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THE Source for the Vintage Instrument World

Newsletter

April, 2010

Apr 9 2010 - 10:56am

Newsletter #33, April 2010: The Vintage Instrument Market
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This newsletter is a seven-part series on the vintage guitar market, written in 1991. Needless to say, prices today are significantly different than they were then and the market has gone through many...

February, 2009

Feb 9 2009 - 9:57am

Newsletter #32, February 2009

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How a Zoologist Became a Guitar Animal

Louis Caroloza interviews George Gruhn for Vintage Guitar magazine (March 2009). Reprinted by permission.

...

May, 2008

May 14 2008 - 5:44pm

Newsletter #31, May 2008

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Golden Era instruments

When I opened the doors to my shop in January 1970, people did not use the term Golden Era, but we were well aware of the profound difference between the current new instruments and used instruments of certain periods. We considered post-1965 Fenders and Gibsons to be very poor...

September, 2007

Sep 14 2007 - 5:44pm

Newsletter #30, September 2007

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Lower interest rates, rising rap music, falling sales of new guitars, and the vintage guitar market

The Federal Reserve's half-point drop in interest rates on Sept. 18 has caught everyone's attention - consumers as well as the financial community. It's the first such cut in four years, and it's...

March, 2007

Mar 14 2007 - 5:45pm

Newsletter #29, March 2007

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Endangered woods: Immediate action requested

A proposal currently being considered by the board of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna) would restrict international trade in pernambuco wood and would make it virtually impossible for violinists to legally...

September, 2006

Sep 14 2006 - 5:46pm

Newsletter #28, September 2006

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Collectors vs. musicians

Periodically, and usually in periods when prices on vintage fretted instruments are rising rapidly, we hear more and more complaints that rich collectors are pushing prices so high that the finest guitars, mandolins and banjos are being taken out of the hands of...

March, 2006

Mar 14 2006 - 4:46pm

Newsletter #27, March 2006

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Are vintage guitars really good investments?

We've stated numerous times through the years that vintage fretted instruments have proven to be excellent investments, that they often outperform the stock market, and that they are unique among investments and collectibles because you can play them...

November, 2005

Nov 14 2005 - 4:47pm

Newsletter #26, November 2005

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A visit to Vermillion and the need for repairs

We made our first visit to the National Music Museum (formerly the Shrine to Music Museum) in Vermillion, SD, in October to take part in a symposium celebrating the opening of a new guitar exhibit...

September, 2005

Sep 1 2005 - 5:47pm

Newsletter #25, September 2005

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Guitar players and guitar designers

A request for a newsletter focusing on Chet Atkins’ influence on music and the guitar industry prompted some thoughts about the contributions famous musicians have made to fretted instrument design through the years. In this day and time, with dozens of...

July, 2005

Jul 1 2005 - 5:48pm

Newsletter #24, July 2005

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Walter Carter, who has just returned to Gruhn Guitars after 12 years, contributed this month's newsletter.

Culture shock and the Elvis factor

During my 12 years away from Gruhn's, I never thought of myself as an outsider to the vintage guitar business. After all, I was Gibson's historian for...

March, 2005

Mar 1 2005 - 4:48pm

Newsletter #23, March 2005

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Surviving the shark feeding frenzy

It has been my observation over the past five years that competition to buy premium guitars, banjos, and mandolins has become more and more fierce. The 'shark lines' at the entrance to guitar shows have become a virtual blood bath, but the number of clean original...

January, 2005

Jan 1 2005 - 4:49pm

Newsletter #22, January 2005

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Which vintage instruments offer the best utilitarian value?

January 2005 marks the 35th anniversary of Gruhn Guitars. During these years, the market for fretted instruments has gone through tremendous change. Looking back from when I first started collecting vintage instruments in 1963, the...

December, 2004

Dec 1 2004 - 4:49pm

Newsletter #21, December 2004

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Investing in fretted instruments

One of the most frequent questions I receive is "What instruments do you recommend for investment potential?" A close second is "How much will my instrument be worth five or ten years from now?"

After dealing and collecting vintage fretted instruments...

October, 2004

Oct 1 2004 - 5:50pm

Newsletter #20, October 2004

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Thirty-five years of ups and downs in the vintage business

Since the establishment of Gruhn Guitars in January of 1970 my business and the guitar market in general and certainly specifically the vintage guitar market have experienced enormous growth. Gruhn Guitars started out as GTR Inc. with...

September, 2004

Sep 1 2004 - 5:51pm

Newsletter #19, September 2004

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Juggling business and artistic activity

I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Michelle Newman of San Antonio, Texas, while sitting next to her on a flight from Atlanta to New York City. During the course of our conversation we found that many of the frustrations encountered by artists...

July, 2004

Jul 1 2004 - 5:51pm

Newsletter #18, July 2004

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The consequences of amplification for acoustic and electric instruments

The June newsletter on the subject of acoustic instrument amplification resulted in such a flurry of reader feedback that I have decided to continue on the subject of amplification in general for both acoustic and electric...

June, 2004

Jun 1 2004 - 5:52pm

Newsletter #17, June 2004

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Acoustic instrument amplification

I am frequently asked for advice on amplifying acoustic instruments. There are currently so many different systems available that it is impossible to cover all of them in the space of any newsletter, but I certainly have opinions on the subject and will share them....

May, 2004

May 1 2004 - 5:52pm

Newsletter #16, May, 2004

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Investing in vintage instruments vs. the stock market

I am frequently asked, "How much will my guitar be worth in 10 years?" Some customers think I can tell them with a high degree of certainty how much their guitar will be worth 20 years from now. Not long ago one customer asked me after an...

