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Value of vintage guitars on the rise

People make noise with them in the basement and some even grow rich from travelling from town to town playing them. But guitars can be a good investment as well.

What are now referred to as vintage guitars were simply old guitars back in the 1980s. The 42 Guitar Index – which tracks the cumulative value of 42 vintage instruments from Gibson, Fender and Martin ­- has tracked steadily upward since 1991. You could have bought all of those axes listed for about $150,000 that year.

The index was just shy of $1 million in 2008, and then the recession hit, pulling prices down 30 percent from their high in recent years. That sounds a lot like the equity markets in 2008-09.

The index, published every year by Vintage Guitar magazine, is back on the upswing and tracking back toward $800,000. Meanwhile, equity markets are hot and there’s lots of cheap money out there. Vintage dealers say there are profits to be made with quality instruments from decades past. And the best part, while you own them you can play them – preferably loud.

Guitars Worth Leaving Behind

Gibson Don Felder Interesting article here by Jol Dantzig:

An interesting yet disturbing trend of late in the vintage-guitar market is perfectly correct instruments being parted out to meet the demand for rare hardware.

Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the kind of legacy we’ll leave behind. I’m not talking about big ideas like curing cancer or saving the planet from harm. What I am talking about are much more diminutive contributions, or actually, lack of action.

A few years ago, I awoke one morning to the sound of chainsaws drifting across my property. I live in a somewhat rural area surrounded by rough, hilly terrain and forest, and have a 600-foot driveway that winds past a section of a neighbor’s land. Following the sounds of trees being felled, I arrived at the point where my plot met his. Seeing me, my neighbor looked up, killed his smoking Stihl saw, and walked over to chat. He explained that his livestock hobby needed more grazing land, so he’d decided to level an acre of tall trees and shrubs.

I wanted to continue to enjoy the privacy that the foliage afforded when entering my driveway, so of course I was being selfish as I urged him to reconsider. But it also struck me as irresponsible to just trash an acre of old-growth trees. I’m an advocate of responsible wood harvesting and an avid fan of reclamation, so I reminded him that his deed would remain long after he moved on. Upon consideration, my neighbor compromised and merely thinned out some of his land. This column, however, isn’t directly about forests being decimated for musical instrument use. It’s about stewardship of what already exists.

Read the full article here

Part of Rory Gallagher’s guitar collection for sale

New Kings Road Vintage Guitar Emporium are very proud to offer a selection of guitars and amplifiers for sale from the collection of Ireland’s legendary guitarist, Rory Gallagher.

These instruments have never been offered for sale until now. There are some great pieces that have been used live and in the studio by Rory, and this a truly unique opportunity, to purchase some of his authentic equipment.

New Kings Road Vintage Guitar Emporium will be displaying the instruments for sale at their shop located at 65a New Kings Road, London, SW6 4SG.

see them here

GuitarTrader launches online gear marketplace

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A new marketplace website,, aimed at helping shops and guitar buyers find second-hand, used and vintage items has launched.

Pitching itself as the AutoTrader of the guitar world (though not in any way affiliated with that brand), GuitarTrader is essentially an online classified ad service, which hopes to provide a forum for anyone wishing to buy or sell guitar gear.

The idea is that guitar players and retailers (particularly those that have little discernible online presence/catalogue) sign up to the service and list their available products, without having to setup their own e-commerce platform.

It’s no secret in the guitar world that there are a lot of second-hand instruments sat in shops, or the homes of collectors without websites, so fingers-crossed the service will make it easier for players to find their ideal guitars.

*ALERT* Guitar Collection Stolen in Sweden

I’m posting this on behalf of the Owner, please be aware of these instruments in case they start showing up for sale..


Unfortunately half of my collection of guitars, which I have collected and hand picked for more than 25 years, has been stolen in Ystad, very south in Sweden. Most of the 15 stolen guitars are from special series, two Custom Shops are very limited. What is really outstanding is the condition of almost all instruments. Most of them are dead mint, 10,0 out of 10.

Examples of the guitars:

1 Fender Custom Shop ”Play Loud”, only made in 100 examples worldwide
1 Fender Custom Shop Reverse Proto Stratocaster, only made in 100 examples worldwide
1 Fender Gold/Gold Stratocaster, dead mint unplayed
2 Fender Antiguas,
1 Fender International Color in Capri Orange
2 Fender Stratocaster Yngwie Malmsteen Signature och 1 Fender Dave Murray Signature

Here is information about all stolen guitars:

  • Model Serial no Land Year Color Neck Cond
  • Fender 1 American Standard Stratocaster E349438 USA 1985 Inca Silver Rosewood 10
  • Fender 2 Gold Stratocaster, Collector´s Series CA11495 USA 1981 Gold Metallic Maple 10
  • Fender 3 Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster SZ3041518 USA 2003 Vintage White Maple 10
  • Fender 4 Custom Shop Reverse Proto Stratocaster LTD SZ4098012 USA 2005 Olympic White Maple 10
  • Fender 5 American Standard Stratocaster Antigua S903311 USA 1979 Antigua Maple 8
  • Fender 6 American Standard Stratocaster Antigua S915272 USA 1979 Antigua Maple 10
  • Fender 7 The Strat E032030 USA 1980 Lake Placid Blue Maple 8,5
  • Fender 8 Custom Shop Yngwie Malmsteen “Play Loud” Strat LTD YS499 USA 2008 Olympic White Maple 10
  • Fender 9 American Standard Stratocaster E329339 USA 1983 Olympic White Maple 9,5
  • Fender 10 American Stratocaster International Color S938176 USA 1980 Capri Orange Rosewood 9,8
  • Fender Dave Murray Signature Stratocaster V177911 USA 2009 Black Maple 10
  • Fender Stratocaster Splatter Limited Edition MZ312516 Mexiko 2003 Blue/white/silver Rosewood 10
  • Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Stratocaster SZ9386068 USA 2009 Vintage White Maple 10
  • Music Man Luke Signature Edition ???? USA 2006 Black Sapphire Rosewood 10

Please spread the information about the burglary and the lost guitars to your partners and business contacts. A generous reward will be given to information that will give me my guitars back!!

Please observe that there are only 10 guitars on the picture, but as you can see 15 instruments were stolen!!

If you have any information about the instruments, or have heard any rumours, please come back to me. Your help to get the guitars back to my will be highly appreciated and generously rewarded!!

Many thanks!

Marcus Ohlsson
Phone number: +46 708 348605

The Gibson Moderne Returns!

Gibson’s Moderne is back in production. Here’s the story in the company’s own words…

A musical chimera, shrouded in the silvered mists of myth and legend, the Gibson Moderne has long been known as the enigmatic “guitar that never was”… or, was it? Designed as the third member of a trio of guitars in the new Modernist Series, prototypes of which were displayed at the 1957 NAMM show, the Moderne was originally intended to be the sibling of the Flying V and the Explorer, but never made it off the launch pad the way the other two then-futuristic classics did. Although they are iconic symbols of rock guitar today, even the Flying V and Explorer were too far ahead of their time in the late ’50s, and fewer than 200 units of both types were made in their original three-year run before deletion from the catalog in 1960. Perhaps Gibson foresaw that a third Modernist was pushing it just too far? Or did a poor early reaction to the guitar lead to its demise? Ted McCarty, president of Gibson at the time, has said a number of Modernes were made; other tales tell of prototypes and raw bodies being burned in a bonfire at Kalamazoo after early showings failed to set the guitar world alight. Whatever the real story–and perhaps it is lost forever to the mists of time–the Moderne is perhaps rarest and most elusive Gibson guitar ever created. Or was, until now. “New” from Gibson USA, the Moderne captures the look, feel and sound of the original, and puts it in the hands of players today.

The Moderne is made to the precise “pre-space-aged-retro” shape that made the original so eye-catchingly hip, with elements of the Flying V’s look, but with an asymmetrical lower bout that makes the guitar much easier to play sitting down. Gibson USA dresses it in your choice of two outstanding finishes, Trans Amber and Ebony, both in genuine nitrocellulose lacquer, with the gold-plated hardware that helped the Modernist series stand out in the late ’50s. The body is crafted from solid mahogany (Grade-A beneath the Trans Amber guitars), with a solid quarter-sawn Grade-A mahogany neck glued in with Gibson’s acclaimed deep-set neck joint. The neck is carved to a slim, fast profile that measures .800″ at the 1st fret and .850″ at the 12th, and topped with a fingerboard made from exotic granadillo. The Moderne’s headstock follows the rare split-top design, as also seen on the extremely scarce Explorer models from the first year of production.

