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The Les Paul as investment

Tom Wittrock

Les Paul Forum Co-Owner
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
42,567
I see you folks aren't financially savy. My point was that you are not going to make any sort of real money by holding a guitar for 5 to 10 years. ( I don't care what brand it is ) Unless it's some sort of very limited edition or one of a kind and most importanly find someone to pay you the inflated price.

You see in the financial world it's not that difficult (if you know what your doing) to triple/quadruple your money whether it's $100.00 or $100,000.00 in a span of 5 years. Even if you know nothing about the stockmarket you will still end up ahead in 5 years and be very liquid to boot. That's not happening with guitars.

I see that you are neither investment savvy not guitar savvy.

Many of us have made money holding guitars for years.
Here's a simple example:

Bought it in 1989 for less that $20K and sold it this year for more than $500K.
In the meantime, I got my initial investment price times 2 from royalties with Gibson selling copies [Collector's Choice #4, Sandy].

IMG_6014.JPG


And this is one of numerous examples I have experienced myself, for over 40 years.
Maybe you could learn something here. :ganz
 

Big Al

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,411
I have profited greatly from vintage guitars, amps, pedals and parts. That was never in question, by me at least. Smart, knowledgeable persons can spot trends comming, as well as playing hunches based on decades of experience.

The notion that one can "INVEST" in new models as some sort of monetary high profit portfolio for quick high gain yield based on past performance of 1958-1960 Bursts, or even 1949-1965 era is fraudulent or delusional. That some production may indeed have brief spurts of intense interest, most fail and correct after the frenzy of initial frenzy.

This Bubble Market is intensely internet driven. A massive pump and dump, which often rely on hype and deliberate fictitious history, spec or build and nebulous properties. The same internet interest that builds hype can turn overnight as truth and fact prevail.
 

RiverCityVintage

New member
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Messages
27
This Bubble Market is intensely internet driven.

Like it or not (and I’m kind of an old soul so I don’t) the internet is going to dominate what the market does now. And it’s going to be more and more like that as time goes on. It sounds cheesy, but I think you have to look at it like music rather than an object. What can the guitar create, not what is it. We’re living in a time where you can leverage ownership, of a burst for example, by creating a YouTube video or even a series about it, and if it gains enough views and subscriptions, you can monetize that. You can attract advertising investment. You can attract product sponsorship. The older the video the longer it has a chance of making money and gaining attention. That’s a return. As a private vintage guitar shop, you can leverage ownership of that guitar to become more legitimate and attract a new level of clientele, with let’s say more money, like a celebrity, or use it to add static value to the business itself, or to simply drive in more business using it as an attraction, therefore getting more traffic, i.e. more chances to make a sale. That’s a return. I know for a fact not everyone that goes to a Joe B show likes the blues, some people want to see that guitar in his hands and on stage because that’s a real experience. For him, that’s a return. He broadcasts his collection on social media, and gains a huge following not only from his immense skill, but also from his collection. The more influential he becomes, the more money he is able to leverage out of other folks that want something from him. He’s a sales tool for Gibson. That’s a return. Matt’s guitars overseas uses Spot to generate business, Emerald City Guitars uses their collection to generate business, the list goes on. And it’s not just limited to the 58-60 era anymore, whether or not certain folks understand it, any American handmade guitar from Gibson will always have a premium value, and the farther back you go, the more involved a human was in creating it rather than an automated machine. That’s disappearing and it’s magic. It’s worth money. The 90’s are very desirable guitars, the 80’s, even the Norlin 70’s. They aren’t 6 figure today but you never know what a rare model could do. A Murphy is in the same price range as a gold top now. Conversions are getting close to 6 figures. There are always ways to bend the parameters. Hell, you could even go out on a limb and write a #1 song on the guitar, and profit off its sales. Unlikely, but if you think that way that’s probably how it will go down.

If you look at it in a narrow minded way like “well my dividend stock is going to do much better” then you’re going to have a narrow minded opinion. Anybody can go plop money on an investment bankers desk and say “make me some money, and you take some too.” That doesn’t require complex thought or skill, just a little bit of sense.


