Vintage Guitar and Bass pick of the web July 2018

A periodic round up of some of the rare and interesting vintage guitars for sale on the web just now: guitars, hard to find parts, catalogs and guitar memorabilia . Anything interesting that catches our eye - maybe a typically expensive guitar going for a great price - something that very rarely comes up, or even just an item with a great story. Got a suggestion for this page? let us know - you can promote your own stuff; if you tell us why it's interesting, it's more likely to be included.


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Disclaimer: unless explicitly stated, vintageguitarandbass is not the vendor of any item shown on this page, nor will it be held liable for any unsatisfactory transaction. Please do your own research, look at feedback ratings (where applicable) and deal only with trusted sellers.

Guild Starfire bass with Alembic mods

Guild Starfire bass with Alembic mods

Wow! Before Alembic were known for their beautiful solid bodies, they were modifying basses for the likes of Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane, and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead. Both of these played a Guild Starfire bass with electronics heavily modified. But these were not the only Starfires to get Alembicized, numerous other examples are out there, with different bridge / tailpiece, pickups and naturally circuitry. This one was apparently modded in the early seventies - it's quite intriguing to have a look inside this one too!

This is a super rare bass, and a very interesting one, but one in poor condition. A full restoration will take a good deal of work: worth doing, but not a job for the faint hearted. See more pictures on ebay.com

1950s Epiphone 'New York' pickups

1950s Epiphone 'New York' pickups

When Epiphone sold out to Gibson in 1957, the new owners received not only the brand and rights to produce Epiphone guitars, but also tooling, partially finished instruments and a lot of component parts for Epiphone guitars. These New York pickups were fitted to early and mid-1950s Epiphones, but also onto Kalamazoo-built Epiphones through the end of the decade and even into the very early 1960s. Early examples of the Coronet, Century and Sheraton were fitted with these pickups, gradually being replaced with mini-humbuckers as the New York pickups were used up.

Finding a set of these pickups for sale is pretty unusual. They are not cheap but then how often do they come up for sale? See these pickups on ebay.com

1955 Gibson LG-1

1955 Gibson LG-1

The woods used on 1950s and early 1960s guitars were somewhat superior to those used in the decades that followed. The typically ancient trees harvested at this time had very close grains, giving visual and tonal characteristics simply not available in younger trees, or those of different species. With the mass environmental damage caused by deforestation of the rainforests, it is only right that cutting down such trees today has discontinued. We need our rainforests. But it does underline the very special nature of some of these early instruments, especially those produced by the best manufacturers. And a 1950s Gibson, even an originally lower priced model, like this LG-1 is a very well built instrument, produced by hand using great woods. The tonal effect of really nice tone woods is often lost with an electric, especially once played through a gainy amplifier. But not the case with an acoustic. This will surely be a very nice sounding guitar!

These guitars typically sell for four figure sums. This one is all there; it needs a little TLC, fretboard clean etc. It's got plenty of patina (soul), but there are stories to tell and songs to be sung. Currently very fairly priced. See it on ebay.com

1981 Guild B302, black

1981 Guild B302, black

The Guild B302 is a wonderful bass. A nice, lightweight, mahogany body and set neck, longscale, with rosewood fretboard. The B302 has it's own unique shape and a pair of great sounding pickups, with easy, intuitive controls. Vintage guitars are priced based on their rarity, playability, collectability.. and other factors... there are a LOT of guitars with huge price tags that anyone would struggle to play... you simply wouldn't bother. Conversely there are some SUPERB guitars with comparatively low pricing. And the Guild B302 is one of those. In short, it's a high quality, well-built instrument, made from some very fine woods. Not as well-known as a Starfire, (or even the SG-influenced JS) but more effective as a musical instrument, yet typically much lower priced.

This example is in really nice condition, with cool black finish, and original, royal blue lined case. See it on ebay.com

1966 Gibson Melody Maker, Pelham blue

1966 Gibson Melody Maker, Pelham blue

In 1966, Gibson redesigned the Melody Maker, giving it the same double cutaway style as the SG range. These new Melody Makers were available in two metallic finishes - Sparkling Burgundy, and, as seen here, Pelham Blue. These were only short lived, and as such are pretty desirable to collectors. Necks were not colored, rather clear coated, i.e. natural mahogany. The result is a very attractive guitar, with much of the same construction as any other SG, (though a slightly narrower peghead) and the same old Melody Maker pickup. This one is in nice clean condition - no sign of any headstock issues, though missing it's tremolo.