A pair of ’57 Classics captures the sound of the original PAF humbuckers loaded on Modernist Series guitars of the late ’50s. These popular pickups feature Alnico II magnets, vintage enamel-coated wire, nickel-plated pole pieces, nickel slugs, maple spacers and vintage-style, two-conductor, and braided wiring, just like the greatest humbuckers of all time. In a variation from the majority of original PAFs, however, the ’57 Classics’ coils are wax potted to combat microphony and feedback squeal at high volumes so, while vintage voiced, they are suited to high-gain playing, too. The timeless pairing of Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, both in gold, anchors the strings at the body end for solid sustain and precise intonation adjustment. A set of gold-plated, vintage-style tuners with pearloid buttons retains the accurate look and performance up at the headstock.

Read our article on the Moderne here

Each guitar comes protected in a plush-lined hardshell case with black exterior, and includes owner’s manual and adjustment literature, along with Gibson’s Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365 customer service.


  • Solid Mahogany body available in Trans Amber and Ebony finishes
  • Mahogany neck with slim, fast neck profile
  • Granadillo fingerboard with acrylic dot inlays
  • Features a pair of powerful ’57 Classic humbucking pickups
  • Vintage-style, pearloid-button tuners with 14:1 tuning ratio

Pricing and Availability:

Tony Bacon Interview

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Any guitarist who has walked the aisles of the nearest Barnes & Noble or roamed the guitar related entries at has seen the name Tony Bacon.

For the past couple of decades Tony has been linked to well-researched tomes on Gibsons, Fenders, Gretsch’s and thousands of pages about cool, historic, unique and downright weird guitars.

Digging in deep to offer readers accurate and interesting information on the world’s most famous and obscure guitars is not an easy road.
One must pore over old magazines, interview guitar industry experts, get some quality time with top celebrity guitarists, then check and double-check every fact, and then present the material that’s grammatically correct, aesthetically pleasing, and presentable in a form to successfully meet the market. It’s damn hard work, but at the end of the day must be very satisfying, and Tony Bacon by all accounts should be delighted.

Read the interview here

Guitar traders admit handling stolen vintage guitars

A well-known Yorkshire father and son business partnership have been given suspended prison sentences for handling stolen guitars.

Richard and Justin Harrison, dealing in rare and old musical instruments, admitted to handling stolen vintage guitars worth over £40,000.

Dad Richard, 63, of The Old Rectory, High Street, Campsall, Doncaster, admitted one charge of handling stolen goods relating to ten guitars worth £42,000.

He was given a 12 month sentence, suspended for 18 months and 200 hours unpaid work.

Son Justin, 40, of Wentedge House, Wentedge Road, Pontefract, admitted two charges of handling stolen goods, relating to two guitars worth £4,500.

He was given a six month sentence, suspended for 18 months, 200 hours unpaid work and told pay £2,500 court costs.

At the time of the offences they owned well known company Music Ground and had shops in Leeds, Manchester and London and international customers. They were both charged with handling stolen goods and intending or assisting in the retention or disposal of those items between October 7 2006 and March 5 last year.

The guitars were part of a haul of 157 guitars stolen in two burglaries in Verona, Italy, in October 2006 and which had an estimated value in excess of £1million.

Michael Rawlinson, for Justin, said he had not known the gutiars were stolen when he first received them but had “buried his head in the sand”. Nigel Hamilton, for Richard, said he had given the guitars to people look after when he realised they were stolen but was arrested nine months later when he was still in possession of them.

Judge Christopher Batty described their actions “disgusting”. He said: “We are not talking about throw-away items.

“We are talking expensive property – vintage guitars.

The pair now face an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.


Nice George Gruhn interview..

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A nice interview has recently been posted with George Gruhn.

The world of guitars has a select few gurus who have reached a place where they offer a foundation of expertise. In the world of vintage guitars, the name that always comes to mind is George Gruhn. Certainly, there are others with vintage guitar expertise and backgrounds that we can consult for enlightenment. But, if you want the highest level of credibility, you turn to George.

Gruhn’s expertise is highlighted in the books he co-authored with Walter Carter, including Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars, along with follow-up editions on Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted Instruments: A Photographic History, and Electric Guitars and Basses: A Photographic History. George has also written numerous articles for guitar magazines, as well as publishes his own Gruhn Newsletter. He has also been a featured columnist for Pickin’, Frets, Bluegrass Unlimited, Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar Magazine.

read the interview

Richard Gere’s Guitar Collection Raises Nearly $1 Million at Auction

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A collection of vintage guitars owned by the Hollywood actor Richard Gere has been sold at a Christie’s auction in New York. The sale featured 107 lots, including guitars and amplifiers, which Gere had amassed over a 20-year period. In all the sale raised $936,438, with all but 4% of the lots sold.

The sale’s top-selling lot was a classic 1960 Gibson Les Paul, which beat its pre-sale estimate of up to $90,000 to sell for $98,500 to an anonymous bidder. Other notable lots included a 1931 Martin D- 28 acoustic model which sold for $62,500, a 1958 Gibson Flying V which sold for $74,500 and a 1934 archtop built by John D’Angelico which sold for $20,000.

Gere, who is a well-known advocate for AIDS charities and a supporter of Tibet, will donate the proceeds of the sale to a number of charitable foundations.

Vintage Guitar Effects Announces Website for Guitar Effects Aficionados

Aficionados of guitars and guitar effects have a new source of information in a website made available from Vintage Guitar Effects.

The site is devoted to vintage and boutique guitar pedals and effects. On the site, visitors will find tons of information including in-depth articles, reviews, and videos. It is a blog-based site which encourages user feedback and comments as long as it relates to guitar effects. Interested users can even subscribe to an RSS feed which will keep them up-to-date every time a new post is put up.

Their extensive use of video is one of the things that set the Vintage Guitar Effects website apart from others. As an example, the January 31st entry is a review of the Dwarfcraft Eau Claire Thunder effects box. The review includes not only written information about the features of the box, but also a six-minute video demonstrating what this box can do. The author of the video plugs his guitar into the Eau Claire and puts it through its spaces, explaining to viewers what he’s doing every step of the way. The video is a great way for users to see and hear the Dwarfcraft Eau Claire Thunder for themselves. This is a strong selling point very few other review sites offer.

The site covers vintage guitar effects including compressors, bass pedals, multi-effects pedals, flange or pedals, overdrive pedals, and more. In the boutique guitar effects section, visitors will find items from well-known names like Boss, Death by Audio, Digitech, Excaliber Effects, Rockbox, and Solid Gold; just to name a few. Everything users need or want to know about purchasing vintage and boutique guitar effects is available on the site.

For those looking for vintage or boutique pedals and effects for sale, the website also has a dedicated store. The store contains dozens of links to various products listed at popular auction websites. Although Vintage Guitar Effects does not sell the products themselves, their store categorizes products by type, for easy shopping and searching, and includes thumbnail images. Clicking a given link will redirect the user to the auction site where the item is located.

You can check out the new site here

Whose Axe Made Your Guitar? You’d Better Find Out

With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raiding Gibson’s Tennessee factories again recently, This article is well worth a read, as it has consequences for any owner of a vintage wooden instrument.

The government alleges that Gibson imported woods in violation of the Lacey Act, a century-old law that makes it a federal crime to trade in plants, wildlife, or timber that have been harvested in violation of “any foreign law.”

While this seems simple enough, and the anti-poaching/conservation impulses behind the law are certainly commendable, the Lacey Act has become one of many federal statutes that create invisible minefields of federal regulations into which anyone can stumble unknowingly.

You can read the full article here

Richard Gere To Auction His Guitar Collection at Christies New York On October 11

Actor Richard Gere has decided to sell his guitar collection at Christies New York in October. The sale will offer approximately 110 lots, which will include a range of vintage American guitars, including models by Martin, Gibson, Fender, Gretsch and Epiphone models, and a selection of amplifiers, as well as iconic guitars that belonged to Albert King, Peter Tosh and James D’Aquisto. The sale is expected to realize in the region of $1,000,000.

As a leading Hollywood figure, Richard Gere is known for many iconic performances over the years, but he is also an accomplished musician and played in such films as Cotton Club and Pretty Woman among others. Mr. Gere studied trumpet, and he is a self-taught pianist and guitarist who has played since his youth. With a passion for American vintage guitars, Gere amassed a personal collection built upon their playability and craftsmanship. Kept and played in his home and office, the collection has been under wraps until now.

