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Vintage Gear & Instruments
Old 29th January 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Vintage Gear & Instruments

What is it that you like so much about them? What makes them better than gear/instruments build these day? Because one should actually assume that over the years and decades the manufacturing quality has increased, not decreased!
Old 29th January 2007
  #2
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emrr's Avatar
That assumption is wrong in many regards. The capacity for better work certainly exists, but the practical reality of the mass marketplace detracts.

Most things are built to a price-point now. How cheaply can we get away with? How cheaply does it have to be to still be competitive in the marketplace?

Most things used to be built to last forever, require only simple user friendly maintenance, and were constructed of materials that are price prohibitive these days. Most things were built for a small marketplace; they HAD to perform well and live long; they were all too damn expensive to NOT be of high quality.

Take almost any 'vintage' street price from an old ad (for anything) and punch it into an inflation calculator, then compare to new equipment. It will re-arrange your sense of what you're paying for.

Every time I try to buy new equipment it pisses me off. Maybe I have a special curse, but I usually end up sending things back that are DOA, or die very shortly after arriving. I'm not sure why it should take 2-3 tries to receive working product that's been properly 'QC'ed' (quality control).

I buy old gear that's seen decades of use and it usually works fine. I replace the capacitors (check and replace tubes if applicable) and it's good for another 10-20 years. New gear just goes in the trash; it can't be fixed at a reasonable cost, if at all, and you usually can't find a crucial part or two several years down the road.
Old 29th January 2007
  #3
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GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post

Every time I try to buy new equipment it pisses me off. Maybe I have a special curse, but I usually end up sending things back that are DOA, or die very shortly after arriving. I'm not sure why it should take 2-3 tries to receive working product that's been properly 'QC'ed' (quality control).
Dunno, having some 40 or more new gears during several years (mostly of better boutique manufacturers) they never failed, except converter (once) and tube EQ (tube failure).
I don't understand what could be so bad in new equipment considering that reputable (mostly small or medium) manufactures pay attention to quality.
Sonically in most cases top quality new gears arguably surpase vintage in all respects, except nostalgia and particular sonic imprint that again depends on taste and engineer's routine.
Old 29th January 2007
  #4
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
What is it that you like so much about them?
I like the familiar vibe of vintage, whether it be guitars, drums, mic's, pre's, limiters, analog tape ...usually sounds great.
Old 30th January 2007
  #5
Gear Addict
 

I just like high-quality instruments. My '70s Gretsch 8x14 snare drum is one of the best I've heard. I don't know why, maybe it's the age of the wood.

On the contrary, a '56 reissue Les Paul is one of the nicest guitars I've played, and it was less than a year old.

I don't care how old something is, just how good it sounds, but typically older wooden instruments sound better, or maybe it's just me.
Old 30th January 2007
  #6
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Tibbon's Avatar
I think much of it's overrated, and morons spending their money poorly. Instruments and gear aren't an investment generally if your sole goal is profit. Even T-bills look better most years. You can get lucky (but so you can you in the stock market), but I think that most people convince themselves that it's a good investment and worth having. But, the downside is that it's rather like a car and can crash.

I've played some VERY nice vintage instruments, and some crappy ones. Same with modern gear. Modern gear is a LITTLE more geared towards mass consumers, etc.. but so was the Strat from day one. They just got better at the mass production thing. For modern gear to be good, you just have to weed through the junk and there's great stuff.

There are a few pieces of gear that are unique and basically I don't think "better" than what we can produce today, but just different. Fender can't make EVERY guitar with a nitro finish anymore, but then again we can't have hairspray with CFC's in it. It's for the better. People want what they can't have, so theirfore nitro must sound better. It tomorrow they couldn't use nickle jackplates on Strats due to EPA regulations, then the nickles ones would sound better to people. Again, they just want what they can't have. If the thing they can't have sounds "different" at all, then it's instantly better. There's no rationalizing, it's instantly better. No, we aren't going to have a Fairchild 660 hitting the market soon, and nothing sounds like it... but does it sound 10-30K "better" than anything else out there? No. The different has made it better however, since it's unobtainable for the most part (and a bitch to get tubes for).

Some of it's supply/demand, but I think some of it's just stupidity. There's a supply of GREAT guitars out there that are just as good as many vintages ones (my Agile 335 ripoff sounds AND plays far better than a 1968 Gibson 335 that we had at the studio for a while. However we had a '63 330TDC that killed them both), but the demand is irrational.

