Other Guitars

over $10K

26

At one of NJBob's roundups, Cam handed me a tele, and with a big smile said "Give THIS one a try!"

I picked it up, plugged it in, and went to town.

Light as a feather, and had that incredible spank and tone to it.

I started guessing what it was, and his smile got bigger every time I got it wrong until he told me that was a real nocaster.

I was stunned. Grateful. Thankful.

He just loved to get these treasures into the hands of people who could appreciate them.

27

I think it would need to be collectible with provenance for me to get over $10,000. Pretty and collectible...No. Presumably collectible...No.

At this point, trading up to that guitar would make more sense. I contemplated that with Gruhn a few years back, a couple days before the In-Law Family Debacle began. That desire may come back around, but for right now I like the range of guitars I have.

These were the two most expensive:

The ~'74 Super 400 I bought as a 50th Birthday present...Near Mint/Extremely Fine... always wanted one. Better than average chance of holding its value...

The '76 Blonde Byrdland was purchased from a Children's Cancer Charity...same Condition, exceptional...the one most Pros would buy if they had the chance.

I don't own much frivolous stuff, never have...

Both the 60's Martins have gone well up in value, the '59 Blonde Kay Kessel Pro is a Time Capsule. The others... 6120, StratPlus, 2 Epi's, old L-1, etc., fill out the bill...for now.

And I like playing all of them.

Without a doubt, as I read who has how much of what on this Chat Board, the amount of investment in gear I have is no highlight other than I might be lucky enough to Exit a bit ahead of what I paid and/or without a foolish negative Rate of Return!

28

I played an $8,000 Martin at a GC not long ago, naively thinking it would sound $6,500 better than my Martin. I think when you get into these higher end guitars your paying for either rarity (collectible) and/or examples of higher end materials and manufacturing processes.

The most I have ever paid for a guitar was $1,300 for my 6119 back in 99. One day I will spend near $2,000 for a used Jet or possibly a 6120. Whether I win the lotto or not I don't see myself ever owning high end or collectible guitars. I prefer beaters and/or ordinary guitars that I can sink money into in the form of new pickups, or wiring harnesses, or bridges etc.

On an unrelated note I once became acquainted with a guy who deals in guitars like the 58 LP burst and rare Strats and Teles that sell in the 10s (and 10s) of thousands of dollars. It's amazing to learn how they authenticate, spot fakes and even store guitars like that. it's an interesting culture, the guys who collect/deal in guitars worth north of $50,000 or so.

29

Cam was a one off, himself. Only met him once but that was enough to know he was a great gentleman.

30

In another domain of obsession, I had a long chat at a high-end carshow/auction with the mechanic from a major collection who was there accompanying some of his organization's cars, and on the lookout for purchases. He showed me around some of the seemingly amazing cars he'd brought, 100-point showcars that, if you had even gasoline fumes in your blood, would drop your jaw.

He said most of them were monsters to keep running decently and drove like hell once you got them running.

31

The Hot August Nights Car Spectacular just finished here in Reno this Weekend after 10 days.

Fine guitars are a cheap alternative....

32

I have a close relationship to the Benedetto Guitar Company in Savannah. They have 15 or so main production guitars that list for $6K up to $25K. The CEO/Pres is a great friend and I've traveled Florida with him making sales calls with 15 sample guitars in his car, many in the $20K+ range. One offs are $50,000. I have a Benny (pictured). They are really hand made, made of gorgeous wood that Bob B purchased 40 - 50 years ago in Europe & South America that has been aging in a vault somewhere, and the level of craftsmanship is second to none. I personally can't imagine paying $10K, $15K, or $20K for a guitar, but ... I'm just a poor street schmo, not a successful renowned musician. Benedetto makes a couple hundred guitars a year, sells them all, has a back log of orders, and most of the ones they sell (worldwide) are the spectacular big body jazz boxes, that are the higher priced ones ($15K - $25K). Check their website for some drool! So, there are plenty of players out there with discriminating tastes, an eye for quality and sufficient personal resources to purchase a high end guitar.