Richard Gere said: “I’ve had a love affair with guitars since I was a kid. They have been my true friends through the best and worst of times. I never planned to put together a collection, I just bought ones that I liked, the ones that sounded good and played well. Some are very special. Although it’s more than a little painful to let them go, each one has been played, loved and appreciated- and will be again. All my proceeds from this sale will go to support humanitarian causes around the world.”

Kerry Keane, Head of Musical Instruments Department, said: “Each guitar in this sale began as an instrument that Richard Gere purchased for himself, because he saw something brilliant, whether it was for its tonal quality, playability or sheer beauty. What transpired over a lifetime is an almost encyclopedic representation of American guitar making. This is an exciting opportunity for collectors and fans alike to take advantage of Mr. Gere’s unrecognized talent for creating a cohesive collection.”

Highlights include:

  • 1931 Martin D-28, Estimate: $50,000-70,000 The first Style D-28 designated by the C.F. Martin Company
  • 1985 Gibson Flying V, Estimate: $60,000-90,000 Documented as a pre-production prototype by Gibson Incorporated, the guitar was formally the property of Albert King.
  • 1935 John D’Angelico Archtop, Estimate: $10,000-15,000 Formerly the property of James D’ Aquisto
  • 1953 Fender Telecaster, Estimate: $15,000-25,000
  • 1960 Gibson ES-335 TD, Estimate: $20,000-30,000
  • 1954 Fender Stratocaster, Estimate: $30,000-40,000

Further details of the sale and catalogues will be available by mid-September 2011.

Nova Scotia swap meet could turn up some treasures

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A Halifax, NS businessman is hoping musicians from all over New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. will dig through their closets for old guitars, amplifiers and other gear and bring it all to Moncton for a unique swap meet.

The swap meet is set for Saturday, May 7 at the Moncton Lions Centre on St. George Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stuart Lorriman, a long-time musician who recently retired as a sales rep for Canadian-made Godin guitars, says a similar event in Halifax attracted over 700 people, many of whom brought all kinds of used guitars, new guitars, amplifiers, effects pedals and other stuff that musicians go ga-ga over.

“The Halifax one really turned into a social event with people meeting up with old friends and bandmates,” Mr. Lorriman says. “I expect we could get 400 to 500 people in Moncton.”

He chose Moncton to stage the first swap meet in New Brunswick because of the central location, making it easy for people to come from Fredericton, Saint John, Miramichi, P.E.I., and other parts of New Brunswick.

The concept of the swap meet is pretty simple. Bring guitars, amplifiers and other stuff you’d like to trade, and of course some cash if you find something you’d like to buy.

Mr. Lorriman says the swap meet is a place where musical instrument dealers can showcase their new products, and where collectors can sell or trade. People with two or three items can bring them in and look for something to trade, but anyone with more than that is asked to rent a table for $30. Admission at the door will be $3. Mr. Lorriman can be reached by e-mail at

Local music stores have been invited to set up tables, but encouraged to put in some of their used gear or stuff that’s on sale – as opposed to taking stuff off the shelf at the store and putting it on a table at the swap meet.

In recent months, local music stores have become more open to taking trades on guitars, amplifiers and other gear as musicians look to trade in their old guitars for new ones.

This also opens the door for newcomers to pick up a used instrument at bargain prices. Beginners looking for a new or used guitar should plan to spend about $150 to $200 for something good. Higher-end guitars can go from $500 to more than $1,000.

In Metro Moncton, the best places to go guitar shopping for new instruments are the Long & McQuade music store on Plaza Boulevard and La Guitare on St. George Street. Both stores also take trades and have a selection of used gear. The Parlour pawn shop in Mountain Road also has a good selection of used guitars, amps, effects pedals and other stuff for sale and trade. Treasures and Trash also offers some used music gear.

But Mr. Lorriman is really hoping that some unique pieces of vintage gear will make it to the swap meet. The term “vintage” is rather loose when it comes to guitars and amps, but it generally applies to anything that can be dated back 25 years or beyond.

In guitar circles, vintage instruments are generally considered to be better made and sound better. Some people like them to be scratched up, others like them restored.

Mr. Lorriman says guitars from the 1950s and early 1960s are the most sought after by collectors, mainly because they were made by hand by true craftsmen. As the popularity of guitars soared from the 1960s through the 1980s and beyond, well-known guitar makers set up factories for mass producing the instruments. They also began producing economy lines.

For example, Fender guitars are probably the best known, especially for their Telecaster and Stratocaster models. Fender still makes guitars in its California factory, but they are also made in Mexico. Guitars from Fender’s economy line, Squire, could come from plants in Japan, China or Indonesia. To the untrained eye, a Fender Stratocaster and a Squier Stratocaster are virtually identical, but the price difference could be several hundred dollars.

Fenders have been on the market for more than 50 years, so there are a lot of them out there – new, used, modified, customized and some beaten to death. Collectors go wild searching for models from the 1950s or 1960s, and prices on Internet sites can skyrocket. For example, a nice 1959 Strat on Ebay has an asking price of $15,000, when a brand new one off the shelf sells for about $1,500. A new Squier Strat could be found for as low as about $150.

The folks at Fender, recognizing an opportunity, put out a “Road Worn” line of guitars that are brand new but scratched, sanded and beaten up to look like instruments that have many years of service.

Mr. Lorriman says real vintage instruments from the trusted brand names were made with superior workmanship and parts. The types of wood, the internal construction, the quality of metal and electrical components like pickups, and even the type of finish can all have an affect on the overall sound of the instrument. A few nicks and scratches won’t affect the sound and actually give the instrument character. But if the neck is warped and the bridge is pulling away from the body, it could be doomed.

A lot of musicians love collecting instruments. A term you’ll hear around town is “guitarded,” which basically translates into: “I know I don’t really need it and can’t afford it, but I’m getting it anyway.”

I know hobbyist musicians who have closets full of guitars and every once in a while they’ll gather up four or five and trade them in on something else.

Collectors usually like to have a bunch of guitars that have different sounds, so one is good for playing hard rock style while another would be better suited to blues or country.

Serious blues players will usually have at least one guitar with the action (the space between the strings and the fretboard) set very high for playing with a bottleneck slide. Guitarists might also have one set up differently or set to an odd tuning.? And then there are amplifiers, PA systems and effects pedals. That’s a whole story in itself.

The love of vintage guitars isn’t new, but Mr. Lorriman says it has really picked up with the advent of online shopping and TV shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars. If you have an old instrument or amplifier, write down the make, model and serial number and then go searching online to find out when it was made and whether it is valuable.

But like anything else that is vintage or collectible, the true value is really what someone else is willing to pay. But it’s fun to look.


Clapton’s Guitar Auction Raises £1.3 Million

Eric Clapton’s recent guitar and amplifier auction has raised £1.3 million to continue funding his “Crossroads” rehab clinic in Antigua.

More than 130 lots were auctioned from his archive including a number of guitars he played live and on record, plus a vast collection of amps, speakers and even suits.

Highlights of the sale at Bonhams New York included a 1948 Gibson which sold for £51,000 – three times its estimate – which was used on one of Clapton’s solo blues albums.

An intricately decorated mahogany Zemaitis – inlaid with pearl – went for £47,000.

Custom-built 1997 Fender Twin Amps – created to ensure his favourite vintage 1957 speakers did not get damaged on tour – fetched four times the estimated price, selling for £26,000. The copies exceeded the £24,000 paid for Clapton’s original amps in the sale.

Money from the sale will go towards the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, which Clapton founded in 1998 to help treat drug and alcohol addiction.

He has previously held auctions in 1999 and 2004.

Jon Baddeley, worldwide head of collectables at Bonhams, said: “Arguably the greatest guitarist of all time, Eric Clapton inspires an ever-expanding fan base, many of whom made the journey to Bonhams in New York over the past few days and joined us for this remarkable auction.”

Norm’s Rare Guitars Interview

Nice video interview with Norm Harris of Norm’s Rare Guitars;

Inside the Fender Custom Shop..

A tour around the Fender Custom Shop..

Vintage Guitar magazine Lists 10 Most Valuable Guitars

Vintage Guitar magazine has released a list of the 10 most valuable production-model electric and acoustic guitars. Using data accumulated in the research for The Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide 2011, the list includes only guitars that were originally offered in manufacturer product lines. It does not include custom-made and/or celebrity-owned instruments.

“Guitars are an American pop-culture icon,” said Alan Greenwood, publisher of both the magazine and the Price Guide. “And through the years, certain guitars have, thanks in part to players, songs, and the laws of supply and demand, become exceedingly valuable to collectors.

