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Dave Hinson with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons

An Interview with Dave Hinson from Killer Vintage Guitar Shop in St. Louis, MO

Dave Hinson, owner (Killer Vintage Guitar Shop in St. Louis, MO)

Dave Hinson, owner (Killer Vintage Guitar Shop in St. Louis, MO)

If you have spent any time at all perusing the web for vintage gear, chances are you have run across the names Dave Hinson and Killer Vintage. Located in the heart of St. Louis, Killer Vintage has a reputation as one of the world’s foremost vintage guitar shops. The building sits on the quiet corner or Ivanhoe and Scanlan, and at first glance looks as if it will burst apart from all the gear crammed into every nook and cranny. The vibe is cool, and the guys at Killer Vintage know their stuff, so whether you’re looking for the next ultra-rare piece for your collection, the final element of your ultimate stage rig, or just a place to dream (and pick up an awesome t shirt!), Killer Vintage most likely has what you are looking for. I recently caught up with Dave Hinson, owner and head boss at Killer Vintage, and got a chance to ask him a few questions about his experience with the vintage guitar market.

1. Before we drill down into the details, what would be your single paragraph biography?

I began playing guitar in 1962, with Mel Bay as my first teacher. I started playing for pay in 1966, and began dealing guitars in 1970. Killer Vintage was started as a legitimate business in 1994 and continues to buy and sell guitars and vintage gear today. I currently serve as one of the editors of the Vintage Guitar Price Guide, as well as a contributing editor and adviser of the Blue Book of Guitars. I am on the advisory board of the Modern Guitar Museum (Los Angeles), expert Appraiser for Heritage Auctions Dallas TX, and frequent consultant to the Antique Roadshow (PBS). I can be heard every 6 weeks on Overnight America as the Guitar Guy (CBS radio) and as the Guitar Guy on St Louis 97.1 FM KFTK (Dave Glover Show). I played 6 nights a week for many years, but now play 6 nights a month. As owner and proprietor of Killer Vintage, I have a long-standing reputation as a premier vintage guitar authority, and my T-shirts are legendary though very politically incorrect!

2. How did you get started collecting guitars and what were some of your first pieces?

I started just trying to get myself a better guitar in the mid 60’s. Never really collected and still don’t. I do have a a collection of sorts. But they are guitars that have either or both sentimental attachment or ones I can use on gigs. My first electric was a 1964 Fender Mustang (Red) I bought it at Mel Bay music on his advice and even had a payment book from Kirkwood Bank (11.44 per month) I paid it off in 3 months mowing lawns. I still had that guitar in 1967 and traded if even for a 1957 Chevy Convertible (Black) at a Ford dealer. I had a couple others by then (SG Special & Vox pitfire). Still have the first guitar which was my Dad’s 1940 D’Angelico Style A but that wasn’t cool to a 13 year old in 1964.

Dave Hinson with ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons

Dave Hinson with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons

3. What do you feel is the current state of the vintage guitar market?

Right now is the time to buy I believe prices have come down from the 2006-2008 bubble. They were way out of control during that period as was most everything else. There is some question about the baby boomers graying out of the market and the potential of a flood of instruments. The true blue chip guitars 30’s/40’s and even 50’s Martins, 50/60’s Fender Gibson and same era Gretsch, Rickenbacker etc.. Should remain collectible and many models are not subject to fads.

4. What guitars today will be the vintage pieces tomorrow?

That is the 250 Thousand dollar question? I feel that some of the Colling’s guitars could be candidates for that. Gibson, Fender etc have all had peaks and valleys in production and only time will tell. One disturbing factor is the of lack of guitar driven pop music in the market. Many of the guitars that have risen to the top of the hill so to speak are equated with our 50/60’s/70’s guitar heroes but not many of those around these days.

