Why vintage guitars? There is something special about musical instruments of a certain age. Guitars built from the mid 1950s until the late 1970s are generally held in high esteem; techniques and materials, particularly pre-1970 were vastly superior to today's 'mass-produced' standards. People often say wood is wood, but this is simply not the case. Centuries old trees that were regularly harvested for guitar manufacture in the 1950s are now protected, and it is these old trees with close grains and unbeatable tonal qualities that make the very best guitars. With rainforests rapidly diminishing their protection can only be a good thing. But it does mean that good quality older guitars, perhaps with a few modern upgrades can make some of the very best instruments available. Whatsmore, much of the painstaking attention to detail lavished upon fine old jazz guitars by special order/custom departments and aimed at serious guitarists has been replaced by the continual churning out of 'limited editions', aimed at serious collectors. Whether these rare, but ultimately not-so-special guitars will be quite so desireable in 30 years time remains to be seen.
Latest Site Updates
1981 Gibson Rosetti catalogue (UK)
20 pages, black and white with color front cover. In the middle of 1981, Rosetti took over distribution of the Gibson line in the UK. Rosetti were a very big name in Britain, having distributed Epiphone since at least 1963, as well as Hagstrom and others. This catalogue was produced at the tail end of 1981, and introduces a number of models to the UK, such as the MV-II, MV-X guitars and the Victory basses, the GGC-700 and the Flying V bass. Some of these models were so short-lived that they were actually never included in US brochures. The cover image (reproduced in part here) showed some of the earliest demonstration models, including a Victory with a highly unusual white scratchplate.
1981 Gibson Victory MV-II electric guitar
A closer look at a 1981 Gibson Victory MV-II electric guitar. The Gibson Victory MV, or 'Multi-Voice' guitars had very wide tonal palettes; with coil-tapped humbuckers they could produce typical Gibson tones, but were also designed to 'out-Fender' Fender. Two models were launched in the summer of 1981. Whilst the MVX, was designed to do everything a Stratocaster could do, the MVII was 'primarily for the discerning country player' - placing it squarely against the Telecaster.
1982 Gibson loose-leaf publicity sheets
Gibson produced a series of single sheet flyers in 1982, promoting some of their newer models (Victory bass and Multi-Voice guitars, Chet Atkins Classic Electric and the already best-selling Sonex-180 Deluxe), and a few classic reissues (30th anniversary Les Paul Standard and Heritage Flying V) - all of which were received with some applause at the 1982 Atlanta NAMM show. These flyers all contained one or more side-panel, that folded out with model specifications, but were also designed to be reproduced in guitar magazines of the time without the extra fold out.
1963 Vox Clubman II
The Clubman was one of the earliest UK-built guitars produced by Vox at it's Dartford plant. As an entry level model it was very light, fitted with the most basic components, and not made of the most select woods, but it's unique styling, low price and easy playability made for a relatively popular guitar. Initially there were two guitar models, the single pickup Clubman I and dual pickup Clubman II, and a companion Clubman bass - check them out in the 1962 Vox catalogue. The guitar was redesigned in the middle of 1963, getting a new Strat-style body, but examples with the older body style were still being shipped perhaps as early as the start of 1964.
1963 Vox Consort
The Vox Consort was produced in the UK throughout the mid 1960s; originally modelled on the Fender Jaguar, it was one of JMI's better quality instruments, with many features not seen on lower-priced guitars. This early example mixed innovative tone circuitry with Vox's original chrome-covered V1 pickups, for "every possible variation of tone from bass to sharp brilliance". By the middle of 1963, the model had been redesigned, becoming less Fender-esque and more Vox - have a look at the redesigned Consort in the 1963 Vox catalogue
1966 Selmer guitar catalogue
The 1965/1966 Selmer guitar catalogue contained guitars by a number of different makers imported for the UK market, the most numerous being German-made Hofner electrics, acoustics and basses. There is also a fairly large Gibson section, but it by no means contains all instruments produced under that brand at the time. Other instruments featured include guitars and basses by Hagstrom and Futurama, and Brazilian acoustic guitars by Giannini. 44 pages, with UK pricing in guineas.
Older updates here
|See more results on eBay here|
The musical revolutions occuring during the period in question created the first well-known guitar heroes, and gave their guitars iconic status. It is no surprise that the right guitar can immediately conjure a specific period in time, both with looks and sound. And modern day guitarists who want to capture an essence of that period will naturally tend towards these guitars. Nothing says 1950s quite like a Gretsch. Nothing says 1960s quite like a Vox teardrop or Phantom.
