How to: Vintage Without Breaking The Bank
By Jeb Silburn, Twin Town Guitars Staff Writer
Tapping into the territory of time aged vintage guitars often brings to mind models that carry price tags well into the multi-thousand dollar range. Early 50’s and 60’s models start to dwarf housing down payments, and even now some later era models don’t make you jump for your wallet. Still, a classic axe holds incredible swagger, and uniqueness that can’t be matched by a new build. Woods warp and change in tonal quality, design standards vary and evolve from their original intentions. A time worn guitar can be the stand out piece in your quiver, and the curb appeal alone is often enough to draw you into the vintage hunt.
A word of encouragement in that endeavor; Despite the high-dollar associations with the infamous V word, a vintage guitar doesn’t have to empty your piggy bank. Sometimes, it can even be the affordable option. Back in the yesteryears of the ‘30s, Kay Musical Instruments kicked off their production of a wide range of stringed instruments and guitars out of Chicago, IL. Kay guitars come in all shapes and sizes, and carry a deep vintage vibe and heart. Models such as their early 60’s Vanguards can be found for under $500- a sight for sore eyes within the vintage discussion. The Kay K-37 Archtop is an acoustic archtop guitar with an incredible amount of charm and vintage character. Sporting a colossal neck profile, comfortable body, and warm aged tones, the K-37 is a perfect vintage acoustic guitar for only $250.
Harmony Guitars has recently returned to the table with a fresh line of electric guitars, mirroring many of their venerable vintage models. Many of those original builds, however, still hold up to the standards of today. The Silhouette 1488, a long time favorite of their fanbase, is a three-pickup offset bodied guitar, built for sales at Sears in the early 60’s. Despite our department store associations of today, the guitars are well built and often have great action, tone, and material quality. Even better, it doesn’t take too much looking to find one well below one grand in price.
Jumping into the vintage guitar game can be daunting, but with enough searching one can discover a plethora of options that don’t require emptying a savings account. Check out our website to see our Harmony Silhouette 1488, as well as a handful of other vintage and used pieces of all sorts.