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The majority of the instruments profiled on this site were produced by the brands to the left (click for more), although there is also some limited content on the following guitars and amps
Ampeg, Baldwin, Dan Armstrong, Futurama, G&L, Goya, Hayman, Ibanez, Marshall, Musicman, Ovation, Peavey, Rickenbacker, Selmer, Silvertone, Supro and Yamaha, WEM

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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

1981 Gibson Rosetti catalogue (UK)
1981 Gibson 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.
1982 Gibson loose-leaf publicity sheets
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.
1966 Selmer guitar 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.
1980 Gibson Sonex-180 Pre-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.

Older updates here

US ebay listings


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Gibson USA Vintage Historic Collection Guitar Catalog & Color Code Chart

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Vintage Guitar Catalog MXR Dealer Pedal Portfolio Plus Full line Color Catalog

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Yamaha Electric Guitar & Bass Catalog Vintage 1994 Pacifica RGX BB TRB

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UK ebay listings

Vintage 1990's Jerry Jones Guitar Color Catalog Brochure Flyer Longhorn Baritone

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1985-1986 Paul Reed Smith Solid Electrics PRS Guitar Catalog RARE Nice

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Vintage 1960's Fender Guitar Catalog Pamphlet Reprint Nice Collector's Item!

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Vintage Guitar Catalog MXR Dealer Pedal Portfolio Plus Full line Color Catalog

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Egnater Guitar Amps Amplifiers Catalog Rebel Vintage Guitar Bench Test Cut Sheet

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Vintage Bravo TMC Nylon Guitar Strings Still in Package Complete

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There are 4 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
Ron Comment left 3rd June 2012 21:09:21
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 11:11:50
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 21:09:06
que c'est beau
Steve M. Comment left 24th October 2014 22:10:28
Is there a way to tell a GENUINE 1960s Fender guitar catalog from a later reprint?

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