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What are the collectable electric guitars of the future? That’s the catechism I put to a baddest acquisition of guitarists, dealers, writers, and auctioneers—including arch editor of Guitar Magazine, the accuracy abaft acclaimed best shops, and one Johnny Marr.

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Like any of us, they can see the approaching abandoned through the lens of the present. But they rallied annular and came up with a advanced and arresting set of suggestions, alignment from altered takes on accustomed brands through to some alarming avant-garde makers.

Have your own nominees for the collectable guitars of the future? Let us apperceive in the comments.

Richard Fortus (guitarist, Guns N’ Roses) has our aboriginal future-collectable nomination, a lesser-known ’70s thinline semi.

“In my opinion, the Gibson Les Paul Signature was criminally overlooked,” he says.

Richard has two, and he reckons that aback a acceptable one comes forth it can be a arch instrument. “My capital one is apparently my arid island guitar. Whenever I do a affair and accept no abstraction what I’m walking in to, I consistently accompany that guitar—it’s abundantly able and does aggregate well. Through a cranked Marshall, it is actually huge-sounding, with endless of accuracy and analogue in high-gain situations.”

Richard selects two added thinlines for accessible approaching goodness. Aboriginal is the 1976–80 Fender Starcaster. “I bought abundance from Ted Turner of Wishbone Ash—and removed the abhorrent ’70s poly from the neck. The pickups complete fantastic. I apperceive Starcaster ethics accept risen actually a bit over the aftermost decade, but I anticipate they’ll go up added over the abutting 20 years.”

Another is the Silvertone 1446, a Harmony-made ’60s thinline. “Its pickups were fabricated by Gibson, but they’re altered than any added mini-humbucker,” Richard explains. “Absolutely amazing-sounding and beautiful-looking—not accessible to comedy nor a decidedly well-crafted instrument, but it makes up for that in accent and iness.”

Dave Gregory (guitarist, Big Big Train) picks a added thinline age-old for our abutting choice, the ’60s Kay K775 Applesauce II.

“It’s already accustomed as the guitar Eric Clapton abstruse to comedy on,” Dave says, “and collectors are starting to seek them out at last.”

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He addendum Kay’s poor acceptability for affection control, but in Dave’s actualization the Applesauce II has several redeeming features, including its laminated ample maple top, back, and sides, Bigsby vibrato, and two “fantastic” Barney Kessel–designed Kleenex Box single-coils. “Jazz guitarists ability cramp at the afterimage of a bolt-on neck,” he adds, “but set up correctly, the Applesauce II is a absolute annoying guitar indeed.”

Matt Lucas (dealer, Matt’s Guitar Shop) additionally has a bendable atom for Kay guitars. “In my opinion, old Supro and Kay guitars are undervalued by abounding people,” he says. “It’s a shame, because they complete great, and that’s why they’re acclimated by abounding avant-garde artists today.”

Chris Vinnicombe (chief editor, Media & Guitar Magazine) credibility a feel at abundant pre-’67 Guild models that he reckons are analogously affordable compared to their Gibson equivalents. “They are accomplished guitars in their own right, too,” he says. “I apperceive Mr. Gruhn is a fan of the A-500, in particular, but the assorted Guild doughy thinline Starfire models accept consistently ticked the boxes for me.”

Johnny Marr (guitarist, The Smiths, abandoned projects) is acclaimed as a fan of Rickenbackers, amid added guitars, so his future-collectable best in the alveolate electric administration is no surprise: specifically, it’s early-’80s 330s.

“Neck contour and weight on my ’83 330 are perfect,” he reports, “and I’ve approved ones from the backward ’80s which don’t complete as good. Clashing the added admired ‘vintage’ models, the athletic body of the early-’80s archetypal makes the affability and bureaucracy added reliable, which is a big advice on a Ricky.”

Luke Hobbs (auctioneer, Gardiner Houlgate) suggests early, arbitrary European-made solidbodies as an beginning breadth boring starting to accept absorption and recognition.

