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Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars - 2nd Edition [Paperback]

G Gruhn
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 14 2007 Book

The original version of this guide has sold over 30,000 copies. This new edition has been expanded by 25% and promises to become an invaluable resource. For collectors, dealers and players, this completely updated “field guide” provides specif


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Product Description

From Amazon

Authors George Gruhn and Walter Carter are no strangers to fretted instruments: Gruhn runs one of the best vintage instrument stores in the country, and Carter was Gibson's company historian for several years in the 1990s. In the second edition to Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars, the pair have created a useful resource for any lover of fine guitars, banjos, or basses. Though not a price guide, the book will enable collectors to identify the date, stock ingredients, wood, and evolution of their Fender, Martin, Gibson, Gretsch, or Mosrite axes, to name just a few. Many readers will probably want to complement this book with a separate price guide (The Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide is recommended), and it should be noted that many mass-market manufacturers (Kay, for instance) were left out. But with this book you'll at least know that the stock Epiphone Madrid you bought on the Internet is, in fact, truly stock. A great resource for lovers of collectable six-strings. --Jason Verlinde

From Library Journal

The market for vintage American guitars, basses, amplifiers, banjos, ukuleles, and other fretted instruments has exploded in the last decade. This updated and expanded second edition of Gruhn's Guide is more than double the size of its first edition (1992) and is superior in breadth, depth, and timeliness. The guide is organized by manufacturer and type of instrument. Every model is described in detail, with introduction date, body shape and size, woods, pickups (where applicable), bindings, inlays, and finish. All changes made from year to year are noted, ensuring the precise determination of model and originality. The book also provides serial number lists, identification charts, and over 100 photos of special features. While many books on individual instrument makers are available, this is the only guide that lists all makers and all their products while also offering comments about the collectibility of specific instruments. Highly recommended.AEric C. Shoaf, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the definitive guide Aug. 29 2000
Format:Paperback
There is no other book, to my knowledge, that does what George Gruhn does here.

First, let me say that I respect Mr. Gruhn's knowledge. There are probably few people in the United States with his encyclopedic knowledge of guitars. I have corresponded with him myself, and he was very helpful

But, I am disappointed in one aspect of the book. I own an 1897 model George Washburn guitar which was made in the nineteenth century by Lyon & Healy. It is a small bodied "Parlor Guitar," with Brazilian rosewood sides and back, spruce top, and ebony fingerboard and bridge. It has beautiful tone, and I love the instrument. It is almost as beautiful as when it was built, and because of the aging of the wood, I'm sure that it plays better.

In this book, Gruhn only briefly discusses Washburn's guitars, and the short reference is buried in the Gibson pages (which is very detailed), because in the late '20s, when the Tonk Brothers acquired the Washburn brand from Lyon & Healy, Gibson built a few of them between 1938-40.

George Washburn (someone has said that his last name was actually Lyon, hence Lyon & Healy) was an American guitar maker, and he built superlative guitars. I've heard that his closest competition at one time was Martin. To give him short-shrift in such a book as this, I find incomprehensible. It isn't as if Gruhn did not know about the guitars--he told me much of what I know about them.

But, perhaps I nitpick. This is a fine book. I recommend it to any guitar aficionado who is buying, selling or trading guitars--especially American-made guitars--or even one who simply wants to learn more about these wonderful instruments.

Joseph Pierre
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars: (2nd Ed) June 23 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The 2nd edition of Gruhn's book is one of two books that every guitar collector will want to own. This edition is better than the first with 100 pages of new information. If you own the first edition and have been wondering if you should buy the second edition , buy it. I keep mine within reach of my bench. The second book I would recommend is "The Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide". Having these two books would make for a very educated consumer.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars Jan. 4 2003
Format:Paperback
This book was very limited as far as various makes of guitars. It didn't have any price guides on any of the things listed.
I would think that would be the main information anyone owning a vintage guitar or other musical equipment would be most interested in. This book was useless to us. I wish we could return it. Thank goodness we ordered "The Offical Vintage guitar Magazine Price Guide 2003" It included everything any collector would want to know!!!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Grain of Salt July 6 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I found this reference to be riddled with ommissions and inaccuracies. The Rickenbacker bass section contains errors in almost every model. A simple check of the Rickenbacker website would have corrected the majority of inaccuracies. Production dates were the most obvious. Now if the book was to be filed under "fiction"...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for guitar collectors. Feb. 10 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is not a price guide, but is extremely valuable for identifying used and vintage instruments.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars: (2nd Ed) June 23 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The 2nd edition of Gruhn's book is one of two books that every guitar collector will want to own. This edition is better than the first with 100 pages of new information. If you own the first edition and have been wondering if you should buy the second edition , buy it. I keep mine within reach of my bench. The second book I would recommend is "The Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide". Having these two books would make for a very educated consumer.
23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the definitive guide Aug. 29 2000
By Joseph H Pierre - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There is no other book, to my knowledge, that does what George Gruhn does here.

First, let me say that I respect Mr. Gruhn's knowledge. There are probably few people in the United States with his encyclopedic knowledge of guitars. I have corresponded with him myself, and he was very helpful

But, I am disappointed in one aspect of the book. I own an 1897 model George Washburn guitar which was made in the nineteenth century by Lyon & Healy. It is a small bodied "Parlor Guitar," with Brazilian rosewood sides and back, spruce top, and ebony fingerboard and bridge. It has beautiful tone, and I love the instrument. It is almost as beautiful as when it was built, and because of the aging of the wood, I'm sure that it plays better.

In this book, Gruhn only briefly discusses Washburn's guitars, and the short reference is buried in the Gibson pages (which is very detailed), because in the late '20s, when the Tonk Brothers acquired the Washburn brand from Lyon & Healy, Gibson built a few of them between 1938-40.

George Washburn (someone has said that his last name was actually Lyon, hence Lyon & Healy) was an American guitar maker, and he built superlative guitars. I've heard that his closest competition at one time was Martin. To give him short-shrift in such a book as this, I find incomprehensible. It isn't as if Gruhn did not know about the guitars--he told me much of what I know about them.

But, perhaps I nitpick. This is a fine book. I recommend it to any guitar aficionado who is buying, selling or trading guitars--especially American-made guitars--or even one who simply wants to learn more about these wonderful instruments.

Joseph Pierre
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Grain of Salt July 6 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this reference to be riddled with ommissions and inaccuracies. The Rickenbacker bass section contains errors in almost every model. A simple check of the Rickenbacker website would have corrected the majority of inaccuracies. Production dates were the most obvious. Now if the book was to be filed under "fiction"...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great starting point Jan. 25 2012
By Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
George Gruhn has kept the vintage instrument market informed for years when it came to the better known brand names built by American companies. It has a ton of information on Gibson, Martin, Fender and a few others. If you're looking for the less expensive builders like Kay, Harmony, Regal, or Lyon & Healy, you'll have to go elsewhere. While the amount of information here is huge, you can't assume that everything is here. There are instruments that surface yearly that will at expand what we know about vintage instruments. This should be considered the encyclopedia. Use it as a starting point for your search. Serious students of the genre should own this book and remember to watch for the updates that George seems to put out every few years.
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