Most young people couldn't afford Strats in the 60's?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by mikej89, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. mikej89

    mikej89 Senior Stratmaster

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    As someone born in the late 80's, looking back with rose colored glasses you'd think young musicians in the 50's, 60's, and 70's had it made! Everyone had a pre-CBS Fender guitar with a pre-CBS fender amp! But from what I've heard that wasn't the case at all, they were very expensive back then and you had whatever junk guitar you could get your hands on plus whatever amp (if any). What are your experiences from that era?
     
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  2. henderman

    henderman Dr. Stratster

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    a strat was over 200 bux in the 50's and a coke was a nickel so almost no one could buy a good guitar.
     
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  3. The Strat Dude

    The Strat Dude Posy rules!

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    I couldn't afford one in the 80s either
     
  4. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    Starter guitars in 70s cost what you can get an epi or squier for now, and were nearly unplayable.
     
  5. mikej89

    mikej89 Senior Stratmaster

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    Did anyone ever see a pre-CBS Strat or Tele at a pawn shop in the 80's? I mean, how much would it be $300?
     
  6. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Senior Stratmaster

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    It took me most of a year to save up the $189 for my 64 Mustang. The Tele was cheaper at $185, and the Strat was right at $370. Both the Jaguar and Jazzmaster were pushing $400. Just as a point of reference, the LP Custon was $325 and the Gretsch Country Gent was $500. My amp during the early 60's was the Silvertone Twin Twelve ($125).
    If you were playing in a band, it took a lot of gigs, and more will power, to save that kind of cash.
     
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  7. sgarnett

    sgarnett Senior Stratmaster

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    This ^^^
     
  8. mikej89

    mikej89 Senior Stratmaster

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    Wait, a '64 Strat cost twice as much as a Tele? Why would that be?
     
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  9. TomH8

    TomH8 Senior Stratmaster

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    And the LP Custom must have been used unless he’s talking about an SG Custom
     
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  10. JamesE

    JamesE Strat-O-Master

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    I went to the grammar (high) school in 1967. I can clearly remember one line from a conversation with an 18-year-old who was looking for a temporary job in a factory. The pay was 20 pounds per week. He said, "That's a thousand pounds a year - that's reasonable."

    I've got a feeling that a Strat cost 250 pounds at the time - there must be some "Dallas" catalogues around to check. If so, you're looking at 3 months' wages. In today's money, for someone on Minimum Wage, (6.45 per hour for an 18-year-old), working 40 hours per week would earn 13,000 per year. The guitar would cost 3,225 pounds in comparison.

    Is it any wonder there weren't thousands of schoolkids playing Strats?

    For many years I've accepted this story:
    The colour TV arrived in Britain in 1967, and cost 500 pounds - the same price as a Mini.
    Can anybody corroborate this?
     
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  11. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

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    Right! Because of that, for my first guitar I saved up and spent $300 on a used '76 strat in 1977. It was money well spent, because I still have that beloved guitar.

    My parents grew up in the depression, and taught me that if you're going to spend money, spend it on something of high quality. Otherwise keep it in the bank or the cookie jar, or whatever.
     
  12. Percy

    Percy Most Honored Senior Member

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    My Uncle was a heavy duty mechanic and played weekends to purchase his guitars and amps
    59 Strat and other instuments
     
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  13. Ted J

    Ted J Strat-Talker

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    My first guitar (apart from a home made one ) was a Rosetti Airstream II, it was Strat shaped but had a trem similar to a fender Jag, that was coupled with a Watkins Dominator amp (17 watts all valve), then I part exchanged that for a 1963 Daphne blue Strat (which cost then £208/12/6d) The guy at a local record store imported it , as he also imported rare records from the USA and he gave me a better part exchange than the major music shops were offering
    The Watkins was eventually traded for a Selmer Treble n bass 50 head and a 2x12 cab (the innards of these amps were clones of Fender Bassmans
    I heard a Fender Bassman head was coming into one of the music shops (we knew one of the lads who worked there ), so swapped to that (plus £15 ) and yes, a Mini was about that price

    In the early eighties, I saw an old CBS Strat in a music shop along with a Jaguar for £60 apiece, That was the Les Paul/Superstrat era in the UK)
     
  14. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Adjusting for inflation, my '78 Strat with HSC was about $400 more than a current American Pro.
    Adjusting for inflation, my '78 Strat with HSC is about even with the current market for a '78 Strat.
     
  15. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    In 1957 the median household income in the USA was $4700 and a strat was $264 so about 5 to 6%

    the current medium (2018) household income is $63000 and an AM pro is $1500 bucks give or take so about 2.5%.

    so in effect standard AM strats are half the price they were in the late 50’s at purchase power parity.
     
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  16. CigBurn

    CigBurn Total Hack

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    My first strat in the 70's was a older used one, pulled from a rack of trade in guitars at B-sharp in Minneapolis. Cost about 2/3 what one of the new ones cost and no case. They did give me a new set of strings though. walking out of there with that thing, I felt like king of the world. I honestly can't remember the exact price, but I think it was about $180. I do know I went in with $200 so it couldn't have been more than that.

    Back then I don't think I knew anyone with more than one electric. Most had an acoustic laying around too though.
     
  17. Stratwrangler

    Stratwrangler Senior Stratmaster

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    If your over 50 yrs old in the uk pre CBS have never been affordable guitars unless they were a bit rough and messed with. Now forget about it ,less and less players strats left to find most have been restored and put in the 10-15k mark if not more.
    Even new they were the equivalent of 2 months wages for most people . A serious investment even then.
    My old man picked his 59 strat up in 67 for £110 from a guy in the fruit and veg stall at the local market who let him take it for a week to decide (people could be more trusting then I guess) it had hardly any of its sonic blue finish left even then so was going cheap ish but dad still had to borrow the money from his dad and pay him back over two months , I think he was earning about £130 a month at the time.
    Amps in the UK were a bit more available as we had our home grown makers churning them out, it was years in my small northern town before I ever saw a fender twin or similar was always vox , Marshall, Park ,hi watt , laney or similar so were always plenty cheap enough second hand
     
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  18. Yves

    Yves Most Honored Senior Member

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    How many young pple these days are desperate to get their hands on a Strat?

    In the early 80s a friend of mine found in a Junk shop a Fender fretless precision Bass.
    the old guy running the joint had no idea what it was. There was no internet!! My friend took it home for the equivalent of 500 USD at today's value.
    An absolute bad ass bass guitar it was!
    Can't remember the year but it had been around for a while.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
  19. Neil.C

    Neil.C Most Honored Senior Member

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    Strats were always very expensive back in the day and out of reach of most people IME. I used to look longingly at them in the Bell's catalogue and occasionally go over there just to gaze at the stuff.

    It always makes me laugh when I read on here that Fenders were workingman's guitars.

    Maybe if you were a wealthy working man.
     
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  20. Stratoholic

    Stratoholic Senior Stratmaster

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    Here's a price list from 1960:
    [​IMG]

    You can go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics here:
    https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

    Select 1960, the price, and find out just how much those prices would be in today's money. Virtually everything on that list is today's custom shop prices.
     
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