Tom, that’s a beautiful guitar!
 
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RiverCityVintage

New member
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Messages
27
True, but it is not unusual for threads this old [over 16 years] for new posters not to have read the original post and instead, read the title only.

and I think if 4 presidential terms have come and gone, it's acceptable to let the topic deviate a little bit :spaboutlol


 

marshall1987

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
3,270
I see that you are neither investment savvy not guitar savvy.

Many of us have made money holding guitars for years.
Here's a simple example:

Bought it in 1989 for less that $20K and sold it this year for more than $500K.
In the meantime, I got my initial investment price times 2 from royalties with Gibson selling copies [Collector's Choice #4, Sandy].

IMG_6014.JPG


And this is one of numerous examples I have experienced myself, for over 40 years.
Maybe you could learn something here. :ganz

Sandy is absolutely stunning! And one of the finest examples of a vintage Les Paul on the planet! :salude
 

StoneN

New member
Joined
Mar 3, 2022
Messages
1
It really is a great investment idea. Investing in art, collectible cars, or rare musical instruments is no longer the pastime of single millionaires. Investing in unconventional assets is gaining popularity among people with average incomes. The market is rapidly evolving and offers more unique options for risky savings. I turned last year to a company that help clients manage their wealth. I wanted to invest money, and this was one of my investment options. I was also considering fund and bond investments.
 
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AA00475Bassman

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2016
Messages
3,545
Sandy is absolutely stunning! And one of the finest examples of a vintage Les Paul on the planet! :salude
Call it what it is dumb luck - the guy paying $ 500,000.00 has investment savvy most likely the guy holding the guitar for forty years does not !
 

Reddart

Active member
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Messages
267
Call it what it is dumb luck - the guy paying $ 500,000.00 has investment savvy most likely the guy holding the guitar for forty years does not !
Yeah. Sure, nice profit and more than to be expected for a guitar in general, but 10% per year if you do the math, isn’t exceptional as investments go.

I always wonder if there could be nefarious people who might invest in these as a way of getting money across international borders without getting traced. Especially in times like these.
 

Liroychicik

New member
Joined
Oct 16, 2022
Messages
1
The most costly five-figure duplicates lose thousands of dollars until the musician dies or a long period passes, and no others are available, according to https://www.youngandthrifty.ca/how-to-buy-stocks-in-canada/. A notable example is the 25-grand retail Frankenstrat replica. Typically, American guitars and some Japanese guitars, especially if they were not mass-produced. Original vintage Fenders and Gibsons are the greatest. However, keep in mind that while the guitar industry is currently thriving, it might easily crash in the future, as it did in the late 2000s, and that the future is entirely dependent on the tastes of Gen Z and future generations.
 
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garywright

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2002
Messages
14,900
ALL the LP's I have bought since 2013 have been a marvelous investment!

I play ALL of them.

I love to look at ALL of them.

They bring me more pleasure than any person should have.

Selling ANY of them would be an incalculable loss!

Though some day I will HAVE to sell them.


That day will hold a greater loss than money...
man, that day will ring so true 😢
 

Keefoman

Active member
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
572
My first Les Paul was a used 2001 Classic which I gave the equivalent of 1800 dollars for in 2003. I paid the equivalent of 1500 dollars for a 2006 R8 in 2010 and also around 1200 dollars for a 2006 CS R0 Special the same year. In 2013 I bought a new Memphis ES 335 Dot for around 1800 dollars.
Now, all of these have gone considerably up in price, but according to what the prices were here in Norway at the start of the millennium (and at least a decade before that), not very much.
 

somebodyelseuk

Active member
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
374
Call it what it is dumb luck - the guy paying $ 500,000.00 has investment savvy most likely the guy holding the guitar for forty years does not !
I doubt it.
The guy who made a lot of money over 40 years did not know it would be worth half a mill. He bought it, because it was either significantly better than what was available new, or just as likely, more money than sense and the ego value of owning a crazy expensive guitar.
The guy who paid half a mill, bought it for the latter reason.
Burst prices have hardly moved in the last 15 years, and many have made losses on them, the most famous one being the 'Greeny' burst.
 

