Will the vintage les paul market ever fall?

Torshalla

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Iinflation will also play a role I guess... after all these stimulus packages we may see some inflation for the coming years.
 

moreles

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Nobody knows for sure, but "vintage" is too broad a term to be useful. In any collector market--books and prints, furniture, etc. -- condition is everything. The majority of "vintage" LPs have serious condition issues that will relegate them to secondary status as time passes, as the clean examples will command whatever premium may exist. Personally, with factories churning out new and fake-vintage LPs by the tens of thousands, There's alreadyt a glut of guitars. Nobody knows if guitar-driven music will persist to a degreer that players actually require guitars. I certainly don't know, l but I find it hard to imagine clunky retro furniture-style guitars like LPs being particularly desirable among players years from now unless there's some kind of classic rock revival??? or other inexplicable factor that comes up. After all, who covets an L5? Anybody searching for a Tal Farlow? No thanks. In my opinion, the LP is not a timeless design the way a Strat is.
 

Kody

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As long as these guys who own multiple bursts keep paying the prices to add to their collection. I don’t think the price will ever go down. And if the economy crashes well my guess is all the collectors will hold out..reason being...they can afford several original bursts then they probably have money stashed away for such an occasion.
 

eric ernest

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we are going to have fewer super wealthy people with substantially more buying power than they have now, and increasingly more average Joe's with even less cash in their pockets than they currently do.

Loud brash music of the sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll generation is already dead. No money bags patron of the arts will save it in perpetuity.
Even if we went totally socialist there would still be wealthy people...and at the end of the day, it doesn't take many "wealthy" people to keep the Burst train on the tracks. The middle class is being sliced-and-diced, not the wealthy.

Average Joe's do not factor into the price of Bursts on any level.

Everything in life is a pendulum...so if the world is still around in 20 years, it will swing back the other way...and hard. Political correctness will die an ugly death.

The majority of "vintage" LPs have serious condition issues that will relegate them to secondary status as time passes, as the clean examples will command whatever premium may exist.
Legit "issues" Bursts are on fire. It's easier to sell a Burst with "the vibe" than a clean one.

How many have you bought or sold?

In my opinion, the LP is not a timeless design the way a Strat is.
You need to be educated.

Where are the "timeless" $500K Strats?...please go hang out on the Strat Forum.
 
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Thundermtn

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Regular Joe's obviously weren't the focus of what I was saying.

The point is that a smaller pool of wealthy people will limit prospective buyers, the portion of them that love vintage Gibson guitars will be more limited in that demographic with the march of time, and that the current valuation of these guitars and them being able to draw that large money in the future is purely the whim of the those few people.

You're right that regular Joe's have no bearing here whatsoever. The ability to convince wealthy people in the future that they're not complete without one is the challenge the vintage guitar market has to overcome. Price/exclusivity will help stretch that out, but the wheels will come off sooner or later.

A good example is Billie Eilish not knowing who Eddie Van Halen was, means pop music and culture have already moved away from guitars and even the most famous guitarists more than most of us are comfortable with. We're dinosaurs.

I'm curious as to why people believe it's not a bubble, and why wealthy people in the future will continue to hold Bursts in such high esteem?
 

eric ernest

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Billie Eilish? Yeah, she grew up listening to the Beatles....the FAMOUS English synth-pop band. No (vintage) guitars in THAT band! :laugh2:

Guitar is dying???????? Doesn't look that way to me, or ANYBODY paying attention.

I can't get on Instagram with being visually and audibly assaulted by some up-and-coming shredder GIRL guitar player!

I'm curious as to why people believe it's not a bubble, and why wealthy people in the future will continue to hold Bursts in such high esteem?
Because NEW music is not as good/interesting as OLD music.

Name a song in the last 10-20 years that rivals Bohemian Rhapsody....Stairway to Heaven....Hotel California....

Oh yeah, Adele.....wow, there's some musical gravitas....and there's a litany of other household names that a "yawners."

It's why legacy acts still fill stadiums....and yes, there will still be demand when they're gone.....somebody will step up to the plate...it's only a question of who.
 
