Will the vintage les paul market ever fall?

JMT Guitars

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So I was thinking and I thought, "hey, I wonder what will happen when the people like Clapton, Page, Beck and Richards die, and the people who were inspired by them directly start to retire from touring and playing live, and the new breed of millenial guitarists come up to middle age, what will happen to the price of bursts? I genuinely dont think the interest is there in younger musicians to uphold such massive prices for an instrument. As we get further and further away from the music that inspired the whole burst thing, the closer we get to them being... well... nearly worthless? Only to the specific few. The market will dwindle and people who need to sell them will inevitably have to lower prices to move them on.

Food for thought, correct me if I am wrong?
 

sonar1

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Jazz was the prominent commercial music in the 1930’s/‘40’s, and faded through the fifties as other music eclipsed its popularity.

The market for iconic guitars of the jazz era still remains, though very limited. They remain expensive in their niche. It took a while, but old ones are collector items.

As materials change and availability of traditional woods become scarcer, I’d expect a resurgence, after a dip in price and popularity.

I’m no expert. Just opinion.
 

ChuckHall03

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Always hard to predict how this will go, and of course coming from a speculative standpoint, I agree with what sonar just said. There are still a lot of sought after instruments considered as collectors items that defined music before the era of the bursts. We’ve already seen them take a dip in popularity. Trends change and market prices fluctuate, just like any consumer good. At the end of the day, these guitars were incredibly made and as long as there are people out there playing guitar, they will be sought after. Will they still be in the hundreds of thousands? That I don’t know, but part of me wants to say there will always be someone who wants it for the absurd money they go for nowadays. These are timeless instruments. So many new and modern designs have flooded the markets, yet when I walk into a notable guitar shop, the first thing I see is a whole lot of Gibson and Fender
 

rhys1157

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I think there will always be a new generation finding out about a modern artist, then sourcing back to beck, page or strummer etc. The interest will rise and fall with popularity and trends but there will always remain a true die hard fan base too. The Beatles are still big sellers as are Guns N’ Roses and The Clash. I’m sure post Malone turned his pop fans onto Nirvana, Then they’ll wanna recreate those sounds and seek those instruments. I really think it’ll continue with highs and lows as it has.
 

TrackerDan

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I've wondered sometimes if Norm from Norm's Rare Guitars put his entire collection up for sale at once if the market would sag. It seems very plausible.
 

ns2a

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Maybe. 2008 had better deals.
 

jeggz

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When the market dips deep, the big dealers just stop selling and wait till it rebounds.

You’ll never see a $50k Burst again.
 

Prospector

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Not during our lifetime, but rock music has already enjoyed remarkably long popularity and won’t last forever - Just like the many styles of popular music that came before it. As the original Burst players and the generations they influenced age out, it is reasonable to assume that interest in Bursts will decline significantly, along with their market value. But it will take a while.....

My philosophy has always been to buy guitars as instruments, not investments.
 

kakerlak

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I don't think the bottom will completely fall out of the vintage guitar market the way it has with some types of collectibles/antiques that had their heyday in the mid-20th century. Or like it has with brass era cars. I am curious to see what happens as the handful of rich, power collector types die and/or cash out. And, in fairness, the boomers aren't lasting as long as their parents. 3/4 of my dad's band never made it out of the 2000s. My dad was dead as 55, his father died last year, at 100. It's coming pretty soon.

But there's still healthy interest in guitars from Gen X and millennials. At least through the generation that grew up with grunge and then there's all the metalheads, rockabillies, etc -- lots of niche scenes. I'm not sure they stay hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly if the market gets flooded with most of the ones that have been hoarded up since the '80s-90s in the span of a decade. He'll, what happens to the burst market if some dude with 30 bursts dies and Sotheby's puts them all at auction at once?

They'll always be thousands of dollars, but I'm not sure how many thousands. Not sure I'd buy one as an investment these days.
 

Uncle Vinnie

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ultimately, yes.

If the economy tanks ... I'm talking like severe recession, the vintage guitar market will fall, the vintage car market will fall, people will be selling that stuff so that they can eat.
 

Ph03n1x

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I think with the sheer number of our growing population, it is unlikely. Old shitty cars that were not that great are now becoming collectable and quite expensive. Even the 1st gen Miatas are going for increased prices because they were from the last generation of cars with pop up headlights.

The main factors against it are the fact that the age of the guitar hero seems to be past and eventually the aging population will not have the same affinity. The other factor is that fakes are getting more and more convincing. There are already businesses completely based on giving guitars an aged look and luthiers attempting to replicate the original bursts. The pickup makers also keep on claiming to be closer to the magical 58-60 PAF sound. You could argue that right now is one of the best eras to own a guitar that looks and sounds like a vintage guitar even if it is not that old.
 

sws1

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You do know that most 50s LPs are being bought by people FAR younger than the boomers who grew up on Bloomfield/Clapton/Green. They've arguably become irrelevant to today's market already.
 

guitarbob123

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You do know that most 50s LPs are being bought by people FAR younger than the boomers who grew up on Bloomfield/Clapton/Green. They've arguably become irrelevant to today's market already.
From what I'd seen they seem to mostly be owned by guys now in their early 60s who have retired and used to be business owners/lawyers/accountants (not a dig at them at all before anyone reads into that wrongly!)

