The 10 Most Impressive Vintage Guitars Sold on Reverb in 2017

Here at Reverb, we see a lot of beautiful, rare guitars pass through the pages of our site and into the hands of new owners. With the season of year-end retrospectives upon us, we would be remiss if we didn't take an opportunity to shine a light on some of the more remarkable vintage guitars sold on Reverb this year.

Below, you'll find ten of the rarest, coolest six-strings to trade hands in 2017. However, with so many impressive vintage guitars sold, we were spoiled for choice. Our list of ten certainly isn't comprehensive, and we couldn't help but include more highlights in an extra photo gallery.

Check out some of our favorites, and let us know which one you think is the most impressive in the comments.

1958 Gibson Korina Flying V

This '58 Korina Flying V was the most expensive (and arguably the coolest) guitar that sold on Reverb this year. It was sold by Mike Teppe of Acme Guitars in St. Louis, who let us know that since he plans on retiring soon, the sale of this museum piece was something of a crowning moment of his career.

For those unfamiliar with these mythic guitars, the Flying V and its counterpart, the Explorer, were produced in extremely limited numbers in the late 1950s. Built from unconventional korina wood and stocked with original Gibson P.A.F. humbuckers, there were probably fewer than 100 Vs made in the original run, earning these guitars a spot at the very top of the list of most-coveted vintage guitars.

1965 Firemist Gold Stratocaster

For vintage Fender collectors (and Strat collectors in particular), custom Fender-factory finishes can significantly amplify the desirability of a particular instrument. While a 1965 sunburst Strat (from the transitional CBS-buyout year) might sell for around $10,000 (€8,500/ £7,500), guitars rocking a rarer finish (like Candy Apple Red or Lake Placid Blue) can go for double or triple that price.

This guitar, though, sports a Firemist Gold finish—one of the rarest custom Fender colors of all—making this one of the more highly prized Strats to hit the market in 2017.

Related Article: The Vintage Strat Market by the Numbers

312 Guitars

1937 Martin D-18

In the vintage acoustic corner, no guitars can claim as much reverence as pre-war Martin dreadnoughts, like the D-18 and D-28. This generation of guitars set the template for the majority of steel-stringed acoustics that followed, and remain extremely popular models to this day.

This 1937 D-18 showcases everything collectors celebrate about these instruments, with its solid mahogany body and a gently tapered, somewhat V-shaped neck.

Dennis and Joy Shockey

1960 Les Paul Standard "Burst"

Typically on Reverb, we see at least one or two original Les Paul "Bursts" sales a year, and 2017 was no different. Like the Flying V mentioned above, these guitars come from the peak period of Gibson innovation and craft, ranking at the top of the vintage guitar collectability scale.

This Burst—sold by Rumble Seat Music—was actually re-necked at some point in its life, so only the body and vitally important hardware and electronics are from the '50s. That said, vintage Les Paul buyers are usually most concerned with finding a high-grade flamed maple top—something that this instrument certainly exhibits.

Rumble Seat Music

1950 Fender Broadcaster

Between the Telecaster, Telecaster Custom, Esquire, and several other variations on the classic Fender single-cut design, there are a lot of different vintage Tele-shaped guitars floating around the vintage listings on Reverb. The original Broadcaster (the name used on the Tele during its first year of production) ranks as the most desirable for collectors.

Early-era Telecasters and Broadcasters are currently in especially high-demand on the vintage scene, and this excellent-condition, all-original specimen is the finest examples we've seen.


1954 Gretsch Round Up

In the 1950s, Gretsch tended to festoon its guitars with all sorts of gadgets, gimmicks, and other slapped-on cosmetic details. The Round Up is a good example, shipping with a tooled leather trim along the edge of the body and a western motif bridge piece like a honky tonk belt buckle.

These guitars are quite rare to begin with, and when they do come to market, they’re often missing some of these original components. This guitar, though, still has all its country and western character intact and may be a best-in-class example in terms of vibrancy and condition.

Louis's Shop

1951 D'Angelico Excel

Archtop master John D'Angelico built around 1,150 guitars in his lifetime, and this Excel model from 1951 is an outstanding example of his work. While it's not the only D'Angelico guitar we've seen sell this year, this Excel is certainly the finest, showcasing a suite of distinctively D'Angelico appointments and construction techniques.

Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Gibson Style U Harp Guitar

Antique Gibson Harp Guitars are not especially rare in and of themselves. What makes this listing and sale so special is the instrument's magnificent condition. Originally purchased by a school teacher on the Southwestern American frontier, this guitar spent nearly a century in a closet, only to be uncovered in about as close to factory-fresh condition as a century-old guitar can be.

Related Article: 1908 Style U Harp Guitar: The Cleanest Antique Gibson We've Ever Seen

Vintage Gear America

1958 Rickenbacker 335F

Most players today are familiar with the Rickenbackers made famous by the Beatles and, later, Tom Petty. But in the '50s and early '60s, the California maker introduced a wider assortment of more experimental guitars, some of which caught on and some of which did not. This 335F model is one of the rarer Rickenbackers to sell this year, featuring a more conventional single-cutaway body than you typically find on Rickenbacker instruments, old and new.

Related Article: The 10 Rarest Rickenbackers on Reverb Right Now

Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Mustang Prototype owned by Leo Fender

Vintage Mustangs are not usually highly sought-after guitars for collectors. But then again, most vintage Mustangs weren't owned and experimented on by Leo Fender himself. Such is the case with this guitar that, as you can see on the listing, was featured in multiple books and carries multiple prototype innovations direct from Leo's hands, including a three-bolt tilt adjust neck plate and a tremolo system that seems to have never made it out of the development stage.

Vintage Gear America

As mentioned above, this is just a small selection of the fantastic vintage guitars that sold on Reverb this year. Take a look below for some more of our favorites.

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