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Thundermtn

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Eric, please don't think I'm trying to get under your skin, I'm not. I know how you make your living and respect it. These are just my thoughts on vintage Les Paul future valuations.

I never said guitar is dying, I said rock is dying.

Your insta is purposefully designed to show you what you want to see so they can advertise to you more efficiently and more frequently. Those child shredders don't meaningfully make it into pop music. Mindless speed noodling gets old in thirty seconds. That era has come and gone.

The music is changing. It always has and always will. Computer music is king now. Guitar is moving into the background of music the same as it was before it went electric. It is still a front runner for singer/song writer types but those folks aren't blasting Marshall stacks, they have great acoustic guitars. Those will never die.

The question is how do you get gen z to step up to the plate in ten or twenty years for Bursts at a million+ bucks a whack? I just don't see it.

Speaking about filling the shoes of the mega touring bands, there's nobody new that can. If nobody can, I don't see why those guitars are going to continue to bring that type of money.

Right now we have a thread going about bad songs from good bands. It quickly turned into an expression of guitar players opinions about how many good songs/bands they can't stand. When Stairway To Heaven comes on the radio now I change the channel, I've heard it too many times in the last 30 odd years to tolerate it, and I LOVE Led Zep. I play guitar partly b/c of Page. It's 50 year old material now though and won't stay in rotation forever. You don't hear the Righteous Brothers or The Supremes on the air and Spotify isn't going to push them back into the spotlight regardless of how great they are.

Those great legacy acts will be gone soon. What happens to the Burst market when the giant vintage collections of guys like Gibbon's and Richard's become available? A stage played ZZ Top or Rolling Stones guitar, sign me up! Doesn't matter what model or brand it is, the power of that type of instrument is bad news to the guys that want $450K for a non-famous Burst.
 

guitarbob123

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In all honesty, I don’t see many current players in their mid-20s or younger who even see a CS/Historic Les Paul as their goal.

Out of the handful of guitarists in that generation that do see Les Pauls as desirable, how many then lust for vintage instead of seeing even CS models as beyond them?

Going deeper down this rabbit hole, how many of those that do see a vintage Les Paul as something they desire will be in a position to afford one, and then actually make that purchase?

With each rung of the ladder you filter out so many people that it becomes a very small group that have the desire, finances and will actually combine them into a purchase. Many will want but not have the resources, many will have the resources but will not see value.

It’s why I highlighted that I don’t see people in their 20s buying vintage Les Pauls in my earlier post. I see loads of guitar stuff on Instagram (mainly thanks to their software, not because there’s as much content as it seems), and most of those who even have Historics in their 20s see it as the top of the pyramid, it’s their most cherished, expensive possession. They could barely buy a single one at a good price, vintage is simply a pipe dream. The huge majority of younger guitarists aren’t interested in Gibson at all and those that are already baulk at USA model prices, never mind CS and then vintage.

Those that are wealthy and want to show off that wealth don’t seem to go for guitars now, having an old expensive guitar isn’t a ‘cool’ thing. Those that think they’re cool and go along with their dad to guitar shows and vintage guitar shops generally don’t have the money and likely won’t have the money to meet the buy-in, unless that figure drops.

Providing the context to this post, I’m a 25 year old who’s been drooling after a burst since I was about 12 years old. I didn’t grow up travelling to vintage guitar shops at the weekends and trundling around the guitar shows in the US. I’m lucky to have a good degree (without debt), a good job (enough that burst money is possible within only a few years if I perform well), and I’m also lucky enough to have inheritance due from well-off family. Even with all those years of wanting, even with the knowledge that sooner or later I’ll be in a position to afford a burst at current prices, I would still be hesitant when that money can work so much better elsewhere (property, market investments). Especially knowing a good Historic with a makeover is going to get you even 70-80% of the way there for 5% of the cost.
 
