Your Questions About Investing In Vintage Guitars

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Richard asks…

How many of you invest in a guitar ?

Just as you invest in a painting, sculpture, vase, real estate, vintage cars, a Harley, etc,a good quality guitar in good condition will appreciate greatly especially if the tone has seasoned well after the years.

A relic guitar will do the same if it had been used by a well known guitarist.

With the amount of guitars in the market since the early fifties, how many of such guitars qualify to be a good invest?

financi4 answers:

Most guitars of high build quality dating pre-80″s (and even some 80’s) are a good investment assuming that they play well and have all or most of the original parts to them. Be careful though, it’s a lot like real estate, when the market is up, it’s great and when times are tough, well it may be worth holding on to your vintage axe until the market is right again. Personally, I don’t think any guitar is worth more that a couple thousand, no matter what, with the exception that it was Elvis’ or John Lennon’s guitar or something like that, Music comes from the notes you put into it and an old guitar doesn’t make you better, it just makes you a pain in the ass guitar snob who through the powers of suggestion, get people to pay hugely inflated prices on a piece of wood connected to another piece of wood and then has strings on it, I’m mostly talking about electric guitars here though. Acoustics, well they do get better with age – most of them assuming they don’t warp out anywhere and then yes, I can justify paying whatever it takes to get that specific tone. Given that rock music has been a mainstay for 30-40 years now I will be interested to see what collectors find most valuable in the next 20 -30 years. I think solid body Les Paul’s, (a true rock guitar) will be the best bang for the buck as far as investments. My generation (younger) will want to play a Les Paul over a Gretsch Country Gentlemen for example most any day of the week. So ya solid body Gibson is where I would put my coin if I were to collect. I think the older solid body Gibsons will appreciate two fold where the older hollow / semis might be worth only a little more than what they are now. Though a nice older ES335 semi – Man that’s the cat’s meow in my book!

Thomas asks…

What are some good bass guitars for beginners?

So I want to buy a bass guitar – I have no experience with bass so I was just wondering which one I should buy. I have a budget of around £300. Also, can I plug a bass into a normal guitar amp or do I have to buy an amp made for bass?

financi4 answers:

To deal with the amp question first: a guitar amp will produce notes when you play a bass through it, it won’t explode or anything. If that’s what you have, and the budget is tight, it will be OK to use just for learning and practice in your bedroom. Guitar amps, however, are not designed to handle the deeper frequency notes that the bass produces. You won’t get good tone nor very good volume out of one if you’re going to play with a band or in public. So you should invest in a good bass amp as soon as you’re able to.

As far as buying a bass goes, the best thing to do is just go into a guitar shop and hold some in your hands. Some people like big round chunk necks, other people like slim “fast” necks, and so on and so forth. Pick an instrument that feels right in your hands and that you like the look of. It seems superficial, but to be honest, people usually are reluctant to practice an instrument if they hate the look of it.

I’m not sure exactly what brands are available in the UK or how far 300 pounds will go (I’m in the US), but you should definitely try a Yamaha or Squiers in the Vintage Modified or Classic Vibe series (not the Squier Affinity series). The Yamaha RBX374 would be great, or a used BB414. The Peavey Millenium is also pretty good IF you want a super-slim neck.

Steven asks…

Which guitar would be better suited for a beginner?

I’m having a hard time deciding on a guitar for myself (im a beginner) and I was thinking either the Epiphone Les Paul Special 2, or the BC Rich Warlock Red Bevel. Price really isn’t an issue so much as quality and ease of use.
Could someone tell me which one would be a better purchase?

financi4 answers:

“Epiphone is more versatile than BC Rich”. What a crock of nonsense! It sound more like the author of that answer doesn’t like BC Rich.

So, to decide which guitar is better depends on which BC Rich Warlock you’re talking about. From what I can tell, the guitar in question is part of the BC Rich Bronze series with a fixed bridge. It’s junk, so forget it. If you want a BC Rich, the lowest quality Warlock that’s worth playing is the Platinum Series. You can find a good one for a decent price on eBay. It has a tremolo (floating bridge) and it’s a nice guitar. The only thing you might not like about a warlock is that it’s rather pointy if you want to practice sitting down.

That pointiness has never bothered me, however, because I usually noodle laying down on the sofa or practice seriously standing up. All my guitars are pointy – custom Warlock, vintage Flying V, etc. But if you like to practice seriously sitting down, a warlock might drive you crazy unless you are tall and the points don’t hit you in the boobs.

Now, the Les Paul – in your case an Epiphone – is a very chunky ax. Personally, I don’t like the feel of the body because it is thick and I don’t like the bridge because it always feels too high and in the way when I want to palm mute. That’s just my feeling. That doesn’t mean it’s not right for you. Ace Frehley – the master of feedback – has always played a Les Paul. (Whether he can play anything else is … Ahm.., er… No comment!)

One thing I like about both BC Rich and Gibson guitars is that they have a D-shape neck, which is thick and round. It’s easy to rest your thumb on the back of the neck if you want to play fast neoclassical or metal riffs, and you can easily wrap your hand around it if you’re playing rock and use your thumb to fret the lower strings when you’re playing power chords. Vivian Campbell does this a lot if you happen to watch his videos.

That said, the only Epiphone Les Paul worth playing is the Studio Elite . Again, you can look for a good used one on eBay.

The problem with both guitars you have listed is that because they are complete crap, you will disatisfied 6 months from now and you won’t be able to sell either one for what you paid for it. So, you would be much better off to invest a couple hundred more dollars and get a real guitar – one that has decent wood, decent workmanship, will stay in tune, has good sustain, will hold its value over time, and one you will still be happy with it 2 years from now when you can shred like a madman.

A Platinum Series Warlock used will cost you about $400 and the Epiphone Studio Elite about $550. Of the two, I think you get more guitar for your money with the Warlock.

However, if you insist on something cheap, then get a Fender Mexican-made Stratocaster. The workmanship is good and if you test drive a few of them, you will find one with good sustain. Or consider a Yamaha guitar. Even their cheap ones made in Japan are decent. Do NOT get any guitar that’s manufactured in China.

Because you are a beginner, consider purchasing a Marshall Pocket Amp for $40 instead of a bigger amp at this point in your guitar career. You can put a pocket amp anywhere you want to practice and it is surprisingly loud (enough so that someone in the next room will tell you to turn it down). You might want to get a fuzz pedal to go with it and DOD makes some good ones, so get a used fuzz or distortion pedal on eBay. Save your money for a bigger amp after you’ve played a year and have some idea what kind of amp you want. I have a Marshall pocket amp and my pro musician friends think it’s cool.

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