Miscellaneous Rumbles

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


I believe it was the imminent American philosopher George Santayana who said: "Aw geez, not this crap again". As philosophies go, it was a work in progress.

And yet it perfectly sums up the whole of everything everywhere everytime. As a philosophy, it didn't really need more work.

Of course, it wouldn't make a very long speech at a symposium, and the organizers might not even give the philosopher who expounded it a stipend or free lunch at the buffet.


Who knows what they'll even make of them?

That's a mighty funny bit there, Afire, and as an example, probably not terribly far off what we think we know of the past.

At a Renaissance festival, ANY era of the past - from anywhere in the world - is likely to be represented by ad hoc costumers. Because if it happened before we were born, it's ancient history, and it's all the same, right?

We hope academia - "professional" historians - at least keep the dates and places straight for which we have documentation. But the winners write history, legend has a way of conflating with fact, and new discoveries continually come to light. The past keeps changing, and even the pros must be inescapably wrong about much.


Yes. And won't you be the coolest taking one to the 4012 Roundup in Nashville!


...and no one will give a damn about the 1950s Strats that dudes shelled out bigtime for in the 1990s.


Reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode where three lads robbed a bank of gold bars. They found a cave in the desert and put themselves in suspended animation. When they awoke in the future they predicted the gold would be worth an astronomical amount. Only hitch was humans had figured out how to make gold from recycled laundry detergent. They were SOL! I predict the same will happen with vintage guitars. Some snot nosed kid will recreate them in a 3d printer and nobody will be able to tell the difference. They will even have cloaned Brian Setzer’s sweat, just for a little added panache!


Applying this question could make for an interesting discussion if the target year was the end of this century where predicting is more practical. It's enough of a distance in the future to think of what will happen then to guitars we treasure now that are 70-odd years old and how they will stand up when they're double that age. IMO, going to even 1000 years let alone 4000 has absolutely no justification or viability that's worthy of even attempting to open a discussion.

4000 years?.....akin to trying to discuss what would be found in a visit to a distant galaxy.



– jps1965

but, don't forget to bring a towel


Windsordave, I’m the original poster and I don’t mind us changing gears here, or in this case years.

Let’s speculate on how the demand and the existence of these vintage guitars by the end of the century.


That's fine by me. I made the comment I did because I for one, simply can't comprehend that far into the future., not that I can predict what will be the culture or physical state of guitars in 2100 either! ......none of us can, but I think we're within grasp of 2100.

I also think we may give consideration to 2 separate categories; vintage Gretsch (up to '79) and the reissues beginning in '89, based on build criteria. The issue of binding rot of the [predominately] mid '60's to '72 and neck issues of the later '50's. These two groups of guitars I believe will have had to, for the most part, had restoration work performed to make it to 2100. The reissues haven't seemed to have had build issues crop up [yet] so they may be good to go to the year 2100

For me, I believe the issue by 2100 may well be more whether the guitar as we know it today, remains a part of whatever form popular, not the classics, music takes by then. For all we know it may well follow the path of the slide rule and become obsolete. Played by some for sure but not of the importance in the culture and development of popular music. I think the world of jazz will remain a mainstay and played as it is today so the guitar should still be an integral part of that arm of music forms by 2100.

For that matter, music may not play an important role much in culture in general by 2100. Given scientific advances, flying solo to where you want to get to may be commonplace, and other things that may seem outrageous to some today, displacing music possibly, or knocking it down in importance. Remember, after TV was commonplace, two inventions have drastically changed our culture are computers/internet and the cell phone. Those technologies aren't going to rest on their laurels so who knows where that will take us in 80 years, given how far they've come in the past 20


Certain authors have proved to have the ability to see into the future. I don't know of anyone writing specifically about electric guitars, but the French author Virginie Despentes imagines a fate for popular music from the end of the 20th century in her recent trilogy about the ex-record shop owner Vernon Subutex. I read these books last year, as they appeared in paperback. I can't remember now how far into the future they look, which happens in the very last part of the third book, but I'd say it's something like a couple of hundred years.

Anyway, the first book starts with poor old Vernon seeing his business model being overturned by modern ways of consuming music and going bankrupt. This leads to him ending up on the street and experiencing Paris from a new perspective. Vernon turns out to be a likeable chap but totally inadept at sorting his life out. What he has, through his years of selling records, is a deep knowledge of pop music and a phenomenal talent for choosing music that turn people on and get them dancing. Still homeless, he thus ends up as some sort of mythical DJ with supernatural powers for a group of people who arrange rave parties in different places around France. He is himself not a driving force behind any of this, his role is merely an observer of things around him as he gets into different situations where the circumstances lead him.

I'll get to the future in a moment, I just want to point out that I'm not going to spoil much for anyone who whishes to read these books. The very last part about the future is a very small part of it all. What these books primarily do is looking at society in our time. With reference to this work, the author has even been called a Balzac for our times.

Ok, so the story ends far, far away in the future. At this point, the group around the rave parties has evolved into some sort of strange religious sect. They worship rock and pop and keep their faith alive for future generations despite the contempt, maybe even persecution from the world around them (I can't remember exactly, it was three long novels in French and I didn't pay attention to all the details - to be honest the story was a little bit too much for my taste, though interesting in parts).

So to conclude, given the the role music has played for many people who grew up in times when pop and rock was the thing that probably mattered most to them, at least for some important years, this might not be a totally unprobable prediction. Even if society as a whole moves on to other things, even if western society collapses or if the world is taken over by aliens from outer space, there still might be a small group of people who will unite to ensure that, my my, hey hey, rock'n roll is here to stay. And electric guitars must be a part of such a movement. And amps and pedals. Don't you think?


Where is Hari Seldon when you need him?


Ha! I’m rereading the Foundation series right now!


Ha! I’m rereading the Foundation series right now!

– GaryE

Good stuff! Psychorockohistory


I’m pretty sure amps and pedal really are magic.


I would predict that there won't be any wild examples, only museum pieces. If Guitars rot, fall apart, get beat up, or get pampered, they will still just fall apart over the eons. If you can't get a Gretsch to not rot after 20 yrs.... 4000 seems a stretch...

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