I haven't seen many in their 20s/30s with bursts apart from a few professional musicians (Jason Isbell etc.), those that I have seen playing bursts, even on tour (JD Simo and so on) generally seem to have them on loan from the older owners or from stores.

Goldtops and mid-50s Customs seem to be slightly different but non-conversion 50's PAF models seem to be in the realm of those 55+ for now.

I am interested to know about any younger burst owners though (don't necessarily need names attached, just intrigued).
 
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Brek

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I cannot see it, I think they have reached ‘commodity’ status, which means they are able to be traded to people with no interest in playing them. Like chateau margot, it’s a commodity, buyers wait for the price to be set every September and they buy the entire growth pretty much, and it’s stored. Never drunk. But who in right mind would drink a £300+ bottle of wine, which is pretty much the same as the chateau next doors wine at a 10th of the price?
 

none2low

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IMO, I don't think we will ever see the bottom drop out of the burst market, or more specifically the '59. Yes like anything else prices will fluctuant based upon economy, but the burst is etched into history and has taken on a life of it's own beyond the players that originally inspired the desire. I really believe that short of an all out collapse of society the burst and in larger part, the golden era of vintage guitars, will always be considered a collectable and a measure of status. Much the way that fine art of the masters is revered.
 

judson

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no,,,will not fall into oblivion or become beanie babies status.

is not 100% based on past players or rock and roll today...if elmer fudd owned one it may be worth six digits.

the instrument will hold its own based upon itself......but all prices rise and fall.

vintage market for 50's burst really is very "young" maybe about 20 - 30 years running , maybe less....i think alot of owners paid in the $20k range back in 2000 if i remember some conversations about the increase in value

stradavarius violins made in the 1700's there are about 650 , priced into the millions

fine art continues to be a collectable, at nose bleed prices as well

i will guess they are like all markets that will always fluctuate

bursts will follow the same if i had to bet....have they peaked? , i would bet now is not the top they will ever sell for in the next 30 years...maybe flatten out then take another run

could they go the way of beanie babies...doubt it but anything is possible,

look at barbie dolls original 1959 is valued at $27,000+.....crazy shit out there
 
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kakerlak

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I think with the sheer number of our growing population, it is unlikely. Old shitty cars that were not that great are now becoming collectable and quite expensive. Even the 1st gen Miatas are going for increased prices because they were from the last generation of cars with pop up headlights.

The main factors against it are the fact that the age of the guitar hero seems to be past and eventually the aging population will not have the same affinity. The other factor is that fakes are getting more and more convincing. There are already businesses completely based on giving guitars an aged look and luthiers attempting to replicate the original bursts. The pickup makers also keep on claiming to be closer to the magical 58-60 PAF sound. You could argue that right now is one of the best eras to own a guitar that looks and sounds like a vintage guitar even if it is not that old.
Those '80s-'90s cars are hitting the same stride all the others have before them -- the guys now hitting their 30s-40s with real money are nostalgic for the things they lusted after in high school. Muscle cars are already falling away from the nuts peaks of the early 2000s and brass era stuff is dirt cheap now. Lots of interesting twenties cars to be had, decent older running restorations with shiny paint for four figures, now. The guys that were collecting and restoring them in the fifties and sixties are flat out gone, now.

Guitars are a little more transcendent across eras, IMO, and they'll never fall all the way out, but I'm just not convinced they'll stay where they are or continue rising. I mean, bursts could lose 60-70% of the current market value and still be wildly expensive -- that would give me some pause on the notion of buying them now as investments.
 

sws1

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From what I'd seen they seem to mostly be owned by guys now in their early 60s who have retired and used to be business owners/lawyers/accountants (not a dig at them at all before anyone reads into that wrongly!)

I haven't seen many in their 20s/30s with bursts apart from a few professional musicians (Jason Isbell etc.), those that I have seen playing bursts, even on tour (JD Simo and so on) generally seem to have them on loan from the older owners or from stores.

Goldtops and mid-50s Customs seem to be slightly different but non-conversion 50's PAF models seem to be in the realm of those 55+ for now.

I am interested to know about any younger burst owners though (don't necessarily need names attached, just intrigued).
There's a wide gap between "20s/30s" and "early 60s". Of all the bursts I've watched sell, and can track where they went, in the past 5-ish years, only one went to someone in their 60s. Most went to people in their 40s. Next largest category was people in their 20s and 30s.
 


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