AA00475Bassman

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2016
Messages
3,545
I doubt it.
The guy who made a lot of money over 40 years did not know it would be worth half a mill. He bought it, because it was either significantly better than what was available new, or just as likely, more money than sense and the ego value of owning a crazy expensive guitar.
The guy who paid half a mill, bought it for the latter reason.
Burst prices have hardly moved in the last 15 years, and many have made losses on them, the most famous one being the 'Greeny' burst.
The guy paying $500000.00 most likely had other investments not guitars . - I still say Dumb luck
 

Amp360

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
525
When I was living on ramen noodles I paid $239 for my first very low serial (under 40) gold Klon. Pretty much dumb luck.

I buy a lot of old guitars but I’ve always invested for my future in other ways. Right now putting money into stock market with things so low seems like a better bet for the long term.
 

BlueGuitar!

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
55
BACK FROM THE DEAD!

I googled market future trends on les pauls and this was one of the first google returns.

it's funny really, I am a very humble independent shop (because just being a musician doesn't cut it), and anything from 1988 to 2010 is my bread and butter. I bet in 2003 the msrp on some of the models brand new was about what they might sell for used now, but there are folks out there ready to spend some coin on something like an early Les Paul Classic from the 90's, nearly twice what they sold for MSRP back then. Especially the plus and premium plus, and especially if it says 'model' instead of 'classic'. It was a nice 1960 reissue more or less, with a short tenon. I bet in 2003 you could pick up a les paul classic premium plus from say 1996 for 750-900..... try 2500 or more today.

A lot of those guitars hold high regard now, some people call it 'good wood' but whatever you want to call it, the beginning of Henry J's tenure holds value to folks now. Gibson's triumph and rebirth from the Norlin era, and a serious effort to reclaim the brand (but without the pressure and b/s that social media and brand influence hold over it while they are trying to do it once again today....'play authentic' and Mark). You have to recognize a decent product in a lineup with the junk, and be able to qualify the differences. I think they are great investments, because the future will always find a way to cut cost and try to follow inflation.

Thoughts? I love talking about stuff like this.
Exactly. Not sure why people are scoffing at the idea of Gibsons as investments. Plus there's always the supply/demand quick flips. Look at all the money people made on the Jones and Beato and Slash 4 signatures. I'd say the best bet are limited run signature models from artists that have staying power.
 

Any Name You Wish

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
248
I don't know what Les Paul version is a good investment right now, but some of these Murphy lab aged guitars are pushing $10,000 new. Something tells me this would be a bad investment.
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
4,196
Not a Les Paul, but for illustration:

New ES-335 in 1958/59: $335

- Using U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (CPI) with cumulative inflation of 920% thru 2022 => $3,415.

- New ES-335 in 2002: $3,499 at most dealers online e.g. Sweetwater

For somethings, they just keep pace. Place a premium on something aging, aged, vintage, etc. It all depends. Monetary ROI in collectibles is much more depended on soft variables i.e. appreciation, eye of the beholder, in addition to rarity, materials, or functionality.

Limited run Dave Mustaine Vs may be worth something premium to someone, it depends on market and demographics.

If there are no Megadeth appreciators, or those who covet the limited aspect, or care about guitars in X years, the market may go to raw material worth at best, or even worse, require payment to dispose.

It's all chicken and tulips. And turtles all the way down.

🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🐔🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷
 

jakeandelwood

New member
Joined
Nov 12, 2021
Messages
1
I've never known any guitar to sell for less than what I paid for it. Then again, I've been playing and accumulating guitars for a long time.
I bought a '77 Strat in "84 for $300. Still have it. What're they worth now? More. Just a "for instance."
 

BlueGuitar!

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
55
What's sketchy to me is that Reverb never tells you what a guitar actually sold for. If you search for completed listings to get an idea of pricing it only has the original listing price.. no sale prices or offers accepted.

Example: a 90's classic plus is listed for 2k, but sells for 1800. Someone else lists their similar guitar for 2200 thinking they'll accept a 2k offer... cycle continues
 
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