Numerous classic guitars made by the likes of Gibson, Epiphone, Fender, and Guild are worth thousands, sometimes tens of thousands; a little expensive for the average player, and often these are the preserve of investors and collectors. Early versions of the Gibson Les Paul, SG and Flying V guitars, or the Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster. But there are still very many affordable, great sounding, and exciting to play vintage guitars that offer something simply not available in a new guitar. A well-built vintage instrument, although expensive can actually be superb value for money in comparison to some of the new guitars available at that price.
But older guitars are not always better than new guitars; they can have unreliable parts, or be difficult to maintain. A lot of these are upgraded to make great players grade instruments. Keeping the essence of the original vintage guitar, but adding a little of today's reliability. A great example is the 1960s Gibson Melody Maker; an all-mahogany set neck guitar with Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and beautiful nitrocellulose finish. Well-built by Gibson, in their Kalamazoo factory, but with very basic pickups, tuning keys and electronics. Upgraded examples are everywhere, and are exceptional value as players grade instruments. Then again some guitars, especially early Japanese and European models aimed at the student guitarists of the early 1960s are completely unplayable. Even the cheapest modern day guitars put these to shame. Before buying any vintage guitar it is a good idea to know exactly what you are buying!
This site aims to be a reference point for guitar players and guitar collectors. There's information, history, photographs and sound clips of many famous, and not so famous guitars and basses by makes such as Danelectro, Epiphone, Fender, Gibson, Guild, Gretsch, Hagstrom, Harmony, Hofner, Rickenbacker and Vox. There is a section on effects pedals too!
Check out the classic guitar advertisements, guitar catalogs, or listen to vintage guitars being played. If you get stuck, try the sitemap or post a message in the forum
Guitars bought! Do you have a vintage instrument for sale. I am looking for good condition guitars and basses circa 1950-1980 by Gibson, Guild, Hagstrom, Hofner, Vox and others. Let me know what you have available
You can find content on this site sorted by manufacturer, or by using the menu to the left. See also the sitemap, or search.
|See more results on eBay here|
|Latest Forum Posts|
how to date a hagstrom
MikeU 21/06/2016 06:40
EB-2 wiring diagram
gclouse 20/06/2016 06:31
Help with identification
Bruceb 14/06/2016 13:04
Thunderbird finger rest
Stjofön Big 14/06/2016 09:10
Guild Mark IV Classical
djmguitar 10/06/2016 17:10
Crestwood Astral II
no_beatty 05/06/2016 05:42
Help please - Early Vox Ace?
MGEEK 03/06/2016 08:32
Guyatone, German guitar or something else ??
Mortimer 02/06/2016 04:50
please help identify this oddball
MGEEK 26/05/2016 17:24
Early JMI phantom parts
MGEEK 24/05/2016 02:56
Can anyone identify this mystery guitar
Dsuibhne 14/05/2016 06:00
hofner violin bass 500/1
jimtone 12/05/2016 12:54
A Hayman 40 40 bass guitar rare
jules 11/05/2016 10:49
Kawai Aquarius AQ-500
Gribble 10/05/2016 05:30
Can anyone help with info on this guitar?
ckngumbo 30/04/2016 20:59
Hagstrom bass parts identification
alitaki 23/04/2016 18:01
1962 L series Fender Bass
tommykerr 21/04/2016 16:55
price hagstrom estrella 1974
Tsergio81 18/04/2016 12:06
Fender Bullet Deluxe Bass
Tobeyornottobey 01/04/2016 08:55
The Movers (UK) - Cold, Cold Feeling (Peavey Foundation Bass)
cornishmusic 30/03/2016 15:06
Fender Bullet Bass Deluxe
Tobeyornottobey 30/03/2016 08:23
El Maya SG Electric guitar... Help!
jules 29/03/2016 22:57
SGC Semi Hollow Body - Help identify my mystery guitar
Truvor 27/03/2016 22:03
Wantd .... Vox co-ax lead and guitar case
woodmanlroc 18/03/2016 11:29
Where to get PARTS for EB3
jules 16/03/2016 12:45
1963 UK Vox Ace ???
jules 16/03/2016 12:35
Overall length of EB-3L?
George Porter 12/03/2016 08:12
Missing EB 3 serial number ?
hugh crain 09/03/2016 21:18