“There are few collectibles as cool as guitars,” Greenwood added. “They’re functional, tactile art that inspires players and music fans alike.”
The 10 most valuable guitars are:

  1. The 1936-’39 Martin D-45 ($320,000 to $400,000) – Vintage Martin dreadnoughts are considered the pinnacle of steel-string acoustics, and those given the Style 45 details are the top of the line.
  2. The 1958-’60 Gibson Les Paul Standard ($300,000 to $375,000) – The status of Gibson’s Les Paul changed dramatically with the 1966 release of John Mayall’s Blues Breakers featuring Eric Clapton. Then Michael Bloomfield started playing one, which influenced other top-tier guitarists of the late ’60s.
  3. The 1958-’59 Gibson Explorer ($250,000 to $310,000) – Part of an attempt to market “modernistic” guitars in the “space age,” it got little attention from buyers, so production numbers stayed very low.
  4. The 1958-’59 Gibson Flying V ($200,000 to $250,000) – Another of Gibson’s “modernistic” guitars, it was offered for only two years (1959 and ’60).
  5. The 1931-’36 Martin D-28 ($140,000 to $170,000) – Though not as fancy as the D-45, its $100 price tag was still high in the midst of the Great Depression.
  6. The 1938-’42 Gibson Super Jumbo/SJ-200 ($90,000 to $120,000) – Gibson’s answer to Martin’s D, it was larger, showier, and wound up in the hands of many a big-screen singing cowboy.
  7. The ’57 Gibson Les Paul model ($86,000 to $106,000) – Gibson’s original Les Paul, the “goldtop” was refined until it peaked in ’57, when it was used to launch the company’s new “humbucking” pickups.
  8. D’Aquisto archtops ($75,000 to $100,000) – Luthier James D’Aquisto mostly built to order, and his rarest models bring a premium.
  9. 1950 Fender Broadcaster ($68,000 to $86,000) – Leo Fender’s original single-cutaway design has a simple, workingman’s appeal. Known today as the Telecaster, it’s one of the “big three” collectible electrics.
  10. 1957-’60 Gibson Les Paul Custom ($66,000 to $81,000) – With a black finish and gold-colored hardware, it was the fanciest version of the original Les Paul guitar.

For more information, contact Ward Meeker, Editor, Vintage Guitar, at, or 800-844-1197. To view and/or download high-resolution images of guitars from this list, go to

Another Hendrix Guitar Auction

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Another Hendrix guitar is up for auction next month, this time the it’s the Fender Duo-Sonic he owned and played before he was famous.

Jimi played on this guitar on tour with the Isley Brothers and it is expected to fetch around $180,000.

The blond Duo-Sonic is a 1959 or 1960 model, which the 21-year-old Hendrix paid $160 for before joining the Isley’s as a session man on their tour of 1964.

Of course, as a solo artist, Jimi was known primarily as a Strat man, which explains why this Fender went into storage before reappearing in Hendrix manager Chas Chandler’s studio.

Chandler sold the guitar in 1982 for £400 to music agent and manager Rod Weinberg.

The Duo-Sonic goes under the hammer at Cameo Auctioneers Records’ Music & Memorabilia Auction on November 2.

Bobs Brownies 1970´s Fender Collection

Here’s a nice video by my buddy Nicolai from Vintage and Rare.

This is probably the largest collection of brown 1970’s Fender guitars in the world, including a tasty brown Starcaster in the back row..not a colour I have ever seen before on the Starcaster, which is rare in any colour!

The collection is for sale, but only as a collection..Bob won’t split out individual pieces.

Should you ever buy a guitar on credit?

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Here’s a guest post from Mark Hooson at with advice about the pitfalls of buying guitars on credit..

Gibson Les Paul Jimmy Page Number TwoMost guitarists, at some point in their life, will fall prey of ‘Guitar Acquisition Syndrome’. Characterised by the irrepressible and urgent need to acquire a guitar, regardless of its price or availability, the only cure for the syndrome is to hunt down that axe and hand over the cash!

Unfortunately, for most of us, paying for them can be a bigger stretch than a chord spanning five frets. The options are clear: you can attempt to save some cash until you can afford the guitar, buy it on finance – depending on the store, or you can put it on a credit card.

But is buying a guitar on a credit card ever a good idea? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons putting it on the plastic.

First off, because I’m a pessimist, let’s look at the cons.

Why you shouldn’t buy a guitar on a credit card

The main issue here is your ability to pay.

Of course by using a credit card you can get instant gratification and be home with your Gibson 1960 Les Paul Special or your Martin Eric Clapton signature acoustic as quick as a flash, but not only will you be paying the full price of the guitar, you’ll be paying the interest on the card too.

Traditionally, purchase credit cards are great for free, short-term credit – as long as you always pay your balance in full by the due date shown on your statement, but you will incur interest if you are unable to repay your balance in full every month.

Interest rates vary significantly, so if you don’t pay the full amount by the due date, and find yourself paying too much interest, you’ll have to go through the process of transferring the balance to a lower-rate card.

Why you might want to use a credit card to buy the guitar of your dreams

Even if you don’t have an over-active impulse-buying gland, there are still benefits to buying a high-priced guitar, like a Fender American Vintage ‘52 Telecaster, on a credit card.

Credit cards are a safe way to pay for a guitar, particularly if you are buying over the internet or phone.

If you buy anything on a credit card priced between £100 and £30,000, that turns out to be faulty or which you do not receive because the company goes bust, you can claim a refund from the card provider.

For the more exotic guitar-enthusiast, a credit card might be a good idea because they are accepted in virtually every country around the world – perfect if you spot that axe abroad you’ve been scouring the country for back home.

So, should you buy a guitar on credit?

It all comes down to your ability to pay. I for example, would love a Gibson J200, but I wouldn’t put it on a card because I wouldn’t be able to pay off the full balance before the end of the month, and would be stuck paying charges every month – making the guitar cost me a lot more than it would have if I’d paid up-front.

On the other hand, some cards have great promotional offers like loyalty points, cash back, or payments to support a charity.

It all comes down to what you can afford, and if you do opt for a card – be realistic, and make sure you compare rates and offers to make sure you get the most for your money.

[Mark Hooson writes for the financial group at, and is a guitar enthusiast]

Collectable Guitars pt 41 – Peavey T-60

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Peavey T-60 was the first electric guitar marketed by Peavey, who now sell a huge variety of guitars and amps, as well as PA equipment and more.

It lasted 10 years, from 1977 to 1987. It was also the first guitar ever made with CNC machines, which now form an integral part of mass-production of guitars.

It was designed by Peavey founder Hartley Peavey and Chip Todd.

The T-60 has an ash body and bolt-on maple neck and 21-fret maple or rosewood fingerboard, similar to Strats made by Fender around this time. It has two humbuckers, which on the T-60 usually have blade-shaped pole-pieces as opposed to the individual pole-pieces usually found on pickups.

According to reviews the maple neck is very thin, almost equivalent to that of the famed Ibanez Wizard profile. The bridge is similar to that of a Fender Telecaster, an “ashtray” bridge, although no pickup sits in it.

The body is a typical two-cutaway job, although it has roughly equal-sized cutaways as opposed to offset ones like on a Strat. It came in a variety of finishes, usually solid black or white, a transparent sunburst, or plain natural.

There was a large black scratchplate which housed four controls and an input socket. Sometimes this scratchplate would have the Peavey logo inlaid into it as well.

The T-60 was successful in the 70s and 80s.

Many people had one as a first guitar and their strength shows through in the fact that examples show up on eBay with barely a scratch on them.

Because they are not particularly rare or sought-after, prices are generally around £300.

More on guitar pick collecting

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Following on from my last article about guitar pick collecting, I came across this website dedicated to this great little facet of our hobby. is the run by Alan Ralph, who seems to be the world expert in all things pick related.

Alan amassed his collection in 20 years. Another remarkable thing about Alan’s collection is that it was not grown via eBay purchases nor through buying collections from other collectors. Neither does he buy bags and bags of picks from those on the inside. Alan has done it the good old fashioned way … by being at the shows and through trading his duplicates with other collectors.

In the early 80’s I grabbed a few picks myself as I used to work at London’s biggest concert venue. Most were unbranded, although I can just about remember where most came from; George Benson, Angus Young, Tom Petty but I thought I’d photograph my meagre spoils from that period.

These were acquired from gigs and several of them were well used by the artist before being discarded; The JY  Styx ones are very thin, and seem to have taken a fair bit of abuse from his playing style! The Rick Nielsen one is from 1979 I think, the others from probably 81-84.

I think I’ll start scouting Ebay for a few more!

