When dealing with vintage or used instruments, you often times run into the “Price Guide” conflict. This isn’t some type of defense we are using to ignore the current economic situation, or try to keep prices high. In the world of vintage instruments, it just doesn’t make sense to think that a price seen in a “guide”, or on ebay speaks for each one. That isn’t what it’s about! That isn’t why vintage instruments are more valuable. Each piece of wood, each pickup, each neck, EACH EVERYTHING is different. 50’s Strats were made a lot different then new Stratocasters, so yes, they are more expensive. But each Strat from the 50’s was also made differently. In many cases we will have two of the exact same guitar/model/year/color, but if one doesn’t have that special element then it’s priced VERY differently.
We take extreme pride in our instruments. If something is sketchy or doesn’t feel right, then it won’t make it on the floor. We love vintage instruments, and the things that make them so special. Each vintage instrument is based on a lot more factors than condition or year. I can’t tell you how many times we hear “Well I saw one in mint condition on Ebay for $…”. That doesn’t tell us anything unfortunately. When buying an instrument it needs to be the right one. What’s the history? How does it play? How does it resonate? Every single one is different.
I don’t blame anyone for playing the other side of the game. However, price matching vintage guitars doesn’t make sense to people who take something like history, or playability into account. 2-3 years ago when the vintage guitar market was increasing very fast, we still didn’t rely on the price guide to tell us what every guitar was worth exactly. A lot of times the price guide was too high! Even we couldn’t price certain guitars for what they were “booking” at. Maybe the one that they based the price off of was something special, but that wasn’t the case for the rest made that year.
So don’t get discouraged if you have an amazing collection and the 2010 “Price Guide” isn’t what you were hoping. As long as you know what you have, and why it was priced how it was you will be fine. It becomes a buyers market, where people are waiting for you to sell the 54 strat for X amount of money. If a someone can spend $50,000, most likely if it’s the right one he can spend $60,000.
This information can be as distracting as the price guide if you don’t understand that it totally depends on the specific guitar. Some guitars will decrease in value and some will continue to appreciate. The collectors and stores set the market. In other words the people who know and love these guitars are deciding what they are worth, rather then the big economic scare. If you have any questions regarding value or why we have priced something how it is, PLEASE feel free to ask.