1976 Gibson L-6S Custom, 1978 Guild B302F bass, 1967 Fender Coronado guitar
1976 Gibson L-6S Custom1978 Guild B-302F1967 Fender Coronado
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Vintage guitar parts for sale

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Vintage Guitar Catalogues

Guitar catalogue scans 1950s-1980s

Guitar companies have pretty much always printed catalogues, and aspiring guitarists have always pored over the different models, usually way out of their reach... Perhaps one day... But they can also be very useful when researching a vintage instrument today. The original catalogues, price lists, brochures, owner's manuals, and other promotional material can be really useful in establishing dates, but also giving general information on how the manufacturer intended it to be used.

Unfortunately the originals can be very hard to track down; some are quite commonly listed on auction sites like eBay, but in a lot of cases, few were ever printed, and the vast majority were simply discarded. Some of the rarer brochures and leaflets can sell for high prices; usually tens, but often several hundred pounds/euros/dollars.

vintage guitar catalogues

A number of old and rare catalogues are included on this site, in order to aid guitar identification. Most contain a guitars intended specifications, but these original documents almost always contained exceptions and errors, so this information has to be treated with caution.

The catalogue scans on this site are sorted by manufacturer: follow the links to find vintage guitar catalogues, brochures and owner's manuals, primarily 1950s-1970s.

Epiphone catalogues
Fender catalogues
Gibson catalogues
Goya catalogues
Gretsch catalogues
Guild catalogues
Hagstrom catalogues
Harmony catalogues
Hofner catalogues
Kalamazoo catalogues
Ovation catalogues
Selmer catalogues
Supro catalogues
Vox catalogues

Guitars sold worldwide tended to have an overseas agent looking after the distribution and advertising in that particular territory. For example, in the early 1960s, Selmer were the UK distributor for numerous non-UK brands: Hofner from Germany, Hagstrom from Sweden, and Gibson from the US. UK brand VOX were distributed by the Thomas organ company in the US, whilst Vox's parent company JMI distributed Fender in the UK. So British catalogue listings for Gibson and Hofner, for example, appeared in Selmer catalogues.

Catalogues were typically available from guitar dealers and by mail from the manufacturers themselves. Whatsmore, some larger music stores produced their own catalogues. Often these contained pages from the manufactures own catalogues, but sometimes they were entirely separate. Examples include LD Heater in the US, and Bell music in the UK.

Some of the bigger manufacturers (most notably Fender in the early 1960s) started including somewhat slimmed down catalogues in the centre pages of popular music magazines such as Downbeat. Later Gretsch, Gibson and other companies followed suit. Early catalogues were naturally black and white, with the occasional two-colour font or page design. Some of the first full colour guitar publicity was produced by Gretsch in the 1950s. Though by the mid-1960s guitar sales were at a peak, and most manufacturers were using colour, often producing lushly designed full-line catalogues containing all guitars, basses, amplifiers, banjos etc produced by the company at that time.

Since the 1970s, colour printing has been the norm. All but the smallest companies print catalogues in significantly larger quantities than in the previous decades.