Collectable Guitars pt 39 – Fender Lead 1, 2 and 3 Models

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481The Fender Lead series electric guitars were manufactured from 1979-1982.

They was produced in Fullerton, California factory under the direction of Greg Wilson and John Page.

They resemble Fender Stratocasters in appearance, but have a unique set of features. Steve Morse was one endorsee of the Fender Lead, and the whole series were probably designed to cash in the fashion for single pickup, Van Halen style superstrats  in the late ’70s and early ’80s

In 1979, Fender introduced the Lead I. The Lead I had a only one pickup, a humbucker in the bridge position. The Fender Lead series models all had the 25 1/2 inch scale length  of a Fender Stratocaster and  all Lead models were available with either maple or rosewood fretboards.

The Fender Lead I controls are unique. There is a 3 position pickup selector switch (Neck pickup, Neck & Bridge parallel mix, Bridge pickup) a phase switch, a master volume control, master tone control. The volume and tone potentimoters are 250k and the tone capacitor is 0.05 uf ceramic.

The Fender Lead I was manufactured until the end of the Lead series in 1982. The price of a Fender lead I in 1979 was $399.

Today a Fender Lead I in excellent condition sells for up to $1000.

The Lead II was also introduced in 1979.

It featured Two specially designed X-1 single coil pickups. The X-1 pickups were promoted as “wide range single coils” and are slightly hotter than a standard Strat of that era.

Both the Lead I and Lead II were normally finished in either black, wine red or brown.

Today a Fender Lead II in excellent condition sells for around the same price as the Lead 1.

The Lead III was manufactured in 1982 only. It had 2 humbuckers.

All of these guitars are becoming collectable now, as they are American made Fenders  and the youngest are at least 25 years old, which gives them an intrinsic value. They are quite rare, but still affordable, so it it worth tracking them down and snapping them up when available.

Conan O’Brien Talks About Guitar Collecting

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I came across this interesting clip today..I had no idea he was into guitars. Then again, being English, I don’t get to see  his show very often anyway and I guess I won’t be seeing it in the future either!

Being a big rockabilly fan he has his focus on Gretsch guitars…enjoy!

How to Buy a Vintage Guitar

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09tipdrop logofacebook481I found this interesting video on sale whilst browsing on Amazon yesterday.

How to Buy a Vintage Guitar [VHS]

This buyer’s guide teaches how to appraise, critique, determine originality and playability, recognize counterfeits and predict future investment values. Using both electric and acoustic guitars as teaching tools, George examines finish, hardware, fret type, inlays, bindings, peg head shapes, more.

As I’m sure you know, George Gruhn is one of the most well known experts in vintage guitars and this video will be packed with tips and hints built up from his life times experience in guitar collecting and dealing.

It’s an American tape, so foreign buyers should check they can play it in their own countries.

Guitar Collecting for the Financially Challenged

James Hetfield model guitarimmy Page model double neck guitarAs guitarists, most of us would love to have the financial means to acquire a dream collection of our favourite instruments.

Real world pressures usually get in the way though, and most of us restrict ourselves to having one or two guitars at most.

Our collecting urges can now be satisfied though, as well as solving the thorny issue of where to store a huge guitar collection! make very nice models of a massive range of guitars and basses. They are 10″ long and very detailed, with authentic looking hardware and paint finishes.

It isn’t difficult to find these types of models in various souvenir shops around the world, but the ones from MiniguitarUSA do seem to be of superior quality.

Prices start at around $19.99 and the range is huge; signature models, double necks, acoustics, basses, everything you can think of, pretty much.

They also makes cases, stands and miniature amps, drums and themed collections so you can build a collection around any musical subject or band of your choosing.

Go take a look for yourselves!


1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard is up for Auction

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481California Auctioneers will be auctioning one of the rarest rock guitars in the world; The 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

An amazing collection of over 70 Autographed guitars of the who’s who in rock n roll, contemporary art, and a rare collection of Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson Memorabilia.

1958 Gibson Les Paul StandardOn Sunday Oct 11th, 10 am California Auctioneers will be selling one of the rarest rock guitars in the world; The 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

The guitar is a one owner guitar, and is completely original. The collector’s piece was owned by John Ford of Jersey City, NJ, who was proud to call Les Paul his friend. Ford’s private collection of guitars is one of the world’s best, and the estate has decided to offer the Standard which Les Paul played on many occasions at Ford’s estate.

Also a major collection of autographed guitars by the who’s who in rock n’ roll, including The Who, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, the Eagles, a Nirvana stage played guitar from Vince Neil’s collection, Ozzy, Santana, Clapton, Dylan, Slash, Cream, and Johnny Cash will be sold on the 11th.

California Auctioneers is located just below Johnny Cash’s old estate, and he was known to frequent the bar where California Auctioneers now lives.

Modern Art by Lichtenstein, Warhol and Rauschenberg and Vintage collections of Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson memorabilia fill the walls along with the rare and vintage guitars. There are oddities like Marilyn Monroe’s enameled pill box, Michael Jackson’s pill bottle and memorial programs.

“This is the best collection of Americana history we’ve seen in our 45 years,” says Jewels Eubanks, auctioneer. The first of its kind, California Auctioneers’ sale promises to be full of rarities, excitement and fun and offers history to the highest bidder live, and online.

Located on 8597 North Ventura Ave, Preview is Saturday Oct 10th Noon – 5PM with hors d’oeuvres, Auction starts at 10AM on Sun Oct 11th. To view catalog and photos go to 805-649-2686.

Free Guitar Collecting Ebook!

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook48125 Cool Signature GuitarsWe have put together a free ebook for all our visitors as a thankyou for your support over the last few months.

“25 Cool Signature Guitars” is almost 50 pages long and is available for free download by filling in your name and email address on the right.

We are also giving you permission to copy, give away and redistribute our book as many times as you like, just so long as you don’t alter it in any way. If you have your own guitar website please feel free to offer it as a giveaway too.

We hope you like the book, it’s not a definitive guide of signature guitars, but a just a personal view of some guitars that we think are either well known,  interesting in some way, or just cool!

Warning of guitar ‘identification’ sites

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481A number of websites have cropped up that claim to be able to provide visitors with information about their guitar via its serial number.

This has misled some guitar owners into believing that their counterfeit guitar is an authentic one. In fact, some counterfeiters or sellers of these fakes now even refer potential buyers directly to one website in an effort to verify the ‘authenticity’ of the fake guitars they’re peddling.

For example, one consumer recently forwarded Gibson’s manager of brand protection, Ric Olsen, a posting, wherein a fake guitar was being sold as an authentic Gibson. The ad read: “I am selling this beautiful Silverburst Les Paul Custom. Please note that though the headstock says Gibson, it is not a Gibson, but rather an Epiphone. You can verify this by putting the serial number, 08015553, into the following database:”

Web sites such as Guitar Dater Project also claim to be capable of identifying Fender, Ibanez and Yamaha guitars. Olsen wanted to be clear that this site and others like it — intentionally or not — are perpetuating the counterfeiting epidemic, one that is built on this kind of misinformation. With the years of shipping records in manufacturer’s books and dozens of variations on numerical schemes used across the years, decoding serial numbers isn’t an art that any one guitar aficionado, or piece of software, can undertake.

“Although Guitar Dater Project may correctly identify a guitar here and there based on historical data uploaded, it is a very unreliable way to truly identify and authenticate a Gibson or Epiphone guitar,” said Olsen.

“I could give you a serial number from a fake right now, and you could enter it on this Web site, and it would tell you it’s a real Gibson or Epiphone. But it’s definitely not.”

Counterfeiters are taking advantage of Guitar Dater Project and other similar websites by sending in a bulk of fake serial numbers. This data is uploaded and subsequently appears to show that particular serial number as authentic.

The Guitar Dater Project said that it: “aims to provide you with the information hidden in your guitar’s serial number in plain English. It is a work in progress and is constantly evolving, much of which is due to user feedback.”

Olsen warned that there are some easy ways to detect an incorrect reading from the site.

“If you come across, say, a ‘brand new’ guitar, but the serial number tells you it’s anything older than one year ago, question it,” he said.

“If you’re looking at a piece that is older than one year old and it’s being sold as ‘new,’ that’s a red flag because a lot of these fakes are coming with serial numbers that actually roll to a manufacturer date of up to five years ago or longer.”

Gibson has issued legal notices to the Web site to simply post a disclaimer but they haven’t responded.

For more information on identifying a guitar by its serial number, click here.


