Are 59 bursts worth THAT?!

Cozmik Cowboy

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
3,750
Reaction score
3,579
That is the law surrounding the labelling of Port, in Portugal. Port is a fortified wine. This law / rule does not apply to all wines - but it is common in conversation.

the same type of laws apply in Scotland, it can’t be called or sold scotch whisky by law unless it has matured in Scotland and for a minimum of 3 years. The contents however is still technically whisky, whatever the law says.

there is no such law for guitars, the word vintage can be used as loosely as the seller wants. I’ve seen “vintage early 90s R9 historic” listed on eBay before
Couldn't find a quote, I have read in wine magazines about Bordeaux having a good enough year that they were "declaring a vintage".
 

Richard L

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
36
Reaction score
44
Is a 59 bust worth 250K? From a players perspective it's not. There are still some differences betweeen a CS model and an original 59 burst, but they are pretty close to the original. Play on it for 20 years and there is less difference. From a collector perspective it's like buying a Van Gogh or a rare Ferrari. It's an investment for later. Some buyers don't even play music. Four years after producing 643 of these iconic guitars they made this one!! Still a Les Paul with Three PAF's and Ebony block vibrola. 25-30 were produced. Even rarer than a fifties Flying V. I bought it 8 years ago for 5.5K.
DSC05247.jpg
 

guitartsar

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
51
Reaction score
69
But it was derivative, not groundbreaking.
All that basically changed after the 60's was that progressively more distortion was used in guitar music.
(Some might claim that EvH was groundbreaking as well, but after him - nothing. Just craploads of rock in its various forms, all of which had been shaped in the late 60's.)


And why is it so important for some of you guys to postulate that these particular guitars are in any way relevant to todays music creation?

The "golden age" LP's are collectors objects and priced as such, and that is fine and dandy. Let collectors have them end enjoy them.

And if you should need a "les paul" sound on a record there is an immense choice of LP stye guitars, some of which are even made by the guys currently holding the rights to the Gibson brand name.
Uhm for me most 60's players were derevative too. Amazing yes but really they were just using the blues that they heard and then giving it their own twist. The groundbeakers were Muddy Waters etc in the 50's who developed the electric blues from what they heard in the delta and then later Green, Clapton, Page, Bloomfied etc developed it with more distortion into rock/blues. Hendrix took it even further.
But the great thing about music is there's something for everyone! We all have diffrent tastes.
 

DBDM

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
800
Reaction score
1,027
I distinctly remember a discussion with an Economics professor in college in 1990 about how K Mart was the largest retailer in the world, and that no company could ever challenge their dominance. That was poor thinking by him back then and some are equally blinded by the present (and past) today. There is great music being played right now. And great future "Golden Age" or future desirable vintage guitars being built right now. Any suggestion otherwise is silly!
 

grumphh_the_banned_one

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2015
Messages
1,603
Reaction score
1,592
Uhm for me most 60's players were derevative too. Amazing yes but really they were just using the blues that they heard and then giving it their own twist. The groundbeakers were Muddy Waters etc in the 50's who developed the electric blues from what they heard in the delta and then later Green, Clapton, Page, Bloomfied etc developed it with more distortion into rock/blues. Hendrix took it even further.
But the great thing about music is there's something for everyone! We all have diffrent tastes.
Yup, pretty much right - the 60's rockers took the black peoples folk music and turned it into their version of rock, and that was the great groundbreaking. Leaving classical music and european style folk, behind and using that amalgam of african and european styles that blues was, to build upon it and expand the concept.
Music evolves from other styles, rarely does evolution happen in a vacuum - the groundbreaking thing was turning old stuff into new stuff.

Listen to music from before 1950 and after 1965 - there is a wild change happening right there, and since then the changes have been far more gradual, and todays downtuned metal is still closer to "black sabbath" than black sabbath is to some 50's blues song...

But after that revolution happened, not much evolution took place, except for more and more distortion, and perhaps the "neoclassical" shredding thing.
 

jrkhav

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2021
Messages
117
Reaction score
138
I distinctly remember a discussion with an Economics professor in college in 1990 about how K Mart was the largest retailer in the world, and that no company could ever challenge their dominance. That was poor thinking by him back then and some are equally blinded by the present (and past) today. There is great music being played right now. And great future "Golden Age" or future desirable vintage guitars being built right now. Any suggestion otherwise is silly!

