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What is going to happen to vintage Bass prices??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Heroinsheep, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. Heroinsheep


    Oct 23, 2017
    I'm confused... and apparently not sane... so I need guidance:) and I'd like to raise this for discussion...

    In short:
    What do you predict is going to happen to guitar prices in the short and long term?

    In very not short:::::::::
    I do want to own a real vintage Bass. Or two... Not to collect them, not to make it an obsession... But yeah, I do see myself, 100% as someone who will eventually own a nice vintage bass or two. At this point I do not own such a thing. I'm a pro musician (not on Bass, I guess...) but I play sessions on other instruments, teach, produce... Bass has become a big passion in the past year. Wanted to clarify that because I know alot of vintage people are in to collecting for collecting's sake and some people who can barely play collect pre CBS... Well good for them! anyways...

    I'd like one long scale and one short scale... don't care in which order to get em, really.
    The only criteria I really find crucial are the resonance of an instrument and it being lightweight and balanced. Not after the vintage look so much as I don't like the newer stuff... Fenders (love P's...) are my safe zone but I wouldn't say no to anything that's good... I feel like I could potentially connect to any Bass if it's a good one... I flirt with the thought of Mosrites, Ricks, Gibsons/Epiphones aswell... As for all the 'old and cheaper' ones like Hagstrom etc... Don't like em... Yet to have come across an earthshaking one... I know it's a complex subject but I think a Mustang Bass CAN be earthshaking, and many instruments that don't produce so much low end or sub frequency can have that illusive quality...
    Today when browsing on Reverb I stumbled upon an another overpriced Mustang Bass... Competition blue for 3100$... From what I saw they are not very rare and they ain't sellin that quick for 2500 ('listed', take 2300$).. so I was thinking 'Why... Why is this guy listing it for 3100$?' Then the description read and I quote:

    "Bass looks sounds and plays like GOD!!
    Jump on these now cause in a year they will sell for 5k !"

    scary eh? seems far-fetched but many guitars have doubled their market value from what they were not long ago...

    Now... The online market... I've never bought anything of value online.. Now I do get that there's a gambling aspect to the vintage thing... But it just seems insane to me to gamble on so much money if your not getting a decent price that will enable you to sell it later without losing so much if you want to... Now the whole trying and returning thing is impossible for me I'm not from the U.S...

    I mean there seems to be something weird about this whole thing... You see the recent sales of instruments on Reverb right? They always show that just a few months back the prices were far lower, not to mention 1 or 2 years ago... Let's not even go into to farther back in time prices because that's just painful...

    So my question is... What the hell is going on?
    Guitar music is kindof dying
    (financially, atleast), so is the record business... yet the guitar prices are skyrocketing...

    Was the guy in the description right?..
    Is the window for people like me closing, and the more I contemplate the more the prices rise further out of reach... Or... Chill... Patience... ?
    Many options......

    P.S... For all you people who know how to find project basses or buy amazing poopie at yard sales for a few hundred $: if there's a way to do that outside the USA please tell me how ... And... I hate you:)
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
    dukeorock and vegas532 like this.
  2. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    pbass888, REMBO, dukeorock and 6 others like this.
  3. Heroinsheep


    Oct 23, 2017
    It is a good read...
    I don't have any crave for original museum pieces... However I know alot of 'player grade' can mean 'the neck from the 70s is abused as hell, the body is a mexican refin aged' but "whose to say"...........
    Honestly, I don't care about that even as long as they sound good, have frets, resonate well, not heavy, fun to play...
    Maybe it's in my head but the more original (refret or other smaller things are cool) the better they feel to me... I do have some bad experience with 'player grade' bass... Maybe psychological aswell due to dishonest or 'playing it dumb' people who sold it to me... but nevermind that story, really. I'm letting it go.