Oh No!!! Van crashes into guitar repair shop

Doc Pittillo described the Saturday morning crash that has left him physically unharmed but financially devastated as something akin to a psychedelic experience.

van crashes into guitar repair shop“I turned around and actually saw the van come through the window of the store,” Pittillo said. “It was slow motion.”

Pittillo, owner of The Guitar Doctor, 18171 Euclid St., said he was plucking a guitar in front of his shop about a minute before a minivan slammed into its front window.

“If I were standing there, my guess is I would have been killed or really badly mangled,” Pittillo said. “There are usually a lot of people in the front of the shop. Man, if that would have happened with the customers there? Somebody would have been killed…there’s no doubt in my mind. It would have been really ugly”.

Only Pittillo and one of his workers, both who were near the back, were at the store at the time.Fire officials said they received a call about 11 a.m. about a vehicle that had crashed into the store at Euclid and Newhope streets. Other details about the crash, such as the driver’s name, remain unknown because Fountain Valley Police Department officials did not return multiple calls for comment.

Witnesses said that a gold-colored minivan crashed into the shop. The driver, his wife and teen-age daughter were also in the vehicle, they added. All seemed uninjured.While Pittillo said he is grateful to be unhurt, he said he lost at about $80,000 worth of valuables inside the store, including many vintage guitars.

One in particular was a candy apple-red 1965 Fender Stratocaster, worth at least $40,000, he said. “And I have no recourse,” Pittillo said.While he had insurance on the actual building, Pittillo said the contents inside were not insured because he couldn’t afford it.

“It’s not the value so much but that this instrument I played on the road for years,”

Pittillo said about the ‘65 Fender.

By Cindy Carcamo, Orange County Register

Bay Area Guitar Show Sees Fewer Buyers

Rob Szupak is a semi-retired contractor itching to become a fully retired contractor. For the past three years, the 62-year-old Fairfax resident has been restoring vintage lap steel guitars and tube amplifiers and reselling them, hoping to earn enough of a living to make that his primary source of income.

Szupak’s entry into the guitar market just happened to coincide with the biggest economic downturn in decades, a recession that has sent guitar prices plummeting as much as 50 percent in some cases. Szupak is one of the 40 vendors displaying their wares at the Bay Area World Guitar Show, taking place this last weekend at the Marin Civic Center Exhibit Hall.

“It’s one of those things like sailboats, when the economy goes down, people just aren’t spending money on guitars and amps like they used to,” said Szupak, whose company is called Slide Zone. “I’ve been watching my favorite instruments in the world becoming less valuable over the years.”

Vendors throughout the exhibit hall floor said they’d reduced their prices across their inventory. Show organizer Larry Briggs said that although price cuts have hurt vendors, consumer interest remained high, even if fewer attendees were leaving with a purchased guitar in hand. He said he expected more than 1,500 attendees, on par with the same two-day event in Marin a year ago.

“It’s all coincided with people seeing the value of their home drop and their 401Ks going out the window,” said Briggs, a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma who puts on eight guitars shows a year in the U.S., including two in Marin. “People that were making money were spending it on guitars. Now that their nest egg has been taken away in many cases, they’re not. But the opportunities to buy are certainly better now.”

“People just aren’t spending money these days,” said Gary Garcia, a Sacramento builder of handmade guitars, including one he made two years ago for former Prime Minister Tony Blair at the request of Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who gave it to Blair as a reirement present. “They’re more likely to hold onto what they already have, so there’s a lot more repair business now.”

While the bursting of the real estate bubble certainly impacted the guitar market, many vendors said some guitars had a bubble of their own. High-end electric guitars, particularly vintage models from the 1950s and 1960s, exploded in price earlier this decade, and have subsequently taken the biggest hit. Bob Danielson of Schoenberg Guitars in Tiburon said the boom was sparked in part by a front page Wall Street Journal article 10 years ago that highlighted the value of vintage guitars as an investment.

“All of a sudden all of these novices who weren’t players or collectors started buying vintage guitars – that drove the market to insanity,” Danielson said. “You had people calling into dealers saying, ‘what’s my guitar worth today?’ They were treating it like the stock market. That really made it crazy, but it’s getting back to normal.”

For instance, a 1957 Les Paul Gibson that may have commanded $200,000 a year ago would likely fetch $150,000 today, according to Vintage Guitar magazine’s annual price guide.

The other end of the market is vastly improved, Danielson said. Entry-level guitars are cheaper and better quality than ever, and the demand remains high. To respond to that trend, Rich King, whose store, Guitar Maniacs, is based in Tacoma, Washington, took many of his guitars worth $30,000 or greater and sold them, using that revenue to buy more guitars in the $200 to $2,000 price range. “It’s all about how low will people go,” he said.

King said the Marin show is typically “softer” than other shows. While he sold 32 guitars at a show in Dallas in April, he hadn’t sold one by late afternoon Saturday. Szupak was in equally unfortunate company. He said he remains hopeful that business will pick up. “But I’m hanging onto that optimism with my fingernails right now,” he said.

Jim Welte

Vintage Guitar Parts

I found an interesting new website today, which may be useful for all of us at some point.

Fender Stratocaster Volume KnobThe Parts Drawer is a vintage guitar parts service, dealing primarily with Gibson and Fender (about 80% of their stock) but also catering for other makes too.

In their own words;

With over 20 years of experience in the business we offer an expertise that is unrivaled in the vintage guitar parts industry.

The Partsdrawer our flagship Internet store has a constant changing inventory and is updated daily.  We guarantee all parts that we sell are authentic and not reproduction.

Over the years we have had the opportunity to buy and sell thousands of vintage guitars and have noted every detail of their original parts.

We have seen just about every variation of  vintage guitars and hundreds of custom ordered vintage guitars from Gibson, Fender, Gretsch, Martin, National , Guild and many others from original owners that have has unique but original parts to them.

Vintage Gibson guitar parts and vintage Fender guitar parts make up 80% of our inventory but we carry all vintage brand guitar parts when possible.  If we do not have the part you need in stock at the moment we will gladly try and track it down for you .

We have been a part of the vintage guitar community for over 20 years and has made critical connections over the years that enables us to offer the largest selection of vintage guitar parts in the country. We also have an endless supply of vintage guitar parts from our customer base throughout the world.

Many of our customers sell us parts , broken guitars , new old stock parts  from music stores and even trade in parts for our vintage guitar on a daily basis. This makes our business both exciting and interesting because we never know what will walk through our doors today.

Please take a moment and browse our site and view the fine selection we have at the moment . There is never a problem. The Partsdrawer offers a no questions asked 48 hour return privilege . A quick search on the Internet and the associated guitar forums and you will find our reputation is outstanding as is our commitment to our customers is unsurpassed.

Link is here; The Parts Drawer

New Guitar Collecting Magazine Launching


Guitar Aficionado magazine and from Future U.S., the publishers of Guitar World,  is a new upscale men’s, niche lifestyle publication for music enthusiasts who collect, play and invest in new and vintage guitars.

According to Guitar Aficionado, readers know that guitars are among some of the best-performing, tangible asset investments available today. Traditionally, the value of collectible guitars has increased exponentially over the last 10 to 20 years.

An online brochure is available here

Legendary Guitars Going on Tour


You lucky Californians!

Guitar Center will take its iconic “Legends Collection” on the road beginning May 23 for a 4-city tour that will make weekend stops in Fountain Valley, La Mesa, San Francisco and Hollywood.

Eric Clapton's The “Legends Collection” will feature three of rock’s most famous guitars – Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster and Gibson ES-335, as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny” Fender Stratocaster. Purchased for over $2.4 million from the Clapton Crossroads Centre charity auction at Christies New York in 2004, these three guitars are among the most treasured guitars in rock history.

Assembled in 1973 by Eric Clapton himself from the parts of several guitars, Clapton played “Blackie” almost exclusively on stage and in the studio from 1973-1985, recording hits such as “Cocaine,” “I Shot The Sherriff,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “Further On Up The Road,” “Lay Down Sally” and various live versions of “Layla” as well as being featured on several album covers and videos. His Cherry Red Gibson “ES-335” was used to record Cream’s versions of “Badge” and “Crossroads” as well as many other historical performances during the 40 years he owned it.

Steve Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny,” which Guitar Center purchased for $623,500, was used to record his classic love songs including “Lenny” and “Riviera Paradise.”

Home to the largest collection of vintage instruments in the nation, Guitar Center is also proud to showcase a hand-picked selection of its most rare and sought-after vintage guitars as part of its Vintage Road Show.

Stevie Ray Vaughn

With Vintage locations in Hollywood, Nashville and Manhattan, Guitar Center’s vintage collection includes hundreds of the rarest and most valuable guitars, amplifiers and other instruments, including an impressive assemblage of ’50s and ’60s Strats and Les Pauls, handcrafted archtops, Jazz Basses, P-Basses and more.

