Vintage guitar prices in Japan soar on nostalgia and COVID boredom

Nikkei -- Sep 16
Prices of some vintage guitars in Japan have doubled since the start of the pandemic as what began as a pandemic hobby turned into an outlet for revenge spending.

In the past, prices would rise gradually over five- or 10-year spans, but now they often jump by 50% from one month to the next, according to a staff member at a guitar shop in Tokyo's Shinjuku ward.

"Price gains have clearly picked up speed during COVID," the staff member said.

The pace shows no sign of slowing, with instrument sellers saying some models are being bought as investments.

There is no clear definition makes a guitar "vintage." But for acoustic guitars, vintage models are typically those from 1969 or earlier.

Gibson and Martin are among the most sought-after brands. Collectors are drawn to guitars made of wood no longer in use today, as well as their sound quality, which improves with age.

A 1950 Gibson J-45, the same model played by Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and others, now fetches an estimated 1.4 million yen ($9,800), up 40% from 2021, according to Osaka-based music store chain Mikigakki. The value has nearly doubled from 2019. ...continue reading


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