Also, it helps to know all the chords

They say that Guitar George of the Sultans of Swing can’t afford a new instrument, so he buys vintage. For the best vintage, this is way beyond George’s budget, but vendors of cheap guitars tend to post those prices due to non-musical considerations:

The complete disregard with which these guitars are treated by eBay sellers, pawnshops, MusicGoRounds, and Guitar Centers helps me understand why so many of the “Burst” Les Pauls from 1958-1959 are still missing despite the fact that any of them would be worth $150,000 in any condition if they could be found today. There’s nothing quite as worthless as an old guitar in the eyes of a lot of people. The fact that none of the Electras I bought lately set me back more than $299 drives that point home.

I bet you that there are still hundreds of extremely valuable Les Pauls sitting in barns and basements, crushed and broken, forgotten and abandoned. They’re out there to be found, but the people who find them won’t like the condition their conditions are in, to quote the old song. Luckily for me, I’m not in that market. I’m just buying guitars from 1981 and 1982, buying them cheap and stacking them deep, building a fortress of rock maple around an idealized version of my childhood, you get the idea.

Yeah, yeah, oh yeah.

I wonder how true this is of pianos. (Then again, who pawns a piano?)


  1. McGehee »

    3 October 2014 · 10:42 am

    Knowing all the chords, and understanding the contribution of a really good rhythm guitarist.

  2. Francis W. Porretto »

    3 October 2014 · 1:02 pm

    “Who pawns a piano?”

    Well, I might if I were worried about having it stolen. After all, don’t we see thieves running down the street carrying refrigerators, washing machines, and safes all the time?

  3. mushroom »

    3 October 2014 · 3:48 pm

    I bought my wife a relatively “vintage” Knabe grand piano a few years back. We get a tuner to come out and service it every couple of years. I think it’s from around 1970, so no plastic or resin. It has a nice tone. I did not buy it from a pawn shop, and it is a good idea to leave the piano moving to piano movers.

  4. CGHill »

    3 October 2014 · 3:50 pm

    I have no room for even a baby grand, but I wouldn’t mind having a reconditioned upright, if only to shame myself into turning back towards the keyboard I abandoned at age 9 or so.

  5. Dick Stanley »

    4 October 2014 · 12:58 am

    Fiddles tend to go on forever, so long as the setup (strings, bridge, pegs, etc.) is good.

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