devalued to an astute would-be purchaser.

Employee-made Martins: Martin encouraged some of their workforce to build their own instruments. There are some beautiful looking ones out there with exceptional woods and tone HOWEVER, the two necessary things (for an investor) lacking in employee-made instruments are (a) lack of the Martin decal on the headstock, which is blank with no logo) and (b) no serial number (to establish the date of manufacture). (30-40% devaluation from it's legit market equivalent...although some dealers will flagrantly ignore this and put their best positive spin on it.) Go here and scroll down to the 1959 employee made OOO-28. Nice wood, nice condition, GROSSLY OVERPRICED. I inquired about this instrument when dealer Larry Wexer had it (and he was asking $7,500.00 for it but was willing to discuss offers). A week after I talked to Larry, it miraculously ended up on the site of another dealer with 2500.00 added to the cost. (This dealer is operating under the notion that if somebody pays MORE it MUST be a really good guitar.) I discussed this instrument with luthiers at the 12th Fret in Toronto, as well as with people at Elderly. Their points have already been noted in my previous comments about employee made instruments.

Please note that I have spent the better part of 15 years studing everything there is to know about buying, collecting and selling pre-1969 Martins. While I am not an authority, I've done my homework, and I consider myself pretty knowledgable on the subject.

Here endeth the lesson. :-)


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 01:44 PM

Also.....neck shaving, is a gross alteration of originality, although it can be a good thing to make the instrument more comfortable to play, but should only be done, if you're planning to keep it, and not concerned about value appreciation.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 07:53 PM

Of course if the Brazilians, Malaysians, Indonesians, etc. started taking care of their forests again, maybe the prices of all these would start coming back down (SO IF YOU DON'T OWN A MARTIN, SUPPORT YOUR ENVIRONMENT!!!)(joke) yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: kendall
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 09:01 PM

A few years ago, Wilma Lee Cooper was on tv, probably the Old Opry, and she said she had been offered, and refused, $100,000 for her pre war Martin D-45.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Willie-O
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:00 AM

I stand by my previous comments, but I only intended to make them once!

Justa Picker's highly informed observations are clearly the voice of experience. It's funny about the 18 series (mahogany bodies), there are rather variable opinions among knowledgable collectors as to their general collectibility. There is no doubt that an old (50's or earlier) D-18 is the most desirable of the 18's, followed by a vintage 000. My all-time favourite guitar was a 1939 or so D-18 a friend of mine used to own. The single-O's are still undervalued in my opinion, they were made from the turn of the century until the mid-70's, a few hundred a year, and have been thought of as too small for current fashion in a dreadnought world, but I really think they are aesthetically exquisite and very comfortable to play. Mine's about due (1973) for the 20-year neck reset and a new bridge but it's still highly playable so won't get it for awhile.

D-28's with the rosewood body, are considered more desirable but they've never done much for me.

I guess the "collect it and put it away" notion bothers me particularly because all the vintage Martins in Canada have been going south rapidly since our dollar went down to 65c US. And the real high end ones seem to go to Japan.

Re: Wilma Lee Cooper, yup, that's the price range those D-45's are in. Elderly Instruments had one listed at 160,000 this past winter, they sold it pretty quickly when they dropped the asking to 140 grand. YEEEEOUUUUCH!

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Bartholomew
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:09 AM

Great comments, Picker.

There's a story that seems to apply about investing & trading in things, rather than using them: It seems a man met a travelling peddler from a faraway land, who told him about a wonderful can of sardines he could buy for a mere dollar. Charmed by the story of the peddler the man bought the sardines (although a dollar was a lot for a can of sardines) and put them on a shelf in his kitchen to eat on a special occasion.

The sardines sat in the man's kitchen until one day a friend of his saw the can and asked about them. He was told the story, and immediately offered $2 for the can.

The deal was done, and as the new owner of the sardines was walking home, he ran into two lady friends of his. He showed them the can of sardines, told them the story, and explained that he was going home to dine on the wonderful little fish. Thinking that $2 sardines must, indeed, be special, the first lady offered him $2.25 for the can; not to be outdone, the other lady offered him $2.50. This went on for a while until the sardines were finally sold for the outlandish sum of $5.00!

Now the lady who bought the sardines couldn't resist telling her friends about her luck and skill in purchasing such valuable sardines and as the story spread, people began to wish they, too, could make such a fortuitous purchase. Years went by. The can changed hands over and over, the price went up and up, as the story of the sardines became legend. People passed the sardines from father to son, parting with them grudgingly, and at great profit. Eventually news of the sardines reached the ears of the king.

The king, it seemed, was planning a banquet. Having heard about the sardines, decided that he absolutely had to serve those sardines to his notable guests. After intense negotiation, a price was reached which made the seller faboulously wealthy and pleased the king greatly; he finally had the wonderful sardines!

The night of the banquet came and the king, with great pomp and ceremony opened the can of sardines. Although the aroma was terrible, he figured that's how special sardines must smell; so he served them to his guests who all got violently ill as a result. As the king was having his royal stomach pumped, he turned to his Prime Minister demanding to know what was wrong with his expensive sardines. The Prime Minister merely shrugged his shoulders and said, "Sire, those sardines weren't for eating; those sardines were for trading."


