Gallery: Vintage Music Gear Magazine Ads

In today's bewildering media landscape, it's easy to forget the simple elegance of a tasteful, full-page magazine ad. In the age of Don Draper, print campaigns could make or break a product launch, and the importance of their design was as central to the marketing of music gear as sports cars and cosmetics.

In the gallery below, we've pulled together a small sample from the massive world of vintage gear advertisements from various sources. These images are fantastic and fascinating for a number of reasons. For one, they are, of course, totally charming snapshots of what print culture looked like in each era. The hairdos, color palettes, and even copywriting style all reflect the prevailing trends of the day in a warmly nostalgic way.

From a gear-historical perspective, though, what's even more interesting is the way that these ads reflect what each company wanted to say about their products at the time. The '50s Fender Jazzmaster ad, for instance, presents the new design as "America's Finest Electric Guitar" – not the hip alternative it would become with players in subsequent years. This sort of market positioning is still very much a part of the modern gear industry, as evidenced by the NAMM show every January.

Take a look at some of our favorites, and let us know which ones you like the best in the comments.

Pictured advertisements are property of original manufacturers and trademark holders. Special thanks to,, and for providing many of these scans.


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