Vintage Guitar and Bass pick of the web December 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.

Billy Fury's Antoria acoustic

Billy Fury

This one is for Billy Fury fans. UK readers of a certain age will know who Billy Fury was. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he was huge. His story is deeply entwined with the story of British rock and roll. Like Hank Marvin, and Rory Storm, Fury used an Antoria guitar - this was a time when American guitars were not available in the UK, and money was certainly tight. This guitar is not especially valuable in itself, but alongside the other items in the lot and the story "this is the actual one he won his audition with Larry Parnes with" this guitar is historically very important. Naturally this isn't an inexpensive listing!

If you are a fan of early British popular music, definitely one to check out. See it on ebay.co.uk

1952 Levin Royal

1952 Levin Royal

This is such a beautiful guitar, and in superb condition. Levin produced this guitar in Sweden in the days before Strats and Les Pauls, when a large body (17" in this case) helped with a loud acoustic response. It has a hand carved Spruce top, with mahogany neck, back and sides. But it's the wonderful art-deco headstock that really appeals to me. This one has been fitted with a 1950s Kjell pickup too. Not at a give-away price, but a stunning example of a truly beautiful, and highly collectable guitar.

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

1982 Gibson RD Artist with Victory neck and headstock

1982 Gibson RD Artist with Victory neck and headstock

This is a really nice and very interesting guitar. By mid-1981, Gibson RD Artist production had effectively ended, and attention was focused on a new model, the Gibson Victory. Now this is at a time when Gibson were in the process of moving their manufacture operations from the legendary Kalamazoo factory, to the newer Nashville plant. The RD series had been produced in Kalamazoo, and although the earliest Victory guitars were made there, by October/November they were being shipped from both plants, and by the end of 1981 exclusively from Nashville. So by the beginning of 1982, the RD was discontinued, and Victory production was exclusively at Nashville.

It's no surprise that the people at Kalamazoo took the surplus RD bodies, paired them up with surplus Victory necks, and made, in very limited quantities, an RD/Victory variant we see here. This lovely tobacco sunburst example has a serial number of 82912017, showing it was stamped in Kalamazoo on day 291 of 1982 (October 18th 1982). The seller of this guitar describes it as a 'prototype' Gibson RD, though it is my belief that this is not the case - just using up stock. It's production date is beyond that of all other RDs and even Victorys. Although rare and unusual, this is certainly not a unique guitar - there is some discussion (and images of other examples) in the forum here. The guitar itself has the older style RD77 body / circuitry with just one toggle switch (alongside the pickup selector), though it has the 24 3/4" scale of the RD79. The neck, fretboard and headstock are all Victory style: note the fretboard is rosewood rather than ebony, and the dot markers are along one edge, as opposed to the usually centralised block markers of the RD Artist. Aswell as taking the Firebird/Victory headstock shape, the headstock logo is a typical silk-screened Gibson, rather than the more ornate inlaid version.

Have a look at this fine and interesting guitar on ebay.com

1976 Gibson ES-175D project

1976 Gibson ES-175D project

The Gibson ES-175D is an absolute classic. THE archetypal jazz guitar. But with new examples selling for between $£€3000-4000 (check prices), it makes sense to buy a vintage instrument. After all, guitars built in Gibson's golden age at Kalamazoo are more desirable and hold their value far better than guitars built today. This mid-seventies ES-175 is a typical Norlin-period instrument with a decal serial number (thankfully still present) and maple neck - not quite golden age, but still a very well built guitar.

The project comes with no parts, and no fretboard, but looks solid. With a bit of work and a few components this guitar will sing again, and (unless bidding gets silly) for a fraction of the price of any other Gibson ES-175 on the market. Check it out at ebay.co.uk

1964 Vox Challenger

1964 Vox Challenger

The Vox Challenger was one of the earliest Vox guitar models, made by Crucianelli in Italy primarily for the UK market. This was a time when semi-acoustic guitars were very much in fashion, but not something Vox were capable of producing in the UK, at least in any quantity. By the mid-60s, hollow body production had transferred to Eko (still in Italy), and these double Florentine cutaway models were discontinued.