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: LR Mole
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:26 AM

I was told that all the George Harrison-era Gretch arch-top electrics (Tenneseans, Country Gentlemen, etc.) are in Japan, as highly prized, unplayed, collectables.Odd thing:they were, as I understand it, just made as roadhouse workhorses, generally. The matter of collectability baffles me, frankly, and has ever since someone told me one shouldn't read first editions of books (or take toys out of the package and play with them). Why have things just to have them?


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:32 AM

Max and Joe and Clones. Shouldn't this thread be archived in the perma threads? It contains, especially beginning with Justa Pickers post, some excellent material on one of the fundamental issues we deal with here?

Mick


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 10:44 AM

Great thread. Some very good info here, but keep in mind that there are hundreds of little variables.

One MAJOR variable is that if a vintage instrument sells for a HIGHER than market value price, in some public place (Ebay etc.) look for the market value to go up generally. It's human nature ain't it? Rather than laugh at some Japanese millionaire for getting "taken", most sellers will just up the prices to see if someone else will pay that kind of money.....and if they can wait long enough...someone will.

Another thing to always keep in mind is that most musicians will scrape along at less than twenty grand a year, so for them to buy a five grand guitar is a huge decision. A CEO who played three chords in University 23 years ago can buy a 20 thousand dollar guitar with no sweat. THAT'S the market that Gibson (have you SEEN some of their hilariously 'over the top' new models?) Martin, and the top hand builders are dealing with now.

In the meantime, a vintage Guild is still within range of most, and Larrivee, Martin and Taylor make fine lower priced instruments. The best thing however is that a beginner has a HUGE choice now. Seagull, Simon and Patrick, Godin, and the other Quebec-built instruments are fine values.

My first guitar was a KAY!! Ughhh!

Rick

.....but my second was a Goya (mmmm good)


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Willie-O
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 12:04 PM

Your first guitar was a Kay? My first guitar was a bused.

Before I got it, and after. Not supposed to put steel strings on classicals, I hear.

Martin is coming out with a highly over-ornamented thing called a D-50 I think, the big-ticket dealers are just wetting their pants in anticipation.

In order to avoid doing anything productive this morning, I have just conducted a survey of some Martins currently available from well-known dealers, here's some figures to bear out this discussion. There are remarkably few D-18's for sale at the moment, surprising really:

George Gruhn: 1947 O-18, excellent $2000
1962 OO-18, exc: $2250
1947 D-28, excellent-but(beltbuckle scars) $8500

Mandolin Bros:
1996 000-28 EC (Eric Clapton) $2795
New D-18GE (reissue, w Adirondack Spruce top): 3720
And just out of interest, no comparisons available for this item:
Carl Sandburg's 1933 Martin OM18, along with some handwritten manuscripts and unpublished poems: $36,000
Elderly Instruments:
3 OO-18's, 1946, 50, 51, $1500(as is) to $3350

1943 000-28, VG-EX $14,000
1943 000-45 EX, $63,500, oh, my, god. The highest priced guitar found today.

1941 D-28, VG, $18,000 (normal playing wear & repairs!)
1957 D-28: $5,500
1992 D-45: second reissue of the 1939 D-45, this reproduction is priced at $11,000 w/ Brazil rw.
1996 D-45: third reissue priced at $16,000. Go figure. They made 91 of each of these reissues, which was the number of D-45's made in 1929.


Twelfth Fret, Toronto
1972 D-18: $1800 Cdn (<1200 US)Hey I want this, someone buy it for me please. I'll pay shipping. I'll come get it. I'll...
00028 Eric Clapton: $3000 Cdn. Under $2000 US.

ENOUGH ALREADY! I really need to do something useful around home today...

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: pattyClink
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 12:13 PM

And for a word from the investing community: don't forget the time 'cost' of money and the phenomenon of compounding. A nice story of how a guitar has appreciated from $500 to $1500 over 20 year isn't as amazing if you tabulate the same 500 in your IRA the same time period. At a very conservative 5%, the money is worth $1326 at the end.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Willie-O
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 12:23 PM

Exactly, but it's well worth the money to buy a nice guitar for $500 or $1000, and have it around to play while it's modestly inflating, compared to tying up your life savings in an even nicer guitar that's supposedly going to go from incredibly expensive to phenomenally so.

I believe the motto is buy low, sell high. Not buy high and sell extortionately.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 02:14 PM

People who are purchasing guitars as "investments" are a very small, niche market. There are some other investments that may indeed offer a higher rate of return in a shorter period of time. (I haven't got the time or the nerves to become a day trader on the stock market.)

For me, I like to invest in what I love, and that happens to be older Martins. I happen to also be a player and appreciate a fine instrument "that speaks to me when I play it" and as far as I am concerned these are playable works of art...and no other brand of guitar rings my bell than an older seasoned Martin.