Vintage guitar enthusiasts can visit the “Legends Collection” and Vintage Road Show at the following locations:

May 23-24
Guitar Center Fountain Valley
18361 Euclid Street

May 30-31
Guitar Center La Mesa
8825 Murray Drive

June 20-21
Guitar Center San Francisco
1645 Van Ness Ave.

June 26-28
Guitar Center Hollywood
7425 Sunset Blvd

New Guitar Collecting Facebook Group!

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091facebook481I’ve just set up a group on facebook which will relate to this website, and will hopefully grow the content more quickly with posts from other readers. Please feel free to join the group, it is open membership, and add your comments, suggestions, photos or anything else you know about old and collectable guitars.

Guitar Collecting Facebook Group link

Vintage Fender Colours

Fender 1960's Guitar Coloursicontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091Just a quickie..I found Curtis Novak’s  great site with a wonderful pictorial view of vintage Fender colours.

Even if you aren’t interested in the colours, it’s worth having a look for the lovely photography.

In Curtis’ own words…

These are pictures of my sample blocks of Fender 60’s colors. I attempted to create as accurate as possible a representation of the colors Fender used in the 60’s. I used Dupont paint and the colors are mixed from the NOS Dupont paint mix numbers. They are cleared with Nitrocellulose Lacquer.

I have photographed my sample blocks in a way that attempts to show the dynamics of a given color rather than just a flat thumbnail image. I feel this better represents the color. I am still working at making the colors more accurate. Keep in mind that I am doing this and testing it on a few dozen different computers and they are rather consistent, but the color may very depending on your display and video card.

Fender 1960’s Custom Colours

Own a piece of Clapton History!

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091Vintage Guitar Gems, an established Vintage/Used Guitar & Amp store in the Conejo Valley was contacted by Yvonne Elliman (EC’s backup singer for many years as well as a songwriter, recording artist and actor) to sell the guitar that was used to record ‘Let it Grow’ during the famous 461 Ocean Blvd recording sessions at Criteria Studios in Florida in 1974.

Martin D12-20 GuitarMark Lane, the man behind Vintage Guitar Gems is thrilled that Yvonne, a great friend, thought of him and his company when she finally decided to part with this rare beauty.

“I know Yvonne loved and treasured that Martin but her son Ben is starting his dream restaurant with his fine culinary talents and the investment with the proceeds of the Rare Martin sale will jump start Ben’s business and help ‘Let it Grow’ as well.”

Estimates on the final sale price are between $200K & 400K! It is on eBay now and will run for 7 more days.

Ebay link to Clapton’s Martin acoustic

Collectable Guitars pt 21 – The Hamer Phantom

The Hamer Phantom is a very rare and collectable guitar, built in limited numbers in the 1980s. It started out as a prototype, called simply the Hamer Prototype. It was special in that it had a very unusual three-coil pickup at the bridge. Some also had one single-coil at the neck.

Hamer Phantom Guitar
It was based on a good-looking Superstrat shape, with the bass side horn being elongated and the treble-side shortened. It resembled a coupling of a Fender Jaguar and a Jackson Soloist.

The guitars usually had a scratchplate and Kahler tremolo. Some rare models had an ordinary humbucker at the bridge.

All the reviews I have read of this guitar praise it highly, and it is known as a very nice guitar.

One notable Phantom user was/is Andy Summers from The Police.

Phantoms are rare, but surprisingly inexpensive used considering the looks and quality of the build.

I saw two in Denmark Street recently for around £800-900, and I am sure they would sell on eBay for much less, in the rare event of one coming up.


Collectable Guitars pt 20 – The Gibson MIII

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481The Gibson M-III was one of the company’s rare attempts to muscle in on the popular Superstrat movement of the late 1980s, led by Jackson and Ibanez. It was not as successful as other Gibsons and was withdrawn after only a few years in production.

Gibson MIII GuitarThe guitar featured an updated Stratocaster shape with a reverse headstock, and had a set-neck when the trend in Superstrat design was to have a thru-neck, or a bolt-on for the cheaper models.

All guitars had Floyd Rose style tremolos and two humbuckers plus a central single-coil pickup. Also, where most superstrats had rosewood or ebony fingerboards, the M-III’s frets were set into a slab of maple.

The guitars looked and felt too different from Gibson’s classic models, and are no longer made, although there is an M-III shaped model called the EM-2 in Epiphone’s metal-oriented Prophecy range.

The Gibsons are rare and collectable, but are another example of a 10-20 year-old guitar which offers a lot for not very much money used.

They are worth between £500-800.

Paul Brett – Paul Brett – Collecting Vintage Acoustic Guitars

I found this video sampler of Paul Brett’s “Paul Brett – Collecting Vintage Acoustic Guitars” DVD…

You can buy the full length DVD from Pauls website, at


Collectable Guitars pt 19 – The Ovation Breadwinner / Deacon

The Ovation company is best known for its acoustic guitars, although they had a very good crack at the solid electric market in the early 1970s (1972 to be precise) with the UKII, the Preacher, the Viper, and the subjects of this article, the Deacon and Breadwinner.

Ovation Breadwinner guitarWhile the former three were fairly normal in design, albeit with traditional Ovation touches in the shapes, the Deacon and Breadwinner seemed almost mutated in comparison, with their bodies shaped somewhat like axes. They also had active mini-humbuckers, rare in the 1970s.

The difference between the Deacon and Breadwinner was not immediately obvious to the casual viewer.

The Breadwinner was the more basic of the two, with dot inlays, no binding on the fingerboard and a larger scratchplate. The Deacon had diamond inlays, binding, a smaller scratchplate, and was only available in natural finishes.

The Breadwinner and Deacon were often seen in the hands of  Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra, Steve Marriott and occasionally Ace Frehley of KISS.

On a recent trip to Denmark Street I found a white Breadwinner for sale for around £800.

They are rare and quite collectable even though sales never took off originally.


Collectable Guitars pt 18 – The Gibson Barney Kessel

Barney Kessel was a very respected jazz guitarist in the 1950s and 60s, and gained his own Gibson signature model in 1961.

Gibson Barney Kessel guitarThe guitar was unusual in shape, with a 25 1/2″ scale length similar to an ES-335, but with much sharper double florentine cutaways, resembling an SG.

However, the body was much wider than an SG, and looked unbalanced. 

The guitar was very normal apart from this, with four main controls, a wide body as opposed to the thinline design of the ES models, two humbuckers and a Bigsby vibrato.

The model described thus far is the original Barney Kessel Regular. There was another model, the Barney Kessel maple-necked Custom, which didn’t sell as well, with a tune-o-matic bridge instead of the Bigsby. Both were available from 1961 until 1973

The Custom was a deluxe instrument; ornate inlays and gold plating throughout – it launched at a significantly higher price than the Regular, $560 and $395 respetively (1/9/61 Gibson price list)

Barney Kessels were discontinued around 1974 and have not been made since. They are rare now, and would probably command a price upwards of £5000.



The State of the Vintage Guitar Market

Interviews with guitar dealers at the 2008 Arlington guitar show…

Vintage Guitar Collecting Trivia

I found this interesting video, I’ll let the author explain in his own words;

See how years of exposure to light has faded the finish of a Les Paul Junior. The same thing has happened to older Les Paul Standards – where the red fades away and “cherry” sunburst becomes “ice tea” sunburst.

Guitar collector info by Steve Evans of Jacksonville Guitar Center in Jacksonville, Arkansas. 

Collectable Guitars pt 16 – The BC Rich Bich

BC Rich Bich 10 string guitarThe Bich was launched in 1977 alongside the Seagull and Mockingbird in the BC Rich range of the 1970s. It featured the most daring of BC Rich’s “vintage” designs, with a body originally penned by renowned luthier Neal Moser.

It featured two very unusual cutaways on the bottom of the body, a neck-through design, and originally was only available as a ten-string model (see photo), which had 4 tuning pegs at the bridge end for the 4 extra top strings.

However, this limited the appeal of the guitar somewhat, and so a normal six string was launched soon after. It featured all the usual other trimmings on 1970s BC Riches, including elaborate coil-splitting functions and a dizzying array of switches and knobs..

Master Volume, Rhythm Pickup Volume, Pre-amp #1 Volume, Pre-amp #1 On/Off, Pre-amp #2 Volume, Pre-amp #2 On/Off, Phase Switch, Pickup Selector, Six Position Varitone, Dual Sound Rhythm Pickup, Dual Sound Lead Pickup and Master Tone.

