Everyone should learn to play at least one musical instrument. Playing music is a satisfying hobby, and it can become a rewarding career. Deciding which instrument to play isn’t very hard. Aspiring players are inspired by sound, aesthetics, celebrities and even family tradition. It doesn’t matter why you play, or what you play. But eventually you’ll have to decide whether to play something brand new, or buy a vintage musical instrument.
A new instrument won’t have any wear or damage, and it won’t need any repairs. It may come with a warranty, and if it should get lost, stolen or broken, it won’t be hard to replace.
On the other hand, a vintage instrument may need some attention. From basic cleaning, to re-stringing, to major repair, it’s hard to tell exactly what a vintage instrument will need until you have an expert examine it. So why would a musician want to play an old instrument when there are shops full of shiny new gear?
One major consideration is cost. Unless a vintage instrument is rare or collectible, it can be significantly less expensive than its new counterpart. Even with the cost of new strings, a tune-up and minor repairs, a used instrument can costs hundreds of dollars less than a new one. With diligent research and wise shopping, a musician can find a high-quality used instrument for the same cost as a low- or medium-quality new instrument.
Another reason to buy a used or vintage instrument is quality and craftsmanship. There are many fine instruments available brand new, but the prevailing sentiment with musicians is that “they don’t make them like they used to.” This may be fact, and it may be fiction; there’s certainly no shortage of cheap, low-quality vintage instruments. But the top-notch, well-made, expensive instruments that manufacturers crafted years ago are generally regarded as being better than anything a musician can buy off the shelf today.
In addition to cost and quality, some players choose vintage gear just because of the way it looks. Sometimes an old, stylish, well-worn musical instrument, with obvious signs of age and patina, simply has more character than a new instrument.
But the most important reason that musicians select a vintage guitar or other vintage instrument is that these instruments often have a fantastic sound. A good piece of wood, shaped into a guitar, violin or other instrument, will tend to sound better with age. And as hard as manufacturers try to mimic age through engineering, materials and electronics, there’s simply no substitute for the real thing. However, vintage instruments that sound good are highly in demand, and can command astronomical price tags, sometimes into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a significant instrument in excellent condition.
So if you’re a beginning player or a seasoned musician, why not check out an online auction, or a flea market, or the “used” section of your local music store, and try a vintage musical instrument for yourself?
About the Author
‘m always out searching for vintage musical instruments.