I am a guitar player so it goes without saying that I love guitars. I have 14 guitars and I would still like to have more. It’s really hard to pick just one favorite because they all have certain things they do well and each guitar comes with its own special vibe.
I guess that’s one reason why people get so into guitar collecting. Guitars really are unique and even two guitars of the same model have differences. There’s enough of a human, hand-made element in guitar making that the instruments can really become individual. Another thing that makes guitar collecting so attractive is the fact that guitar manufacturers are starting to put out limited edition, collectible guitars. Guitar collecting has become very popular because of the investment potential. I think it’s kind of sad really that there are people who don’t even know how to play the insrtument who speculate and invest in guitars simply because of the return on investment potential. As a musician I know the true joy that comes from playing the instrument. I actually have some collectible, limited edition guitars but I just can’t keep my hands off them! I love to play too much to let a beautiful instrument sit in its case.
My most collectible guitar is my Fender 50th Anniversary American Deluxe Stratocaster. It’s a modern marvel of a Stratocaster with it’s noiseless pickups and beautifully milled neck. I guess I should have just left it in its case with all the tags still attached but I just couldn’t do it. I had to play it! I loved it so much that I bought a Fender American Deluxe Ash Stratocaster with an Aged Cherry Sunburst finish and a Maple Fretboard to use as my main stage guitar.
I felt kind of guilty using my 50th Anniversary Strat onstage where my guitars tend to get a bit more of beating than at home. So the American Deluxe Ash Strat fits the bill live, plays like a dream and sounds fantastic!
I always take at least 2 guitars to gigs so if I have problems with one I always have a backup. I use both the guitars that I take at the gigs just because I like playing multiple guitars. It’s fun and it changes the look of the band a little bit when I strap on a different looking guitar. So I usually take one of my Stratocasters (I have 4) and one of my Gibson Les Paul guitars. I have a Gibson Les Paul Custom and a Gibson Les Paul BFG and they both sound radically different from each other. The Les Paul Custom has a smoother, refined sound and the Les Paul BFG basically is a fire-breather.
The Les Paul BFG is unique in the Gibson Les Paul line in the fact that it has a P-90 pickup in the neck position. It gives the guitar some great tonal variation.
I’ll talk more about each of my guitars in future posts. For now I want to get back to guitar collecting. I buy my guitars mainly for their sound and their technical abilities. Those two things go hand in hand. How a guitar is built electronically and physically have a huge effect on the sound. I am always trying to find unique sounds and versatility in all my instruments. That’s one of the reasons I got the Les Paul BFG. It has a unique sound and a lot of versatility for a Les Paul. Because of how it’s built, it has an excellent chance of becoming a collectible production model Les Paul. There’s never been a production Les Paul like it and it’s the first of its kind, both of these facts increase it’s collectibility. Gibson has now started releasing specific collectible versions of the Les Paul BFG. They are the same guitar with a different paint job, but basically the same guitar as the original Les Paul BFG. They just cost more and will be made in more limited numbers. You can check the collectible BFG’s out here:
Gibson Limited Edition Les Paul BFG Electric Guitar Ink
Because I like guitars that are built with new designs and built to create a wide palette of sounds there’s a good chance that some of them will become collectible. I’m not an investor but I do like the more unique instruments. Maybe someday my collection will bring a return on the investment but I’m certainly not planning on it. I play my guitars, so they have the normal dings and wear that are associated with player guitars. That’s fine with me because the ultimate return on investment for me as a player is the sheer joy I get out of playing them.
The bottom line is it’s all about marketing. How a guitar is marketed will really affect it’s collectibility as well. The Fender 50th Anniversary American Deluxe Stratocaster was marketed as a collectible right off the bat. So a good rule of thumb in guitar collecting is to watch how they are marketed. The name Mary Kaye will always be associated with the white Strat with gold hardware that Fender marketed with her in the 50’s and it’s one of the most collectible guitars in history.
If you are serious about collecting as an investment then I suggest you check out Gibsons Custom Shop Guitars. They’re pretty much guaranteed to at least hold their value and will most likely increase in value as the years go by. Just don’t play it if you’re planning on making money on it!