This guitar is for sale on ebay, with no reserve and a low start price. Summer's here, and auction sites are typically a little quieter this time of year - certainly potential for a bargain. This guitar is in Ferndale, Michigan. See it on ebay.com

1980 Gibson 335S Standard

1980 Gibson 335S Standard

The Gibson 335S or 335 solid body was available briefly between 1980 and 81/82 (depending on which model) and was available in three flavors: Deluxe and Custom - which were all mahogany; and the Standard (seen here) which was all maple. Tonally it is brighter than your typical SG: more like an L6S, RD Standard, or Victory - each an all-maple guitar built around the same time. The 335S guitars are sufficiently rare that they tend to sell for good money - if you can find one! The 2011 reissues are certainly more available than the originals.

Now this example is not a collector... but would make a GREAT player. It has been badly listed (seller suggests it is a '79, fails to mention the replaced pickup, and misidentifies the wood as walnut. Furthermore, the original case is mentioned but not pictured) - all of which may reduce confidence in some bidders. There is some wear to the finish and truss rod cover, but nothing too serious. The non-stock pickup is a Dimarzio - probably a good choice, but could be replaced in order to get this back to stock. It's a great guitar, poorly listed, but with no reserve an a low start price. It has already attracted a lot of attention, but the price is still great. If this goes for around $700, someone got a great deal.

Check it out on ebay.com

1962 Gibson Les Paul (SG) Junior

1962 Gibson Les Paul (SG) Junior

This is the kind of guitar we all want to discover. Something tasty and old that's been tucked away (in this case in the attic) for 40 years. We don't care if the case smells a bit, it will air... This beautiful late '62 SG Junior (actually still officially called a Les Paul Junior at this point - have a look at how it was described in the 1962 Gibson catalog) is in really nice clean condition. Note the 5 digit serial number. The translucent Cherry on these early examples tends to fade to orange with use - especially on the back of the neck. The fact that it hasn't suggests that this hasn't seen much use. There doesn't seem to be any issues, though the seller claims the tuning keys are not great - he is also offering to throw out the original smelly case! (don't!). There is not a close up shot of the back of the headstock - looks ok from a distance but obviously worth ensuring there is no break.

So a wonderful condition, early SG, with no reserve and a low start price. I suspect this will make someone very happy indeed!

This guitar is available in Napa, California - see more pictures on ebay.com

1965 Vox Clubman bass

1965 Vox Clubman bass

Vox made a lot of different guitar and bass styles in the early 60s UK - from crazy new Phantom and Mark (teardrop) shapes, to straight Fender copies. Some were great playing instruments, almost on par with the far more desirable American instruments (almost..), others were terrible. Frankly, enough to make you give up playing. Stylistically, the Clubman bass was neither 'out there' nor a copy. And as a player... well it's pretty nice. The Clubman bass has a 30" scale neck - like an EB3 or a Fender Mustang - great if you want to actually 'play' rather than sit on the root. And the neck is not dangerously narrow, like some Vox basses - my own example has a width at nut of 1 5/8". The Clubman bass has a lot of character. They made a lot and they sold well, so there are always examples available for sale online. Frankly, these are one of the most playable of all the Vox basses, yet one of the least valued.

This one is in nice clean condition. It has the original bridge cover. The old coaxial output has been upgraded to a regular jack, but it's otherwise all-original. There are no headstock decals, but this seems to have been the situation fairly often. They did wear away with use (or were even deliberately removed) but on a bass this clean, it is highly unlikely that this would be the case. Most likely they were never applied. This is a great condition bass, with a hardcase at a very fair starting price. Not worth getting into a bidding war over, but very much worth the price it is listed for. You can't get a playable vintage bass for much less than this! Check out the pics on ebay.co.uk

1980 Ibanez Musician MC3000

This is a rare guitar. An example of a limited edition run of just a handful of guitars produced in 1980/81. These really were the top-of-the-line instruments - "Built by the proud craftsmen of Ibanez Japan" as it states on the control cavity cover. Nine piece laminate neck, Zebra wood wings, ebony fretboard with 'Limited edition' inlay, pearl headstock inlay, gold hardware throughout. This is a very well made and very well equipped guitar! Super 88 humbuckers, onboard effects loop and a lot of switches!