Absolutely agreed. I'm quite curious to see what years/specific niche models that have come out recently will become the most desirable ones 30-40 years from now.
 

Duane_the_tub

V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 30, 2015
Messages
5,313
Reaction score
13,489
For anyone who thinks '59 Burst prices have really regressed significantly, I'd suggest you call Rumble Seat and make them an offer on this one. Anything less than $350K and they're going to laugh and hang up on you.

 

ermonty

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
2
Reaction score
5
The "is it sane ?" question is a recurring one and, as owner of some vintage guitars, including a 58 Burst, a 56 GoltTop and a 52 Tele, I'd like to give some perspective on this question.
(BTW I bought these guitars in the 80. They were already very expensive, but much less than today in proportion.)

To understand, one has to know some context. In the late 60' when the first "guitar heroes" surfaced - Bloomfield, Clapton, Page, Kossof., Allman..- Fender and Gibson had already sold their operations to big investors (CBS, Norlin). These investors had only one goal :" milk the cow" by reducing costs, quality and increasing production. They appointed accounting people as managers and the result was a rapid and obvious drop in instrument quality.

Clapton and the likes soon realized that older used instruments were of higher quality and much better suited for the type of music they were playing.

It's human nature to be willing to emulate our "heroes" - I'm not immune to this - and of course, immediately many guitarists wanted to get the same instruments than their idols, if not to play as well, but at least to approach the sound and look.

Bottom line, early 70', the best possible musical instruments were indisputably late 50' early 60' Gibson and Fender. There was a clear gap compared to other "run of the mill" new guitars of the time. In addition, even moderately flamed Bursts are beautiful objects. As supply was low, the craze logically started and made sense.

Gibson and Fender were very slow to understand what was going on. Gibson re-introduced LP in 68 but, apart for the first 2 years, could not help but compromise quality (sandwich body, poor components, etc...). Fender did not get it at all, building Strat with wood dried in micro wave ovens, resulting in twisting necks (I know, I owned one...).

Inevitably new top guitarists - Billy Gibbons, Mike Ralphs, Gary Moore,Joe Walsh, Knopfler etc... continued to search for vintage LP and Strat , The craze could only increase...

In the mean time (80') Gibson and Fender opened their custom shops. Good try, better instruments, but not quite there yet. Honestly PRS made a much better job at the time and produced guitars that played and sounded fantastic. Despite Santana endorsement and even if PRS enjoyed a true success, it was too late, the craze was solidly grounded.

What about today?

I do believe that Gibson and Fender (and some others) have finally succeeded in producing guitars which musical quality is comparable to these wonderful vintages. Musically speaking, the main remaining difference is in the aging and life of the guitar. Whatever you do, wood & pickups artificial aging is different from natural aging. 60 years of playing in clubs can give a very distinctive sound and touch that some guitarists will immediately feel - i.e. as much as I love my Burst and my Tele, my 56 Goltop which is fully original but beaten up from innumerable sessions has an unmistakable mojo when you play it and I would not part from it at any price.

Does this by itself is worth several 100K$ ? this is the true question.

I'd compare this with vintage sport cars. A vintage sport car- Ferrari, Cobra, Mustang Shelby, Corvette...) has no assistance, is uncomfortable, rough, much less effective - and much more dangerous - than a modern sport car. Nevertheless, when you drive one, you get absolutely unique sensations. Add to this historical significance and rarity and some people will pay fortunes for it.

All this to say that, when you talk vintage LP's price vs musical quality only, it is a vain and futile debate. Definitely NO, the price is NOT justified because today you can get almost equivalent instruments for a fraction of the price. Even more, with the right amps, preamp and 'fingers', almost nobody will be able to tell the difference in sound.

But if you talk about the pleasure of playing not only an excellent musical instrument but also a rare beautiful object, that has a long life and a story behind it, that has an historical significance, that allows you to actually feel what your "heroes" had in their hands more than 50 years ago, then yes, this can be priceless. I do not know him personally, but I bet this is exactly what Joe Bonamassa is looking for.

