What is considered vintage? (SG content)

JH1968

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I was having this discussion earlier today with a friend of mine. I told him how I bought a used 1999 MIM strat cheap a few months ago. I had an 80’s MIJ Squire neck that I preferred over the stock MIM. I ended up selling off the neck, bridge, and pickups for almost the cost of the guitar. He then asked why I’m parting out vintage instruments. To me, as good as the MIM guitars are I just can’t consider them as vintage. I have an ‘86 SG and an ‘84 explorer which he says is considered vintage. He almost had a small meltdown when I told him I got rid of the stock pickups in the SG and installed a set of DiMarzio PAF. Then I told him I also swapped out the stock pickups in the Explorer as well with some Duncan’s. He says that if I ever decide to sell then I’ll be lucky to get $500 since I ruined two vintage guitars.

So, what’s considered vintage? No arguments please, just looking for some opinions. I know this can be a hot button topic so let’s all be cool.
 

PermissionToLand

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He says that if I ever decide to sell then I’ll be lucky to get $500 since I ruined two vintage guitars.

Haha, that's just hyperbolic nonsense. Shaws are becoming pretty well regarded, but would hardly make a big difference in value of the entire guitar. I mean, an '86 SG isn't particularly valuable and (unless maybe an SG-62 or a custom order) probably won't ever be. The kind of people obsessed with originality are buying $12,000 1961 SG Customs, not '86 SG Standards. That said, I would personally prefer to have the original pickups, at least included if they've been swapped. Unless you're talking about some cheapo Chinese Epiphone pickups, there's no reason to throw the originals away.

As far as what constitutes vintage, it's subjective but when it comes to cars, the official rule is 25 years.
 

Von Trapp

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I think it depends on your age. To me calling a 1995 Toyota Camry a vintage car is absolutely ridiculous, same with any guitar. If you're born in 1998 though, different story. Often it just seems like a term people slap on there to make their sh!t sound fancy. Also I think the item in question needs to have some kind of general value in the first place. I saw an ad for a "vintage" Hondo II guitar once. Those were considered junk already when they came out. Vintage toilet brush anyone?

I don't think anyone's going to pay either less or more for the SG because it has DiMarzios. But hey, perhaps they're VINTAGE DiMarzios!
 

PermissionToLand

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I think it depends on your age. To me calling a 1995 Toyota Camry a vintage car is absolutely ridiculous, same with any guitar. If you're born in 1998 though, different story. Often it just seems like a term people slap on there to make their sh!t sound fancy. Also I think the item in question needs to have some kind of general value in the first place. I saw an ad for a "vintage" Hondo II guitar once. Those were considered junk already when they came out. Vintage toilet brush anyone?

I don't think anyone's going to pay either less or more for the SG because it has DiMarzios. But hey, perhaps they're VINTAGE DiMarzios!

Imagine the guys who grew up around Hudsons and Studebakers seeing a "modern" car from 1965 becoming "vintage".

"It's got an automatic transmission, for pete's sake!!!"
 

Von Trapp

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Hahaha, yeah. But this is even worse; imagine being a 20 year old kid wanting a cool car... If you were 20 in 1980 a 25 year old car could be a -55 Buick Roadmaster. A 20 year old car could be a -60 Mecedes 220 and a 10 year old car could be a Dodge Challenger. Sh!t, a 5 year old car could be a Charger!

Today, a 25 year old car could be a -95 Buick Roadmaster (ok, googled it, admittedly looks kinda cool) a 20 year old car could be a -00 Mercedes 220 (yuck) and you wouldn't be able to afford a a 10 year old Challenger so it's a 2010 Fiat Bravo for you then, kid. Good luck with the ladies... In short, those poor kids have to go for the SAME cool cars as we did. At 10 times the price....
 

Stella

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I was having this discussion earlier today with a friend of mine. I told him how I bought a used 1999 MIM strat cheap a few months ago. I had an 80’s MIJ Squire neck that I preferred over the stock MIM. I ended up selling off the neck, bridge, and pickups for almost the cost of the guitar. He then asked why I’m parting out vintage instruments. To me, as good as the MIM guitars are I just can’t consider them as vintage. I have an ‘86 SG and an ‘84 explorer which he says is considered vintage. He almost had a small meltdown when I told him I got rid of the stock pickups in the SG and installed a set of DiMarzio PAF. Then I told him I also swapped out the stock pickups in the Explorer as well with some Duncan’s. He says that if I ever decide to sell then I’ll be lucky to get $500 since I ruined two vintage guitars.

So, what’s considered vintage? No arguments please, just looking for some opinions. I know this can be a hot button topic so let’s all be cool.

I consider vintage for Gibson as pre-Norlin, so before 1970.

With Fender, I give it a few years after the CBS takeover, so also pre 1970.

But, I’m really talking about golden age instruments, and it’s okay by me if people want to call 70s instruments vintage. The 80s are iffy at best to me, and I don’t yet consider 90s vintage. That said, time passes, younger generations come into the fold, and vintage will likely be considered anything from last century soon enough.

EDIT: I will say this though. As someone who owns Gibson guitars as old as from the 30s, there really is something different about the old mahogany used before the 70s.
 
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fuzbuzz78

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Technically, vintage is 20 years. I stick firmly to that... whether I like it or not.
 

