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Investing in Vintage Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by shadven, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. shadven


    Dec 30, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    I rock therefore I am.
    I have my wife almost convinced that instead of contributing my yearly 15K into my ROTH IRA (stocks/funds) I should instead invest in a 1950's Fender P-Bass.

    Besides the fact that I would be fulfilling the life-long desire of owning and playing an 1955 Precision bass, do you think it would be a truly worthwhile investment? Grow in value compared to other investments?

    For the sake of this discussion let's assume that I would be able to find one, and be able to buy it at a reasonable price in today's market, and assuming that I would one day sell it (big effing assumption).:bawl:

    Is this a good investment compared to gold, or real estate or the stock market?

  2. Rumbledom

    Rumbledom Banned

    Jan 19, 2013
    They're all risks. But instruments are hardly good investments IMO.

    You never know what will be valuable. I have a mint 79 Rickenbacker which has been appraised for the same price as a new one. And basses tend to be worth less than guitars.

    Unless you find a great deal on a 62' Precision, only buy basses that you want to own and play.
  3. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010
    No, but you only live once. Enjoy your bass.
  4. mournblade


    Nov 19, 2006
    Roanoke, TX
    ^ +1
  5. 66Atlas


    May 19, 2012
    If you really are worried about retirement, it's a terrible investment. If you're trying to fool your wife in to letting you buy a bass that you will play and adore until the day you die then good on ya and tell her everyone here thought it was a great idea.
  6. it's too bad you didn't decide to throw $15K a year toward vintage basses about 10 years ago! i think we'd all agree that your investments would have appreciated nicely by now. i've got to wonder how much higher vintage prices will go. the current state of the economy suggests it's a decent buyer's market right now... so if you've got the money and a somewhat-understanding wife, go find what you want and enjoy it!
  7. LuvMusic


    Aug 18, 2007
    Oak Park, IL
    Also, your 15k Roth IRA contribution does not convert to 15K to spend. If you don't contribute the funds to the IRA, they will be taxed.
  8. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    I was fortunate to dump all of my "collectable" basses just before 2008's collapse because my son was starting college. I've followed prices to replace those and they are not going up...only down.

    Stocks are peaked again thanks to HFT and other tinkerings.
    Gold is questionable esp. if you have a repeat of confiscation.
    Let's try this.
    Are you out of debt?
    Do you have enough food and other items to provide for your family for 1 year?
    Do you have a mix of fiat money(printed paper) and silver/gold equal to $15k and/or a year's pay?
    Do you believe that your IRA's and 401k's will not be raided and appended to Social "security" IOU's when the $$$ in SS runs low or out?

    PS: If you really want the bass, save for it and buy it.
    Do NOT try to pass it of as an investment because, like musical chairs, you may end up holding the bag(unable to sell it for what you paid) and THAT would damage your relationship with your wife, a LOT.
    People, and esp. those you love(right?), are more important than material items.
  9. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Look in here for your answer:

  10. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!
  11. shadven


    Dec 30, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    I rock therefore I am.
    I agree with the general consensus, that it is not a great investment.

    It is a ploy so my wife let's me buy my dream bass. But, I am pretty honest with her, so I probably couldn't go through with it anyway.

    But, she doesn't know exactly how much I spent on my SVT VR or the 1969 B-15n:)

    Thanks for your thoughts.
  12. shadven


    Dec 30, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    I rock therefore I am.
    Does 66Atlas refer to a Norton Atlas? I used to have a 65 Atlas.
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Compared to gold? Not for a second, gold is a commodity, a bass is a novelty. A bass is an absolutely horrible investment.
  14. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef Formerly "thebrian" Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    I've made money on basses by holding on to them for years so i can't say they've been bad investments for me. However compared to gold, i don't think they are that good of an investment. It is a buyers market though, and if you believe the economy will improve over the years, i think most vintage basses will eventually increase in value. Maybe not by next year or even 5, but my opinion is that over the next 5 or 10 years the economy will get better, people will spend more because they have more, and prices will rise because of that.

    I think a lot of people think the economy is doomed and have a hard time believing it will improve again, but i believe that hard times come and go and a lot can happen in 10 or 20 years. If i were you, I'd buy my dream bass if i could afford it, but i wouldn't present it to my wife as an investment comparing it to an IRA, but more as a way to get something you've always wanted, with a pretty good chance that you'll make money on it in the long run.

    There are great deals out there if you are patient too, which will also make it a lot more likely that you'll make money on the deal. Just my opinions, but I'll tell you one thing for sure.. Many people told me not to invest in instruments over the years, and that they will never pay off, but they were wrong.
  15. Agree with Will, but I've been trying to do the same with the missus here, she's too smart to see what I'm doing, no way I'm going to make money out of something I love so much...even if all goes well and the instrument appreciates in value, I don't think I'll have the heart to sell it:rollno:
  16. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    No one has mentioned the IRS treatment of capital gains in collectibles. :eek: If you think that the government has messed with you thus far, look up THOSE tax rates! Of course, as another poster implied, the government is already bankrupt and yet spending into oblivion. So precious metals may be the only way to buy basses in our post-crash future. YMMV.
  17. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    You could look at it this way:

    A regular Shmoe, pulling down $35k a year, can possibly afford a $1,000 bass.

    So, as long as you are making $500k+ a year, go for it. Plus, at that income level, your retirement is already taken care off.
  18. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    Theres no way I would spend 15K for a 55 P. There are alot better deals out there than that right now. There was a 53 for sale locally for under 5K. So if your really bent on buying a vintage bass take your time and look around for the best deal you can get, eventually the market will come back and your bass will be worth more than you purchased it for (hopefully) and you wont look like a shmuck. Remember, Family first, and toys if you have expendable capitol to play with.
  19. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    You can absolutely find a '55 Precision for WELL under $15k. The only thing you should be very concerned about are fakes. There are a ton of them out there, and they're convincing as hell.

    The "you only live once" point made above is the best argument for buying one. Couple that with it being a buyers market right now, and yes - you should buy one.

    Harley Davidson put out a commercial a few years back. And old man was on his porch telling his kids about the experience of riding a Harley, and how it was all he could think of. One of the kids asked him "Grandpa! You had a Harley!?" And the old man says "No. I never got it. I spent the money on aluminum siding instead..."

    The same situation applies to buying a '55 Precision.
  20. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    Heck just get a new one, Eg.


    or one of the artist models, etc.

    But this '58 "reissue" you could play your entire career on, it'll have a vintage sound, is better in every conceivable way than a real '58 precision bass and at a fraction of the cost of a collector's item.

    With the new basses FMIC is making these days, there's just zero reason to get a real vintage one, except _only_ if you're a collector. If you want to play one, there's just no other rational choice lol....