This guitar is available on ebay.com - check out the other pictures. Currently pretty low priced but this will rise!

1959 Hofner President, blond

1959 Hofner President, blond

A truly beautiful looking guitar. German company Hofner were supplying great guitars to the UK (via distributor Selmer) at a time when US guitars were too expensive for most players, and UK guitars were too rudimentary. The Hofner President was a great guitar: full-body, with a wonderful woody tone, perfect for jazz and blues - and loud enough to practice unplugged. As the 1960s progressed, this style of guitar came less desireable with the 'rock' generation, but the President sold well enough in the early sixties to be relatively easy to find today. Hollowbody Hofner guitars are tonally quite distinct from many contemporaneous instruments; if you've not tried one, they are well worth exploring! (and a lot of fun to play)

This is a nice example, with blond (they also came in sunburst) finish. Note the early single coil 'toaster' pickups. Seems to be clean and all original - though missing a pickguard - with a nice low action. The buy-it-now price is good, and better still, offers are invited.

This guitar is in North Yorkshire, and is sold with free postage in the UK. Deal! See more pics on ebay.co.uk

Early 60s Gibson Melody Maker

Early 60s Gibson Melody Maker

Anyone who follows this list knows what we think about Melody Makers. Gibson's early 60s entry level solid bodies were really nicely made, from exceptionally fine woods (we're talking now-unavailable rainforest species: South American rosewood and mahogany), and topped with a really nice nitro finish. And then they put a slightly lackluster pickup in there. This means they look and feel like a far more expensive guitar than they ever were. A pickup upgrade is ALL that separates these guitars from a tasty vintage Gibson SG. Now Melody makers are somewhat collectable, so immaculate examples sell for big bucks. But there are a lot of Melody Makers out there that are not quite in the collectable bracket.

This guitar has a few changed parts, so it's not going to sell with the 'all-original' premium - but it's largely complete, unbroken and in nice condition. If you wanted to restore this to original stock condition, you could do quite easily. But likewise, if you wanted an incredible vintage player for a good price, this is very much the way to go. The PU380 Melody Maker pickup in there is stock (though should really have a black cover), but can easily be swapped out, with no modifications, for a Curtis Novak, or Seymour Duncan P90 or PAF style pickup in the same size cover. Maybe i'm being harsh - the original pickups are not bad... just not as hot as many aspiring rock legends are used to. In our minds, there is no better way to get the feel and vibe of a high quality vintage guitar, for non-vintage guitar money, than upgrading an already slightly modified Melody Maker!

This is a really beautiful guitar, just waiting to be played. Guitars like this tend to go for mid-high mid three figure sums - probably $750 or so? Current price is less than half of that. And it will only go up in value - check it out on ebay.com

1975 Fender Musicmaster

1975 Fender Musicmaster

Fender's Musicmaster had been available since 1956, but this guitar represents the second 'post-64' version, which was typically a longer scale instrument (though the smaller 3/4 size was still available. This example hails from 1975, and is in white finish (beautifully yellowed) with a white guard. Early white examples typically had a red tortoiseshell guard, later examples a black guard; but white on white (cream) looks great. These single pickup guitars are perhaps not as desire able as the dual pickup Mustang, but are still great players in their own right. This one has some minor damage to the body reverse, but nothing too serious, and perhaps fixable with a bit of polish?

This guitar is complete with a nice original hardcase, but could well end at a bargain price. The photos are clear, but the lack of description and specifics should keep the price low. No reserve and a low start price. A potential bargain? Check it out on ebay.com

1963 Selmer Gibson and Fender catalog, UK

1963 Selmer Gibson and Fender catalog, UK

This is a very rare item. At this point in the early 1960s, Selmer were distributing Gibson, and (newly) Fender guitars in the UK. This catalog is certainly rare: examples do come up occasionally, but those dated 1964 are more common. This one is dated August 1963, and what makes it more special is it has a stamp for Jim Marshall's very famous shop in Hanwell. This is of course where Pete Townsend sourced his Rickenbackers etc... A rare catalog, with a great pedigree and in great condition. The seller is accepting offers too. This won't hang around!

