"Premium" Price for Perfect (near mint) Vintage

dspellman

Gretschie
Jul 4, 2020
266
Los Angeles
Ya know there's a reason that some vintage guitars made 60+ years ago are still in "mint" condition... they play like crap, so nobody has played them. I actually like to see a little play wear when I'm considering a vintage investment. It helps moderate the premium for "mint" AND it suggests that somebody loved the instrument enough to play it a bunch.
I have a '78 Gibson L5S -- at the time it was the top of the line solid body guitar that Gibson offered, and, as was Gibson's practice, it has top of the line specs. It was meant to be the solid body equivalent of the L5 arch top. It's a solid-maple guitar with binding front and back, tons of gold plating, all that. When I bought it, it was in near-perfect condition, and I was working in a rock band with a crash-bang attitude, and I had other guitars that were more appropriate (including for road use. As a result, over the years, the guitar wasn't played all that much, and it's stayed in near-pristine condition.

It plays beautifully and sounds great.

You can't buy a new L5S at any price, and if you want something that looks and plays like the original, you have to look pretty hard to find one that's retained that look and feel. There are folks who are enthralled by the dings and stains and rotted finish of the hard-played examples and others who want a guitar that represents what the guitar was like as new.
 

drmilktruck

I Bleed Orange
May 17, 2009
18,903
Plymouth, MN
I know, it's painful. I've always thought that the Guild Aristocrat is probably the single coolest non-Gretsch electric guitar ever made. Seeing on in that kind of condition is almost painful. But it is a reminder that there's really no good reason that I haven't already picked up one of the reasonably prices reissues. I played one once and it was really, really nice.

Hear! Hear! I've been in lust with them since I played a beat up one at a guitar shop in Providence. That one Rob posted is the bees knees!
 

new6659

Country Gent
Dec 10, 2018
3,236
Southwestern Ontario
I have a '78 Gibson L5S -- at the time it was the top of the line solid body guitar that Gibson offered, and, as was Gibson's practice, it has top of the line specs. It was meant to be the solid body equivalent of the L5 arch top. It's a solid-maple guitar with binding front and back, tons of gold plating, all that. When I bought it, it was in near-perfect condition, and I was working in a rock band with a crash-bang attitude, and I had other guitars that were more appropriate (including for road use. As a result, over the years, the guitar wasn't played all that much, and it's stayed in near-pristine condition.

It plays beautifully and sounds great.

You can't buy a new L5S at any price, and if you want something that looks and plays like the original, you have to look pretty hard to find one that's retained that look and feel. There are folks who are enthralled by the dings and stains and rotted finish of the hard-played examples and others who want a guitar that represents what the guitar was like as new.
I've suffered GAS for an L5S for about 40 years - I'd love to see some pics of yours.
 

Wayne Gretschzky

Country Gent
Aug 27, 2008
3,325
East Coast
Every time I see a 1957 6120 in really great condition, I can't help but recall the story that Dan Duffy (Gretsch factory QC Mgr.) shared about the group of 6120's that suffered from a mis-calibrated fret saw in 1957. I believe they got shipped... and if so, they may not play very well, and may remain in "unplayed" condition today.
 

Back in Black

Country Gent
Jun 22, 2020
1,301
Ontario Canada
I get it that a vintage late 1950s Gretsch that is truly in near perfect (near mint) condition can fetch a premium price. But I'm wondering how much above the average used price for one that's all original and in typical excellent condition (some very minor wear or finish checking, one that been lightly played, etc. etc.). Let's say one that has a typical excellent range of, say, $3,000 to $3500. If it's truly in near mint condition (and I say "near," because, really, is anything really "mint"? And I don't use that word myself, actually, I prefer terms such as near perfect/like-new/flawless, etc). But what is this "premium" price? 20-30% more? 50% more? Double? If it's, say, $3,000 excellent, then $4,500 to $6,000 for a flawless one? I'm curious. Thought??

P,

Makes no difference whatsoever!

They are worth whatever the seller manages to get for them.

Original case/original paperwork are sometimes as important and as valuable as the guitar.

Oh by the way, $3000. to $6000. is no longer considered expensive or premium.

I look at true vintage premium now starting over 10K, and in some cases, depending on the guitar, and the degree of buyer yearning, 10K is no longer expensive either.

Also keep in mind terms like ''mint'', ''closet classic'', ''excellent'' carry a broad spectrum, and their degrees nearing perfection, are held under many opinions.

Best,

BIB.
 

twangmanster

Gretschie
Dec 29, 2021
128
Long Island
I think even vintage Gretsch's from the industry's golden era are still a great value. Especially Jets. I don't see how the OP's question can really have an answer without pictures and even who the seller is. "A lotta ins, a lotta outs" as the dude would say.
 


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