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    features & vintage GUITAR pictures
    see tons of pictures of classic guitars with
     explainations, and feature articles.

   vintage Collectibility Ratings.

    I have added collectibility ratings to
    most vintage guitar models listed here.
    This will give you some idea if a
    particular model is desireable by
    collectors. I use an A,B,C,D,F grading
    system, where "A" is the most desireable
    and "D" the least. There are no "F" grade
    models (those without any vintage
    collectibility) listed here. This would
    include basically any models newer than
    1970, or those older models that just
    have no collectibility (like student
    models). Of course this grading is all my
    opinion. So don't flame me if you disagree.
    The bottom line is: if you like the guitar,
    then it's an "A" grade as far as you're
    concerned. But that doesn't mean it has
    any "vintage" collectibility or "vintage"
    guitar value to me (or other collectors).

  WHAT makes a vintage guitar Collectible?
  As with baseball cards, Barbie dolls and other collectibles, condition is very important. Instruments in "excellent" condition are always worth more than instruments in "average" condition.
  Guitars must meet several other criterias to be worth money. One of the most important aspects is originality. Any modifications, replaced parts or repairs, no matter how practical, will decrease the value of a vintage guitar. Even replacing the original case or re-fretting the guitar (the equivalent to replacing a car's tires) will decrease value.
  For example, a "beat-up" original finish guitar will always be worth much more than a perfectly refinished one. Even if the new finish is done professionally and looks perfect, it will be worth approximately half the price of an original finish guitar. This is because once the original finish is gone, there is simply no way to replace it. The materials, the procedures, the patina will all be different on a refinished instruement. Also it can be refinished many times or done perfectly, but it is still "refinished" and will never be "original" again.
  Also I need to explain the term "mint", as it is constantly misrepresented. "Mint" means as new, or in the same condition as if you purchased the item new today. There is no such thing as "mint for its age". Either an item is mint (brand new condition), or it's not.
  Another big thing that effects value is demand. The Fender electric mandolin, although very rare, is not worth very much. The reason is demand, or "who wants it?". If the instrument has limited popularity, for whatever reason, it will appeal to a limited crowd. Hence it will not be worth as much as a popular instrument.
  To a some extent, rarity has only limited connection to value. For example, the Fender Telecaster is very valuable, even though Fender made tens of thousands of them from 1950 to 1965 (Fender's most collectable era). The reason is demand. Although the Tele is not rare compared to their electric mandolin, it is a very popular guitar. Hence it is worth considerably more than the (much rarer) electric mandolin.
  To summarize, for a vintage guitar to be valuable there must be:
Demand for the model.
Originality (unmodified, no repairs).

  WHAT is it Worth?
  The question I get asked constantly is, "what is it worth?". Usually I value things based on what they are worth to me, not someone else. Most times that equates to market value, but sometimes it's higher and sometimes it's lower (depending on the vintage guitar). Really the best way to determine what a guitar is worth is to get some "cash offers" for the guitar. Ask around and see what people would pay.

  are APPRAISALS worth anything?
  In my opinion, the answer to this is "no". The recent trend in vintage guitar appraisals has been to over appraise vintage guitars. "Why", you ask? This is purely a business decision from the appraisal people. Since most appraisals are done by vintage guitar dealers who want to sell your vintage instrument, it is to their benefit to appraise high (over-appraise). This especially applies to the larger vintage guitar dealers in Nashville and New York who do mostly consignment sales (another scam in my opinion). Since consignments involve little to no cost on the vintage guitar dealer's part, appraising your guitar high and taking it on consignment is advantageous to them. After all, if you are selling a guitar, are you going to consign it to a dealer that gave you the lowest appraisal? Heck no! That's why most dealers over-appraise guitar values, to "set the hook" and get the guitar into their shop.
  Because of this, I feel appraisals are little more than a scam (most dealers charge $30 or more for a formal appraisal). If you want to know the true value of your vintage guitar, ask a couple dealers, "what would you pay, cash, right now, for my guitar?" This amount will be significantly less than the appraisal, but is the true value of what price your vintage guitar will sell. Yes of course the dealer will try and sell your vintage guitar for more than they are offering (after all they are in business to make money). But they have access to an international market and client list that you and I don't have. And they may be willing to spend the time (as much as years) selling your guitar "retail". My opinion is, "so let them try"...

  when APPRAISALS were fair
  I remember back a fews years appraisals were legitimate. When I was buying a vintage guitar from someone that was nervous about its value, I would tell them to send $30 and a front and back picture to a vintage guitar shop in Nashville for an appraisal (we would usually split the cost of the appraisal). And the appraisals were fair; I would pay near or at the appraised value. But it didn't take a rocket scientist for the vintage guitar dealers to realize what was happening; they would appraise the vintage guitar fairly and it would get sold to someone else local to the guitar! Because of this, all the vintage guitar dealers that do formal appraisals are over-appraising guitar values. This makes the "local" deal look bad, and their consignment scam look good.

  collectibility/value of YOUR guitar
info on value, collectibility and selling your guitar.
Exactly what is a vintage guitar?.
what's fair to everyone.
how to contact me with questions, comments and vintage guitars for sale.


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