Miscellaneous Rumbles

Will Vintage Mid Century Guitars Be Around in 4,000 years?

1

The 1950s and '60s seem like a long time ago to many of us, especially if we weren't around then but it's a drop in the bucket in the time continuum. I was thinking about relic guitars, real relics from the mid century rather than ones you make yourself these days. I was thinking what about the relics of the pharos that were found in the great Pyramids and other ancient sites of the world that are thousands of years old. It's hard to speculate where these vintage guitars will be thousands of years from now or even one hundred years from now.

So far vintage mid century guitars are in demand even though most of us find these guitars beyond our paygrade. Will even in 100 years will guitars not be in demand and these vintage guitars won't be desired by people? Maybe a few relics in a museum here and there? Will these guitars even be a thought in a thousand years? Maybe a guitar will be taken out of a 100 year or 1,000 year Time Capsule.

Speculating about this probably won't be very accurate but it's interesting to think about where will these expensive mid century vintage guitars be in 100 or even farther 1,000 years, or even non vintage guitars like my Fender Classic Player '60s Strat. Wonder about my 1965 Gretsch Country Club or my 1966 Mosrite Mark V?

We won't be around for that so who knows.

2

Is this assuming we haven't all killed each other in greed, pride and avarice, and/or finished desecrating and killing this lovely planet, we're privileged to live on, in a rush to gobble up all it's resources to fulfill our rabid materialistic needs.

Just want to set some parameters. I kind of imagine vintage guitars just being some infinitesimally small ashes in the vast pile which is all that remains of humanity.

In the time of the pharaohs humanity's ability to mortally impact it's environment was practically nil. Things have changed considerably.

If we wise up in time maybe people will play these instruments till they fall apart.

3

Maybe your scenario will occur sooner than you think -

4

Well there are these 400 year old violins, so maybe going out that far.

5

in 4000 years? not a chance. whatever guitars haven't been lost to time or crumbled and cracked into matchwood (i.e. the >1% remaining) will be locked behind glass doors in museum cases. no guitar could possibly be playable after that amount of time, and nobody would be able to afford to buy them. and that's even assuming that in 4000 years guitars won't be as superannuated as the viol de gamba is today..

6

IF they survive the flood, fire, meteor crashings, wars, plagues, and anything else the next 4k throws at us, then I'm sure some pristine examples will be found in Nicholas Cage's tomb in New Orleans

9

Anybody who owns an Ovation guitar knows they will still be around 4,000 years from now. Those things are built like tanks. Actually, to be more correct, tanks are built like Ovation guitars.

10

Is this assuming we haven't all killed each other in greed, pride and avarice, and/or finished desecrating and killing this lovely planet, we're privileged to live on, in a rush to gobble up all it's resources to fulfill our rabid materialistic needs.

Just want to set some parameters. I kind of imagine vintage guitars just being some infinitesimally small ashes in the vast pile which is all that remains of humanity.

In the time of the pharaohs humanity's ability to mortally impact it's environment was practically nil. Things have changed considerably.

If we wise up in time maybe people will play these instruments till they fall apart.

– Toxophilite

Typical snowflake response.

11

Have a beer, guys. It's getting old.

12

Snowflake response? Really? Maybe a Canadian response. As a fellow hoser I am inclined to agree with Toxophile on that.

13

If the historical record survives, if the data already on the internet survives - which means if it's constantly moved to whatever new storage media and access protocols evolve - I think interest in the music made with electric guitars will extend far into the future.

Assuming an unbroken continuum of access to the media (ie, text records, audio recordings, images, video), there's no reason for the playing and manufacture of electric guitars (or synthesizers, electro-mechanical keyboards, etc) to cease entirely. The guitar itself will adapt, evolve, and mutate (while amplification and effects will change in ways we can't imagine) but there will still be those who want to play the old stuff - or guitars like the old stuff - in ways that replicate now-traditional electric guitar styles.

Such areas of interest will almost certainly become more and more academic, more concentrated in small demographic niches.

