"Investment" guitars- how long before the value goes up?

musicmand

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A lot of people throw around the term "investment" about Les Pauls, and not just in the "invest in your talent" sense.

So let's say that you drop $2500 on a brand new 2012 Les Paul Standard and just lock it in a humidity controlled safe for a few years. Even unplayed, it still is called "used" and the value drops to at least $2K (unless you return it to Guitar Center, at which point it's called "new," but that's another story). In the years that follow, the value continues to drop (I found a NEW 2008 LP Standard in a local store for $1600).

So my question is this- at what point does the value start to appreciate? Ebay is usually my value indicator, but it didn't help much here:
  • 2002 Standard goes for $1500-$2000, depending on the top.
  • A 1992 Standard went for $1500; another did not sell for $2400. That's all I can see. As I recall, that's around what they cost back then. I might be wrong. I just remember them being a lot more than I could afford. :)
  • An '82 Standard did not go for $3200 (shocker! :laugh2:), but another did not go for $1500 (admittedly it was metallic red).
  • A '72 Standard was put up for $6200 and didn't sell, but that's all Ebay can tell me.
So the SELLERS certainly think the value is going up, but how old does a Gibson need to be before it overcomes the "used" vs. "new" price?
 

HOT-BRIT

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The prices on vintage les paul's will normally go up on par with thew rate of inflation, but they can also go down in value. Will modern guitars ever become collectable and valuable like the ones from the 50's 60's & 70's? It is doubtful they all will, but a few modern special limited edition guitars have become collectable
 

Matt_21

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You have to have something somebody wants. Otherwise it's not really worth anything. Kjiji and craigslist are mostly packed with stuff that cant sell. nobody wants it so it's not worth what they are asking.
Newer standards wont go up in value, especially right away cuz they are still being produced. you know?
 

JMB1984

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The only new collector's pieces that probably have a chance at going up are the custom shop limited runs like the "Sandy" or artists models like the "Kossoff". Everything else like the Standard is too mass produced to increase in value.

In the past the guitars that went up in value are those like an original 59' that wasnt produced in mass quantities like today. Maybe a 68', or a 74' Custom.
 

corbo

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What about on things like rosewood boards down the road , would not be surprised if Gibsons made with rosewood boards versus baked maple become more desirable in the future , there seems to be some strong opinions on the topic.
 

River

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My 20-year-old Standard, in 9/10 condition, is now to the point it's kept up with inflation. To expect any more in any less time is called "gambling".
 

JMB1984

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What about on things like rosewood boards down the road , would not be surprised if Gibsons made with rosewood boards versus baked maple become more desirable in the future, there seems to be some strong opinions on the topic.
Collector pieces need to be unique and produced in limited quantities for collectors to start buying them up. So that depends on if Gibson stops producing baked maple guitars, and if it becomes desirable by collectors years down the line.
 

Adazzleman

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Collector pieces need to be unique and produced in limited quantities for collectors to start buying them up. So that depends on if Gibson stops producing baked maple guitars, and if it becomes desirable by collectors years down the line.
I was going to say the same thing. It's all speculation but what if baked maple was a limited run for only three years Gibson goes back to rosewood and not many people purchased baked maple because it was baked maple. It could then become desirable because it wasn't as common as rosewood and only a limited time frame. Doubt it will be the case. I would be surprised if Gibson ever stopped making bake maple all together. I'm not sure how much money was invested in the tools to make the BM fret boards. They will probably end up using it on the lower end and middle of the road guitars. I have a CC guitar so I only hope they stop making BM for value purposes but I didn't purchase it as an investment. The only investment I made as in a guitar that had everything I wanted with the lower price tag most likely becaus of the BM. I would be surprised to ever see all the appointments that are on the CC with a rosewood fretboard at that price range. We will see.
 

bosnialove

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I've bought my LP for €1600,- that $2000,81. I've invested $60,- to fix all the finish damages on it. Now.. It looks brand new (aside all the finger prints on it made by me haha).

I think the guitar is worth more now than before.

But, you know. I really don't care about the money. Because the best Les Paul I've ever played is MY Les Paul.
 

Bing17

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The only new collector's pieces that probably have a chance at going up are the custom shop limited runs like the "Sandy" or artists models like the "Kossoff". Everything else like the Standard is too mass produced to increase in value.

