Playing With Vintage Guitars
Vintage guitars and equipment: are they worth it?
Let’s face it, you can’t get old sounds from new instruments and you can’t get that new sound from an antique. Or can you? In this world of “everything is new again,” we gravitate toward vintage items, no matter what it is, because we are preserving our past. The same holds true for music. The recent insurgence of vinyl record sales is happening because people love that old, static sound that comes when you put a needle and vinyl together. You cannot duplicate that sound with anything new or modern. So when you take guitar lessons in Philadelphia, does it matter what guitar you are learning on?
For specific sounds that you are trying to achieve, yes it does matter. But, for the sake of learning, no it doesn’t. When you decide to pick up the guitar for the first time, or for the first time in a long time, you are trying to decipher the chords and the instrument, get a feel for it and the way your fingers and hands are positioned so that you can make good music at some point. When you finally achieve that, then you can start getting serious about your instrument selection.
Baby boomers, those born between 1946 – 1965, were born in the age of rock and roll and some of the most amazing guitar players emerged from this era. As baby boomers grew older and started earning disposable income, the vintage guitar market started to grow. This generation grew up on the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and want to preserve a piece of their past by owning a guitar that resembles one their guitar hero used. Those who actually play want to actually use these guitars to make their own music. And there is nothing wrong with that.
As a new generation of music lovers emerges, more and more young people are realizing how special and important music from the past actually is. They listen to old records and try to emulate Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen and they want the instruments these rock gods played on to achieve a similar sound.
Some older guitars are easier to find than others. If you are looking to achieve a sound of someone you respect, scour thrift stores and flea markets for older made guitars. Not all older guitars are worth much. As a matter of fact, most older guitars don’t fetch much at all but the sound you get from them is priceless.
Even this generation’s heroes like to go old school once in awhile. On an episode of American Pickers, Dan Auerbach, guitarist and vocalist for the Black Keys, bought a 1958 Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 guitar and two amps from the Pickers for $10,000. He stated that the quality of sound he will get from that guitar just doesn’t compare to the guitars you find today.
When you are beginning guitar lessons in Philadelphia, focus on learning music theory and how to actually play the guitar. Worry about the kind of guitar you are using later. When you are ready to find that perfect guitar for yourself, take your time, figure out your sound and then start shopping!