Collecting guitars for so many people is not just a hobby, but a passion. Most of the greatest guitar collectors know how much the hobby has changed over the past 10 years or so, but it is still possible to begin a “career” in guitar collecting if that is what you choose to do. Although you can no longer walk into any pawn shop in Hollywood and buy a Les Paul or Stratocaster for less than $100, it is still possible to find a good deal on a vintage guitar.
The think you have to realize is that you are going to find the best deals on a vintage guitar if you buy only American guitars. It isn’t to say that other countries such as Japan do not make a great guitar, but the vintage market is best for American made guitars. You will then be able to buy a guitar that will increase in value over the years. Also, the reputation of the American made guitars, especially the older ones, is increasing. It used to be that people looked down on the 1970’s Stratocasters but now you can find them sold on auction sites for thousands of dollars. It is the same thing with 1980’s Gibson guitars which were once thought of as poor quality replicas.
This is simply because of buyer’s demand. After all of the “desirable” guitars have all been bought up, the collectors go to whatever is left that will command attention. So that is why if you want to find a real deal on vintage guitars that will increase in value you should buy guitars that collectors are currently not paying much attention to. That way, by the time they get around to these guitars, they will be worth a great deal of money. For example, you may not want to go with Fender Mustangs or Gibson Melody Makers which are already desirable. Instead you should go with student models that haven’t been noticed yet.
An example of this would be the Fender Bullet. It is still popular in brand name but it is considered to be a student model guitar. You can still find great deals on the ones that were made in the early 1980’s but they are garnering attention now which will make them hugely popular in a few years. Fender also put out other great American made student models such as the Lead I, II and III which you can still buy for less than $300.
Gibson is also another collectible brand. Granted the Melody Makers are already expensive but the Kalamazoo line hasn’t been tapped out yet. Similar to the Melody Makers you can find them for less than $100 and have a great guitar in which to invest in for later on. In general if you stick with Gibson and Fender and watch out for the less talked about student models you are already finding deals that will appreciate in value over the years. But more so you are finding quality made guitars that are great to look at, wonderful to play sometimes and have a nice background to them.