Joe Bonamassa says the vintage guitar market has become “so elitist”
The blues maestro and avid guitar collector says the market is more of a collectors’ game rather than one for actual players and musicians.
Image: C Brandon / Getty Images
Avid guitar collector Joe Bonamassa has given his opinion on the state of the vintage market and the way it has become “so elitist”.
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Speaking about his expensive habit – or “addiction”, as JoBo calls it – in a new interview with Tone Talk, the guitarist says that the prices of vintage guitars have skyrocketed over the years, making it more of an investors and collectors’ game rather than one for the actual players and musicians.
“In 1990, I remember seeing my first ’59 Les Paul, and I think it was priced [around] $8,500, which was staggering, right?” Bonamassa begins [via Ultimate Guitar]. “Now, they’re in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you better know what you’re looking at, because one mistake could cost you six figures if you’re wrong about something. And it’s harrowing.”
“As a collector [and] as an investment, they’ve been great,” he adds. “As a player – there are real disadvantages now, and I feel bad for people who are into old things, and who always wanted to experiment musically with them, which is what they’re for.”
“They can’t justify $55,000 for a ’57 Stratocaster, because, at the end of the day, it’s just a Stratocaster. It’s not going to sound much different than something you can buy new for 1000 bucks or less right now.”
“And that’s the vintage market in a nutshell,” Bonamassa concludes. “It’s become so elitist, and this stuff trades among people who definitely are buying for either investment or doing it for the ‘Gram – it’s like, ‘Look at what I got, look how many I got.’ And I do this all the time, but people know I’m nuts, and I’ve been doing it my whole life. I put guitars on Instagram, but it’s not about bragging, it’s about sharing.”
Check out the full interview below.