A 1952 Gold Top Gibson Les Paul sells at an auction for $125,000. Torched Hendrix Strat expected to fetch $1M. A PRS Dragon II sold on eBay for $32K. These are some of what a collectible guitar will sell for. Other than the PRS, most of the collectible guitars in the 50’s and 60’s sold for no more than $300 at a retail music outlet.
So are there guitars today that are likely to be sought after in the future? Ahh… that’s where I come in. That’s the purpose of these articles. I’ve been collecting guitars since the early 60’s and have established a knack for picking winners. I have been wrong several times but my hits outnumber my misses. Every now and then I will write about up and coming guitars and models that are most likely to appreciate in value making them investment worthy today.
My pick for this article: PRS Budweiser Guitars.
Big companies come to manufacturers for a limited run of a certain product with their graphics of logo affixed to the product. These are usually not for resale and are used only for promotion, giveaways, awards, etc. The PRS Budweiser Guitar in particular is a very limited run (usually 20 – 100). The guitars were given to sales people for promotion. Most of them were given to participating bands in Budweiser sponsored events. Some given as raffle prizes. None are sold. Most of the PRS Budweiser guitars circulating today are in very poor condition. Since people didn’t pay for these guitars, they didn’t take good care of them. People usually don’t put a lot of value in something they didn’t pay for. As a result I have seen very very few in good condition. So finding one in mint or excellent condition is like finding a needle in a haystack. Because of the limited quantity of these guitars and the lack of quality specimen circulating around males this a very very collectable guitar. And as of this year, 2010, it’s still very affordable. Most of these end up in pawnshops. I saw a some on ebay but most of them are in bad shape.
Quality wise, I didn’t think much of these guitars until I saw one in person from a collector who owns several mint specimen. The ones I saw were every bit as nice as the regular PRS production guitars. The collector I met with mentioned that most of these guitars were not set up properly when he acquired them. Necks usually were too straight or too bowed, intonation were off, bridge were too high or too low. After setting up each guitar properly and making sure pickup height is also optimal, these instruments are every bit as versatile as the custom PRS’s.
The most common PRS Budweiser Guitar is the standard 22 shape with a Santana Pickguard. The less common is the Strat type PRS Budweiser with 3 single coils, a pearloid pickguard with volume and tone knobs. Both very sweet sounding guitars. As a side note, the collector I met with said he gets just as much ohhhs and ahhhs from his PRS Buds as his Private Stock guitars.
In summary, collect these guitars now but focus on the ones that are closest to mint as possible. Those are very few. Happy collecting. We’ll see you on the next article.