    But sure, player grade can be fine... still expensive as **** in many cases...
  4. Tvrtko


    Dec 27, 2002
    South of the USA
    I like 'em new and shiny.
    For me, "vintage" is crap, I had to play 40 years ago.
  5. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    I have a few vintage Fenders (64/59/57)that are great classic instruments.
    They really sound and feel different..hard to describe without handling and hearing these basses in person..
    I think value wise they are holding steady ..not that I'm looking to sell them..
  6. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    it's like a dying tube while being pushed to the max, it burns the hottest it ever could and then... gone.
    as the window of opportunity closes the guys with all the vintage are starting to freak and looking to score the killings before their goldmines collapse, but except for a dwindling few the buyers just aren't there now and only the real prize pieces can be expected to still fetch insane prices. unfortunately, this means almost any silly old thing can be found with a $3,000 price tag by dreamers watching their chances fade away. with the typical exceptions that era is over.
    obimark, Ellery, navijaz and 5 others like this.
  7. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    I think the place for those selling is in the international market.. for example..Japanese players love vintage American quality gear and will pay..I see them at the guitar shows buying up the good instruments.. they have booths and are ready to buy.
    It really depends on what you have to sell..
    I often work with a Japanese drummer and we talk often about this topic..
    Lvjoebass, Bass V and ajkula66 like this.
  8. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    "Player's grade" instruments are a great way to enjoy the vintage sound and feel without having to shell out a five-digit sum in most cases.

    However, making up one's mind on what they're *really* interested in helps an awful lot. A metric ton of abused junk is labeled as "vintage" on Reverb and fleabay these days.

    If you want a Mustang, learn as much as you humanly can about them, put aside the funds that you feel comfortable spending on such an instrument, and cultivate patience. The same would apply for any other model that you're interested in.

    Whether the prices are going to go up, down or remain steady is anyone's guess. Speculators have caused all sorts of market tumbles of various levels over the past 90 years and are likely to do it again at some point in the game.

    Buy an instrument that you'd be comfortable playing - or at least looking at without aggravation - for the rest of your life. That's what I do anyway, and all the guitars and basses that I currently own would qualify as "vintage" in today's market. Having said that, none of them were bought solely on the basis of their age prowess, but because I liked the way they played and sounded.

    My $0.02 only...
    Whil57 and Michael Schreiber like this.
  9. Doctor J

    Doctor J

    Dec 23, 2005
    Prices will continue to go up, regardless. The primary criteria in the vintage bass market is age, which isn’t going to go down, and that it’s a Fender, which also isn’t going to change. Once those two boxes are ticked, other mere trifles like quality and playability simply do not not enter the equation. US brands will always command a premium over better made Japanese peers. Rickenbackers and Gibsons will never be worth as much as same-year Fenders, once we’re in the zone where age is the prime motivator and exclusivity and scarcity ensure senses are frequently abandoned.

    It’s not about being good, it’s about being old. As you rack up the years, you jack up the price, it won’t change.
    mikewalker, gebass6 and Blu bro like this.
  10. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

  11. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002

    Yeah thats pretty much where I'm at now. The vintage game isn't for me. I owned a 64 jazz and a 72 jazz. The 64 was a refin and looked and sounded great. 72 jazz was "heavily relic'd" and sounded great but looked like crap due to tons of buckle rash on the back and more finish missing on the front.

    Sold them both awhile ago because they were no longer getting played.
    Both had issues, noisy pots, mainly. 72 may have had a neck issue, at least thats what the buyer claimed shortly after receiving it (as in a month later) but I never noticed it.

    I'll take a new production Elite or Am. Std., NOS custom shop, etc. any day over a high priced "vintage" instrument that may have issues I am not prepared to deal with.

    In any case, prices on all things vintage will continue to go up.
    superdick2112 likes this.
  12. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    I've watched enough Antiques Roadshow to know that collectable prices go up and down. I think there's already been examples of guitars selling for obscene amounts a few years ago that are worth less now. I suspect the rarest and most significant ones will always be in demand by collectors, but values on the rest of the ever growing mass of vintage guitars and basses out there will probably rise and fall.

    Rising prices might indicate a bubble caused by either a shortage of instruments or a wave of short-term investors buying them with the intent to sell and make a profit. I'm not sure if that's what's happening now but it could be. I do know a lot of people have hoarded massive collections of vintage and semi-vintage instruments and at some point those will all re-enter the market. That and any loss of interest among collectors would cause prices to fall.
  13. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I can't imagine ever really paying 'collector's' prices for vintage gear....unless I win a lottery.:D
    If there was a sentimental element to it, maybe (A 1965 birth year bass possibly, or a bass actually owned and played by a favourite player like Duck Dunn).
  14. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY

    Your user name reads Heroin Sheep to me. And I don't mean a brave ewe.