This guitar is fairly rare, and looks to be in good condition, despite a missing scratchplate and control knobs. In my experience these Crucianelli Vox's sometimes suffer from a high action (often relating to minor movement around the heel area) and although it is not mentioned in the description, may be worth asking about. Fixable, but worth knowing. A cool old Vox. See it on ebay.co.uk

Hofner 176 solid body

Hofner 176 solid body

Hofner produced several broadly 'strat-style' solid bodies in the 1960s, most notably the Hofner 176 (or Hofner Galaxie, in the UK). This one is being sold with a $9.99 start price and no reserve. It's a nice guitar, and looks to be in good condition. As is often the case from private sellers on ebay, it has been poorly described (this one more so than usual.. apparently it "might need a tune up"!) This uncertainty always deters bidders, and could result in a bargain. Obviously, this lack of description can be used to hide flaws, but often is just down to a seller who genuinely doesn't know (or care) what they have. This could sell for a very low price!

This Hofner is in Quebec, Canada - see the pics on ebay.ca

1964 Hofner Verithin

1964 Hofner Verithin

The Hofner Verithin is just that. Very Thin. just look at the side view images to see how thin. Naturally it is also very light. These guitars were very popular in early sixties Britain, though sunburst examples were much less common than the typical cherry red guitars. This one has had several hardware 'upgrades' but none look totally irreversible - though the non-original pickup surrounds will have made some screw holes that will not be covered by the correct original parts. The seller is honest, suggesting "a bit of a fiddle to get the right sound and it could do with a little attention". This could imply electrical problems, and/or a high action requiring a neck reset (very common in older Hofner guitars, but no problem for an experienced luthier.

The start price for this guitar was 99 pence, with no reserve, and it's currently well below market value. The wood/finish is in beautiful condition, and although restoring this guitar is not difficult, the uncertainty of the project should keep the price low. This could represent a great deal for someone slightly handy and capable of performing a restoration. Check it out on ebay.co.uk

1959 Hofner Committee

1959 Hofner Committee

The Committee was right at the top of Hofner's guitar line; beautifully appointed and a fine playing guitar. Check out the wonderfully quilted maple back, with binding extending into the back from the guitar's rims; the hugely ornate headstock and the incredible inlays on the fretboard and headstock. The Committee is truly a work of art. And this example is in stunning condition. You don't see many cleaner!

But best of all, this guitar is available on ebay.co.uk with no reserve and start price sub £100. The price (at time of writing) is still below half of what this should sell for. Look out for a bargain!

1957 Gibson ES-350T

1957 Gibson ES-350T

The Gibson ES-350T was launched in 1955, as a thinline version of the ES-350. The 350T immediately outsold the 350, and had effectively replaced it by 1956. With gold hardware, the Byrdland-style wire-loop tailpiece and rich sunburst finish, this truly is a beautiful jazz guitar!

1950s Gibson guitars don't go cheap. The web is full of seriously priced instruments in dealers stores. This guitar is listed on eBay with no reserve and a 0.01c start price. It has already attracted a lot of bids, but the price is still very low for the guitar it is. Where it will end is anybody's guess, but this could represent an excellent deal for the lucky bidder. See this beauty on ebay.com

1963 Gibson ES-120T

1963 Gibson ES-120T

The Gibson ES-120T was the brand's entry-level 1960s thinline, but like most 1960s student Gibsons, it is actually a really nice guitar. Today, student level guitars are made of lesser woods with cheap finishes, but back then, they used much the same woods as on higher end guitars (Brazilian rosewood and mahogany) and a labor-intensive nitrocellulose finish. Costs were reduced by stripping back all unnecessary appointments and only the simplest of electronics. This guitar has just one Melody Maker PU-380 pickup, with single volume and tone control. The ES-120T is a really nice playing guitar, admittedly with limited tonal variation and upper fretboard access. You wouldn't want it as your only guitar, but certainly a very nicely made, and great playing addition to your arsenal.

Pictures are limited, but it is claimed to be in mint condition. It is listed at just £700 (in order to raise money for Christmas!). Assuming there are no issues (headstock repair, missing serial number etc), this is a very low price for a 1960s Gibson. This won't be available for long! This ES-120T is for sale in Prenton, Merseyside, and can be seen on gumtree


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