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Buying a pre-CBS

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by johnso52, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. johnso52

    johnso52 New Member!

    Jan 2, 2018
    Well. The wife wants me to sell my Harley, but the deal is I can use the $ toward whatever I want. So that's about $13K.

    So... My question is if you all had $13K what would you buy? One pre-CBS or two post-CBS? Reissue? Maybe a Les Paul? Sorry I know that might be a curse word here :) But I currently own a strat and LP. But for some reason just love playing a strat a little more.

    Not even sure if $13K can touch a pre-CBS, maybe early 60's?

    Just wanting to use the money wisely, tired of the stock market, looking for this to be an investment and have a little fun too! So yes one day I'll have to sell it :( hoping to make a profit. I'm 39 so sell down the road when I can't play anymore.

    Thank you for your suggestions/thoughts! Rock on.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  2. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    Guitars are not really the best investments. No guarantee that the current craze for vintage instruments will continue and they are not as liquid as a stock, bond or other financial instrument. I would never look to buy a guitar for investment purposes. I would say buy the gear you want to play but if you need future returns then invest the money in a proven investment.
    Yves, Ebidis, elliotj26 and 4 others like this.
  3. Mipstoo

    Mipstoo Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 18, 2013
    Rockingham Palace
    Like said, don't buy as an investment. Also, $13k is on the low side, so you might be looking at a refin which is not an investment at all but is as good as an all original for playing, or maybe a transition era '64-'65.
    A good place to start at is Gary's Classic Guitars in Loveland, Ohio. His prices are high but maybe there is room to negotiate.
    Have a look on Reverb
  4. Guy Named Sue

    Guy Named Sue Beer me up Scotty Strat-Talk Supporter

    Feb 11, 2015
    Terra Incognito
    For that kind of money you can get a clean 64/65 strat or an early model that's player grade meaning refret, refinish, some exchanged electronics or so etc

    None of those are anything Worthy to invest money into. If you want a good playable guitar that holds its value in the future I'd look into the reissue models Fender makes today, they are very vintage correct. If you like early 50s spec you might want to look for a 1954 reissue that Fender made in 2014 they are down to the smallest detail correct, and I believe they will hold their value very good in the future.

    If you're more picky and can't find anything that fits your specifications you might want to look for Fender Custom Shop, but the waiting list is long.

    How long have you been playing guitar and how skilled are you? If you don't mind me asking. Welcome to the forum btw!
    BALIstic, Yves, simoncroft and 2 others like this.
  5. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Sheffield, UK
    $13k for an old guitar? You could get a new one for that. :p

    Investing in vintage guitars is a mugs game. A chap I know staked his pension pot on an old Strat just before the bubble burst, he's now much poorer and stuck with a guitar he can't afford to sell.
    Yves, Ebidis, mad axe man and 5 others like this.
  6. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir WBLV Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 1, 2013
    northeastern us
    imo, elite guitars are like elite cars; they are basically toys, not investments. :)

    If i was looking for a really nice Strat and had that kind of $ to spend,
    i'd find a new or used Fender Custom Shop model with the specs i wanted,
    all the case candy, and a COA from a reputable dealer and not even worry about
    finding something vintage as an investment.
    For about $3K, you can find a great instrument that plays well, has an
    impeccable provenance, and will probably be worth very close to what
    you have paid for it quite a few years down the line.
    And then you will still have $10K or so to 'invest' in something else.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  7. fezz parka

    fezz parka Duke of DILLIGAF Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    Right behind you...
    If you have to have an old one, buy a refin. You'll spend anywhere from 4k to 9k depending on the year.

    If it was me, I'd get a CS from my birth year and call it a day.
  8. StoogeSurfer

    StoogeSurfer Strat-O-Master

    Jan 13, 2010
    Spend $2500 on a nice CS vintage reissue, and invest the rest in something not bitcoin.
    Nate D, simoncroft and dogletnoir like this.
  9. Colnago1

    Colnago1 Strat-Talker

    Sep 2, 2014
    Where am I?
    4 maybe 5 CS guitars this way comes.
    Paperback Rocker and BALIstic like this.
  10. crashbelt

    crashbelt Strat-Talker

    Feb 27, 2012
    fattboyzz likes this.
  11. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 19, 2014
    Up a lazy river
    You can get close to something nice for sure:

    Our refinished friends will be less.

    I had $10-12 cash to spend on a guitar a few years back, having sold some instruments that were gathering dust. I bought a preCBS strat because I'd always wanted one - period. Not as an investment, not because it was better than a custom shop (or 3 custom shops).

    Also because I didn't need it to be a mint original finish, hence the price.

    Thing is, if you've always wanted one, sure you can buy reissues, custom shop versions....I did that for 20 years. But the preCBS think always gnawed away at me, and eventually I bit the bullet. Sold a bunch of stuff and bought a nice L series.

    No, it's not worlds better than the Custom Shop stuff, nice reissues, but it makes me feel like a kid again. And as the old body-aging machine starts accelerating here, I need all the "kid again" moments I can grab!!
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  12. Bluestrat83

    Bluestrat83 Strat-O-Master

    Jan 17, 2016
    +1 on getting one good CS strat or a couple of avri’s (one rw one maple)
  13. sikoniko

    sikoniko Strat-O-Master

    You should expand your options to include up to ‘69. You could get a sweet clean ‘69 for under 10k.