    Is it short for Hero In Sheep's Clothing?
  15. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I might get a vintage T40 if I find just the right one but that's about it.
    Sometimes their priced high but you can still get a nice one for $500.
  16. Heroinsheep


    Oct 23, 2017
    For those who thought I was referring to 5 digit sums... no... My ideal is never to buy a guitar over 2000$, which I know is detached from the market, so I'm willing to go up to 3 possibly, but only for an unbelievably perfect in every way instrument. So I guess anyways the real 'collectors poopie' will never be an option...

    Of course the #1 thing I'm looking for is a good sounding and feeling instrument... I know I can get that from a Japanese P Bass with pups replaced with some nice handwound pups (got a friend who builds em world class...)... But I know if I have that I won't be satisfied with the look, and, more importantly, I'll continue to obsess on the vintage and I'll become one of those people who already have a good instrument but want more and more... I want to just have two and that's it, and be satisfied with every aspect of them, most importantly playability, but yeah, also the vibe. And it seems the good condition vintage poopie is just out of reach... Yet it still is cheaper than Custom Shop stuff... Which I also don't like the vibe of because of that ugly stamp and high end vibe...

    And when I say 'good condition' I don't mean clean... Or worn... Just an instrument that has been respected it's entire life... and that the body and neck belong together. Something that was built by people who cared about how it will sound and made it sound great, not just decent enough to sell and make money.

    haha take it as you want... could be that! sure... where I'm from there's the term 'heroin chic' (pronounced sheek) like the aesthetic of junkies which people find cool... so many people... a herd of people... who are... like sheep... I don't know I was stoned myself... it's kindof on topic actually...
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    Uncle Hanky likes this.
  17. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    They will change. :D
  18. Hey Doctor J

    Recent experience has taught me not to agree with you on this.

    I would approach any or all vintage purchases at this point with a high degree of caution and skepticism. If you have any friends at the vintage guitar shops, and you ask them candidly - they might share with you their modern day concerns and philosophies on this controversial topic. Many of them now believe that the market on these instruments has saturated and has started to slowly but steadily erode - and will eventually fall out. They believe that the GenXers and the Millennials for the most part do not have the same respect and reverence for collecting these instruments. They simply have no interest in collecting vintage guitars, they don't get it and they don't care. It's much more of a baby-boomer thing. Even those GenXers and Millennials who have stumbled onto fortunes in the tech or other sectors - and have tons of disposable cash - just aren't interested. Of course, this means that as the boomers fade away so does the demand. I realize these are sweeping generalizations, but the trend is there - according to those in the know.

    I don't have any way to verify it, but I am being told similar things from several well-known and well-connected sources. One of my friends just picked up a pristine all-original 1957 Les Paul gold top for a highly discounted rate at one of the well-respected vintage shops in Nashville. He still paid more than many make in a year, but it was highly discounted. Like nearly fire-sale discounted. Happily, he sold several of his other vintage guitars to pay for this one. Plus he plays the hell out of it and it has become his #1. He is a very active and well-known player who records and tours with some of the biggest acts around. After the purchase, they told him to keep in touch and come around - because the discounts and bargain prices were just starting. Do the shops really want you to know this? Of course not, it can definitely impact their business, but I would say ask around if you want to get at the truth. Of course, most gaziillionaire collectors don't care if the prices drop dramatically, they can absorb the hit. Plus, there is still a huge value for them in the satisfaction they get from the dinner party conversation.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  19. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    There's nothing wrong with liking old instruments but before you obsess too much over the idea that vintage is always better, consider this. None of the famous recordings of the 60's and 70's were made on vintage electric guitars or basses. That mojo didn't come from playing a 50 year old Fender because there was no such thing at the time. They were either brand new or at most 10-20 years old.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    TrevorR, quickfix, gebass6 and 8 others like this.
  20. Ebay, I'm sorry to say.

    One of the hometown music stores actually used Ebay to price anything that they get in that might remotely be "vintage".

    Unfortunately, that means three things-

    1. Can it be tuned?

    2. Can it STAY in tune while being played??

    3. Can it be played???

    Damn the rust (seen it on many effects pedals, including power and I/O jacks!), and certainly the finish (or lack thereof) doesn't seem to matter...
    selowitch and Bass V like this.

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