Dave Hinson with Unknown Hinson

Dave Hinson with Unknown Hinson

5. What’s your personal favorite vintage piece on your collection currently?

My entire collection is not what you would expect I suppose. Here is the list though:

  • 1959 Gibson Les Paul Junior Factory Black
  • 1960 Gibson Les Paul Junior Factory Black
  • 1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior TV Model
  • 1960 Gibson Les Paul TV Special
  • 1960 Gibson ES-335 Sunburst (The one in the Lee Harvey Oswald Shirt)
  • 1964 Gretsch Custom Black
  • 1951 Fender Esquire
  • 1940 D’Angelico Style A
  • 1966 Epiphone Sheraton Blond
  • 1961 Fender Telecaster Blond
  • 1970 Harptone Acoustic Blond (George Harrison Concert for Bangladesh style)
  • 1966 Fender Stratocaster Oly White
  • 1966 Fender Jazz Bass Oly White Matching headstock
  • 2006 Linhof Special #0072
  • A couple J. Black made Tele Customs (One Esquire, One Telecaster) Bound 2 tone w/ maple neck

As I said I tend to keep guitar I can Play out. Museum quality or extremely rare guitars are not ones I like to hold on to. That is just me though!

6. What’s the one that got away?

Oh there are so many of those!! Wish I had kept a complete list??

  1.  I had Waylon Jennings 1969 Rosewood Tele back in the mid 90s’ (Went to Switzerland)
  2. 1954 Stratocaster #0812
  3. 1958 Gibson ES-335 Cherry Ser # A28800 this one was discovered in California near Reno NV. In the Gibson records as completed./ shipped Dec. 1958 The first Cherry 335 ever.
  4. 1951 Fender Esquire. Dave Crocker called me and said I have your guitar. Neck date was TG 7/23/51 (my birth date). I did not have the money at the time and regret to this day not getting that one. I do know where it is though!! Maybe someday??
  5. 1964 Gibson SG Custom Cherry 12 string….Yes!! the weirdest and coolest guitar I have ever seen.
  6. 1959 Gibson Les Paul really didn’t get a way I arranged the sale to a customer of mine but it came from South Africa later known as the African Burst.
  7. 1956 Stratocaster Shoreline Gold with Gold Hardware. Beautiful !!
  8. Several Sunburst Les Paul’s….never liked those back when they were 4-600.00 Hell you could buy Maple Neck Strats and black guard Tele’s for 100-150.00 and Es-335’s were 175.00 to 200.00. Juniors were 50.00 if you paid for them at all most of the time you would buy a couple guitars and close the deal with “OK I’ll take those if you throw in the Junior”.
Killer Vintage Guitar Shop in St. Louis, MO

Killer Vintage Guitar Shop in St. Louis, MO

7. How do you feel Japan has impacted the vintage guitar market over the years?

The Japanese are still serious buyers and collectors. In the 80’s/90’s especially they did influence the market by driving the prices up. But they in many ways helped establish the importance and value of these instruments. Fortunately many people from all over have also come on board collecting and investing in American guitars much in the same way one would great works of art. I am curious if other parts of the world will eventually take a similar approach. The Chinese are busy making fake Gibson guitars but will the wealthier individuals become interested in owning original examples??? same could be said for many other regions such as the Eastern Block countries and even the Middle East?? Who knows?

8.What impact has the internet had on the vintage market?

Obviously the internet has made the world smaller as far as market. A store in Iowa for example can sell a guitar to a buyer anywhere in the world. 15 years ago the would have been nearly impossible. We have had a website since 1995 now it is nearly impossible to do business without one. eBay and Gbase have become important vehicles for dealers to market their inventory. We do not use eBay anymore but Gbase is almost essential to display inventory and point to a stores website. One downside to the internet is the prolification of sort of self appointed experts from websites and forums. Many do not have much if any real knowledge but only hearsay and what they have read in either books or other websites and a lot of the credibility is suspect at best. This has created sort of a black Market in many respects.