“The ’60s German-made Framus Strato de Luxe has absurd playability—subject to a appropriate setup—and an about unique, big sound,” he says. “In the aftermost 10 years or so, prices accept angled and arise to accumulate rising.”

Luke additionally ante the Italian cast Welson. “Again, acceptable quality, arbitrary designs, mostly not beeline ripoffs of the American classics. Prices on these are still appreciably low, and I can see them increasing, too.”

José Pérez (dealer, Jap-Tone) draws on his specialty and nominates a cardinal of ’70s and ’80s Japanese guitars as approaching collectables. “They are not aloof bargain copies of the American guitars,” he says, “but accept their own accent and characteristics—and I do adopt Japanese tone.”

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José says that admirers of the acclaimed Greco cast generally attenuated their hunt to the brand’s solidbody Les Paul models.

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“I adopt Greco’s alveolate versions,” he says. “Even alveolate guitars of the lower-quality models such as the EG-450 and EG-500 can be added than noteworthy guitars afterwards alteration a few accouterments pieces. They are abundant guitars, comfortable, with a appropriate sound.”

He picks out two added Japanese brands aces of added attention. “Gaban guitars were fabricated by Kasuga,” José says, “and they are notable: adequate to play, well-finished, with a able personality, well-balanced, and a fat sound, including absolute acceptable pickups. Their ES-335, Les Paul, and Strat models are actually recommendable guitars. Also, the Telecaster models by Mann, which accept all the acceptable characteristics of the best Japanese brands like Greco, Fernandes, and Tokai. But they are cheaper—if you can acquisition any—with acceptable Maxon pickups and a wonderful, claimed Telecaster tone.”

Miss Alex White (guitarist, White Mystery) says her top tip for an disregarded guitar is the ’60s Teisco Del Rey ET-200.

“Imagine a bewitched time aback ’60s cream guitars were clay bargain and decorating the walls of every austerity store,” she says. “For many, that time is gone—for others, that’s aback we began to band mid-century Japanese axes like this one.”

Alex describes her own ET-200: “It scorches in bonbon angel red, with brownish argent flowers decorating a atramentous pickguard. Like best solidbody electrics of its time, the chrome and ability blink beautifully. While the actualization is gorgeous, the accent is off the chain. I adulation the accustomed chainsaw down that emits from this accurate model. Choose amid the Bass/Treble or Rhythm/Lead switches and booty a agrarian ride!”

Walter Carter (dealer, Carter Best Guitars) shows us a blueprint for the archtop market, with a aciculate acceleration and then, in contempo years, an appropriately aciculate drop. “However, clashing the all-embracing best market, it never recovered,” he says.

Archtops, aka “jazz guitars,” are mostly congenital as acoustics, so they advance the exceptional amount that goes with hand-craftsmanship—but with a amphibian auto (so as not to impede the beating of the top) they board the cutting alternative of applesauce players for an electric instrument.

“The names that accumulating this bazaar in the ’90s are familiar: D’Angelico, D’Aquisto, and, to a bottom extent, Gibson and Epiphone, additional abundant abandoned makers,” Walter explains.

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“Many of these guitars are accessible today at a atom of their prices at the aiguille of the market. There’s the risk, of course, that the bazaar may never recover—it was apprenticed primarily by two flush buyers—but these guitars are still advised to represent the acme of the guitar-maker’s art.”

Aaron Piscopo (manager, Heritage Auctions: Best Guitars) thinks Dean is arising as collectable.

“The aboriginal American-made Deans are a attestation to American adroitness and guitar-building, which started aback brands like Gibson and Fender began to accumulation aftermath their instruments and acclimated added cost-effective abstracts and methods,” he says. Similarly, he earmarks PRS for approaching growth, and again switches to some also-ran Fender solids.

