The 1979 Vintage Guitar Market: Its Instruments, Dealers, And Collectors

Sunburst Les Paul, mint, $4500. Maple-neck Strats, $1000 and up. Flying V’s slashed to $3300; cash only. Will trade Explorer for late-model Oldsmobile.

One thing that all the old guitars in this hypothetical advertisement have in common is that they used to list for about $250. What’s going on? Why does someone trade in an armload of new guitars for a single old one? Why do some Les Pauls have virtually no pure “collector’s value” while others are worth 20 times their original price? Are old instruments really better? Which ones? Why, and why not? Is the dusty old guitar under your bed a potential gold mine, or just a dusty old guitar? This article will answer some of these questions, present opinions on others, and examine the interactions of buyers and sellers, instruments and prices, fads and trends…

Shown in the following pictures:

– Larry Henrikson brought hundreds of guitars to the Dallas show: here’s one corner of his exhibit.

– Sunburst Les Paul Standard; note tiger striping.

– 1934 Martin 000-45

– D’Angelico Excel arch-top acoustic

– Bart Wittrock (L) and Dave Wintz represented Houston’s Rockin’ Robin at the Dallas Guitar Show.

– Gene Witte’s Danelectro Longhorn bass features concentric tone and volume knobs

– SG / Les Paul Standard, circa 1960

– 1958 Gibson Flying V

– 1924 Gibson L-5 arch-top steel-string

– Gibson’s first Les Paul, the 1952 gold-top

– Ed Seelig’s Style 2 National tri-plate (with three resonating sound cones) from the early ’30s.

– 1955 Fender Precision Bass

1979 Vintage Guitar Market 16-Page Article available at

1988 Frets Magazine: Guitar Collectors Issue – The Martin Dreadnought Story

Guitar Collectors Issue – Cover Story: The Martin Dreadnought Story; Features: Martin and the Dreadnoughts; Dreadnoughts in Transition; 50 Years of full-bodied guitars in full color; Dawn of the Dreadnought; Vintage Guitar dealers rate collectible dreadnoughts model by model; Frets Famous Festival Guide; Great Festivals of the past; Workshops: Flatpicking ideas can be simple or complex, you choose!; more

1988 May Frets Guitar Magazine Back-Issue available at

1999 Flatpicking Guitar – John Moore

Features: John Moore; David Lege; Henderson Guitars; Jam Tunes – “Dry and Dusty”; Mary Gibbons; Charles Sawtelle Tribute; By Request – James Alan Shelton’s “Road to Coeburn”; Guitar Highlight – The Martin D-28 LSV; Music Transcription / TAB: Don’t Try This At Home, Cherokee Shuffle, Golden Rocket, It Doesn’t Matter Anymore, Blue Ridge Mountain Blues, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, Dry And Dusty, Gold Watch and Chain, Road to Coeburn, Flatpicking Bach – J.S. Bach Gigue from Partita #2; Bill Cheatum; more

1999 May/June Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Back-Issue available at

1998 Flatpicking Guitar – Clarence White, a flatpicker’s pilgrimage

Features: Clarence White; Tut Taylor; Martin Guitars part 2 (1980-present); John Tindel; Gary Gordon; Confessions of a Clarence Collector; Totte Bergstrom and the Acoustic String Bender; Music Transcription / TAB: Randy Lynn Rag, I Don’t Remember, Clarence White Rhythm guitar break to Hawaii Sunset, Theme Time, Find My Way Back To My Heart, The Crawdad Song, A Fool Such As I, Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss, Black Eyed Susie, Flee as a Bird; more