See more pics on ebay.co.uk

1975 Fender Musicmaster

1975 Fender Musicmaster

Fender's Musicmaster had been available since 1956, but this guitar represents the second 'post-64' version, which was typically a longer scale instrument (though the smaller 3/4 size was still available. This example hails from 1975, and is in white finish (beautifully yellowed) with a white guard. Early white examples typically had a red tortoiseshell guard, later examples a black guard; but white on white (cream) looks great. These single pickup guitars are perhaps not as desire able as the dual pickup Mustang, but are still great players in their own right. This one has some minor damage to the body reverse, but nothing too serious, and perhaps fixable with a bit of polish?

This guitar is complete with a nice original hardcase, but could well end at a bargain price. The photos are clear, but the lack of description and specifics should keep the price low. No reserve and a low start price. A potential bargain? Check it out on ebay.com

1976 'Bicentennial' Gibson Firebird

1976 Bicentennial Gibson Firebird

This is a beautiful guitar in natural mahogany finish with gold hardware. The Gibson Firebird was reissued in 1976 to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of the United States as a nation. These 'bicentennial' guitars were produced in similar numbers to the original 1960s guitars (actually 542 guitars were shipped in 1976, which is slightly more than the number shipped in 1963, but significantly less than 1964 and 1965 - see Firebird shipping figures.)

This example is in nice condition: no evidence of a headstock repair, largely undamaged gold hardware plating and unfaded red and blue scratchplate logo. The eight digit decal serial number is complete and undamaged. All in all in nice condition, however with non-original case.

This guitar is in Bristol, UK; has no reserve with a 99p start price. It has attracted a lot of bids so far, but is still at a bargain cheap price. Certainly worth keeping an eye on. See the listing on ebay.co.uk

1964 Fender Mustang

1964 Fender Mustang

This is a beautiful guitar. The Fender Mustang launched in 1964 and has been a regular feature in the line ever since. This pre-CBS guitar, in red, has an August '64 neck date, and was produced at the Fullerton facility in the first year of Mustang production. It is in lovely condition - and is complete, save for the tremolo arm, and has it's original case. There is significant finish checking, but nothing to make this guitar undesireable. Patina!

This is a cool guitar, and rarely listed with no reserve and a $1 start. It's currently pretty cheap - certainly one to watch. Check out the pictures on ebay.com

1978 Guild B302 left handed

1978 Guild B302 left handed

Guild made some fantastic instruments, and frankly, the brand deserves to be better known than it perhaps is. Vintage Guild guitars are every bit as well-made as an equivalent period Gibson, and every bit as playable as a vintage Fender. They used fine old woods, and some of the best components available worldwide. But, pleasingly, they tend to remain in a 'players' rather than 'collectors' price bracket - although this is slowly changing. A vintage Guild guitar can offer exceptional value and incredible playability.

The B302 bass was a mahogany bodied, dual pickup, passive, longscale instrument with great playability, typically lightweight, and with a wide tonal palette. Whilst not exactly rare, they don't come up too often in any dexterity. Finding a lefty example is pretty exceptional though. The price on this one is fair, as opposed to great, but this will sell if the right(!) buyer sees it. The seller is open to offers. Once people try these, they tend not to let them go.

This example is complete and in pretty good shape - a few dings but nothing serious that we can see. Non-original hard case.

This guitar is in France, but ships throughout Europe. See the listing on ebay.co.uk

1968 ES-355TD-SV Walnut finish

1968 ES-355TD-SV Walnut finish

Walnut was the new finish for many late 60s and early seventies Gibson guitars, and paired with the gold hardware of some of the higher end models gave a highly appealing look. The ES-355TD-SV is, of course, the guitar most associated with BB King, who appeared on the cover of the 1975 Gibson thinlines catalogue. This 1968 355 has clearly been used, and has a good deal of play wear and patina. The scratchplate has decayed (or been damaged somehow) and a lot of the gold plating has worn away. But the wood seems to be in good condition, with no obvious breaks or repairs. The serial numbers match and there is no glaring evidence of this being a fake. Late 50s 355s had a Bigsby vibrato as stock, but 60s guitars usually had the Maestro lyre-type - the Bigsby may well be stock though, and could be the reason for the 'custom made' tag beneath it. The Bigsby units were offered on solid and thinline models in 1960s Gibson price lists at a premium (an extra $75 in 1968). There is no evidence from the pictures of another tailpiece, and the Bigsby has worn fairly similarly to the rest of the hardware.