My 2 cents

Eric
 

Clint

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2013
Messages
325
Reaction score
494
You could also buy a really nice repro, something like a Gil Yaron singlecut, which falls within your budget. I stopped looking at vintage once I found a good one.
 

dspelman

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
12,214
Reaction score
9,269
Interesting point of view: ...

“The '59 burst (in my opinion) is precious to a decreasing number of collectors and musicians....”

A great instrument extends thru generations. Stradivarius made 1100 violins & violas ...about 600 are left and avg market price in $1mil. +/- There are apparently 1200 bursts and only 2000 left . If you include converted and counterfeits.

There are plenty of wealthy people that could buy a Stradivarius but don’t, probably because they can’t play violin? A LP or fender Guitar is way more acccessible and a music icon since the 1950s. Many people can relate to a guitar, play it and buy it. 2.5 mil guitars were sold in 2019 alone.

I know three violinists who own or have custody of Stradivarii and use them on a more or less daily basis. Their contention, all three, is that it's the sound of the violin that is clearly different (in the right hands, of course) that is part of what makes it valuable.

My view is that the '59 burst is not intrinsically a "great instrument." And that its desirability is mostly attributable to the history of the people who've owned and played them, and to the difficulty in finding them back in the '60s. The LP wasn't a music icon in the '50s, which is why it was discontinued unceremoniously by Gibson. They just couldn't sell them, and they're rare because no one wanted them.

The opening statement, above, seems to be accurate ("precious to a decreasing number..."), and the asking prices for them have either been static or declining over the last decade or so. Another reason for the price muddle is the ability of garage level workmen to counterfeit the guitar to a sufficient degree to fool some serious experts. In some cases, the counterfeits have been better guitars than the originals (Max, Derrig, etc.). In the case of the Strads, the woods used are a vital component of the makeup and sound of the original violins and the workmanship is notable and difficult to cheat, and both are essential to the instrument. In the case of a burst, none of that is really true. There's no definable sound to a burst and most current players would probably not be interested in a guitar that sounds like an original burst (and in fact, Gibson doesn't make a guitar that duplicates the burst for good reason).
 

Nintari

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
291
Reaction score
288
Old ≠ vintage. To my thinking, "vintage" as applied to guitars has a certain connotation, and there are cut-offs. My thoughts on what's "vintage" for a few makers (and these are final cut-offs; there are, indeed, fine instruments after these, but "vintage"? Nope):

Fender - 1965 or older
Martin - 1968 or older (Brazilian, don't ya know)
Gibson - Kalamazoo
Epiphone - serious vintage is pre-Gibson; secondary vintage is '53-'69
Taylor - none
Santa Cruz - all
Larrivée - ditto

Well, according to Webster (and I'm going by the actual, physical dictionary here; not the online version which is basically just reference and not official by any measure), the definition for vintage is:

"of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality".

So going by that, it sounds like vintage is basically in the eye of the beholder. Even "old" would fall into that category since old is relative. Is thirty years a long time? To a ten year old child, it's an entirety. To a thirty-five year old man, not so much.

So really, a vintage guitar is a loose term and can basically be applied to anything that isn't brand new.

My own definition is anything older than twenty years.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
3,750
Reaction score
3,579
Well, according to Webster (and I'm going by the actual, physical dictionary here; not the online version which is basically just reference and not official by any measure), the definition for vintage is:

"of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality".

So going by that, it sounds like vintage is basically in the eye of the beholder. Even "old" would fall into that category since old is relative. Is thirty years a long time? To a ten year old child, it's an entirety. To a thirty-five year old man, not so much.

So really, a vintage guitar is a loose term and can basically be applied to anything that isn't brand new.

My own definition is anything older than twenty years.
That definition doesn't say that it's vintage if it's old; it says it's vintage if it's "interest, importance, or quality" is "old, recognized, and enduring".
 

