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Six string stocks | Investing in vintage and rare guitars 

“In an investor’s mind, the originality of the instrument is the most important.” says Goodwin. “A guitar that is beat up and shoddy, but all-original with no retro-fitted parts is more valuable than a pristine guitar with some hardware that’s been changed.”

While certain guitarists argue that the so-called “vintage boom” has ended, Goodwin says that there are many prolific collectors in the country.

“Certain guitars come and go in terms of desirability, so one needs to be careful.” Goodwin also says that there are many guitars out there which are highly collectible, but not necessary valuable, and it takes a certain amount of skill to learn which is which.

“Investors should stick to the big American brands, like Gibson (up to 1970), Fenders (up to the late ‘60s), Gretsch (up to the late ‘60s) and Martin (up to the ‘50s).” Those, he says, are the sure-fire winners for return on investment.

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Les Paul's 1954 Gibson "Black Beauty" Guitar Sells for $335,500 at Auction

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Musical Instruments as an Investment

So, investors should consider themselves warned. Having said that, it’s also true that collecting instruments can benefit the portfolio of a knowledgeable and disciplined investor. As a hard asset, instruments can help diversify a portfolio. High-quality instruments generally hold their value well, providing some downside protection. And many have the potential for significant long-term appreciation.

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1st Production Fender Stratocaster For Sale

Johnny Clark and Kristin Hall, Associated Press
March 20, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gruhn’s Guitars in Nashville is a kind of mecca for fine, vintage musical instruments, but even owner George Gruhn is blown away by the latest addition to his inventory. He says it's the very first production model Fender Stratocaster ever made. You can own it for a cool quarter million dollars.


“This is special,” Gruhn told The Associated Press. “It's not special as memorabilia because it was owned by anybody special. But it is special because this is effectively like having the right Rembrandt or Van Gogh or Da Vinci. It's special because of what it is and who did this. Not because of who owned it.” The sunburst-finish Strat bears the serial number 0100. Although some Strats have lower numbers that begin with 0001, Gruhn says they actually were manufactured later in that first year of production. He says the no. 1 Strat was sold to an amateur who evidently took good care of it.

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Vintage Guitar Market's Wild Ride

Jens Erik Gould, The Financialist
February 6, 2014


After years of stagnation, vintage guitar sales are picking up again of late, according to the 42-Guitar Index, a price-weighted indicator based on sales of 42 Fender, Gibson and Martin models from the 1960s or earlier. The benchmark, sometimes described as the Dow Jones Industrial Average for vintage guitars, rose 8 percent in 2013—the first annual increase since 2008. “People are definitely feeling better about the market,” says Gil Hembree, co-author of the Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide, which publishes the index.

There is one brand of guitar, however, that has more than held on to its value in during the erratic market: the vintage Martin. While Fenders and Gibsons went for sky-high prices in the years leading up to the crisis and then plummeted in 2009 and 2010, prices for the classic acoustic Martin, which hadn’t risen as sharply, actually continued rising. “Martins are the best of what they are—like a Rolex watch or a Ferrari,” says Dick Boak, director of the company’s museum. “They hold their value more than other brands. “

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Value of Vintage Guitars on the Rise

Greg Bonnell, Host, The Business News
December 11, 2013


People make noise with them in the basement and some even grow rich from travelling from town to town playing them. But guitars can be a good investment as well.  What are now referred to as vintage guitars were simply old guitars back in the 1980s. The 42 Guitar Index - which tracks the cumulative value of 42 vintage instruments from Gibson, Fender and Martin ­- has tracked steadily upward since 1991. You could have bought all of those axes listed for about $150,000 that year.

The index was just shy of $1 million in 2008, and then the recession hit, pulling prices down 30 percent from their high in recent years. That sounds a lot like the equity markets in 2008-09.  The index, published every year by Vintage Guitar magazine, is back on the upswing and tracking back toward $800,000. Meanwhile, equity markets are hot and there's lots of cheap money out there. Vintage dealers say there are profits to be made with quality instruments from decades past. And the best part, while you own them you can play them - preferably loud.

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New Vintage Guitar Fund Marketing Head to Create Intellectual Property and Income Streams

October 6 2013

Anchorage Capital Investment Management's vintage guitar fund ("The Guitar Fund") has brought Timothy “Sully” Sullivan on board to assist the Fund as chief marketing guru and to further develop the creation of intellectual property (“IP”) and to strengthen its income streams.

LONDON, U.K. -- Anchorage Capital Investment Management (“ACIM”) announced today that Mr. Timothy Sullivan had agreed to act as Chief Marketing Officer and Fund Advisor to The Guitar Fund upon its re-launch later this month. Mr. Sullivan’s chief responsibilities will be to effectively market the Fund from cradle to exit and to create income performing intellectual property, adding annual revenue and value to the portfolio for the Fund’s investors.

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