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Dark Horse

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If you look at Youtube for all the young guitarists and bands who post there you will find most of them are into classic rock. So I think there will still be a market for classic guitars and items in general for quite some time to come.
 

treemanjohn

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I've collected for a lot of years and the vintage/used market chases the new manufactured market. Its never going down and it keeps going up. You'll always have a person going to the pawn shop because they lost their job, but thats a poor indicator of value. The 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80,s are never coming back. Guitars are art, fun, a tool,, and great investment

Personally I've never understood why someone would buy a new les paul when you can pick a quality used or vintage for the same or a few more bucks

Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven made the piano cool, and the prices keep going up
 
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great_chat_everyone

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I think the prices will definitely drop eventually. Here are a few general statements which I think are pretty undeniable:

  1. Most people love the music they listened to as a kid / teen / young person for the rest of their life.
  2. Most people have the most money to blow on things like guitars when they are comfortable middle/senior aged.
  3. The people who are comfortably middle aged now with that money to spend, grew up in the 60s/70s, when popular music was dominated by the classic rock icons wielding guitars.
This reasoning would lead us to expect the guitars played by classic rock icons of that era to be of high value right now, and they are.

This reasoning would also lead us to believe that in 20 years, the people in that age bracket with money to spend will have grown up in the 80s and 90s. They will want to buy what they lusted after as a youth, and although guitar was still very present in the music of those eras, it was different models, many of which were more mass produced and will probably be less scarce.

It's also worth remembering that In those decades (80s and 90s) the guitar shares much more "real estate" with other instruments, such as various synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines, and turntables, all of which could be the object of desire instead of the guitar.

For example, the cheap looking plasticky roland 303 - arguably the defining sound of acid house and a key part of techno - has already reached mythological status, with numerous articles and videos about them:


Prices for original units are now well in excess of 2k, which may not seem a lot compared to a LP, but consider that this is literally a mass produced plastic box with a circuitboard in it, and that they are infamously laborious and illogical to actually use, requiring notes be programmed one by one onto a grid and parameters be set through various combinations of tiny buttons and invisible menus - there is no screen.

Similar can be said of a good few drum machines, and various other samplers and synths - roland are probably the gibson of their era, prices are also climbing for drum machines like the 707, 808, and 909, all of which played huge rolls in music of those decades. In 20 years a 60s Gibson might not cost 20k, but an 80s roland 303 might.
 

eric ernest

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I can't name one violinists but the Stradivarius market makes the 1959 Les Paul market look like a 711
Yet another slam dunk comment... :laugh2:


Some good supporting arguments from everyone....but there's a few things not being factored in.

When I was a young guitar enthusiast, some guitar collectors had a dew DOZEN guitars at the extreme. That would be a radically huge collection. Most had maybe half a dozen. I had about a dozen when I was a teenager...but they were Danos, Harmonys, copies, etc. I had to sell my guitars and save up for months to buy my first Heritage 80 Les Paul. Nobody had several hundred, or several thousand....that's common now.

Also, now, everyone who has a computer is a dealer....and most are not collectors....they are almost exclusively buying guitars to "flip" them. I've bought and sold guitars full-time for over 30 years, and I can promise you there are many people on this forum that sell many more guitars than me in any given year...and some live with their mom and work at Taco Bell. (Slight exaggeration)

So going into the future, the trend is going to be more of the same.

People with serious coin will just increase the size of their collections. Rank-and-file "player/dealers" will keep guitars and prices moving...
 
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Truth011

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Back in the 50's and 60's dealers had a hard time selling vintage Bursts to anyone. Today dealers can sell "thousands" of custom shop historic guitars "each year" that cost as much or more than their vintage counterparts(back in the day) at todays prices indexed to inflation. Not to mention emerging economies, the rich getting richer and the fact that soon there will be 10 billion people in the world and the internet and globalization have made it infinitely easier for the public to come in contact with vintage pieces. My guess is these guitars will look like a bargain a generation from now. YMMV
 
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kakerlak

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Eric, how volatile do you think the market is? I've already shared my point of view on these. I'm no where near your level of expertise, but I've been in the game a while now. I'm almost 40 and actually did spend most of my teens hitting the pawn shop/used guitar store/guitar show circuit in that time just before ebay/internet selling really took off. I've scaled way down on that activity in my adult years, but I've kept an eye on the market just the same.

What happens if one of the "super collectors" dies and the whole collection gets lumped in with the estate and hits a Christie's/Sotheby's style auction? If there are suddenly two dozen bursts up for simultaneous bid? Do those just sell artificially low without really affecting the market once they're back out if circulation?