Big electric cat

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
133
Reaction score
238
In my opinion
Screenshot_20201030-201440.jpg
They're not worth a tenth of what they're going for on the open market.
Over the past 40 something years I've played at least 50 of Les Paul's built from 1955 to 1960.
And they were nice guitars. Only 2 or 3 stand out in my memory because they sounded really good.
I know a guy here on Long Island who has around 1400 bursts. Yes, 1400! He can barely play but he's a multi billionaire and likes to collect guitars.
And a friend of a friend just sold his 1958 Sunburst with double cream pickups to Joe Bonnamassa for $275,000 cash. I guess it comes down to supply and demand.
Another guy who is a friend of mine traded his 57 P-bass for a 1958 Sunburst.
Why can't I have that kinda luck!
 

Nintari

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
291
Reaction score
288
That definition doesn't say that it's vintage if it's old; it says it's vintage if it's "interest, importance, or quality" is "old, recognized, and enduring".

The point is, it's all subjective. Vintage to me may not be vintage to you. That sort of thing.
 

Nintari

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
291
Reaction score
288
In my opinion
View attachment 517000 They're not worth a tenth of what they're going for on the open market.
Over the past 40 something years I've played at least 50 of Les Paul's built from 1955 to 1960.
And they were nice guitars. Only 2 or 3 stand out in my memory because they sounded really good.
I know a guy here on Long Island who has around 1400 bursts. Yes, 1400! He can barely play but he's a multi billionaire and likes to collect guitars.
And a friend of a friend just sold his 1958 Sunburst with double cream pickups to Joe Bonnamassa for $275,000 cash. I guess it comes down to supply and demand.
Another guy who is a friend of mine traded his 57 P-bass for a 1958 Sunburst.
Why can't I have that kinda luck!

Man... that guy should spread the wealth a little and start donating some of those guitars. lol
 

DBDM

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
800
Reaction score
1,027
I will also point out that "worth" is a very loaded term. No guitar is "worth" much of anything at all. Its value in wood and metal. Very little. Coin collecting is a great analogy. Coins are "worth" their value in metal. Price paid above that is subject and subject to change. We use "worth" to equal recent sales price. Those are not synonyms. I could give hundreds of analogies. One that has hit me (personally) quite hard is a device called a Slingbox. Slingboxes sent your TVs signal to any computer on earth. Slingbox ran on a platform called Adobe Flash. Adobe just stopped (a few weeks ago supporting flash). Prior to January, Slingboxes were selling in the several hundred dollar range. Now it is a worthless piece of plastic and wires. Was it "worth" $200 back in December? Nope.
 

Nintari

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
291
Reaction score
288
Uhm for me most 60's players were derevative too. Amazing yes but really they were just using the blues that they heard and then giving it their own twist. The groundbeakers were Muddy Waters etc in the 50's who developed the electric blues from what they heard in the delta and then later Green, Clapton, Page, Bloomfied etc developed it with more distortion into rock/blues. Hendrix took it even further.
But the great thing about music is there's something for everyone! We all have diffrent tastes.

Exactly. Even Muddy was just taking what Robert Johnson began... and even Robert did it.

There can only be one "first". After that, everything is derivative.
 

Tenorsaxman

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
12
Reaction score
19
This thread is making me happy that I’m primarily a saxophone player. This is my holy grail tenor, it’s a 1952 Selmer Super Balanced Action that’s all original other than the pads. It’s identical to the horn John Coltrane played and somewhat rare. It’s worth about $15K max. We don’t have good reproduction models in the sax world either. Thank goodness Gibson figured out how to nail the R9 because I could never touch an actual grail guitar. My R9 gives me the same kind of thrill every time I play it.
 

Attachments

  • 8CF63597-D301-4150-A2E3-4E697334807C.jpeg
    8CF63597-D301-4150-A2E3-4E697334807C.jpeg
    202 KB · Views: 8
  • EE6CCD34-DFA1-4CDF-8CF4-B36F918EE2A6.jpeg
    EE6CCD34-DFA1-4CDF-8CF4-B36F918EE2A6.jpeg
    180.7 KB · Views: 8
  • E58FA5D9-7FDD-494C-979C-6B92817EA907.jpeg
    E58FA5D9-7FDD-494C-979C-6B92817EA907.jpeg
    126.8 KB · Views: 7

Latest Threads



Top