9. What advice do you have for people who want to get into the vintage guitar market?

If you wish to enter the market make sure you do your research on the instrument and find a dealer to either purchase from that is knowledgeable and credible. There are many honest guitar guys but there are many more as afforementioned that do not have the history or expertise to be a dealer or expert if you will. I advise many people yo collect what you like. I feel this is most important factor. I have freind/customer that likes Custom Color Strats. Once in the while he will ask me to find him a Gold top or something my first response to him is you don’t like those. He will think about it and realize that he really doesn’t and continues on the path he is comfortable with. Try to only buy all original guitars or with minimal changes if you are building a collection. Refret most would agree is a minimal change if it has been done well. Stay away from refinished or guitars with changed parts unless you are OK with player grade guitars. Most importantly I would suggest staying with Blue Chip guitars. IE: 30’s-50’s Martins as far as acoustics and 50’s/60’s Fenders, Gibsons, Gretsch, Rickenbacker ETC… Still the ones that have held their ground throughout the years.

More pictures of Killer Vintage:

Killer Vintage Guitar Shop in St. Louis, MO

Killer Vintage Guitar Shop in St. Louis, MO

Killer Vintage Guitar Shop in St. Louis, MO

Killer Vintage Guitar Shop in St. Louis, MO

Post & Interview By: Dave Anderson

Eastwood Guitars UK: Now Up & Running in Liverpool

Eastwood Guitars announces the opening of Eastwood Guitars UK. Based in Liverpool, the facility will provide complete warehousing, distribution and set up of all Eastwood and Airline guitars for the UK market. In addition, to facilitate the growing demand for Eastwood and Airline products throughout the United Kingdom, Eastwood has launched www.eastwoodguitars.co.uk. This new website now offers the complete Eastwood catalogue of products shipping directly from the new Liverpool facility with all pricing in GBP (inc VAT).

“The new UK based operation and website makes our products easier and less expensive for our UK fans,” said Mike Robinson, President and founder of Eastwood Guitars. “Eliminating expensive North America shipping makes them more affordable and gets the guitars to our customers faster, without any unexpected import costs.”

The Eastwood Guitars UK facility is managed by Carl Cook, whose prior long standing association with Eastwood guarantees that the expert knowledge and enthusiasm that Eastwood Guitars have become renown for is brought to the UK shores. This new UK operation is part of the overall international expansion plan of Eastwood Guitars and it will also support the many new distributors of Eastwood and Airline products across Europe.

Dealer Profile: Guitars & Amps (The Netherlands)

Guitars & Amps was founded by Matthijs Gaspar and René Rutten, both seasoned and passionate guitar players. Together we have a history of over 30 years in the music industry: 13 years in the musical instrument retail, wholesale and import business (Matthijs) and 18 years as performing artist (The Gathering), producer and record label owner (René). Thanks to this long experience we know the back and front of the industry, so we can provide you with detailed information and expert technical advice. We understand the needs, wants and problems of guitar players, also when it comes to live performances, tours, recordings etc. From one guitar player to another, we promise you quality, know-how, honest advice and value for money. Come and see for yourself: one handshake is worth a thousand words!

Guitars & Amps store (The Netherlands)

Guitars & Amps store (The Netherlands)

Whether you are an absolute beginner or a professional artist, you will find our shop packed with high-value musical instruments and accessories, carefully chosen from the worlds leading suppliers and manufacturers.

Of course we have the big names in store like Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, PRS, Ovation, Takamine and Taylor. We also stock guitars from quality brands like Larrivée, Furch, Jackson, Schecter, Framus, Duesenberg and the one and only Nik Huber. In addition, we keep an eye on new and interesting developments on our visits to international trade shows (Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt). There, for instance, we spotted up-and-coming brand Eastwood from Canada: professional quality guitars at a very affordable price. Another brand we took on board is Spear Guitars, who also absolutely amazed us with their great value for money.

We also stock the best in amplifiers, effects and audio solutions. You will find a great selection of Koch, Marshall, Vox, Bogner, Mesa Boogie, Brunetti, Orange, Hiwatt, Fender and Blackstar amps, to name a few, and cool effect pedals from brands like Dunlop, Vox, Ernie Ball, Fender, RMC, Fulltone, Voodoo Lab, Z-Vex, T-Rex, MI Audio, Visual Sound, Emma, Toadworks, Blackstar, Maxon, Lehle, Love Pedal, Menatone, Mad Professor etc. You’re welcome to take your time and test anything and everything in our separate test rooms. After all, nothing is more personal than tone.