March, 2004

Mar 1 2004 - 4:53pm

Newsletter #15, March, 2004

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Guitar manufacturing on the Pacific Rim

Most of the guitars, banjos and mandolins my customers use and collect have been made by major manufacturers such as Martin, Gibson and Fender or a few superb handcrafters such as D'Angelico and Stromberg, but over the years, by far the greatest number of...

February, 2004

Feb 1 2004 - 4:54pm

Newsletter #14, February, 2004

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The state of restoration and repair

When I first opened my shop in 1970 I used to joke that if I lost a finger on my left hand for each independent luthier producing fine quality hand made guitars suitable for professional use on stage or in the studio, I would still have at least as many usable...

January, 2004

Jan 13 2004 - 4:55pm

Newsletter #13, January 13, 2004

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What the heck is this thing?

Riding back from the Columbus Guitar Show with Jay Pilzer and Gruhn Guitar intern for three weeks, Matt Grimmer, caused us to wax eloquent discussing the complexity and confusion of model lineups by major guitar manufacturers today. In the "Good Ole Days" model lines were...

December, 2003

Dec 13 2003 - 4:56pm

Newsletter #12, December 13, 2003

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When I first met Hank Williams Jr. in late 1968, I was a graduate student at the University of Tennessee in the Psychology department where I was studying animal behavior. I had a small apartment off campus in which one bedroom was filled with guitars. There wasn't much wheeling and dealing to be done in Knoxville...

October, 2003

Oct 21 2003 - 5:56pm

Newsletter #11, October 21, 2003

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It is an obvious fact that vintage instrument prices today are incredibly higher than they were in the mid 1960s when I first started collecting. However, it was in fact much harder to find vintage collectibles back then than it is today. Whereas now there are hundreds if not thousands of vintage instrument dealers...

September, 2003

Sep 18 2003 - 5:57pm

Newsletter #10, September 18, 2003

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As both a dealer and appraiser of vintage fretted instruments I am faced with the daily necessity of placing dollar values on instruments. Any appraisal or price determination is to a certain degree the subjective judgment of the particular dealer or appraiser involved, however, the figures that I or any other...

August, 2003

Aug 13 2003 - 5:58pm

Newsletter #9, August 13, 2003

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Vintage guitars, banjos, and mandolins have proved to be a great investment over the years. Unfortunately as the value of these instruments has escalated so has the incentive to make more and more convincing forgeries. When I first started out collecting in the mid-1960s, it was virtually unheard of to see copies of...

July, 2003

Jul 24 2003 - 5:59pm

Newsletter #8, July 24, 2003

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This past weekend, Friday July 18 through Sunday, July 20, Nashville played the role of host to the Summer NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show at the Nashville Convention Center located one block from Gruhn Guitars. Exhibitor setup days were Wednesday and Thursday so we at Gruhn Guitars saw literally...

June, 2003

Jun 1 2003 - 6:02pm

Newsletter #7, June, 2003

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I have previously written a newsletter on the topic of what factors, in my opinion, combined to result in a truly superb instrument. This month I shall express my opinion as to what factors combine to define a collectible instrument which may, in turn, prove to be also a good investment.

I frequently tell people...

May, 2003

May 1 2003 - 6:02pm

Newsletter #6, May, 2003

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I have long been of the opinion a fine fretted instrument is one of the ultimate pieces of art. Unlike a painting which is designed only to be seen or a piece of sculpture which can be seen and touched but not really appreciated with any other sense, a musical instrument can be seen, touched, and heard. It is an entirely...

April, 2003

Apr 1 2003 - 5:03pm

Newsletter #5, April 1, 2003

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We live in a time of great technological as well as social change. The computer age has brought with it digital recording, MP3 copying and numerous gizmos and gadgets that have greatly changed the lives of musicians. As with most new technologies, this can be a mixed blessing. Digital recording techniques make it...

March, 2003

Mar 6 2003 - 5:03pm

Newsletter #4, March 6, 2003

Readers' response to the newsletters has been overwhelmingly positive. Your comments and questions are greatly appreciated. I make an effort to personally respond to all emails I receive. This time around I would like to respond to a few of the questions and concerns I have received from readers.

In my previous newsletter discussing and contrasting the differences in manufacturing techniques and...

January, 2003

Jan 14 2003 - 5:04pm

Newsletter #3, January 14, 2003

When I first opened my shop in January 1970, the state of guitar making was vastly different from the current scene. The market was dominated by far fewer manufacturers than today -- Martin, Fender, Gibson, Gretsch and Guild. Martin was and still is an independent business, but at that time Fender was owned by CBS, Gibson by Norlin, Gretsch by Baldwin, and Guild by Avnet. Martin had greatly increased...

December, 2002

Dec 10 2002 - 5:05pm

Newsletter No. 2, Dec. 10, 2002

The response to our first newsletter has been overwhelmingly positive. I have been deluged with reader emailed comments and questions. All of your comments are most welcome. While it is time consuming, I have been able to respond to all emails thus far and fully intend to continue doing so. You may also feel free to call me at 615-256-2033 from 9:30 to 5:30 central time.

During the time I have...

Dec 1 2002 - 5:05pm

Newsletter No. 1, December 1, 2002

Welcome to the first of what will be a series of weekly newsletters from George Gruhn of Gruhn Guitars. Please feel free to call me or the Gruhn staff at 615-256-2033 from 9:30 to 5:30 central time Monday through Saturday or email us at gruhn@gruhn.com with any of your questions or comments. We will be happy to give you personal attention. Your comments and questions are critically important to us for...