So this guitar is selling cheap - and it will no doubt end at far below the price it would it could reach. It's a very expensive and highly desire able instrument that has not been listed especially well. The pickups look original, but really should have been removed and the undersides photographed. Although the seller claims there are no cracks, it would be good to see a shot of the headstock reverse. Furthermore it is located in Seoul, Korea, South - which will certainly deter some bidders located the other side of the world. Bidding on this guitar is a gamble, but one that could pay off massively.

This is a nice guitar, that with a little TLC could be an amazing one. It might be worth chasing the seller for more detailed pictures. The reserve is not yet met; if not too high this guitar could be a steal for the bravest bidder! See more pics on ebay.com

1966 Vox Hurricane

1966 Vox Hurricane

Vox are pretty famous for their teardrop and Phantom shaped guitars, but they produced a lot of more generic instruments too - solid bodies in typical Fender styles, and hollow bodies more akin to Gibsons. This is a mid 1960s Vox Hurricane - an early example, maybe 1966, built by Eko in Recanati, Italy, primarily for export to the USA. It is roughly based on the UK-equivalent model, the Vox Consort, though with just two pickups: the Vox Spitfire being the three-pickup version. And it's going cheap. Frankly these rarely get listed so low, so this won't hang about. I suspect the seller thinks the damaged pickguard is a bigger deal than perhaps I do. Frankly, these early Eko Vox guitars almost always suffer from pickguard shrinkage, and if the tips have not broken off yet, they probably will do at some point. [Note: if you have a similar guitar with unbroken guard, it might be worth removing a couple screws to prevent the damage shown here.] Otherwise it seems in pretty good condition. It is missing it's pickup selector switch, and bridge cover, but is generally clean and complete. Although not mentioned, the serial number may be on the last fret of the neck, as was the case with the very earliest examples. Note there is no neck plate - where the serial number is usually situated. The original tremolo arm would no doubt fetch a good proportion of this guitars selling price on it's own. Just to put this price into context... these guitars retailed at $169 back in 1966. At less than double that, this is a bargain!

See the listing on ebay.com

1960s Fender Coronado body

1960s Fender Coronado body

This is a seriously beautiful guitar. The Fender Coronado never made the splash in the mid-sixties guitar market that is was supposd to. It wasn't quite the player that the Stratocaster, Telecaster or ES-335TD were, despite being an exceptionally nice looking instrument. So why didn't it attain the iconic status of those forementioned guitars? Perhaps due to the slightly uninspiring pickups? (with no center block, hotter pickups would no doubt have fed back excessively) or maybe it was just launched a little too late in the decade, past peak-semi? In any case, they don't command the ridiculously high prices of equivalent period Gibson and Fender guitars, offering an affordable, and exceptionally cool vintage instrument.

And this body IS exceptionally cool. The sunburst is seriously vibrant, and is matched by the rare, and totally cool checkered binding. What a great looking guitar! Remember, these guitars were designed by ex-Rickenbacker designer Roger Rossmeisl - and those Ric-style features are there for all to see.

There are no obvious issues - the buy it now price is reasonable assuming there are no hidden problems. Better still the seller is accepting offers. This could make a great replacement for a Coronado with a worn body, or even also be the start of a very, very, cool vintage project guitar.

See more pics on ebay.com

Ibanez Studio bass ST-824, 1980

Ibanez Studio bass ST-824, 1980

Ibanez made some really nice guitars in the seventies, but most were copies (lawsuit guitars, as they are often described) of other guitars by Gibson, Fender, Rickenbacker etc. By the end of the decade, they had mastered the art, and were concentrating on their own designs. And this is one really nicely built, and totally original example. As the name (studio) implies, this bass has a wide tonal palette, ready for any recording situation. It is fitted with Ibanez tri-sound pickups which offer single coil, humbucking and parallel modes - alongside the standard volume and tone controls. The ST-824 studio bass is a large, very solid instrument with a walnut top on and ash and mahogany body, and a three-piece maple neck. They are a little on the heavier side though - this one weighs a shade under 5kg. But substantial basses are heavy!

These are not quite old enough to have become really collectable yet, but are certainly attracting a bit of attention amongst players. Prices are generally low for what they are: eighties Japanese build quality and looks combined with some serious functionality. This is certainly a collectable bass of the future.

This great condition example is in Burbank, California and available now on ebay.com


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