Are Vintage Guitars Worth It? (5 Pros & 5 Cons of Buying A Vintage Guitar)

Vintage guitars are often sought after… Why? The allure of owning a piece of music history… the unique tone… or the potential investment value? Or maybe the draw of vintage Fender Stratocasters and Gibson Les Pauls. But do they really sound better than modern guitars?

Are vintage guitars worth it? Vintage guitars are indeed worth it for many, offering unique tonal qualities, good craftsmanship, and potential investment value. However, they can be expensive and require careful maintenance. Understanding the vintage guitar market, knowing what to look for when buying, and appreciating the unique sound and playability of these instruments are key to making a worthwhile purchase.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the vintage guitar world. We’ll explore the trends and predictions of the vintage guitar market, the science behind why vintage guitars might sound better, and the role of originality in a vintage guitar’s value. 

We’ll also provide tips from professional guitar dealers on how to navigate the vintage guitar market, and finally, we’ll compare the playability of vintage guitars with modern instruments. 

Vintage vs Modern battle: 5 Pros and 5 Cons (skip to list!)

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What is a Vintage Guitar?

While an antique is defined as an object that has been around for more than 100 years, there is no formal definition of what constitutes a vintage item.

However, guitars that are at least 30 years old often fit under this category, and even younger instruments are sometimes branded as such by vendors. For the purposes of this article, therefore, lets say anything before the early to mid-nineties! (Blimey, makes me feel old!)

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Is A Vintage Guitar Worth Buying For You? (Better Than Modern Guitars?) 

If you’re buying a vintage guitar because you think it’s better, it probably is not. Most new guitars are built better than almost any guitar that is 30 to 40 years old. However, this strongly depends on make and how well the guitar has been treated!

As for buying a vintage guitar for the purpose of its value rising, that could be considered. there are still guitars out there that sell for more and more every year.

What about learning to play a vintage slide guitar?

Why Are/Aren’t Vintage Guitars Worth It?

There are two answers to the question. Let’s start with the reasons why vintage guitars are worth it.

According to different users’ reviews. The sound and tone of a guitar improve with the passage of time. Besides this, a lot of the time the wood used in vintage guitars is more expensive than in new guitars, such as the renowned Brazilian Rosewood. It makes the guitar lighter and stiffer.

It is worth mentioning some vintage guitars that were made in the 1940s and ’50s, were famous for their specific sounds. Some guitars that were made even earlier like some pre-war Martin guitars still possess their value. Vintage guitars like a Guild Starfire or Fender Stratocasters also still retain their value.

But according to some different review websites, vintage guitars are worth nothing because they are outdated. Old vintage guitars are either homemade or manufactured in old workshops. While modern guitars are manufactured in modern factories equipped with up-to-date technology.

Besides this, the hardware is fragile, less ideal, and prone to damage. Another issue with vintage guitars is that the parts are difficult to replace. As old parts are not available nowadays.

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At What Age Is A Guitar Considered Vintage?

As mentioned earlier, there isn’t a specific definition of when something is “vintage” but any guitar that is 30+ years old could be considered that.

But when we take this definition: “the time that something of quality was produced.” we’ll get a different answer. Because of the rising popularity of the guitar in the early 1970s, a lot of guitar manufacturers started mass producing guitars using CNC routers, and machines.

Before that, these guitars were handmade in small workshops. The 59 Les Paul which is made in the early ’60s is an example of a vintage guitar that can still be valuable because it was handmade.

After a while, in the 1980s the public realized that the quality of guitars being sold has declined a lot. So, eventually, people demanded better quality and weren’t buying mass-produced guitars anymore. Causing producers to improve processes and return to the original quality of guitars made before the 70s.

Pros of Vintage Guitars

1. Rarity and Collectability

Vintage guitars, particularly those from iconic brands like Gibson and Fender, are less in number. This scarcity, coupled with their historical significance, makes them highly collectible and potentially profitable investments as their value can increase over time.

2. Handcrafted Quality

Many vintage guitars, especially those made before the 70s, were handcrafted by skilled luthiers. This results in a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that is often lacking in mass-produced modern guitars, adding to their appeal.

3. Unique and Distinctive Tone

Vintage guitars are renowned for their unique and distinctive tone. The aging process of the wood and the use of high-quality materials contribute to a sound that many guitarists find appealing and irreplaceable.

