Vintage Acoustic Guitars
Vintage Acoustic Guitars are popular collectibles among musicians for a variety of reasons, one of which is the way that wood ages. As the wood the guitar is made from matures over 25 to 50 years, the sound that the guitar produces will mature, leading to deeper and more resonate tones.
The most popular woods used in vintage handmade guitars were mahogany, maple and rosewood and they each peak at different rates. Mahogany peaks somewhere between 25 and 30 years and both rosewood and maple will do so between 25 and 50 years. Brazilian rosewood is no longer used to make guitars as the trees are now protected as an endangered species so this makes vintage guitars made from it highly collectible.
Other reasons for collecting vintage acoustic guitars are the remarkably fine craftsmanship and character of each individual guitar. The most sought after of these are acoustic guitars that were made during the 1920s and 30s.
Buying Vintage Guitars on Ebay
if you're going to buy your next vintage acoustic guitar on Ebay, there's a couple of things you should keep in mind as your browse listings.
Is the Guitar in Original Condition?
As is true with virtually all antiques and vintage collectibles, repairs and refinishing harm value. So if the guitar you are considering purchasing has been repaired, refinished or even been refretted, it will not be worth as much as a vintage guitar in its original condition.
Naturally, the better the original condition of the guitar, the more valuable it is going to be.
I would only look at listings in which the provenance of the guitar is described in detail, including repair history, and in which there are plenty of photos showing the guitar from all angles - with close-ups of any major issues that may affect value. Be sure to take a close look at the neck of the guitar as they can become bowed over time and may need to be reset.
Know Your Seller
Before bidding on a vintage guitar, make sure to check the seller's feedback and make sure you understand the terms of the auction. If you have any questions about the guitar, shipping, insurance or anything else about the auction, take the time to send your questions to the seller before you bid.
Collecting Vintage Acoustic Guitars
Vintage Guitar Reference Guides
Do Some Research
If you're just starting to get into collecting vintage guitars, or even if you are only looking to own one, it pays to do some research on them first.
I personally find price guides generally are of little value (for collecting anything). Printed guides are out of date before they even hit the shelves. You are better off looking at completed auctions in Ebay to gauge actual values as those prices are what people are really paying.
Identification guides and reference guides on the other hand are very useful to determining whether a guitar auction you are looking at is for a guitar you would actually want to own. They will also help steer you away from known problems. You can take a look at a couple of guides I've chosen to the right.
Popular Vintage Acoustic Guitars
Gibson and Martin guitars are probably the most popular among collectors, but they are definitely not the only collectibles and there are several other guitar makers to consider, including D’Aguisto, D’Angelico, Epiphone, Gretsch, Guild and Stromberg.
Gibson Vintage Guitars
While the company is best known for the Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, Gibson has been making acoustic guitars since the 1920s. The company invented the Archtop Guitar and the most collectible of those were made between 1930 and 1959. Pre-war guitars are generally the most sought after.
For Vintage Flattop Gibson Guitars, you'd want to look at guitars produced pre-war and also during the 40s and 50s. Flattop Gibson Guitars producted during the sixties and seventies are considered inferior to the earlier guitars.
Martin Vintage Guitars
Martin started making guitars in the 1800s and their early flat top guitars are highly collectible. Other types of guitars made by Martin are not considered as nearly as desirable among collectors.
Basically any Martin flat top acoustic guitars made before 1970 are considered collectible and the most prized periods would be those from the earliest manufacturing period - 1840s to the Twenties and then the pre-war guitars up until about 1944.
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