Guitar Collecting

Emergence

Synchromatic
Gold Supporting Member
May 25, 2022
852
New York
I don’t collect guitars or anything else. I own guitars I was drawn to when I got them. My Gretsch is pretty much as I got it with some honest wear. Others I modified to make them better for what I play. They range in price from a $400 used MIM Tele to a CS Strat that was more than ten times that new. I love them all. But I don’t collect them. I play them. I like vintage guitars with provenance as museum pieces but I wouldn’t keep any of my guitars in a showcase. Guitars are for making music.
 
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blueruins

Friend of Fred
May 28, 2013
5,067
Savannah, GA
I buy what I think I’ll play, write and record with. And a few just for looks😍
I’ve got 3 I could sell without looking back and about 6 I hope to get someday.
I’m asking for a nice Les Paul on my 60th birthday, that’s about seven years away. I plan on that being the end of my collecting years.
 

Cryin_Caleb_Aaron

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 15, 2018
7,980
Auburn, Maine
I collect lots of stuff.
Movies, books, records, horror movie memorabilia, animal skulls, toy spiders, etc.

I buy guitars because I play them in bands, and I love them. I have a modest guitar collection of 6. Pretty modest I think. I don’t think I could handle having more than that many. Too expensive to justify having more guitars than I can play.
 

bluenote23

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2009
1,809
Montreal, Canada
Walter Benjamin was an avid book collector and often in his writings, tried to understand and rationalize his obsession. He was not alone in this period (between the two world wars) where collectors were a 'thing' (Note Robert in Renoir's The Rules of the Game).

In a very small section of the Arcades Project, he writes that a collector strips the 'use' function of the piece and gives a different value in its place. He notes however, that his form of collecting, book collecting is the exception! In place the the 'use' function, the collector puts 'life' values, qualities that have to do with the collector's life situation at the time (who it was purchased from, how much was paid, how rare, how difficult to find).

I have 17 guitars.
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,732
Firenze, Italy
I don’t know… real collectors don’t play the guitars they collect.
Or maybe they have it doubled, so one could be played 🙂
I know a few Italians collectors. Fer sure it needs passion, curiosity and knowledge (and money, a lot of money) but not necessarily being guitar players.
Most of them are, but the same way I’m a piano player. 🙂
I only owned guitars that I played and toured with. Sometimes a lot of them (15) other times, like now, just 5.
 

Pemberton

Gretschie
Gold Supporting Member
May 4, 2022
480
Pennsylvania, USA
I mostly own vintage. I don’t think of myself as a collector, more of a player, but my gigging days are over. So maybe I’ve transitioned into a collector/player.

The value that I personally put into a vintage instrument is that I enjoy holding and playing a piece of history.

New guitars are nice, but they don’t give me the same feeling. If I had more money, I probably would grow my “small” collection. Maybe someday I will. But I probably wouldn’t own something that I don’t play at least somewhat regularly.
 
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dilver

Country Gent
Feb 16, 2009
1,728
NJ
All of the above. I love guitars, I‘m very fortunate to have developed a nice collection of 25+ instruments and I still want more. Having developed the skills and experience to do repairs and set ups myself has only made it worse. But I am trying to focus on fewer, nicer guitars. I don’t own any cheap guitars made in China, Indonesia, or Korea (well, except for an older Evets Corp Danelectro). I no longer gig, but that’s okay, I still get a ton of enjoyment out of what I have.
 

mrfixitmi

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Mar 20, 2010
2,066
Michigan
Great Question, that depends on who you would ask.
For us, they are tools of the trade. We play them all.
If it isn't being played, it is getting donated to a good cause.
If you ask my wife, she would confirm that we are idiots.
 
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loudnlousy

Gretschified
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 18, 2015
12,928
Germany
I have never been a collector but I used to own 35+ guitars when I was younger and had enough money to afford them.
There was no stystem.
I bought the guitars that I found interesting and did not sell them, although many of them got very little or no use over time.
When I had to sell them because my later family was in financial need, I felt very sad.
Until I took my calculator and found out what a good return I made with them. Enough to dry my tears.

If I had the money I would buy some nice ones, again.
This time I would be more selective because time taught me what will work for me and what not.
So there would not be 35+ guitars that I find worth owning.
That would not be something I would call "collecting" but "diversification".
 
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hcsterg

Friend of Fred
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2012
7,043
France
So there would not be 35+ guitars that I find worth owning.
That would not be something I would call "collecting" but "diversification".

Yes, I think I am personally located somewhere in between the "collecting" and "diversification" positions...

Some of my friends have guitar collection per se : do not expect to find a Harley Benton in their herd ! Only valuable money-wise instruments : Fender, Martin, Gibson primarily. But they barely plays live or even in bands...

They go like "Oh no ! I won't take my 1956 Strat because I fear of damaging it (even if it is a relic)... So let's buy a used shitty-random Mex Fender for the occasion. A Squier ? What is a Squier ? You sound truly great with your little Squier : how in the world can you do that ?".

They are Pure Collectors, not Players as we are @loudnlousy... 😁

A+!
 

Falconetti

Synchromatic
Sep 18, 2012
609
Bagsville, Oxford UK
I love my guitars. They give me great pleasure. I am a player and I currently own 10 guitars. I use them all and they cover the tone / style bases that I need them to. If I needed another tone which I cannot get with my current guitars then I would own 11. I buy Pro line Gretsch, Gibson Martin and Fender not because they are necessarily that much better (even though they are imho) but because I can afford to and I know that when I sell I recoup my investment and maybe make a modest profit. This strategy has been good to me for 30 years. I doubt a carpenter or mechanic gets quite as much pleasure from finding and owning the tools of their trade as we do.
 

LivingMyDream

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
May 4, 2016
7,158
Peculiar, Missouri
I currently have 15 guitars - 11 electrics and 4 acoustics. Why so many? Because I was drawn to music early in life and wanted to play drums. The school music director said that he had plenty of drummers, so if I wanted to play in the band, I had to play the clarinet. I did for a couple of years, but then we moved and the music director at the new school made me his personal whipping boy. So, in the 6th grade, I quit music and turned to baseball. Fast forward another 40-some years, and I reconnected with music. Through an acoustic guitar, given to me by a friend, I reconnected to music and the joy I feel deep in my soul (after that period of wondering if I real could learn to play). I play guitar, I play drums, and I even have a keyboard that I play occasionally (although quite badly because I spend most my time playing my guitars these days).

Musically, I have have been on a journey of discovery for the past 20 years. I don't really "chase" tone, I choose to experience tones, and experience how different guitars offer me different ways to express myself. Over time, I have moved up in quality, and so it gets much harder to let go of the guitars, because even if I haven't played a guitar in a while, when I do pick it up again, I remember the the reason why I chose that particular guitar.

So, collector? No, and Lou, I can honestly say that I don't fit so neatly into any of the categories. I suppose the closest could be that I have had the good fortune to have financial ability to acquire the guitars that I have. I'm not trying to make a living with my guitars, so they are much more than tools of the trade for me, even though I can see that playing certain songs on certain guitars makes sense.

In the end, playing makes me feel good, and it has helped me through some of the rough times in my life. For that, I will always be thankful that a friend gave me a guitar to learn to play.
 


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