See also - Vintage guitar advertising

Most recent catalogue updates

1980 Gibson Sonex-180 Owners Manual
1981 Gibson Sonex pre-owners manual The Gibson Sonex series pre-owners 'manual' was produced for circulation in early summer 1981, along with nine other manuals representing different segments available from Gibson at that time. Rather than a manual in the conventional sense, it is actually a mini folder with three loose-leaf inserts with catalogue-style image and description, one each for the 180 Deluxe, 180 Custom, and a new model, the Sonex Artist. The Sonex-180 Standard was not included, having been dropped from the Gibson line earlier in 1981.
1980 Gibson Sonex-180 Owners Manual
1980 Gibson Sonex-180 owners manual Gibson Sonex series owners manual - 16 pages of information for the care and operation of the Gibson Sonex guitar: pickups, electronics, controls, coil tap, tune-o-matic bridge, tailpiece and stringing. Pertains to the Sonex-180 Deluxe, Standard and Custom models.
1965 Harmony guitar catalogue
1965 Harmony guitar catalogue Original vintage catalogue scan. Harmony produced regular full-colour catalogues throughout the 1960s, but because these catalogues were released pretty much annually, there were only incremental changes from year to year, sometimes the only differences were the prices listed within. 1965 was an absolute boom time for American guitar manufacture, and this catalogue includes most of the best-known Harmony models: Rocket, Meteor, Silhouette, H75/H76/H77/H78, but it is the last publicity for the Stratotone guitars which were phased out later that year.
1963 Vox Precision in Sound brochure
1963 Vox Precision in Sound brochureThis early Vox brochure comes from summer 1963, still the early days of JMI production, and shortly before the beat boom of the mid 1960s. At this time, Vox guitars were built in the UK, primarily for the British market. The company had refined it's production methods, to some extent, and many of the guitars shown are quite different from those in the Choice of the Stars catalogue from late 1962. Includes primarily Vox solid body guitars, basses and amplifiers. See other Vox catalogue scans here.

Older updates here

US ebay listings

Gibson parts catalog vintage guitar bass mandolin banjo ES335 Les Paul SG EB 70s

Current price: $299.99
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Time left: 24d 18h 40m
very rare JV 1982 Fender Japan Guitar Bass Catalog Japanese !!

Current price: $159.99
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Time left: 9h 35m
rare 1983 TWANG Fender Japan Guitar Bass Catalog Japanese !! JV Series

Current price: $150.00
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Time left: 20d 4h 37m
rare 1983 TWANG FIVE Fender Japan & Squier Guitar Catalog Japanese !!

Current price: $150.00
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Time left: 29d 7m
Vintage 1953 National Guitar Catalog! Electric, Acoustic, Steel, and Amps!

Current price: $149.99
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Time left: 4d 23h 44m
Circa 1950 Original Gibson Vintage Guitar Catalog SJ, J-200, J-50, CF-100

Current price: $125.00
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Time left: 29d 14h 56m

Current price: $124.99
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Time left: 27d 22h 31m
Vintage 1949/1950 Gibson Guitar Catalog! Super 400, J-45, J-50, L-50!

Current price: $99.99
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Time left: 4d 22h 3m
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UK ebay listings

Gibson parts catalog vintage guitar bass mandolin banjo ES335 Les Paul SG EB 70s

Current price: £201.63
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Time left: 24d 18h 40m
Circa 1950 Original Gibson Vintage Guitar Catalog SJ, J-200, J-50, CF-100

Current price: £84.02
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Time left: 29d 14h 56m

Current price: £75.00
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Time left: 17h 30m
Vintage Original 1968 Gretsch Guitar Catalog No. 33 Nice Collector's Item!

Current price: £33.57
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Time left: 18d 17h 13m
Vintage 1970's Gretsch Guitar Catalog

Current price: £20.16
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Time left: 26d 2h 29m

Current price: £20.16
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Time left: 27d 2h 30m

Current price: £20.16
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Time left: 27d 2h 30m

Current price: £20.16
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Time left: 27d 2h 30m
See more results on eBay here

There are 4 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
Ron Comment left 3rd June 2012 20:08:21
I have a Burnside by Guild accoustic guitar. In the soundhole, the sticker says serial number of B1134....and the model number originally has G-25 but that is scribbled out in ink and BE 65 is written over G-25. Can anyone give me any information on when this was made? I've had it for many many years and never learned to play due to a shoulder injury that never healed. Any guess on what it's worth? Need to sell along with my 1978 Takamine F312S acoustic guitar. Thanks
snowboy Comment left 30th July 2012 10:10:50
Nice collection of catalogues, i've got some rare Vox guitar literature if you want to trade please email me at
abdel Comment left 22nd October 2012 20:08:06
que c'est beau
Steve M. Comment left 24th October 2014 21:09:28
Is there a way to tell a GENUINE 1960s Fender guitar catalog from a later reprint?

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