In the past the guitars that went up in value are those like an original 59' that wasnt produced in mass quantities like today. Maybe a 68', or a 74' Custom.
In my world we call this, 'scarcity amid plenty'.
 

theNARDdog9

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A lot of things that make certain guitars valuable is the desirability that they have. For example, 59's have various qualities (craftsmanship, quality of parts/woods, crazy figuring, rarity, etc) that make them valuable.

Some think that just because a guitar is old it will have value--this is a false hope. 50 years from today, our Les Pauls wont be worth anywhere near what a 1950's Les Paul is worth for various reason. Number one, is that they are now produced in vast quantities. They will never be as rare and thus never as collectible nor valuable. Number two, over the last 50 years, the Les Paul has become a HUGE icon. Players like Jimmy Page, Peter Frampton, Ace Frehley, Slash, and countless others have made the Les Paul what it is....an iconic instrument. They use the guitars and us, wanting to be like our idols, want to use the same gear as them. This creates desirability and drives the value way up.

So, 50 years from now, there may be some new famous guitarist that swears by Explorers, or even Hamers or something like that. The value of this type of guitar will increase monumentously, especially guitars from the era in which that type of guitar was popularized.

In short, I would not by a regular Les Paul Standard as an investment. Now, twenty years from now, like River said, you may get a return on your guitar that is the value of it new. That's not guaranteed and it depends on inflation and the future economy as much as anything else (i.e. the bad economy we currently have has driven the cost of vintage guitars way down). Now, certain limited run models may hold their value more, BUT that said, in order to truly GAIN any large amount of value, those limited run guitars must become desirable due to any number of already stated factors (use by multiple famous guitarists, extremely low numbers (less than 100), quality of manufacturing, etc)...
 

The_Sentry

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You'll probably die before you'll see any sort of return on it. Just play it and beat the crap out of it.
 

BuzzHaze

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My closest hope to an "investment" is to leave a bunch of nice guitars to my Grandson. To him, they will be considered "great investments" hahaha.

It's not the reason to buy a guitar IMO, but something that may come with time if you made the right selection. I'll be long gone by the time my guitars are worth any serious money. I'm good with that....so in the meantime, I'll play and enjoy them.
 

Leiste

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I'm sure that the guys who bought an Ultima back then thought it was a great investment. Didn't quite turn out like that. . .

Having a guitar lying in its case for decades without being allowed to be played would drive me nuts ;-)

 

Triangle Going Sick

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As most of us CAN NOT afford to buy an old ie 50's LP etc this is all highly irrelevant as simply putting money in a high interest bank account will yield a better and more liquid return than other alternative guitars.

I honestly don't see anything in the sub $20k bracket appreciating over the next 5-10 years beyond inflation aside from some rarities and my instinct is that the late 50's LP's have peaked for a while.
 

RevaD

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My buckethead sig model, of the original run, seems to be worth more to retailers than mine was when I bought it, and I have watched prices @ the usual stores slowly go up since i got mine...$2250...$2350...$2500...$2650...

I'm not sure why..I mean, yeah, it's a great guitar, and yeah the oversized body is rather unique...and yeah, I guess there is a limited number...as when I checked today, there were no mare to bad had at online retailers.


I didn't buy it as an investment, but I did consider storing it away when I saw retailers asking more and more...but screw it. I bought it to play it, and that's what I'll do.

Might it be worht something some day? I don't see why. Wood today is not like it was 60 eyars ago, and you can easily replicate the wood of today in a few years. You cannot replicate the wood used during the 50's.


So I see no current-model guitar as investment worthy, and I'm glad to see at least a few others here agree!
 

THDNUT

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The Les Pauls of today will be worth more in the future as long as Gibson keeps raising the price of new ones. For example, a new R9 VOS lists for $8200, and street price is $6000 (incl. sales tax, give or take). Forty years from now an R9 may list for $30,000. You should be able to get at least $17,000 or so for your pristine '06 R9 at that time. Problem is, a loaf of bread will probably cost about $14, and a gallon of gas $20. Technically, your R9 rose in value but inflation ate up any real profit. The game changer in all of this could be if the people of China and/or India become wealthy and create a big demand for vintage CS LP reissues. Forty years from now I won't be around to see if my prediction comes true, so I'll just enjoy my guitars while I'm still here. :D
 

LOSTVENTURE

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I paid $325 for my '69 Custom, in 1969. I recently had it appraised at $3200. That same $325 in a good CD would be worth quite a bit more than $3000. You do the math.
Fortunately it's still a great player.
 

GibsonMarshallGuy

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Bottom line, don't buy a guitar as a financial investment. You'll lose hard......

Just play the thing..
 




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