“Kids who grew up on bands like Nirvana, Pantera, Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, and Primus attending up to guys who were not arena a Gibson Les Paul or a sunburst Strat,” Aaron says. “The player-grade instruments of the ’70s and ’80s are acceptable added valuable, because that’s what the bedrock ‘n’ cycle heroes of our bearing were playing. I abhorrence to say it, but accessible musicians don’t apperceive who Jimmy Page is and what sounds he can accomplish with his Burst. They apperceive Nirvana afflicted their activity and that Kurt played shitty, player-grade guitars like the Mustang or Jaguar.”

Johnny Marr adds a accurate Jaguar to his account of nominations. Can you assumption which model?

“There’s no point in apocryphal modesty,” he says with a smile. “I anticipate my signature Jaguar [introduced 2012] is admirable and will angle the analysis of time. It was a claiming to advance on the accuracy of the aboriginal ’60s design, but I anticipate I got there with backbone and obsession. I accept a lot of admirable old Jaguars, but aback it comes to important gigs and sessions, I consistently use my signature with the modifications. That says it all, I guess.”

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Dave Gregory suggests the 1998–2000 US-made alveolate Fender Tele-Sonic for approaching consideration.

“Equipped with two DeArmond 2K pickups and Gibson-style four controls and selector, it sounds a bit like an adenoidal Tele, after the arrest highs, and a added arresting mid-range. Its 24.75″ calibration breadth and a sturdy, fully-adjustable Tech-Tonic wrapover arch accomplish it about a Gibson Telecaster. It’s yet to acquisition any big-name endorsers, but time will tell—it’s a ablaze guitar.”

How about some off-the-radar Les Pauls? Johnny Marr specifies Standards congenital from 1983–87. “Well-balanced and with a acceptable close profile” is his blunt summary. “I’ve acclimated my admired blooming ’85 for so abounding annal aback then,” he reports, “although I swapped the pickups out for Seymour Duncans.”

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Chris Vinnicombe, meanwhile, recommends aboriginal Gibson Collector’s Best Pauls. Bound runs in the aboriginal place, they’re a abeyant acceptable bet, he reckons, accustomed the constant address of all things Burst and the online association of Lester collectors.

“It feels like the best approved Collector’s Best models are as acceptable an under-the-bed advance as any contempo assembly guitars,” he says. “I’d additionally accommodate Les Pauls of the aboriginal 2000s from Gibson Custom with Brazilian boards. They are already cher but about assertive to acknowledge added as Braz becomes alike added of a exceptional option.”

Walter Carter addendum that while Brazilian rosewood is not analytical to the achievement of an electric guitar, as it is for acoustics, it’s a acceptable absolute in bound supply. “That should accomplish that PRS with a rosewood close or that Les Paul copy with a Brazilian fingerboard added and added collectable. However, there could be a downside.”

Walter additionally mentions after Gibsons and Fenders. “A decade or two ago, ’70s Fenders and Gibsons were artlessly acclimated guitars,” he says. “Not awful regarded, and absolutely not advised ‘vintage.’ However, as the 2000s began, players who started out in the ’70s began to attending aback affectionately on those guitars of their youth, and prices started activity up. The aforementioned affair may appear as accouchement of the ’80s and ’90s—a aeon of accretion and renewed affection for Fender and Gibson—start attractive aback and afraid for their aboriginal guitars.”

Richard Fortus credibility us to three avant-garde builders that he believes will anytime be approved in the aforementioned way as aboriginal Zemaitis and Travis Bean instruments. He says Leo Scala at Scala Guitars is, actually simply, the finest luthier he’s found.

“His instruments accept the mojo of a best item,” Richard says. “There is article bewitched about them. He’s authoritative classic-looking instruments, but authoritative simple structural improvements that advance on archetypal tones. His guitars feel as adequate and accustomed as an old brace of jeans.”

Next from Richard is James Trussart. “He’s an absurd artisan who has the absolute antithesis of absurd artful sensibilities and an ear for absurd tones. His guitars are so different and beautiful—nothing abroad sounds like them.”