    If your patient, I bet you could find a lam board pre-cbs for your number. Cash offers will be easy to make a deal at a show.

    If you want slab, you might find one for your number, but most likely a refin will be in the cards.

    The take away is that you have options.
  14. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    As a guy who loves guitars, but also likes to make a little money from assets, the best piece of advice I can give you is this: never buy anything you wouldn't be happy to own long-term. All commodity prices fluctuate.

    My second piece of advice would be: never invest in anything you don't fully understand. There are fakes and snakes out there.

    $13k isn't enough to make you a property tycoon, but it's way too much money to lose. If you want to sink it in guitar(s) that make you happy, and you hope will grow in value, go ahead. But research, research, and then do more research!

    Step One in the process of selling at a profit is buying well. I'm sensing there's a good chance you would take the money and spend it with a dealer, thinking the guitar you take home is going to be a 'nest egg'.

    Research is free on the internet. Dollars are worth Dollars until you spend them. After that, what you buy is worth whatever someone else is prepared to pay you for it.

    Good luck! :thumb:
    CephasG, Nate D, dogletnoir and 4 others like this.
  15. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 19, 2014
    Up a lazy river
    I've tended to do pretty well - buying and selling at the right times, having a good eye for a deal. Generally the instruments I've held onto for 15+ years have done me well.

    When you think of how a new car depreciates - easily 10K+ over 10 or so years....In fact I think my L series and my late model Corolla cost the same down to the dollar. How do you think the car and the strat fared in the past 4-5 years? I think I was offered a 1.5K trade last time I inquired - the car that is :D

    I remember as young men, my friends would buy $4000 cars. I'd buy a $2000 car and a guitar. Still got a few of those guitars!
    BALIstic and Nate D like this.
  16. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    It's posts like this one (and several others too) that finally convinced me that aspiring to own a pre-CBS Fender one day was an unwise thing to do. I feel happier now I've given up on that. It wouldn't make me play any better & I already have some nice guitars.
    vjf62, guitarman1984, Yves and 2 others like this.
  17. Mipstoo

    Mipstoo Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 18, 2013
    Rockingham Palace
    That's because everybody is always fixed on the value of the instrument, while the most important factor should be the "magic" of the instrument. And the "magic" that I like to call it, can happen with any guitar from any year.

    I'm into vintage guitars, I admit it. But not for the sake of investing but for the sake of sentiment and how they make me feel, how they smell, the materials used and my heroes that played similar guitars from the same years.

    I'm happy that I found some guitars this old that are "magic" to me, but a lot of guitars tried were merely mediocre and some were even dogs...

    I bought a lot, traded a lot and kept what I consider as "magic" to me, this will not necessarily mean it's "magic" to everyone. I made some money and lost some money, but I never bought at unreasonable prices and always was well-informed.

    Lastly, let's face it, the good deals aren't being done with vintage dealers, you pay premium because they are supposed to know their $%!t and you shouldn't have to worry about what you're buying. I recommend the OP to get over to Gary's but only to be able to compare and buy for his long-time pleasure. If he's looking for a quick win, this is not the way to go and I would strongly advise against it.

    It's a shame that you were convinced to give up on a dream...
    Yves, Bazz Jass, slowerhand and 3 others like this.
  18. DeadCircuits

    DeadCircuits Strat-Talker

    Aug 25, 2016
    If you want a pre CBS Fender for your own sake because you'd love to own one then go for it.

    Don't tell yourself its an investment though, who knows what the market for vintage Fenders will be like in 5 years, let alone 20. It could be worth more than you paid but it could equally be worth less. If investment is what you are after I'd buy a reissue and put the rest towards something else.
    Mipstoo and crashbelt like this.
  19. RaySachs

    RaySachs Strat-O-Master Silver Member

    Jun 25, 2017
    Philly area
    If you’re looking to spend the money on a pure indulgence, buy whatever you want and enjoy it. If you’re looking at an “investment”, the key is to buy low with a reasonable expectation you can sell high later. I don’t think a true vintage instrument is a place to buy low these days. Maybe they’ll keep going up, so in 20-30 years you can sell for some level of profit. Or maybe at some point the market will wake up and realize that Carly was right - these are the good old days and folks are making better guitars today than they ever have and it’s silly to spend huge $$$ on vintage guitars that may be “as good” but not better than the best of current production. Or maybe the world economy struggles under the weight of overpopulation and environmental degradation and the market for luxury items like vintage guitars just isn’t there anymore. In any case, if you’re looking for an investment, there are ways to do a lot better than in vintage guitars.

    So scratch that itch if you can afford to indulge, but if you wanna “invest”, I’d spend $3,000 on a really friggin nice guitar and amp and put $10,000 into an actual investment vehicle.
  20. crashbelt

    crashbelt Strat-Talker

    Feb 27, 2012
    I'm totally with the last 3 posts. I love having a few vintage Fenders and Gibsons and I'm lucky enough to have been able to afford them and take the hit on value if I have to.

    And I gig them too making sensible judgements about which gigs and which guitars.