Guitars & Amps
van Berchenstraat 3-B
6511 BA Nijmegen
the Netherlands
+31 (0)24-3604582

Dealer Profile: San Francisco Guitarworks (San Francisco, CA)

Thanks so much to the SF Bay Guardian, and to all of you awesome customers, for making SF Guitarworks’ “Best of the Bay” award possible!

San Francisco Guitarworks (San Francisco, CA)

San Francisco Guitarworks (San Francisco, CA)

My goal is to make your instrument into something that you truly enjoy. We all know how frustrating it is to have a guitar that won’t tune, won’t stay in tune, has high action, buzzes, makes noise or makes no noise. The list goes on. It is also frustrating to have your instrument repaired”, only to find that the improvement made was minor, and did not solve the problem. I see plenty of work from other shops, and although some is OK, most displays a general lack of care and/or skill. I promise that won’t be the case at SF Guitarworks.

San Francisco Guitarworks (San Francisco, CA)

San Francisco Guitarworks (San Francisco, CA)

I am here for you, the player. I want to fully understand the problem with your instrument. What is that characteristic that is getting in the way of your playing, and how do you think it should be? After we are both sure we understand each other, the instrument will be transformed – meeting or exceeding your expectations. I believe that it should be a joy to pick up your guitar, bass, banjo, or other stringed instrument and know that it will perform as you expect. I am here to help you achieve that goal. My work is backed by a satisfaction guarantee, which no customer has taken advantage of since I have been in business, and all work that I perform is covered by a lifetime warranty. I am a perfectionist, and although I can’t tell you what will happen at other shops, I can guarantee that it will be done right the first time at SF Guitarworks. Professional service, no attitude. If you are at odds with your instrument, even if it seems nit-picky, please give me a call or stop by and I will do my very best to help you.

Thanks so much,

Geoff Luttrell

San Francisco Guitar Works
323 Potrero Ave
San Francisco, CA 94103
www.sfguitarworks.com
(415) 865-5424
sfguitarworks@hotmail.com

Dealer Profile: Fat Tone Guitars (Northbrook, IL)

Fat Tone Guitars presents an intimate performance and Q & A session with popular blues artist Tom Holland and his brand new Eastwood P90 Special in TV Yellow finish.

Tom Holland, blues guitarist

Tom Holland, blues guitarist

Tom will perform some of his original compositions like “Worry and Wonder” and “Zeb’s Blues” as well as some tried and true blues standards. In addition to his performance, Tom will discuss his guitar and what he looks for in an instrument. He’ll also take questions from the audience so come prepared. This will be a listen and learn session.

All Fat Tone After-Hours events are free however we ask that attendees email us to confirm attendance as seating is limited. In appreciation for coming, all attendees will receive a $25 gift certificate good at Fat Tone Guitars.

About Tom Holland

Tom started playing professionally in Chicago at age 19, landing his first gig with L.V. Banks, in a beauty salon on Chicago’s south side. Tom worked with L.V. Banks on and off for four years. It was also during this time that Tom was introduced to Muddy Waters last guitarist, John Primer. Tom toured the United States and Canada for 2 years with John as a member of his band, the Real Deal Blues Band.

In late 1999 Tom was asked to join Chicago blues guitarist Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater’s band. Tom toured with Eddy Clearwater for three years as bandleader, and toured across the U.S., Canada, and made his first trip to Europe. It was during this time that his status as one of Chicago’s top sidemen was solidified, also freelancing with Carey Bell, Phil Guy, A.C. Reed, Atlanta vocalist Sandra Hall, and countless other Chicago bluesmen and women.

In November of 2003, Tom was approached by harp legend James Cotton, who was in need of a guitar player. Tom accepted and has been touring with James now for over a year. In July of 2004 Tom toured Japan for the first time with James Cotton, as well as Switzerland.

