When did pre CBS Strats start to gain value?

macoshark

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 30, 2016
1,462
arizona
I think there was a time when Pre CBS Stratocasters weren't sought after. They were just used Strats and they could be had for cheap dough. I want to say that was in the 70s and ended in the early 80s. does anyone remember those days and when they started to go up in price?
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
7,030
Murfreesboro, TN
Yes, there was a time when old Strats were less desirable than new ones. When they were just used guitars. In the early 80s there were stories about rich Japanese guys buying up the old guitars. And paying prices we thought were insane. Not just Fender guitars, either. Japan's economy was stronger, and their collectors saw that these guitars were under appreciated in the U.S.

Fender's management changes, followed by the sale to F.M.I.C., brought more attention. Moving production to Japan probably helped, too. Note that Fender tried to cash in on the value of pre-CBS guitars by launching the American Vintage 62 Strat, in 1982. Which further highlights the idea that the old ones were better.
 

arct

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 12, 2021
1,087
South Jersey
I remember walking right past three, four 50's strats and Teles to look at the new ones, we did it all the time in the mid 70's. They were just used guitars, and the bunches I ever played were exactly that, someone else's used guitar.

rct
 

Triple Jim

Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar
Feb 27, 2018
8,401
North Carolina
I bought my '76 Strat after seeing a classified ad for it in late '76. Being new to guitar at the time, when I went to look at it I took a friend who played in a band and knew something about them. One of the things he told me that day was that since it was a CBS guitar, it wasn't as valuable at the "preBS" instruments. He also said that it was a nice guitar and didn't find any reason not to buy it, so I paid the guy $300 and took it home.

I still have it, and recently refretted it with stainless.
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,832
Here and now
Early 80s. Well worn examples of 60s axes were moderately affordable into the mid-90s.
Lol. How stupid was I? In the early/mid 90's (I was still a fairly new player) I saw what was labelled as a 68 Tele on the wall for $1299 CAD at Pawn Shop in a smaller city near me. Though it looked to be in good shape I was like "???? I can buy a new US Tele for less!".

I'm aware that's only semi relevant in a "Pre CBS" thread.
 

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,647
Michigan
I remember walking right past three, four 50's strats and Teles to look at the new ones, we did it all the time in the mid 70's. They were just used guitars, and the bunches I ever played were exactly that, someone else's used guitar.

rct

Remember that back then those were fifteen to twenty year old guitars. Just someone's old starter guitar at that point. Same opinions as buying a 2002 to 2007 worn and rusted out Chevy Malibu or Ford Taurus is today.

.
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
5,723
Edmonton, Alberta
Then a follow up question could he “will guitars today become valuable?”

So many stories like this where no one could predict the future. Yet when someone asks if their 80’s reissue with a changed pickguard will hurt the value, they basically get told to go fly a kite.

Yes I know that it’s flooded right now and the golden era of the vintage gear prices are long gone but still no one can say for certain absolutely nothing will increase, maybe even double or triple. No one knew it back then but somehow it’s easy to predict it this time and it’s a hard, no?
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
5,723
Edmonton, Alberta
I have a hard time seeing guitars built after the early 70s gaining any real collectable value. I think Custom Shop models will largely retain their value and increase with the cost of production relative to what it would cost to order a new one.

Yes, same here but wasn’t that what everyone thought about the 50’s and 60’s stuff? Just another used guitar.

I do agree and I don’t think anything after the early 70’s will reach what a 50’s strat would bring in. Still a 90’s USA standard is the same price it’s always been. Can’t say the same for any of the vintage reissues or custom shop stuff. So I’m sure they’ll keep increasing to a certain point.
 

Nadnitram

Most Honored Senior Member
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I abused my Six Million Dollar Man "Bionic activity center" before eventually selling it at a garage sale for a dollar. My sister destroyed her Cabbage Patch doll by playing with it. My dad always swore that he clipped a 1952 Mickey Mantle card to the fork of his bike so that it would hit the spokes to mimic a motorcycle sound.

It's really hard to know which items will be considered collectible in the future. My rule of thumb is, if you know it's a collectible, it's already too late.
 

ripgtr

Most Honored Senior Member
Feb 16, 2012
5,445
austin
I joined a band in Jan 1976. I had just turned 19. I was replacing a guy who played a tele, they liked that sound, asked if I could get one. I was playing a 330 at the time, and I agreed, I thought a tele would be a better fit, But I always wanted a strat.

I went to a store to look at strats. They had new one there were up in the 600 range (that was probably list, I just remember it being twice what I eventually paid). They had a bunch of maple neck ones hang up, all at least a grand. That is about 4 grand in today's money. Then the guy brings over this beat up '60 from the corner. He said no one wanted the rosewood ones, so it was cheap. 250 bucks. Not only do I still have it, I was just playing it.

So by the mid 70s, the early maple ones were already up there. This is a few years after Layla, everyone wanted that. A couple years later, I started to get offers of a grand for mine. So, by '80, the rosewood ones were getting up there too.
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
6,018
Sante Fe, NM
I think there was a time when Pre CBS Stratocasters weren't sought after. They were just used Strats and they could be had for cheap dough. I want to say that was in the 70s and ended in the early 80s. does anyone remember those days and when they started to go up in price?
I bought my 59 Strat in 1975 in Kansas City for $425. By the time I worked at Gruhn’s in 1978 it was worth $1000.
 


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