34

At one of NJBob's roundups, Cam handed me a tele, and with a big smile said "Give THIS one a try!"

I picked it up, plugged it in, and went to town.

Light as a feather, and had that incredible spank and tone to it.

I started guessing what it was, and his smile got bigger every time I got it wrong until he told me that was a real nocaster.

I was stunned. Grateful. Thankful.

He just loved to get these treasures into the hands of people who could appreciate them.

– crowbone

I can say where Cameron Bellamy was concerned I was prolly the luckiest one of all. I hung out with him every day. I played more 10-30k guitars with him than any half assed piker like myself deserved to. He would bring them to my open stage and let anyone play them, he would lend them to folks, hell I know of at least 3 10k plus guitars that he GAVE AWAY.

My best friend,

Goddammit, I miss him.

35

I hit the $10,000 mark twice and exceeded it once. That said, I'd bet I have less money in guitars than just about anybody here. Having kept track of various moves over the last 10 years or so, I've figured out that my current collection of one 1959 Country Gentleman has cost me precisely $0, though I paid about market price. That's the result of a few lucky breaks. But I can say that I've only ever lost a significant amount of money (over $1000) on two guitars, both were incredibly bone-headed impulse purchases. Other that that, it's all been break even, modest gains, and a few big gains.

36

My guitar player in one of the cover bands I play with is also a high end collector. He made his initial money that he used to invest in guitars from acting in movies. He has a 1959 Les Paul Sunburst, a 1955 ES-345 or 355, a 1963 Fender Strat among many others. I really don't know the extent of his collection but I was always curious which guitar he would show up at a gig with. Most of the time it was one of his Strats or a Fender Custom Shop Telecaster. He would bring one of the Gibsons occasionally. Ironically one of my favorite sounding guitars he ever brought was a 1959 Gibson Melody Maker. It cut through and it was warm at the same time. It also had a great feeling neck.

If I had $10K+ to spend on a guitar I would most likely want either John Cruz from the Fender Custom Shop or Stephen Stern to build my own design.

37

I hit the $10,000 mark twice and exceeded it once. That said, I'd bet I have less money in guitars than just about anybody here. Having kept track of various moves over the last 10 years or so, I've figured out that my current collection of one 1959 Country Gentleman has cost me precisely $0, though I paid about market price. That's the result of a few lucky breaks. But I can say that I've only ever lost a significant amount of money (over $1000) on two guitars, both were incredibly bone-headed impulse purchases. Other that that, it's all been break even, modest gains, and a few big gains.

– Afire

I've never done all the math (going back to 1975 for me) to know exactly how I've done investment-wise, but my story is similar. I think I generally did better than break even most of the time, but in the early days it was hundreds I was making at a time, not thousands. I gradually managed to trade up into some guitars in the 5-digit territory, resulting in some big gains when I traded again or sold. This took some of the "fear" away, and I eventually actually paid cash money in the $10K ballpark twice, using those large profits. I still have both of those guitars (plus a couple of high 4-digit guitars that I had bought along the way), and whether or not I could sell them both for what I paid, I have zero regrets.

Now I'm getting more curious, so I may have to actually do all of the math.

38

It certainly does matter when you got started collecting. It also, in my experience, requires access to a good luthier and reference point. Just like having a good, go to, car mechanic if automobiles are your "vice".

If your $10k+ git isn't Near Mint, or isn't rare as heck, or is your own divine creation...be sure to enjoy and play it all the time!!

I told a story a couple weeks ago to Frank/giffenf. Had I been able to get a Dealer to put my special build through to Martin...it might have been the last guitar I bought. Go figure!

I have since bought the two 60's Braz Martin's, along with 9 others...good for the guitar market GDP!

39

It's far too rich for my blood. That double neck makes my back hurt just looking at it. I can see the appeal, tho.

