A Trip to This Year's Veenendaal Vintage Guitar Show

The organisers of Vintage-Veenendaal work hard to make sure it’s the friendliest vintage guitar show in the world. And in a typically Dutch way, they couldn’t seem to help themselves from making it one of the highest quality shows too.

Before you even reached the main hall, you were hit with the smell of barista coffee from one of the many artisan food establishments bought in especially for the show. No corners were cut, no expense spared.

But of course we weren’t there for the coffee, no matter how good it was.

The main hall was a mixture of chaos and excitement. Before you know it, you’re practically tripping over classic gear (in my case a Vox AC30 Top Boost) as you weave in and out of the hefty crowds.

You quickly realize that all of the relics that you might want to see at a vintage guitar show are here, be it early Fenders or player grade Japanese oddities. Even the weird, early digital gear that you can just about recall seeing adverts for in Guitar magazines in the ‘90s made its way to the floor.

Demark Street Guitars Display featuring a 1957 Fender Stratocaster

On the far side of the main hall, early Fender Strats were causing crowd flow issues. A ‘56 and a ‘58 one stand and at the next a ‘57 Strat, adorned with a sign declaring it, “The world’s finest.” Also on display were a whole host of classics including early Les Paul Customs and Juniors.

Generally conspicuous in their absence were vintage Les Paul Standards with burst finishes (although at least one beautiful example), but it was a good day for fans of Fender student models. Vintage Mustangs, Broncos and Duo-Sonics were on just about every stand, often priced quite attractively.

Upstairs, things were more obtainable still. Racks of affordable ‘60s and ‘70s Japanese guitars were adorned with signs practically imploring people to grab one and play. Tables were strewn with project guitars going for a song but needing a lot of love to reach their former glory.

Pretty much everywhere you looked you could see pedals, but for every odd King of Tone and Timmy there were hundreds of widely available staples. And yes, there were also plenty of bizarre vintage pedals you’d long forgotten even existed. A Roland GR–300 got me worked up even before I realised the price included a GR–707, the guitar that badly wanted to be a keytar.

1937 Epiphone Triumph

The whole event had a wonderfully down to earth, jumble sale vibe throughout, with stand owners running around and animatedly organising trades, occasionally waving guitars up in the air while negotiating across an aisle.

The Dutch are incredibly friendly and carefree people, and while it was strange that nobody bat an eyelid at showgoers eating a hotdog while simultaneously touching an almost priceless ‘56 Strat, it did give the whole affair an unpretentious feel.

The Veenendaal guitar show is definitely worth a visit, whether you’re going for the early Fenders, cool vintage Japanese guitars, or formerly bleeding edge effects pedals.

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