Don't go for vintage IMHO. Go for what you can see is CLEARLY worth the difference. If to you it sounds or plays a 'little' different, then no it is NOT at all worth the 10x higher cost. If there's a "night and day" difference, then sure. Might be worth it. Most of these differences however are 1% differences, that are totally negotiable as to which is "better". They have choosen the older one to be better just because it's "cooler".
Old 30th January 2007
  #7
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
I think much of it's overrated, and morons spending their money poorly.
With few exceptions, new instruments just don't sound like old ones.

Even Custom Shop ..some Gibson and Martin are great (some), but I can list a dozen others that look right but don't sound anything like the originals.

Same goes for recording gear. New and old are quite different, soundwise.
Old 30th January 2007
  #8
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Tibbon's Avatar
Different? Yes, quite often. Vintage always being the better (and much much higher priced of the two?) sounding? Not always. I've played a Vox AC30HW that beat many 1963 JMI AC30s that I've played. Sure they sounded different, but the new one did happen to be better most of the time (I've also found old ones that sounded better.. it's hit and miss). Those old ones that DIDNT sound better were still selling for more. And that, is what's stupid about it.

Remember, it IS possible that a company gets better making something over time.
Old 30th January 2007
  #9
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frans's Avatar
You pet what you gay for (or something like that).

Old things are, first, old. They may have been veryvery expensive then and sound great today but they will need some tender care. I had stuff on my workbench that was vintage and all and I threw it away because it was beyond hope. Some people would have sold this on Ebay but i try to stay a good boy.

So what to do? Don't care about vintage, just buy the best there is. The best stuff of today can, for most parts, compete with the cream of vintage. Boutique is the key.

That said I won't part with my 1970's Hiwatt 100...or with... (and so on)
Old 30th January 2007
  #10
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HEADROOM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
That assumption is wrong in many regards. The capacity for better work certainly exists, but the practical reality of the mass marketplace detracts.

Most things are built to a price-point now. How cheaply can we get away with? How cheaply does it have to be to still be competitive in the marketplace?

Most things used to be built to last forever, require only simple user friendly maintenance, and were constructed of materials that are price prohibitive these days. Most things were built for a small marketplace; they HAD to perform well and live long; they were all too damn expensive to NOT be of high quality.

Take almost any 'vintage' street price from an old ad (for anything) and punch it into an inflation calculator, then compare to new equipment. It will re-arrange your sense of what you're paying for.

Every time I try to buy new equipment it pisses me off. Maybe I have a special curse, but I usually end up sending things back that are DOA, or die very shortly after arriving. I'm not sure why it should take 2-3 tries to receive working product that's been properly 'QC'ed' (quality control).

I buy old gear that's seen decades of use and it usually works fine. I replace the capacitors (check and replace tubes if applicable) and it's good for another 10-20 years. New gear just goes in the trash; it can't be fixed at a reasonable cost, if at all, and you usually can't find a crucial part or two several years down the road.


Just considder : the price for a new V76 was 1700 German Marks in 1956.

You could buy a house for 15000........



www.nickoosterhuis.com
Old 30th January 2007
  #11
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emrr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HEADROOM View Post
Just considder : the price for a new V76 was 1700 German Marks in 1956.

You could buy a house for 15000........



www.nickoosterhuis.com

That appears to translate to US$2789 in 2005, for a raw module, considering 1956 exchange rate, then adjusted for inflation.

Some have skirted one issue; there's varying degrees of 'old and still usable' and there's 'old and worn out'.
Old 30th January 2007
  #12
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code green's Avatar
i like the chance to own/use some of the same gear my musical/production heroes used. i like the limitations of vintage gear--that they don't have a button to do "that"...but if you dig deep, you can find a way to do "that."

i like owning some pieces that were top of the line at the time but are eminently afforadable now. i like the sound of vintage, and i like the look. i like not having the same dbx/presonus/art/alesis/behringer stuff that everyone else has in their [low end] home studio.

i...like.
Old 31st January 2007
  #13
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HEADROOM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
That appears to translate to US$2789 in 2005, for a raw module, considering 1956 exchange rate, then adjusted for inflation.

Some have skirted one issue; there's varying degrees of 'old and still usable' and there's 'old and worn out'.