Could changing tastes, demographics, economy, scarcity cause them to lose 25/50/75% of their present value in the span of 5-10 years? They'd still be really expensive if they did, but that's nothing to sneeze at if you're holding one.

To what extent it will matter is an interesting thing to debate, but I don't think we should ignore that we're in the twilight years of the boomers as a real buying force in the collectibles market. I think we must also be getting close to the "cash-out" point for all the guys I ran across in the late nineties that told me "kid, these guitars are my 401k." I knew a guitar shop owner that was convinced Leo-era G&Ls would skyrocket in 10-15 years. That was 20-25 years ago and Norlin Gibsons have outperformed them in that span.
 

Dark Horse

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I've collected for a lot of years and the vintage/used market chases the new manufactured market. Its never going down and it keeps going up. You'll always have a person going to the pawn shop because they lost their job, but thats a poor indicator of value. The 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80,s are never coming back. Guitars are art, fun, a tool,, and great investment

Personally I've never understood why someone would buy a new les paul when you can pick a quality used or vintage for the same or a few more bucks

Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven made the piano cool, and the prices keep going up
I do prefer the idea of a new guitar over an old/used one even if it is authentically vintage. You also have to factor in how much may have been changed on that genuine vintage guitar. To me it takes the fun out of it if it has new humbuckers or whatever else. Sure, the body and neck are original but it may have been through decades of change.

The nostalgia appeals to me and if I had a lot more money than I have maybe I would get a couple of originals. But as it stands, I prefer the idea of a brand new guitar and being it's only owner.

Here's an example of what I am talking about a 1960 Les Paul https://reverb.com/au/p/gibson-les-paul-standard-burst-1958-1960. See the bit from the ad below, so it's a 1960 body with a 54 Gold Top neck and recontoured. Each to their own but I would not consider that guitar to be worth $222,000. Give me a Custom Shop '59 any day.

"Formely owened by Steven Segal of April Wine in the early 90`s. Re-necked with a 1954 Les Paul Gold Top Neck and re-contoured to the 1960`s spec`s".
 
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d1m1

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How many under 15 yo play guitar today and how many under 15 yo played guitar 30-40 years ago? Or even listen to rock, blues etc? The answere will give you a picture of futures market...

I guess there will be more e.g. 50ies LP Juniors out there, than guitar players (if i´m not mistaken there´s ca. 30.000 of them made). If you ask millennians to name a guitar player, they will think of Justin Bieber holding a black LP... That´s the unpleasant reallity.
 

Dark Horse

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How many under 15 yo play guitar today and how many under 15 yo played guitar 30-40 years ago? Or even listen to rock, blues etc? The answere will give you a picture of futures market...

I guess there will be more e.g. 50ies LP Juniors out there, than guitar players (if i´m not mistaken there´s ca. 30.000 of them made). If you ask millennians to name a guitar player, they will think of Justin Bieber holding a black LP... That´s the unpleasant reallity.
In the West for the most part that is probably and sadly true. The kiddies are into rap and techno and as far as I have noticed the "music" they listen to is more like muzak just in the background. I don't think it really has any impact on them the way rock music, blues etc did on previous generations.

As someone who watches a lot of stuff on Youtube though, what I have noticed is younger people from Eastern Europe and South America as well as other places are playing a lot and love rock, blues etc. I think the market will be there but you will see iconic American made guitars both historical as well as modern turn up in these places in the future.

An interesting turn of events.
 

d1m1

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In the West for the most part that is probably and sadly true. The kiddies are into rap and techno and as far as I have noticed the "music" they listen to is more like muzak just in the background. I don't think it really has any impact on them the way rock music, blues etc did on previous generations.

As someone who watches a lot of stuff on Youtube though, what I have noticed is younger people from Eastern Europe and South America as well as other places are playing a lot and love rock, blues etc. I think the market will be there but you will see iconic American made guitars both historical as well as modern turn up in these places in the future.

An interesting turn of events.
Thats right in eastern europe and south america there is still a little bit hop for guitar playing but speaking of vintage marked and prices, those countries income will propably never reach western standards. Most folks would have to work two lifes to afford a vintage Gibson or Fender.
 


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