4. Quality Materials

Most vintage guitars were made using high-quality woods, such as Brazilian Rosewood, which are now rare or even prohibited from use in new guitars. These materials not only contribute to the unique tone of vintage guitars but also add to their value.

5. Aesthetic Appeal

The design and style of vintage guitars often have an aesthetic appeal that modern guitars can’t replicate. The patina of age, the wear from years of playing, and the classic designs make them visually attractive to many guitarists.

Cons of Vintage Guitars

1. High Cost

Vintage guitars, especially those in good condition or from well-known brands, can be significantly more expensive than new guitars. This high cost can be a barrier for many potential buyers.

2. Difficulty in Finding Replacement Parts

As vintage guitars age, they may require repairs or replacement parts. However, finding original parts for vintage guitars can be challenging and expensive, as many of these parts are no longer manufactured.

3. Limited Versatility in Sound

While vintage guitars are prized for their unique tone, they may not be as versatile as modern guitars in producing a wide range of sounds. This could limit their use in certain genres or styles of music.

4. Susceptibility to Damage

Due to their age, vintage guitars can be more prone to damage and wear than new guitars. They may require more careful handling and maintenance to preserve their condition.

5. Impact of Environmental Factors

Over time, factors such as dirt, dust, and oxidation can affect both the sound and appearance of vintage guitars. These guitars may require more frequent cleaning and care to mitigate these effects.

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Are Vintage Guitars Going Up in Value? Are Vintage Guitars A Good Investment?

If you have an understanding of the musical instrument market. A vintage guitar is really worth it. Due to limited availability, the prices are going higher and higher. Although more advanced and up-to-date guitars are available on the market, there is still a demand for vintage guitars and people are spending thousands of dollars buying them. That is the reason the price of vintage guitars will probably go up in the future also. The reasons behind the value increase are:

  • These guitars are not manufactured anymore
  • Best and aged sound quality
  • Expensive material used in the production like Brazilian Rosewood 
  • Different types of production methods are used such as handmade guitars etc.

Why Do Vintage Guitars Sound Better? The Science Behind the Tone

Many guitarists swear by the unique sound of a vintage guitar, claiming they sound better than modern guitars. But what makes vintage guitars like Gibson Les Pauls or Fender Stratocasters so special? Here are a few reasons:

Older Wood: The wood in an older instrument has had more time to dry and settle, which can enhance the guitar’s acoustics. Brazilian Rosewood, no longer available in new guitars, is especially prized for its tonal qualities.

Handmade Craftsmanship: Many vintage guitars were handmade by skilled luthiers, resulting in a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that is often lacking in mass-produced modern guitars.

Unique Components: Vintage guitars often feature components that are no longer produced, such as P90 pickups, which can contribute to their unique sound.

(Here is the best way to change the sound of your electric guitar)

Buying a Vintage Guitar: Market Price Trends and Predictions

The vintage guitar market, like any investment, is a fascinating world of trends, predictions, and surprises. Gibson and Fender, two of the most iconic brands, have vintage models that are highly sought-after, with some fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The market value of a vintage guitar is influenced by several factors, including the condition of the instrument, its rarity, and the demand among collectors. For instance, pre-CBS Fender Stratocasters and early sixties Gibson Les Pauls are particularly popular.

The market is also influenced by the stories and previous owners of the guitars, adding to their allure and value. As a result, buying and selling vintage guitars can be a good investment, especially if you’re willing to take the time to understand the market’s intricacies.

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The Role of Originality in the Value of a Vintage Guitar

Originality is a key factor in the value of a vintage guitar. Guitars that retain their original parts and finishes are typically more valuable than those that have been modified or restored. Non-original parts can significantly reduce the value of a vintage guitar.

However, the condition of the instrument is equally important. A guitar that’s 100 years old but in poor condition may be less valuable than a well-preserved guitar from the early sixties.

How to Buy Vintage: Tips from a Professional Guitar Dealer

Buying a vintage guitar can be an exciting but daunting task. Here are some tips from professional guitar dealers to help you navigate the vintage guitar market:

Do Your Research: Learn about the particular model you’re interested in, including its typical market value and any potential issues to look out for.

Check the Condition: Look for signs of damage or modifications. Check the fretboard, the brace, and the potentiometer, among other parts.

Buy from a Reputable Dealer: Reputable vintage guitar stores or online platforms like can provide assurance about the guitar’s authenticity and condition.

