Is Investing In Vintage Guitars A Good Idea?

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Vintage guitars may be cooler than stocks or bonds, but are they worth the risk?

You’ve heard about investing in luxury bags and watches. But no matter how beautifully made that Rolex is, it’s probably not as cool as a vintage guitar. But is investing in vintage guitars a good move?

Rock band ZZ Top’s frontman and guitarist Billy Gibbons thinks so. “As far as investment goes, it’s a good place to start,” he told CNBC.

Vintage guitars are “a favourite of millions,” he told them, and guitars don’t have to be really old to be valuable. “It doesn’t have to be something that’s 50 years old these days… Don’t turn your back on it just because it’s new.”

First, what are vintage guitars?

investing in vintage guitars

According to Money Under 30, vintage guitars are made in the 80s or earlier. The most valuable guitars are:

  • Gibson and Fender guitars from the 50s and 60s
  • Rickenbackers
  • Martin, Gibson, and Guild acoustic guitars
  • instruments played by a famous musician

A vintage guitar doesn’t have to be in mint condition to be valuable. In fact, some people pay extra to make new guitars look older than they are. Go figure.

Investing in vintage guitars: But are vintage guitars really worth investing in?

investing in vintage guitars

Investing in vintage guitars, or collectables in general, is a pretty risky move—but with potentially huge rewards. But the value of guitars is incredibly volatile.

In 2002, a 1956 Gibson Les Paul “Gold Top” was worth $5,500. But by 2006, that had shot up to $85,000. Since then, the instrument’s value has plunged to $30-35,000.

But plenty of investments have paid off lately, as baby boomers become collectors. Though guitars originally worth $200 selling for $200,000 or more is rare, it happens frequently enough to make one want to get a slice of the pie. Kevin Drost of online instrument sales site Reverb.com tells South China Morning Post that at least one of these high-rolling transactions happens on their site every month.

If you know your guitars, go for it

A guitar’s value is highly subjective. As in fine art, unless you’re an expert, it’d be hard to spot good investment pieces.

If you’re passionate about guitars and you want to know everything there is to know about them and the market, investing in guitars might be a good idea. 

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted that a Les Paul from 1959 would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars today,” Drost says. “But if you buy a marquee brand, you are probably going to get back what you paid for it. And buying guitars is a lot more fun than buying bonds!”

Do you think you’ll be investing in vintage guitars anytime soon? Let us know in the comments!

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