When all switches are off the guitar is in passive mode. At this time both pickups are controlled by the master volume. Both pick-ups are activated by pick up selector switch. The tonalities of both pickups in passive mode are controlled by the Master Tone.

Click on the preamp On/Off switch and get an instant 10 db boost from the gate. At this point the pick-ups are now controlled by the pick-up volume control while the master tone still controls the tonality of both pick-ups. With both pick-ups on, phase switch in the up position will produce an out of phase sound, (a tone resembling a half cocked wah sound).

To coil tap the lead pickup flick upward dual sound switch. This converts the pick-up into a single coil sound by separating the pick-up into one coil. Dual sound switch #6 performs the same task for the rhythm pick-up.
As you rotate the six-position varitone clockwise, each position produces a distinct sound based on whichever capacitor is in operation. You will also notice a slight decrease in gain but the pre amp volume can compensate the drop and then some. It is only as limited as your imagination.

All these switches can be use to your liking & when you find a particular sound you like, make note of the setting for future reference. The B.C. Rich Active Electronics produces a spectrum of 154 distinct sounds. If you really want to get really funky with all switches on as described rotate master tone counter clockwise. If you are a traditional blues player you will find sounds you never knew existed. Note that all pickups function while in passive as well as active mode. The battery can easily be changed by carefully removing the screws for the control cavity plate.

The main difference between the active and full active electronics system is that the full electronics system has two independent preamps as well as two volume switches which can work in unison or individually and can naturally distort the volume even at low settings.

The B.C. Rich Active and Full Active systems offer more sounds than any other onboard electronics.

The Bich is still available and is a very popular model in BC Rich’s line. It is available as a ten string, six string, bolt-on and through-neck versions, with prices starting from around £250. However, like other older BC Riches, the 1970s versions command upwards of £1000 when on sale.


Collectable Guitars pt 15 – The Charvel Surfcaster

Charvel SurfcasterThe Charvel company, which spawned the famous and reputable brand Jackson Guitars, is also well known for their very high-quality superstrat models and for a while was the chief supplier of Eddie Van Halen’s guitars. In 1992 Charvel launched their biggest break from their usual superstrat tradition (the company also dabbles in Telecaster-shaped models and four-pointed star-shaped models).

This new model was called the Surfcaster.

It was unusual in that it was shaped more like a Fender Jaguar, and had Danelectro-style lipstick pickups and was available in bright and colourful finishes- aqua, sunburst and orange.

It was also of semi-hollow construction, like a Gibson ES-335. It also spawned very rare and collectible bass and 12-string versions. Surfcasters are of very high quality and have a typical Telecaster/ Rickenbacker-style jangling sound.

The Surfcaster was just too different to the guitars played by Charvel’s usual customers and was met with little success.

It was discontinued in 2005, despite efforts to bring in a wider audience with a three pickup solidbody version. Surfcasters are rare now, and are worth between £800 and £2000 when they come up for sale.


Collectable Guitars pt 14 – The Epiphone Coronet

Epiphone Coronet GuitarThe Epiphone Coronet was launched in 1958 as an alternative to the popular Gibson Les Paul Junior. It was part of a range of models made from the late 50s to 1970. The range included the Crestwood, Coronet  and Olympic models.

The models were designed to compete with the Gibson Les Paul Junior, and so they all had slim mahogany bodies and necks, and were made in a slightly offset double cutaway format.

The guitars resembled a cross between a Fender Telecaster and a twin-cutaway Gibson Les Paul Junior. The Coronet had a single “dog-eared” P-90 pickup at the bridge. The Olympic had one-single-coil pickup, like a Gibson Melody Maker, while the Crestwood, available as a Custom or Deluxe model, had two or three mini-humbuckers depending on model. The guitars had an optional Epiphone Trem-O-Tone vibrato, similar to the Bigsby unit widely used by Gibson.

The Coronet is the best-known of the range and is known as a very simple, playable instrument which is well built and has a classic single P-90 tone like a Gibson Les Paul Junior, which was the original target for the guitar.

Coronets are quite rare, as they never achieved the success they set out to have. An original will cost anything from £750 to £1500.

Epiphone no longer make any of these models, and the closest to a new one is the limited run of “USA Coronets” made in the 1990s. However, these are nothing like the originals, and only share the shape of the 1960s models.

The USA models had optional Floyd Rose tremolos, Bill Lawrence pickups and an array of vibrant finishes. These will be anywhere from £400 – £750.


Guitar Books Roundup pt 1

guitarguideThe Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide 2009 (Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide)

This year’s price guide; The bible of the vintage guitar collecting industry.




gruhnsGruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars: An Identification Guide for American Fretted Instruments

For collectors, dealers and players, this updated guide provides specifications, serial numbers, and more for determining the originality of vintage American acoustic and electric fretted instruments. Detailing thousands of models of major manufacturers, the book now includes expanded coverage of Martin, Guild, Mosrite, Dobro, Gibson banjos, Fender amps and Gibson amps, plus updates on the latest models from Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker and others since 1990.


warmansWarmans Vintage Guitar Field Guide (Warman’s Field Guides)

Another guitar identification and price guide. A nice companion book to the Vintage Guitar Magazine price guide.





bluebookBlue Book of Electric Guitars

The guitar industry’s most comprehensive publication on electric guitar information and pricing has been dramatically improved! The new 11th Edition Blue Book of Electric Guitars is now over 1,150 pages, identifies over 1,200 guitar manufacturers, trademarks, and luthiers, and features hundreds of new images. Written by Zachary R. Fjestad and edited by S.P. Fjestad, the fully revised 11th Edition Blue Book of Electric Guitars keeps the reader up-to-date on new and vintage pricing, technical information on electric instruments, and serialization on most major trademarks. This edition lists the current and discontinued electric companies, contains a thoroughly revised Trademark Index with contact information, and features hundreds of black and white photos depicting popular makes and models.

gibsonclassicGibson Electrics: The Classic Years

Since the inception of the first “electrical” guitars in the 1920s, no other manufacturer has produced a greater variety of professional quality models than Gibson. This book presents a documented account of the instruments released during a highly creative period from the 1930s up to the mid-60s, which saw the coming of age of the electric guitar. It describes all the models that have made history and contributed to establishing the reputation of Gibson. This edition features over 500 illustrations, including 100 in color, and previously unpublished material.

tedTed McCarty’s Golden Era 1948-1966

Gibson Guitars: Ted McCarty’s Golden Era is a long overdue book that covers the world’s greatest period of guitar manufacturing. As CEO of Gibson Guitars from 1948 to 1966, Ted McCarty presided over the production of nearly one million instruments and amplifiers. 1950s Gibson Les Paul Standards, Flying Vs, Explorers, and ES-335s are considered to be some of the most valuable fretted instruments in the world. This book is Ted McCarty’s first and only complete biography, and a book that gives us a glimpse into a golden era of his factory and his loyal employees who made some of the world’s most desirable guitars. It features over 100 photographs, some from Ted’s personal archives and never before published. “Ted McCarty was the architect of a Golden period in Gibson’s history. During his 18-year tenure, he helped to reestablish the company’s historic leadership in the industry through a number of musical innovations that still resonate today.” Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry E. Juszkiewicz

Collectable Guitars pt 5 – Gretsch 6134 White Penguin


Gretsch have made a huge selection of quality electric guitars since the mid-1950s (interestingly, Gretsch have been around since 1883 making other instruments, but started vying for domination in the electric market around 1954-5), of which the 6134 model, better-known as the White Penguin is among the rarest.

penguinThe 6136 (also known as the White Falcon or “the Cadillac of guitars”) is a well-known Gretsch guitar, a big-bodied semi-acoustic finished in gleaming white, with all manner of elaborate trimmings like an armrest on the bass side of the body, gold binding and a huge tone that saw it used by Brian Setzer, Billy Duffy of The Cult and Stephen Stills.

In 1955 Gretsch made a solid-bodied guitar with all the usual Falcon features. It was based on the body of Gretsch’s well-known solid-body Les Paul alternative, the Duo Jet. They named it the 6134 White Penguin.

Looking like a shrunk-in-the-wash White Falcon, a successful guitar, the Penguin should have sold well, but only around 100 were ever made before its demise in 1963, and tracking one down is like trying to find an exquisitely-made white-finished needle in a haystack.

Gretsch make a reissue model of the White Penguin, but trying to get enough money to buy one is possibly harder than finding an original. The Penguin is one of the rarest and most desirable solid-bodied guitars ever made, and with good reason.