It is rather x10 or even x15 or more actually.....the house I was refferring to now sells for 250000 (price in 56 :15000)


Inflation taken into account a V76 would cost way over 10k today.....

Average income in 1956 about 300 Dm a month.



www.nickoosterhuis.com
Old 1st February 2007
  #14
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emrr's Avatar
I found the DM to dollar exchange rate for 1956, then ran a dollar inflation calculation to get that number. I'm sure it would work out differently if you followed the DM directly through to the present Euro value.
Old 1st February 2007
  #15
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vernier's Avatar
All vintage isn't huge dough ..some of my favorite pieces were inexpensive.
Old 1st February 2007
  #16
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HEADROOM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emrr View Post
I found the DM to dollar exchange rate for 1956, then ran a dollar inflation calculation to get that number. I'm sure it would work out differently if you followed the DM directly through to the present Euro value.

Right, in the fifties it was about 3 dm to a dollar.....in 2001 it was about 2 dm to a euro.....in the meantime inflation brought the euro to the level of the dm here.

Example:toothpaste:DM 3,90 in 2001 now Euro: 3.50


So it is a bit of a different picture from the US view:for Americans it would have been much easier to buy a V76 in the fifties as oppossed to the europeans.

But no matter from what perpective you look at it: It would nt be possible to bring a new V76 on the market for a price it is fetching today.

From that point of view they are still underrated I would say....


www.nickoosterhuis.com
Old 1st February 2007
  #17
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Bigbang's Avatar
 

Quote:
But no matter from what perpective you look at it: It would nt be possible to bring a new V76 on the market for a price it is fetching today.

From that point of view they are still underrated I would say....
For sure you have inflated the price with that remark
Old 1st February 2007
  #18
Lives for gear
 

well, you've got two things.....you've got "vintage" and you've got "crap that's old".

by definition, "vintage" implies "cream of the crop", "best of the best" and all that other stuff that implies "an exceptional specimen". the wood, craftsmanship, sound, feel, playability of a truly vintage instrument will be like none other. the demand for a truly *vintage* piece is very high, and the prices reflect that.

now, just b/c something is over a certain age doesn't make it vintage. being old is simply "being old". but b/c the demand for truly vintage instruments is so high, all of the other "old" instruments of similar age command a high price as well.

however, the fact of the matter is that many of the "vintage" instruments were created from *good* wood by people who had a higher level of craftsmanship and cared a lot more about the quality of their work than those making the mass-produced instruments of today.

from a playing standpoint, i don't care what age a guitar is, as long as it's got the feel and tone i'm looking for.

from a collector's/investment standpoint, old (regardless of whether it's "vintage" or not) will always be better than new b/c it'll bring a better/faster ROI than a "new" one.

a LARGE part of this "vintage craze" is the baby boomer crowd. the kids who always wanted that strat when they were a teenager but couldn't afford it are now hitting retirement and have money to blow......and the demand for "instruments from their youth" is high....and if anything, the supply is decreasing. econ101 tells us that high demand and low supply equals unnaturally high prices.

from that perspective and considering the way the value of the 1970's gibsons and fenders has taken off in the last few years, one has to imagine that collecting excellent 1980's instruments at this point is not a bad idea. who knows what the marketplace will be like in another 10-15 years.

lord knows that i never expected those really horrible mid/late-70's strats to be fetching $500, let alone $1500.......


cheers,
wade
Old 1st February 2007
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by HEADROOM View Post
Right, in the fifties it was about 3 dm to a dollar.....in 2001 it was about 2 dm to a euro.....in the meantime inflation brought the euro to the level of the dm here.

Example:toothpaste:DM 3,90 in 2001 now Euro: 3.50
......
you're lucky.
dutch guilders was to euro 2.2
now toothpaste costs roughly the same as in germany.

