Modern Collector (September 2005)

Surfing the Trends of Collectable Guitars

It's summer and it's hot, lots of people are away on vacation and this is the time for family fun and maybe a little guitar thrown in for good measure. So while you are surfing the waves at the beach we are surfing the trends of collectable guitars. So what is hot in the world of guitar collecting? Well, high profile vintage Fenders and Gibson's sure are, these seem to go up by the hour and there are no signs that they will cool off. As always get a clean example, pay more for it if you have to for these are the ones that out perform the market.

Of other interest are the Gibson R9's from 2003 that feature Brazilian Rosewood fingerboards. Gibson pulled out all the stops on these 59 reissues, using Sprague black beauty caps and CTS pots. These features along with the correct aged inlays and the use of Brazilian rosewood made these the most accurate of all the Gibson 1959 Reissues. These guitars have spiked in price and are a good bet to become more collectable and valuable as time goes on. The reasons for this are that Gibson has vowed to never use Brazilian Rosewood on these again. Consumers are also handicapped by Gibson's new Internet policy, which prohibits new R9s from being displayed on most dealer websites. So even if you wanted a new R9 (that has been downgraded) you cannot simply log on to a favorite guitar merchant and view them as you could so freely in the past. This fact as well as the fact that new R9s are not showing up nearly as often and are frankly not as exciting as guitars made in the past have sent players and collectors looking for the used ones of the recent past. The 2003 59 Reissue tops the list of all those, and will continue to be strong unless Gibson decides to reverse some of its policies. One note, not all 2003 Les Paul's had Brazilian Rosewood boards so if in doubt check out and check the Forum for Brazilian Rosewood. Also Brazilian was used on all the 2003 Les Paul reissues thus making the R7 Goldtops a really good buy.

This month we feature one of the most collectable guitars of the Modern era, and to many the appreciation of this model lies within its rarity and not its beauty. Bonni Lloyd was a friend of Paul Smith's from the old days in Annapolis, Md. She came to work for Paul where their professional association lasted many years. Bonni held many positions at PRS including Artist Relations and in the early days making the guitars too! Bonni made friends easily and formed some of the lasting relationships that PRS enjoys to this day. So when time came for her to choose an employee model Bonni asked that her guitar be painted to match her Chuck Taylor Converse tennis shoes, which were Pepto Bismol Pink. A color was made to match these and used on a Custom 24 in quilt that was for all practical purposes a Signature model, though it did not have a series number. PRS used the BP color through the '80s and into the early '90s before it was discontinued.

Oddly the reason for the utter hysteria over the color is the fact that it is so rare in the world of PRS guitars and not for its beauty. The color is such that you either love it or hate it right away, there is very little middle ground. BP was used on the CEs models up to the top of the line Signature models. This month we feature a 1992 PRS Custom in Bonni Pink. The guitar is a one owner piece, which came from under the bed. '92 is very late in the game for a Bonni Pink, and with the exception of some private stock guitars that were built recently this may have been one of the last to feature this color. This example was purchased by a son for his father to learn to play on, but it appears that never came to pass as it has every tag and piece of paperwork in the case and is in mint pristine condition. It now rests in a large collection of PRS guitars.

Until next time, Take care and God Bless.
Rick Hogue

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