If you can afford it, fine. As long as the kids are fed, the bills are paid, and the wolf's not at the door, go for it. Have fun! I've only bought one new car in over 50 years, and that was an econobox. I don't spend $3500 on cars usually. Except for one brand new keyboard, all of my gear's been under $1K---even my PA. Works for me. You do you. Enjoy!

For Guys like Cam, guitars were a way of life. He shared them with others, and enjoyed their reactions. I've heard nothing but good things about him. Guitars are also an investment. Instead of wasting the money, he had fun with it, and left something considerably good for his family. And he had fun along the way.

40

If anyone would like to experience purchasing a guitar for over $10K, I'd be happy to take that for any of my guitars.

41

A very good friend of mine lost his father to cancer a couple of years back and inherited some money. Rather than fritter it away on a flash car, a speedboat or some 'trip of a lifetime', he decided to buy a his dream guitar from the year of his dad's birth.

A 1954 Les Paul Goldtop was duly acquired and yes, he paid considerably more than $10K. He actually gigs it every week, it's worth more now than what he paid for it and every time he plays it he gets a wonderful reminder of his dad.

43

A very good friend of mine lost his father to cancer a couple of years back and inherited some money. Rather than fritter it away on a flash car, a speedboat or some 'trip of a lifetime', he decided to buy a his dream guitar from the year of his dad's birth.

A 1954 Les Paul Goldtop was duly acquired and yes, he paid considerably more than $10K. He actually gigs it every week, it's worth more now than what he paid for it and every time he plays it he gets a wonderful reminder of his dad.

– Shuggie

This story makes me very very happy. Please send him my complements.

[Is it a trapeze or bigsby?]

44

It has the wrapover tailpiece Strummerson and it sounds wonderful.

And yes, I will do

45

$20k

– Paolo_Spadaro

Stunners both, that red L-5 CT is gorgeous!

46

I almost never buy guitars new, but the most I've ever spent of a guitar is $1400, and I think I've done that twice. In both cases they were guitars I badly wanted, and were good deals. ('75 Tele Deluxe and a Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion III).

I'm not saying I wouldn't ever spend more than that, but there's an elaborate psychological construct that comes into play once guitars get north of $1500 that encumbers my buying process significantly.

It's sort of like why I'd rather go to a reasonably priced restaurant with awesome food than a super pricey fancy one: Expectations. Above a certain price point I start to look at what's not right with something rather than what is. I'm happy to spend an hour smoothing rough fret ends on an otherwise great guitar that cost $600, but if those rough edges are on a $3K guitar it just pisses me off.

I often have the thought that if I were to sell some of the literally dozens of guitars I have in the $500-$1000 range, I could get a few nicer ones, but I'm also kind of attached to guitars that are much better instruments than they should be. Whether they came that way, or got there due to my own diligent efforts doesn't matter, I'm proud of them.

47

Stunners both, that red L-5 CT is gorgeous!

– JCHiggy

Until today the L5, is for me, the guitar that leaves me breathless, both when you admire it and when you play it. Money well spent, I never regretted it. Furthermore, as they age, their value increases.

Paolo.

48

I have a friend that worked in a music store at an early age, and wound up with his own store. The last time I spent time with him was about 10 years ago, and he had a tele from every year since they started building them. He bought them when they were new, so his investment is not even close to the value of them now. I'm not sure if he still has them or not, as he has since retired and may have had to fund his retirement, but impressive for sure.

As a matter of fact, my curiosity is piqued now, so I'll fire off an email to him and ask.

49

My happenstance road trip to French Lick with Cam was a delight in every way. He teased me about a RoundUp at his home and accused me of just wanting to play his CS White Penguin, the knotty pine & the pink. Of course, I fessed up. He was good. Very good. And, he'd just gotten his new Audi. He's missed.

50

I've never spent more than $1,200. Cam let me borrow guitars a couple of times. One was a >$10k custom Strat. It was a beautiful surf boardy thing, but didn't do anything for me as a player. My best player is a partscaster Tele that Josh made for me. It's magical.


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