Tom also tours extensively with his own band The Shufflekings.

Fat Tone Guitars (Northbrook, IL)

Fat Tone Guitars (Northbrook, IL)

This is Fat Tone Guitars first after-hours showroom performance. Fat Tone after-hours events are designed to allow local artists to showcase and discuss their music as well as their tone AND their gear. All after-hours events will be held at Fat Tone’s showroom in Northbrook, IL and begin at 7pm. Events are free and light food and drink will be served.

Fat Tone Guitars
1857 Janke Dr.
Northbrook, IL 60062
847-272-5117
info@fattoneguitars.com

Fat Tone Guitars (Northbrook, IL)

Fat Tone Guitars (Northbrook, IL)

Our Trip to Guitar Stores in New York City (March 2007)

Rudy's Guitar Stop (New York City, NY)

Rudy's Guitar Stop (New York City, NY)

Here is my son Troy standing out front of the famous Rudy’s Guitar Stop on 48th Street.

Rudy's Guitar Stop (New York City, NY)

Rudy's Guitar Stop (New York City, NY)

Rudy has built one of the most beautiful guitar stores on the planet. You must go there! Here we pose in front of one of his displays, this one dedicated to Eastwood Guitars.

Ludlow's Guitars (New York City, NY)

Ludlow's Guitars (New York City, NY)

Can’t get up uptown?

Ludlow's Guitars (New York City, NY)

Ludlow's Guitars (New York City, NY)

Well just go one block southeast of First & First to Ludlow’s Guitars.

Ludlow's Guitars (New York City, NY)

Ludlow's Guitars (New York City, NY)

Drop in for a visit to Ludlow Guitars, 164 Ludlow St, well stocked with all current Eastwood Guitars models.

Dealer Profile: Sound Metak (Milano, Italy)

Sound Metak (Milano, Italy)

Sound Metak (Milano, Italy)

Xabier Iriondo opened SOUND METAK in October 2005. He sells vintage/collector instruments and musical objects like old lap steels (K&F, National, Gibson, Epiphone, Dobro), autoharps, monochords, boutique effects pedals (Cornish, Klon, Menatone, Effector13, etc), accessories, old gramophones and 78rpm records (early blues & jazz, tango’s, etc) and – Eastwood guitars!

www.soundmetak.com

Contact: Xabier Iriondo

Sound Metak
+39 0245493391
P.le Segrino, 1
20159 Milano
ITALY

Dealer Profile: Wade’s Guitar Shop (Milwaukee, WI)

Wade's Guitar Shop (Milwaukee, WI)

Wade's Guitar Shop (Milwaukee, WI)

Wade Starck opened Wade’s Guitar Shop across the street from their current location in June of 1989. For five years it grew inside of that little 500 sq. ft. shop, selling and repairing only guitars. At that time they sold mostly used and vintage guitars. In May of 1994, Wade bought the building they am currently in at 3490 N. Oakland Avenue, on Milwaukee’s East Side, just blocks from the shores of Lake Michigan. This building has given them the room to grow and expand their selection, but stay small enough to be personal. They still carry a lot of used and vintage gear, but are also proud dealers of C.F. Martin, Rickenbacker, Alvarez, National, Regal, and now Eastwood Guitars. They also carry lots of parts, accessories, and effects pedals.

Wade's Guitar Shop (Milwaukee, WI)

Wade's Guitar Shop (Milwaukee, WI)

In the shop are Wade, Alex Ballard, and Dan Hinz, and they all share in the responsibilities of sales, repairs, and ordering. They are all guitar geeks, so you can be sure that they are into what they do. They will soon be online @ wadesguitarshop.com

-Owner, Wade’s Guitar Shop

Contact: Wade Starck

Wade’s Guitar Shop
3490 N Oakland Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 961-0848

Cross Street: Near intersection of E Providence Ave and N Oakland Ave

Wade's Guitar Shop (Milwaukee, WI)

Wade's Guitar Shop (Milwaukee, WI)