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Vintage Musical Instruments

Music is an ever-changing art that is often defined by the instruments of the time. Because of this, musical instruments are time capsules for each era of music styles. The musical subtleties of vintage instruments, the acclaimed workmanship, and the historical importance of the instrument's styles make these pieces of interest to avid musicians, historians, and collectors alike.

What traits define vintage musical instruments?

Typically, an instrument is considered to be vintage when it is 30 or more years old. In those three decades, the details of musical instruments, like color and tone, may change. In rare cases, the sound of an instrument will be reconfigured due to technological advancements. This is most true for electronic instruments like synthesizers. Some instrument brands become more prestigious over time because of their longevity and superior craftsmanship. Vintage instruments, as a result, are defined first by age, by brand, and by their model.

How are vintage guitars different from modern guitars?

Vintage guitars are of interest to collectors because of the rapid changes in fabrication during the 20th century. In the early 1900s, guitars were produced in more or less the same way that they had been during the late 1800s. However, with the introduction of steel strings in 1930, the tone of the guitar had been completely changed, and it became increasingly more difficult to find vintage guitars without steel.

For this reason, as well as the numerous changes in guitar shape, color, fret style, and more, vintage guitars can offer unique aesthetics and, at times, unexpected dimension to a piece of music. One of the enduring names for vintage instruments like guitars is Martin, which is a brand that was associated with quality for the entirety of the 19th century.

How are musical instruments categorized?

  • Stringed Instruments: All musical instruments that have strings that are plucked and echoed inside of the instrument body fall into this category. Vintage instruments that fall into this category include the guitar, mandolin, and banjo.
  • Percussion: A percussion instrument is struck either by the hand or by a baton. This category includes drums and cymbals, and their decoration is usually very specific to different regions of the world and eras of time.
  • Wind and Woodwind: Wind and woodwind instruments are played as the musician directs air across a reed or horizontally across a hollow tube, which allows the air to vibrate inside the instrument to produce the sound. Some of these instruments are flutes, saxophones, and clarinets.
  • Brass: Like winds and woodwinds, brass musical instruments are played using air. However, rather than using a reed, the air in a brass instrument is vibrated across the lips before entering the instrument's body. Common brass instruments include trumpets, horns, and tubas.
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