1998 July/August Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Back-Issue available at

1998 The Blue and Lonesome Guitar Style of Larry Sparks

Contents: Features: The Blue and Lonesome Guitar Style of Larry Sparks; Flatpick Profile: Rich Starkey; Martin Guitars part 1 (1833-1980); Highlight on the Martin D-18; Columnist Profile: Dix Bruce; Masters of Rhythm Guitar: Jamie Clifton; Exploring Bluegrass Guitar – 50 ways to kick off “Salt Creek”; Music Transcription / TAB: Carroll County Blues, Danny Boy, Gold Rush, Luke’s Rainbow, Little Rock Getaway, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Letter From My Darling, Little Maggie, What a Friend We Have In Jesus, Shenandoah Valley Breakdown, Huggin’ The Rail, Fred Finn’s Reel; more

1998 May/June Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Back-Issue available at

1968 Model Martin D-45 Guitar

Bluegrass Unlimited, Vol. 3, No. 2, August 1968

Cover: Nancy Duffey holding the new Martin D-45 guitar

Contents: Martin D-45 – 1968 Model; Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival; Bill Clifton & the Dixie Mountain Boys -a discography; The Maggie Valley Boys; Record Reviews; Letters; Bluegrass Unlimited Songbook; Bluegrass in the clubs; Bluegrass on the air; Classified ads; Personal Appearance Calendar; more

1968 August Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine Back-Issue available at

1969 Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine – Charlie Monroe

Bluegrass Unlimited, Vol. 3, No. 11, May 1969

Cover: Charlie Monroe at Brown County Jamboree, Bean Blossom, Indiana

Contents: The commercial recordings of Charlie Monroe; An interview with Don McHan; A Tour of the Martin Factory, Nazareth Pennsylvania; Festival Reports; Earl Taylor & The Stoney Mountain Boys; Record Reviews; Letters; Bluegrass Unlimited Songbook; Bluegrass in the clubs; Bluegrass on the air; Classified Ads; Personal Appearance Calendar; more

1969 May Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine Back-Issue available at

Martin D-45 Guitar – the Rolls-Royce of guitars

Bluegrass Unlimited, Vol. 4, No. 9, March 1970

Cover: Martin D-45 Guitar

Contents: The Martin D-45 Guitar – yesterday and today; Old South Bluegrass Festival; Missouri area Bluegrass committee; The 10 Commandments of Bluegrass Music; Record Reviews; Bluegrass Unlimited Songbook; more

1970 March Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine Back-Issue available at

1993 Lives and lessons of the Guitar Player’s Players

Features: Otis Rush; Jeff Beck; James Burton; Ry Cooder; Richard Thompson; Ritchie Blackmore; Acoustic Shootout – in search of the best solid-top for under a grand – 16 guitars rated – Alvarez Timber Ridge Silver Anniversary, Alvarez-Yairi DY70, Charvel 125S-NAT, Fender 1100-SX, Gibson Gospel, Guild D6-S NT, Martin D-1, Ovation Standard Balladeer, Saga Blue Ridge BR-OS, Seagull S6, Sigma SDR-41, Takamine N-10 Natural Series, Taylor 410, Vantage VS-50S, Washburn WD-40S, Yamaha LD-10; Bern Nix; Link Wray -the true godfather of grunge; more

1993 November Guitar Player Magazine Back-Issue available at

1971 Guitar Player Magazine Special Guitar Issue

Contents: Leo Fender – pioneer of the solidbody; Klaus Roder – West German luthier; Pros on Axes -survey; Woods -a dialogue with Richard Schneider and Fred Gerlach; The Martin Factory -take a tour; Guitar Comparison Charts: Acoustic Steel String, Acoustic Nylon String, Acoustic/Electric, Solidbody Electric, 12-String, Steel Guitar, Bass Guitar; more

1971 September Guitar Player Magazine Back-Issue available at

1990 Adrian Belew Goes Mainstream (Sort of)

Cover: Adrian Belew

Contents: Adrian Belew Goes Mainstream (Sort of); Recreating an Acoustic Classic – Schoenberg reincarnates one of Martin’s rarest and most expensive 1930’s steel-strings, the OM-45 Deluxe; Don Everly; Robert Johnson Revisited; Oscar Cartaya; Lee Ritenour, Jazz Guitarist; more

1990 September Guitar Player Magazine Back-Issue available at