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Collecting basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bcarll, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. bcarll


    Oct 16, 2001
    Can anyone comment on collecting basses. I am at a point in my life where gigging is over but I still love the bass and playing but now maybe just to collect some classic instruments. I know you can't go wrong with vintage Fenders so that said what are other suggestions. This would be a hobby and later hopefully a time will come to sell and maybe realize a return on my investment. Thanks

  2. the market always dictates what is going to be have more value and what wont.

    signature models, limited runs etc. those are also good to look at
  3. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I'm not really a collector, but over the years, I've bought a few basses that have reached that status. This was years ago, when the market was kind of slow. Now, it's just insane. I can't keep up with prices anymore; they move so fast.

    It really depends on what you want to spend. Pre-CBS Fenders are going for over 10k. 70's Fenders are following on their coat-tails and rising too.

    I feel that, as the prices go up, they will be out of the range of the player. So, players are going to be looking for alternatives. Maybe 70's Grecos?? Tokais?? Noone can say. These are great basses that still have the vintage 'mojo.'

    Your best bet is to get hold of the Vintage Guitar Price Guide. I have one for each year, and it's interesting to compare prices from 2003 to 2006. You can get one here; www.vintageguitar.com .

    Go to guitar shows, and get a feel for what's available in your price range.
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Collect what you love. Don't fall for the 'this is the one everyone wants'. Your collection should reflect YOUR interests and your personality. Over the years, I've collected various things, but none based upon 'collectability'.
  5. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    Do some research, get the Fender Bass book. There are some good websites that also have data to help recognize the good from the bad.

    Get to know a good vintage dealer, a relationship with one can be good. Private sales can often offer better deals, but a dealer will see a lot more than you can.

    I just bought my first pre-CBS P. I have some early 70's P's and a J already. I made sure I knew about neck dates, long g string screws, etc...before I bought.

    The appreciation in the last few years has been tremendous. Get the price guide mentioned above.

    Non mainstream instruments tend to not have the value or the liquidity of a basic Fender.
  6. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Collect what you like.

    Early 70's fender, will only go up in price.

    Late 60's early 70's Gibsons are a good buy.

    Ric's and Hofners too.

    Early Musicmans?

    It's all a game.
  7. good advice here...I have been collecting since 72...currently have over 30 basses..in the thread "my bass family and still growing !!!!" I have received both positive and negative comments..but the main feeling is you should be happy with your collection and the rest will fall in place...collect what you love !!!!:hyper:
  8. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Excellent advice gents. I have a few basses that I've 'collected' for the fun and interest to me. I don't care whether anyone else likes them or they go up or down in value or they're 'special' or have some historical significance because I get pleasure out of them.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    You actually can go wrong with vintage Fender... you really have to know what you're doing if you get into that market. Beacoup scammers.

    First thing is learn the market inside and out. Then keep an eye out everywhere... I've found some of my best deals at garage and estate sales, pawnshops, local classifieds, etc.

    I didn't end up with the basses I have because I had the intention of collecting, it's more the fact that I recognize a great deal more often than most people. If you're looking to turn stuff over for a profit, again know your market and be in a position to take advantage of it. My problem is that I don't typically like to sell stuff:D
  10. bcarll


    Oct 16, 2001
    Well thanks for all the sugggestions --- like many of you said just get into what you like or are comfortable with and do a lot of research. Like someone said selling is the hard part. Up til now all my basses were players and now that Iam not seriously playing anymore I still can't part with them. Great story --- in the late 60's I started playing bass. My first bass was a Kent 4 string hollow body and Ihad a 100 watt VOX amp. I played it for a couple years then traded up to a Fender. I lost contact with the family and kid I sold my Kent to and really had forgotten about it. Last summer his mom came to visit us after 30 years.She was talking about all the stuff her son had in her storage building and mentioned my old bass. She gave me her sons email address and I offered to buy it back from him and he said I could have it no charge. Wow what a great feeling when it arrived and I was united with my old bass. I know it was just a poor quality player but to have your first bass back in your possession was really great. Do I wish my first bass was a Fender? yea but I still am fond of the old Kent and it hangs on my wall as a reminder of the early years.
    Thanks for all the replies.

  11. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I can see myself being a "collector" in the future but not just for the sake of collecting basses that will be worth money, but only because my bass collection of basses that i like playing will be larger. :)
  12. albass111


    Feb 13, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vintage Fenders have appreciated better than any investment. Stocks, real estate, etc.

    Have you seen what early les paul's go for??? If any of us had this information just 5 years ago, we could be retired on vintage instruments.
  13. +1000
  14. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I wouldn't recommend collecting anything as an investment to anyone. If you want to "invest", there are a lot of easier and better ways to manage your money. However, if you want to have fun, enjoy a hobby, and have some extra disposable income at your disposal, then collecting basses is a great way to have fun. Collect what you like, enjoy it, have fun with it, and if they increase in value with time...fantastic! If not, at least you've had fun and have gotten some enjoyment out of the collection and the process of collecting. ;)

    ...and when you decide to start, give me a call! :D :smug:
  15. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    Why do I love my vintage Fenders??? I don't play them outside the house. I think most of my other basses play better. I just admit that I got sucked into the vintage Fender market, paid the price, and now have the satisfaction that I can have old Fenders hanging on my wall. Oh well:meh: .....and no, they are not for sale:D .
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Great advice but...

    They can be good investments... that you can play IMO.
    Do they offer the biggest return? Depends on what the alternatives are. Are they as risky? Again... depends.

    The majority of basses I own I like to play. The majority of basses I own are worth more than I originally paid for them... in some case ridiculously so. I can't see how that wouldn't be considered an investment.
  17. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I collect basses in the sense that I buy and own more than I need.

    Investment? Not likely, but I sure as heck love playing them. I don't get that much time to play, but when I do, I really love having several nice basses to choose from. Quite a different situation from when I was a poor student and had only one bass, but had all the time in the world to play it . . . :p
  18. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
  19. if your into collecting vintage basses, try and pick up a pre Ernieball Musicman, they are great ;)
  20. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    Collectable musical instruments, like artwork and stuff is recommended as a way to diversify your portfolio, if you are that lucky. These prices tend to be "non-correlated" to things like the stock market.

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