I'm extrapolating these conclusions from our own culture's interest (that is, the interest of small demographic niches within our culture) in the art and history of the ancient world. If we had audio recordings of the music of the ancient Sumerians, you can bet someone would be very very interested, and would try to bring it - and its instruments - back to life.

This doesn't mean that guitars built in the 20th (or 21st) century will remain viable as playable instruments in 4,000 years. I know we find remains of the musical instruments of the ancients, but I don't think we've found playable harps and psalteries. String tension bellies the tops and bows the necks of acoustic guitars built in the last 60 years. Concert harps made of wood self-destruct over similar periods of time.

Even under attentive protocols of preservation, in climate-controlled, light-regulated museum environments, with ongoing maintenance as required, I have a hard time imagining an electric hollowbody archtop surviving as a playable instrument for four millennia.

But maybe. I'm sure the art of preservation advances along with the rest of technology. Maybe if you relaxed string tension during extended periods of rest, closely monitored and maintained relative humidity, kept an instrument in a completely dust-free (and probably usually dark) environment, you could pull it off.

Solidbody slab guitars, and guitars made of alternative materials (aluminum, carbon fibre, acrylic) should be hardier and require less obsessive curation to preserve. Ovations, though, aren't made entirely of plastic, and over time also fold up. (Celebrities, in my experience, much faster.) And they don't count anyway, because they aren't really musical instruments.

On a shorter scale, will some prized mid-20th-century electric guitars last 400-500 years? With attentive preservation, I'd think so.

But obviously not if civilization collapses and all these artifacts are buried in ruins.

And if the recorded media is lost or becomes inaccessible - if the internet basket into which we're hurrying to put all our eggs goes dark - interest in any pop-musical instrumental artifacts which are found by a newly primitive or rebuilding human race, though it may be avid interest, will be fragmentary and frustrated.

They could find the instruments but not know how they're strung or tuned - nor what kind of music the forerunners played on them. If technology were utterly lost, I would think the notion of electrical amplification would be a long time in coming back. Without it, they could have no idea whatever about how the instruments actually sounded in use. What are these boxes with wires and funny glass bottles for? (I don't know if any speaker cone could last hundreds of years.)

And pedals? What, in the name of all the gods, could have been the use of all these little boxes with holes and round things on them, and wafers with curious incrustations inside them? What curious creatures the forerunners must have been, to waste their time and godlike powers of making on such things.

Amps and pedals might as well be magic.

14

I can't remember what all I did yesterday, and will fotget what I planned for tonight.

4000 years from now? Sure, that'll happen! Lol

15

Like cockroaches, Telecasters will still be around.

16

Maybe your scenario will occur sooner than you think -

– ThePolecats

I forgot about this song, Hilarious!!

17

I'm a professional within the scientific community. Let's put it this way. You're gonna need a little more than a neck reset and new binding job...

19

If any guitars do survive, I expect the "poly vs. lacquer" debate will still be going on.

20

If any guitars do survive, I expect the "poly vs. lacquer" debate will still be going on.

I'm guessing time will have decided in favor of poly.

21

I'm guessing time will have decided in favor of poly. - Proteus

While polyurethane is more resistant to the Gamma radiation that might possibly allow future guitarists to take advantage of some extra fingers, I think you may underestimate intransigent nature of that debate.

22

You're probably right. I was just hoping that perhaps only selected parts of the historical record would be lost, and that would be among them.

23
Ovations, though, aren't made entirely of plastic, and over time also fold up. And they don't count anyway, because they aren't really musical instruments.

Now that was funny.

(And for once someone other than me actually posted a decent joke around here. Thanks.)

24

You're probably right. I was just hoping that perhaps only selected parts of the historical record would be lost, and that would be among them. - Proteus

I believe it was the eminent American philosopher George Santayana who said: "Aw geez, not this crap again".

(As philosophies go, it was a work in progress.)

25

Who knows what they'll even make of them?


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