Today Fender is the kind of brand you can buy an affordable, good-quality guitar from. It won’t be unique, though. Since Leo Fender sold his company to CBS in 1965, Fender guitars started to be mass produced; before 1965 each guitar was handmade. This is why Fender guitars from before 1965 are very desirable among collectors. Handmade Fender guitars are not just unique, but also produce a different sound – a better sound according to most guitar enthusiasts.
The pre-1965 Stratocasters and Telecasters have become especially popular and valuable today – including the Esquire and Broadcaster, as the Telecaster was called in its early days. If you are looking for a more affordable investment, the team of in-house musical instrument experts recommend looking for a pre-1965 Jazzmaster, Mustang or Jaguar, which are slowly increasing in value as well.
2. Guitars built with Korina woodA guitar made from Korina wood is like the holy grail for guitar players. Korina wood creates a great tone – even brighter than mahogany – and is lightweight, but few Korina guitars are manufactured. Why is that? Well to start with, Korina wood is hard to come by; it grows only in Africa and there is limited availability of quality pieces of wood. Since manufacturers prefer producing large quantities, Korina wood just isn’t the right choice of material for most. So what about small productions of handmade guitars? Many guitar builders generally dread working with Korina wood because it’s incredibly difficult to work with.
The limited number of Korina guitars is part of the reason why they are a good investment; another reason is that Korina was used to build the legendary Gibson Flying V and the Explorer. These are particularly sought after among collectors, so if you can get your hands on one, take it! One of the most expensive guitars ever sold was a Gibson Explorer Korina, for almost €1 million.
3. Japanese ‘lawsuit’ guitarsSometimes replicas can become very valuable. In the 1970s, Japanese manufacturers such as Ibanez, Greco and Tokai produced exact replicas of Gibson and Fender guitars. While the quality of these Japanese replica guitars improved, the quality of the American guitars they were based on actually declined due to several factors, including Fenders take-over by CBS in 1965. When Gibson threatened Ibanez with a lawsuit they were forced to change the design of the guitars to make them different from the original guitar designs. These Japanese ‘lawsuit’ guitars from the 70s are a great investment, but be careful what you buy: sellers don’t always use the term ‘lawsuit’ rightfully.