Most guitar enthusiasts wonder when a guitar becomes vintage. This is important for those who want to sell their old instrument, so they know what price to offer. On the other hand, people who want to buy a vintage model need to know what to look for so they are not deceived during the purchase. So, when does a guitar become vintage?
In general terms, an instrument becomes vintage after 30 years, but guitarists have achieved consensus that the vintage status goes only to guitars that are made before 1970. During the ‘60s the demand for guitars was lower, so guitar makers had the opportunity to work with high-quality materials and create guitars with amazing features.
If you are interested in learning about the vintage status of guitars, you have come to the right place. Below, we will discuss the vintage status of guitars and when they achieve it. In addition, we will talk about the pros and cons of buying a vintage model, so you will find out whether you should go for it!
When Does A Guitar Become Vintage?
If we follow common terms, every instrument that achieves 30 years of its lifespan will be considered vintage. However, when it comes to guitars, these rules do not really apply. This is because guitarists have reached an agreement that only guitars created before 1970 get the vintage status.
However, the vintage status is not the only thing that matters in this case because it is not a synonym for a high-quality guitar. For instance, you can find a guitar made in the early ‘70s, but its sound might not be what you expect. The quality of these kinds of instruments depends on the materials used in the process of making as well as the dedication that was invested for each part.
If we look into the past, the guitar legends flourished in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Considering this, it is logical to assume that guitars made in that period of time are probably characterized by some amazing features.
During this time, there were not as many guitar workshops, and guitar makers had the opportunity to create guitars with high-quality materials. Most of these guitars were created with the utmost care and focus. That is why there are many unique guitar models associated with these years, and some of them are even one of a kind.
At the beginning of the 1970s, the demand for guitars started to increase. Thus, small guitar workshops were replaced by guitar factories, and the quality of guitars made in this type started to change. That is why a 30-year-old guitar might not be the vintage model you are looking for.
If you intend to buy a vintage model, it is wise to do research before you decide to make the purchase. Determining the exact year when a particular guitar was made can be really helpful. We have included some guidelines that might help you discover whether a guitar is vintage or not below.
How To Determine Whether A Guitar Is Vintage?
In order not to be deceived when trying to find a genuine vintage guitar, there are several steps you can take to determine the status on your own. You can try the following options:
- Check the serial number of the guitar.
- Check specific features that are related to a particular period.
Checking The Serial Number Of A Guitar
Most guitars have their serial number on the back of the headstock. In some cases, for instance, with Fender guitars, you can find the serial number on the heel of the neck. If this is the case, you will have to detach the body and the neck of the guitar.
If you believe that you cannot do this task on your own, it is better to have it done by an expert. It is not a difficult task, but if you are not confident in your skills, leave it to the experts. Once you obtain the serial number, you can check it up using the following links:
- Gibson serial numbers.
- Fender serial numbers.
- Martin serial numbers.
- Rickenbacker serial numbers.
- Gretsch serial numbers.
Checking Specific Features Related To A Particular Period
If you have no luck finding the serial number of your guitar, you can do a deeper research. You will have to look for specific features that the guitar includes that are related to a particular period of the past. As we previously mentioned, when guitars were not in demand, there were a lot of unique guitars.
If you can find a feature that is related to a distinct period, you will know whether the model is vintage or not. This is a method that guitar historians use to distinguish a real from a fake instrument.
Is Buying A Vintage Guitar Worth It?
If you do not own a guitar, buying a vintage one to be your first might not be a good idea. Nowadays, there are a lot of great guitars with exceptional features and high-quality sound production.
If you intend to buy a vintage guitar because of its rising value, then it might be a great investment. In addition, if you are a collector of guitars, then a true vintage instrument will be a nice upgrade to your collection.
Before you make a final decision, it is good to look into the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing and owning a vintage guitar.
Advantages Of Vintage Guitars
- Vintage guitars are collectibles and there are not many of them. Their value can increase over time, so you might end up making a significant profit when you decide to sell.
- Vintage guitars are unique and stylish, and each detail they contain is carefully made. Manufacturers do not make those kinds of guitars anymore.
- They are made of expensive high-quality wood.
- The sound of a vintage guitar is unique and recognizable.
Disadvantages Of Vintage Guitars
- Vintage guitars are more expensive than the models that are available on the market today.
- Most parts of vintage guitars are not produced anymore, so you might not be able to find replacements to restore your instrument.
- Vintage guitars need special maintenance since they are prone to damage.
- They cannot produce modern sounds.
What Is The Difference Between Vintage And Antique Guitars?
An antique guitar is an instrument that is more than 100 years old, so most guitars in this category are acoustic models. The first electric guitar was made in 1937, which points out that there are still no electric models that are considered antique.
How Can I Evaluate The Worth Of My Guitar?
You can evaluate the worth of your guitar by assessing its condition and ability for playing. The Blue Book is an online guide that is considered reliable for determining the prices of older guitars.
What Is The Most Popular Guitar In The World?
The most popular guitar in the world is the Fender Stratocaster because it is easily adapted, and it is simple to work on. This guitar has been used by guitar players all around the globe and in every music genre.
As you see, it is a little bit complex to determine whether a guitar is vintage or not. However, since now you have all the tools you need for checking, you can easily determine what kind of guitar you are dealing with. Hopefully, our information has helped you learn how to distinguish vintage guitars, and when it would be convenient to own one!