Do Vintage Guitars Play Better? A Comparison with Modern Instruments

The playability of a vintage guitar is a subjective matter. Some guitarists find that vintage guitars play better, attributing this to factors such as the guitar’s setup, the feel of the fretboard, and the responsiveness of the instrument.

However, others may prefer the playability of a new instrument, which can offer modern features and conveniences. Ultimately, whether a vintage or new guitar is better to play may come down to personal preference.

How can I tell if a vintage guitar is authentic?

A: There are several ways to determine the authenticity of a vintage guitar: 1. Research the serial number: Each guitar brand has a unique serial numbering system. Look up the serial number and compare it to official records or databases.

2. Examine the hardware and components: Vintage guitars often have specific hardware and components that can help authenticate them. Look for specific markings or features that are consistent with the manufacturer and time period.

3. Consult an expert: If you’re unsure about the authenticity of a vintage guitar, seek the help of a reputable guitar appraiser or dealer who specializes in vintage instruments.


Discussing vintage guitars took us seven decades back. The music industry is developed so far. Updated instruments are available everywhere at a low and affordable cost.

Still, people are interested in vintage guitars. Do you know, what the reason is behind this?  The main reason is that vintage guitars get more scarce every year as they are not getting manufactured anymore and some of these guitars are really unique and don’t compare to new guitars.

Also, people still want to hear the aged tone to remind their memories. Once they were kids and their parents or grandparents were playing guitars.

In short, vintage guitars are worth it. As people are still interested in vintage guitars and pay thousands of dollars to buy them.

More questions on Vintage guitars? Read on for our Frequently Asked Questions:

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Q: Are vintage guitars worth it?

A: Yes, vintage guitars can be worth it for various reasons. However, there are also some drawbacks to consider.

Q: What makes vintage guitars special?

A: Vintage guitars have a unique appeal and charm due to their age and history. They often possess a certain character and sound that cannot be replicated by newer guitars.

Q: Should I buy a vintage guitar for my first instrument?

A: It is not recommended to buy a vintage guitar as your first instrument. Vintage guitars typically require more maintenance and care, and can be more expensive compared to newer models. It’s best to start with a more affordable and beginner-friendly guitar.

Q: What are the pros of buying a vintage guitar?

A: There are several pros to buying a vintage guitar:

  1. Unique sound and character: Vintage guitars often have a distinct sound that is highly sought after by musicians.
  2. Potential investment: Vintage guitars can appreciate in value over time, making them a valuable investment. 
  3. Quality craftsmanship: Older guitars were often made with higher quality materials and attention to detail.
  4. Nostalgia and collectability: Vintage guitars have a certain nostalgia and collectability factor that appeals to many musicians and collectors.
  5. Great resale value: If properly maintained, vintage guitars can be sold at a higher price in the future.

Q: What are the cons of buying a vintage guitar?

A: There are some drawbacks to buying a vintage guitar:

  1. Higher cost: Vintage guitars are typically more expensive compared to newer models, especially if they are rare or in high demand.
  2. Maintenance and repairs: Vintage guitars may require more frequent maintenance and repairs due to their age and wear.
  3. Limited availability: Finding a specific vintage guitar model can be challenging, as they are often rare and in limited supply.
  4. Fragile condition: Older guitars may be more delicate and prone to damage, requiring extra care and caution when handling.
  5. Lack of modern features: Vintage guitars may not have the same technological advancements and features as newer models, which can limit their versatility.

Q: Can vintage guitars be a good investment?

A: Vintage guitars can be a good investment if you choose the right guitar and take proper care of it. Some vintage guitars have significantly increased in value over the years, making them a potentially lucrative investment.

However, it’s important to note that not all vintage guitars appreciate in value, so thorough research and knowledge are crucial.

Q: Do vintage guitars always sound better than newer ones?

A: Not necessarily. While vintage guitars are often prized for their unique sound and character, it ultimately depends on personal preference. Newer guitars can also provide exceptional sound quality and may have improved features and playability.

Q: Can I find vintage guitars at a guitar show?

A: Yes, guitar shows can be a great place to find vintage guitars. Many vendors and collectors showcase their vintage instruments at guitar shows, allowing you to browse and potentially find your dream vintage guitar.

Q: Are vintage acoustic guitars as sought after as electric guitars?

A: Vintage electric guitars tend to be more popular and sought after compared to vintage acoustic guitars. However, vintage acoustic guitars can still hold significant value and appeal to musicians and collectors.

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