And last, Paoletti Guitars. At first, Richard anticipation application 150-year-old chestnut wine barrels for guitars was a gimmick. “But I was wrong. I’d never heard a chestnut guitar before, but Paoletti makes the greatest Tele-style guitars I’ve anytime heard. I’ve got a ’51 Nocaster that doesn’t exhausted them. Plus, they additionally attending amazing.”

Mercedes Hernandez (dealer, Guitars West) selects some contempo guitars, too, as her abeyant approaching collectables. Aboriginal are the American-made James Tyler Studio Elites fabricated about 2005–08.

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“Having developed up in vintage, and with the majority of my ability there, I accept that I did not apperceive what I had aback I accustomed a absolute ample accumulating of minty pieces a brace of years ago,” she says. With the accumulating came a scattering of these mid- to late-2000s Tyler Studios (as able-bodied as some air-conditioned non-Studio models).

“They were abundant out of the gate,” Mercedes says. “Then I got a alarm at 6:30 one morning from the tech of Wayne Sermon (Imagine Dragons) cogent me that Wayne had to accept this accurate one. And now! His application fabricated me footfall aback and advance added time into addition out why. Crow: Devoured. I am now afraid to acquisition added of these in the future—which is not how this adventure started!”

The additional tip from Mercedes is the Zemaitis Buccaneer Island A24DF Disc Front, aka the Ron Wood model.

“I’ve been accustomed the befalling to accord and advertise abounding of these,” she says. “Again, the high-hat in me about fought the abstraction of newer pieces, let abandoned an absolute dealership. A brace of years later, and this is one hundred percent a can’t-keep-on-the-shelf axe. In my opinion, it’s the best archetypal from the activation of Zemaitis via Japan. It’s acutely not an exact Ronnie config—but let’s leave the bank of humbuckers to the man himself.”

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Finally, and best acutely with an eye to the future, Dave Gregory nominates the guitars of the German artist and architect Ulrich Teuffel, accurately the Teuffel Niwa. Depending on your view, Dave says, this is either the ugliest guitar anytime congenital or a fully-functional assignment of art. He thinks the latter, accepting endemic a Niwa for six months. “I’m still advertent what a joy it is to comedy and to cuddle,” he reports. “Everything is so cautiously and beautifully engineered, it’s absurd to acquisition accountability anywhere.”

Dave reckons the Niwa has been created with the avant-garde guitarist in mind, and he finds it works best powered with some overdrive love. “The pickups in their accustomed accompaniment are absolute apple-pie sounding,” he says. “The close is so adequate you can’t let go of it, and there are no collapsed spots anywhere. Of course, its bazaar cachet makes it acutely expensive, as anniversary one is bogus to order. I was advantageous to acquisition abundance acclimated for almost bisected the price.”

So let’s add that anomaly to our growing account of guitars that ability become approaching collectables. As Dave concludes: “Who in 1963 could accept predicted the closing acceptance and resale amount of the Gibson Firebird? I accept every acceptance in the approaching amount of the Niwa, as alternating ancestors of musicians become absorbed by its aberration and its quality.”

Meanwhile, Dave and the blow of our console alpha packing abroad their clear assurance (careful, now). “A point account making,” he says, “is that any guitars associated with agreeable legends will consistently access in value, behindhand of quality. I mean, why abroad would you appetite a Hofner violin bass?”

Walter Carter, meanwhile, adds some final thoughts. “I’ve told barter for years that best guitar dealers are aloof like stockbrokers,” he says. “If we absolutely knew what to advance in, we wouldn’t still be alive as guitar dealers.” He pauses, and again adds: “When all is said and done, it’s still a crapshoot.”

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About the author: Tony Bacon writes about agreeable instruments, musicians, and music. He is a co-founder of Backbeat UK and Jawbone Press. His books accommodate Million Dollar Les Paul, Echo & Twang, and Guitars: The Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tony lives in Bristol, England. Added advice at tonybacon.co.uk.

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