I know from my own experience and watching the market and even tendering the occasional offers from stores who know of my instruments, that 2 of my guitars, 1 being a 1950 D-28 and the other the '47 OOO-21 I mentioned previously, that I could flip them tomorrow (if I was insane enough to do so) and see at least a 30% return on both. One I've had for 3 years, the other I've had for 4 months. But I was fortunate that I acquired both, for less than what the current market value on them was at the time.

It's a game of patience; and letting the right one "find you" and having the bucks available to move on the right deal on a moment's notice. Timing is everything as well as investing in the desirable ones that you just happen to enjoy playing.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Dunkle
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 06:58 AM

Great comments! Now I've got another question: I was interested in the comment that described how a guitar that hadn't been played for a while improved its tone simply by being played...like an amazing bottle of wine I had once that that magically changed its drinkability in the manner of an hour or so, simply by being left open to react with the air. Can anyone describe the science of what happens when a guitar is played - as opposed to being left in the case - that causes the tone to change/improve?


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: kendall
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 08:40 AM

My kid brother has a 1958 Martin D-18, and, it is probably the loudest acoustic guitar I have ever heard. He has had many chances to sell it to well known bluegrass pickers. One of them was that jumping jack with the Lewis family. Cant recall his name. Another who loves it, Charlie Waller, Country Gentlemen.

My pal, Smokey Green, has an old D-21 that will blow the socks off most other guitars.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: clansfolk
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 08:56 AM

exercise!

The same way guitarist improve by playing

back in the 60's/70's we recorded and sold an exercise tape for musical instruments based on the well know fact that a guitar etc. can be "aged" in tone by placing it in front of speakers playing at a "REASONABLE" volume. the tape expanded on this by including present tones that repeated at various speeds throughout the recording - it worked quite well and many tapes were sold - might just re-do it on CD!!

Pete


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 09:24 AM

THANKS to Justa Picker and others on this thread who have taken the time to share their knowledge with us! It's kinda frightening to think what my 1965 D-21, bought from a fellow graduate student in 1966 when he upgraded to a D-28, is worth these days especially since I use it as my "playing" guitar (it was at Mount Airy NC last week getting used pretty heavily) and it is probably worthless to a collector since I made the involuntary discovery (in Galax in about 1990) that too much insect repellent on the skin removes the finish from the neck. . . but I love the tone I get. Guitars are for playing not collecting. (and as far as I am concerned the most important part of my Last Will is the one that gets the instruments into good hands)
and my first guitar was a Stella for $35, in 1959.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Gary T
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 09:38 AM

Dunkle, to elaborate on Pete's (clansfolk's) comments, my understanding is that as the top vibrates in response to the tones generated by the strings (or the speakers with the method he describes) it becomes more flexible. This enhances its ability to vibrate, and it becomes more responsive.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 10:06 AM

Guest:Pete Peterson,
Thanks for your words. I wouldn't sweat the issue of the finish being somewhat stripped off the back of the neck of your D-21, too much. Many older Martins have the finish on the back of the neck worn off from playing. The key is NOT to refinish it. As long as it plays comfortably and you can still slide up and down the neck with ease, it shouldn't be a significant issue. Lately the D-21's made in the 60's in good shape that I've seen at various dealer web sites, appear to be selling in the $3,250.00 - $4,000.00 range.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 03 Sep 09 - 02:06 AM

Does anyone play well enough to do justice to a guitar that costs $100,000?
There cant be that many players alive on the planet who could.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Mooh
Date: 03 Sep 09 - 08:22 AM

This old thread brings back memories...

My guitars are investments in my musical self, my job, my students, my family when they inherit them, but in no way are they investments in my financial bottom line (other than as tools for making a living). If I just happen to turn a profit on one (or more likely a good trade) that's nice, but resale or trade for profit has never been a consideration at time of purchase. Buying a guitar and not playing it would be nearly impossible with my personality.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: open mike
Date: 03 Sep 09 - 11:44 AM

If you buy a guitar just to sell it again later, you had better leave it in the case. If you take it out and play it and get to know it as a friend, you will never want to part with it! And who would want to part with a friend?!


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: open mike
Date: 03 Sep 09 - 11:45 AM

oh yes, many of us started out on Stellas, I am sure! (me, too)


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Wesley S
Date: 03 Sep 09 - 02:07 PM

Wow - Your first guitar had a NAME on it? Lucky stiff.


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 03 Sep 09 - 02:30 PM

...... to keep (and not play?) ......


What a sad premise this thread is built on.


DC


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Subject: RE: Guitars as investments?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 01:50 PM

My sense is that most - not all - guitars, though they may gain in sound quality and playability over time, have a certain limit to their ability to increase in value. The also have a life cycle and don't last forever. While it is true that the Martin D-28 I bought for $350 (including hard-shell case) in 1967 is probably worth five to seven times that now, 42 years is a long time to wait to icrease your investment. Allowing for inflation, $350 bucks may have represented a greater sacrifice in '67 than $2,000 would today.

I'd much rather invest in Bordeaux or Napa wine futures. Assuming you know your business, great increases are possible within 3-5 years or even less. It's still a bit of a crap shoot, though.


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