PermissionToLand

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Hahaha, yeah. But this is even worse; imagine being a 20 year old kid wanting a cool car... If you were 20 in 1980 a 25 year old car could be a -55 Buick Roadmaster. A 20 year old car could be a -60 Mecedes 220 and a 10 year old car could be a Dodge Challenger. Sh!t, a 5 year old car could be a Charger!

Today, a 25 year old car could be a -95 Buick Roadmaster (ok, googled it, admittedly looks kinda cool) a 20 year old car could be a -00 Mercedes 220 (yuck) and you wouldn't be able to afford a a 10 year old Challenger so it's a 2010 Fiat Bravo for you then, kid. Good luck with the ladies... In short, those poor kids have to go for the SAME cool cars as we did. At 10 times the price....

You're picking all the wrong examples. Unless a Roadmaster was hot-rodded, it was seen as a grandpa's car back then, too. The '90s cars that are revered today are sport compacts like the RX-7, Supra, Skyline and so on. That said, I know a lot of young people who dig muscle cars, but when even a slant six Dart is going for $10k, they're priced out of the market.

I consider vintage for Gibson as pre-Norlin, so before 1970.

With Fender, I give it a few years after the CBS takeover, so also pre 1970.

But, I’m really talking about golden age instruments, and it’s okay by me if people want to call 70s instruments vintage. The 80s are iffy at best to me, and I don’t yet consider 90s vintage. That said, time passes, younger generations come into the fold, and vintage will likely be considered anything from last century soon enough.

EDIT: I will say this though. As someone who owns Gibson guitars as old as from the 30s, there really is something different about the old mahogany used before the 70s.

Yeah, "vintage" isn't contingent upon how well regarded an instrument is, it's purely about age. A crummy 1965 Japanese copy is still vintage.
 

Von Trapp

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You're picking all the wrong examples. Unless a Roadmaster was hot-rodded, it was seen as a grandpa's car back then, too. The '90s cars that are revered today are sport compacts like the RX-7, Supra, Skyline and so on. That said, I know a lot of young people who dig muscle cars, but when even a slant six Dart is going for $10k, they're priced out of the market.

I'd say it also depends on your culture then. I'm in Sweden so my examples are reflective of our culture.
 

Joshabr1

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I feel what this group means as vintage would be anything pre 1970. Around that time the guitars changed big time.
 

PermissionToLand

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I feel what this group means as vintage would be anything pre 1970. Around that time the guitars changed big time.

What do changes have to do with being vintage? The 1960 redesign of the Les Paul into the SG was a pretty massive change.
 

crashbelt

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Pre-1970 is about right for Gibsons and Fenders if by vintage we mean 'golden era' instruments.

Its far from an exact science and this topic sometimes generates more heat than light, but that's a reasonable definition for me.
 

Brooklyn Zeke

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I have a vintage, '69 SG Std. which had suffered 2 accidents resulting in the need for neck resetting. It had also suffered an amplifier falling on it (it was lying face-up on the floor, on a stage, momentarily). It suffered collapsed bridge posts. Never needed its headstock reattached to it, though.
 

OBX351

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For Gibson, generally speaking, there are 3 tiers of vintage collectable guitars:
50s - best
60-64 - 50s quality at lower collectors price
65-70 - still vintage, but values start to drop with some guitars being more collectable, i.e. Firebirds, than others, but still collectable
Norlin - hit or miss but some collectable guitars and a lot aren't
 

PermissionToLand

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It's kind of amazing how many people don't know the difference between the words "vintage" and "collectible"...
 

Go Nigel Go

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"Vintage" means Old, "Collectible" means I can't afford to play it. If I can't play an instrument or modify it to suit my needs due to the cost inflation of a collector's market, I have to pass. While the terms "vintage", "collectable", "valuable", and "good" are not mutually exclusive, they are also not inherently linked in some mystical dance of objective values.

When my wife decided she wanted to play Bass, the only one I had on hand was an old "no name" abortion that I literally pulled out of the garbage. I poked and prodded, mended and modded it back into shape, and made it work well enough to use on some early recording projects I was working on, and then pressed it into service to give my wife some introductory lessons. When she decided she liked playing, and was showing some promise and dedication we decided it was time to get her a better instrument.

We went pawn shopping around and settled on an old Ranier bass. It looks to be late 1960's or early 1970s vintage, most likely a Japanese copy of a Fender P-Bass. The materials and craftsmanship were pretty good, as good s a lot of Fenders I have played from the same period, but there is little information available, no collector market, and they can still be had for 250 to 300 bucks in good condition today. It was a well loved and taken care of instrument, obviously a players axe since the action and set up were very well done.

My wife now owns 7 basses, both newer and "vintage", including one she had custom built by a local "garage shop" luthier. The old Ranier is still one of her favorites, and I have seen her turn up her nose at some pretty expensive new and/or collectible instruments if she felt they were "all show and no go", or overpriced for the value they had as a player. I like to think I taught her well, but honestly all I did was help her pick out something decent for her first instrument. She picked the rest based on what she likes, not what I or anyone else thinks, though I have to admit I think she has developed pretty good taste over the last 15 years.
 

Gibbo SG

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Fender Japan for my basses. I like the 1997 era for those. The 1980-83 Squier basses arey favorite.
 


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