2018 top 5 vintage guitars
Posted on January 07 2019
The vintage guitar haul from 2018 was one for the record books! I love every guitar that comes through the shop, which is why I bought them in the first place, but there are a few pieces that stick out above the rest. When I think back on them all I'm reminded of something that a guitar seller back in 2012 said to me on the phone, "You know, all the good stuff has already been picked out. The party is over for vintage guitars." I think this list will prove that he was sorely mistaken.
5. 1968 Marshall 1982a Cabinet. Ok, so not a guitar, but this piece was the first to come to mind when I think about the gear that came through the shop in 2018. One Saturday I spent 8 hours searching vintage guitar terms on an estate sale website. It resulted in 0 leads. So I started searching for coffee gear on that site (a hobby of mine) and ended up on a listing for an estate sale in California with 200 junk filled pictures with no descriptions. I searched every picture for a diamond in the rough and found nothing until picture 197 which included this cabinet.
The Marshall speaker cabinet with stock number 1982a features four Celestion G12H (T1281) speakers. Pre-1970 examples are extremely rare and even more rare in good condition with original speakers and unmodified wiring. I owe credit for this score to my buddy John who bent over backwards to help me get it. Thank you John! I am very grateful for your friendship.
4. c.1937 Gibson Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe: It took 14 months from initial contact until a deal was struck for this clean vintage Gibson Roy Smeck Stage De Luxe. The FON was poorly stamped so I'm unable to nail down an exact year but I think the 1937 is at least within 2 years. I was shocked to find out that it still had all its original parts including nut, saddle, bridge, bridge pins, bridge plate, tuners, etc etc. The only thing missing was one screw mounting a tuner to the headstock.
Gibson's Roy Smeck Stage De Luxe model debuted in 1934 as one of two artist models with full sized Jumbo body meant for Hawaiian style playing. Many players convert to Spanish style playing by slimming the neck, adding frets, repositioning the saddle, and carving the neck angle for proper action.
3. Two 1946 Fender Model 26 "Deluxe" Amplifiers: 2?? Yes, two. Leo Fender split ways with "Doc" Kauffman in 1946 and started the Fender Electric Instrument Company. Three models of amplifiers were available that year in very cool finished wood cabinets with metal strips over the grill cloth.
I was shocked to be able to bring two of these special amps out from their garages and into the spotlight. The first, with Maple cabinet, included the original canvas cover. The second, in a Walnut cabinet, was similar but didn't include the rare cover. Both amps went to the same buyer.
2. 1957 Gibson Les Paul TV Model: Looks like a Les Paul Junior right? The TV Model is essentially a Junior in that it's a one piece slab Mahogany body with flat top, single cutaway, and one P-90 pickup. But, it features a cool Limed Mahogany finish that appears mostly white on a black/white television.
This example from 1957 was spectacularly clean and didn't last long on the shelf. The original small frets were in perfect shape and felt great. The neck profile was a soft C shape and very full in the palm. This guitar was one of the finest vintage electric guitars to ever come through the shop.
- 1960 Gibson ES-355TDC Stereo Varitone: This one is probably the finest electric guitar to ever come through the shop. I can't remember ever having a top grade, golden era with all the paperwork, case, and canvas case cover guitar this nice. It also came from the grandson of the original owner, a Gibson Teacher agent in Hawthorne, NY.
Gibson sold many instruments through teacher-agents until the 1960s and 70s. Teacher-Agents owned teaching studios and could sell guitars and gear directly from Gibson with no need for an intermediate dealer. Mr. Kessler had a habit of ordering instruments his way from Gibson. I purchased a collection of very special instruments ordered special by Mr. Kessler including a 1961 Gibson L-5CT Special (inlays), a 1962 Gibson TB-250 Special with gold hardware and inlays, an A-40 Special Mandola (14 fret mandolin with wider spacing, not yet listed), and a 1964 Gibson TG-25 Octave Mandolin (tenor guitar drilled for 8 strings).
These are just a few of the coolest guitars and gear to come through the shop in 2018. I didn't even mention the 1928 Gibson Nick Lucas Special, or either one of two 1963 Gibson Hummingbird guitars, or the super clean 1965 Fender Jaguar in custom color Fiesta Red with matching headstock! Who knows what 2019 will hold? Let's hope that kind gentleman from 2012 was wrong about the whole party being over :)
Do you have a vintage guitar that you'd like to sell? I'm always looking to buy nice examples of vintage guitars from Fender, Gibson, Martin, Guild Gretsch, Danelectro, Silvertone, Marshall, etc etc. You can contact me here at the Sell My Vintage Guitar page. I'd love to chat about your vintage guitar or amplifier.