I love my old gear as much as my new stuff. what is the difference. go for the sound.
Old 1st February 2007
  #20
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dlmorley's Avatar
I use it because I HAVE it ;-)

I'd actually love to buy a load of new stuff (a rack of Portico, Manley, ADT, some Neumanns etc) but spent the last 20 years picking stuff up second hand because I could afford too. Also, if you have had stuff for ages, it's so comfortable and you can use it blindfold. Sometimes that is more important than whether it actually sounds better or worse than what you can replace it with new!
Old 2nd February 2007
  #21
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HEADROOM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrface2112 View Post
well, you've got two things.....you've got "vintage" and you've got "crap that's old".

by definition, "vintage" implies "cream of the crop", "best of the best" and all that other stuff that implies "an exceptional specimen". the wood, craftsmanship, sound, feel, playability of a truly vintage instrument will be like none other. the demand for a truly *vintage* piece is very high, and the prices reflect that.

now, just b/c something is over a certain age doesn't make it vintage. being old is simply "being old". but b/c the demand for truly vintage instruments is so high, all of the other "old" instruments of similar age command a high price as well.

however, the fact of the matter is that many of the "vintage" instruments were created from *good* wood by people who had a higher level of craftsmanship and cared a lot more about the quality of their work than those making the mass-produced instruments of today.

from a playing standpoint, i don't care what age a guitar is, as long as it's got the feel and tone i'm looking for.

from a collector's/investment standpoint, old (regardless of whether it's "vintage" or not) will always be better than new b/c it'll bring a better/faster ROI than a "new" one.

a LARGE part of this "vintage craze" is the baby boomer crowd. the kids who always wanted that strat when they were a teenager but couldn't afford it are now hitting retirement and have money to blow......and the demand for "instruments from their youth" is high....and if anything, the supply is decreasing. econ101 tells us that high demand and low supply equals unnaturally high prices.

from that perspective and considering the way the value of the 1970's gibsons and fenders has taken off in the last few years, one has to imagine that collecting excellent 1980's instruments at this point is not a bad idea. who knows what the marketplace will be like in another 10-15 years.

lord knows that i never expected those really horrible mid/late-70's strats to be fetching $500, let alone $1500.......


cheers,
wade

If that would be true, the prediction that well made GTRS from the seventies (like Hamer)would become the future collectors item would have fulfilled.

didnt......



And the baby boomer theory doesnt apply either, sorry. In fact many buyers of vintage guitars are under 40. the majority of first owner baby boomers is rather selling than buying...because they stopped playing professianally or get ill or die.....etc....

george Gruhn s newsletters may be of interest.www.gruhn.com


www.nickoosterhuis.com
Old 2nd February 2007
  #22
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Bear in mind that most of the cheap electric guitars on the market still hark back to Gibson Les Pauls or Fender Strats and Teles, and just about LDC microphone harks back to either a C12 or a U47. A lot of vintage stuff really is good. Coming at this (characteristically) from a guitar-based perspective or whatever, I'd have to say that the distortion from a 'valvestate'-type amp just is never gonna grab me by my dangly bits like the tone of a really nice, well-applied valve amp based, at least, on a model maybe forty years old. I have tried it, I can hear the difference, and the digital stuff just sounds thin to me. Like eating-disorder thin. Skinny. Supermodel.

But whatever floats yer boat, man...

I remain a devotee of vintage Gibson electrics, EL34-based valve amps, etc. but even I wouldn't go for everything with valves in it, if I even had the money. There are a lot of hybrid semi-solid-state designs and all the great new stuff available for people who want them, and the fact that I like some well-applied valve distortion does not mean I don't think there's a place for really good accurate optical amplification, etc.

These are all just so many pallets and paintbrushes, dude. Just paint yer picture.

Last edited by woomanmoomin; 2nd February 2007 at 03:29 PM.. Reason: obligatory typign errrorrrr
Old 2nd February 2007
  #23
Gear Nut
 

i've always kinda thought that a large part of the drive to acquire "vintage" instruments (i agree with the above definition: "old and good quality"), was that the tone was what we are used to hearing, what we grew up on.

for example, we all know the tone from clapton's and Hendrix's playing (you can really insert any "great" guitar player from the 60's and 70's), and they used these instruments to achieve their sound. since their tone is what we equate with "good", we naturally want to emulate that.

so to get the sound that we perceive as "good", we go after the real deal -- the instruments that they used.

of course, anyone with the time and energy to re-define "good" can go and try all sorts of stuff and see what they like, regardless of new vs old, but if you just want to sound like all those old records out there and don't want to take the time to figure it out, just go buy a 60's strat and a Fender Twin. easy.

i'm focusing on guitars here, but i think you can make the analogy with any audio components/instruments that were around then and are around now.

i'm curious though -- do you all agree with this? i.e. the standard that was set back then makes us want to achieve that same standard today by using "vintage" gear?

word up.
nick
Old 2nd February 2007
  #24
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vernier's Avatar
Probably everyone has some old gear.
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