Sunday, February 19, 2017

Catalog Brands and the Regal Alternative

If you have been collecting vintage guitars for a while, you might know this drill.  You buy some, you sell some.  Some are easier to resell than others.  The "others" almost always have a pain in the backside story that goes along with it.  Particularly, when it comes to a fine Harmony or Silvertone.

 uh huh  One for the Gipper 

Some collectors know the back story behind the Catalog Brands.  They know how they play.  they know the intonation is just a little off on most. They also, know that they just might have to put a few buck into them to get them tweaked to right comfort level.  That is all part of the love of the instruments.  Usually, Garage Rockers, Rock-a-Billy bands and Lo-Fi-ers fall into the demographic.

Collector Database

 Hi how are you?  See his gear here

However, as these guitars become more popular with the Americana/Folk/Indie/Uke bands connoisseurship develops into another arena.  The guitars look cool and are somewhat still inexpensive and mark an easy target for a quick fix of hipness.


For those who know the backstory of the oddball Catalog Brands there usually isn't an issue.  For those who do not know the backstory, there usually is.  For those who learned to play on a PRS or even the popular Millennial Epiphone that is.  The usual complaints are that the guitars are hard to play and tune and that they sound awful.  There is almost always a Luthier involved that gives a quote of $1000 to rebuild the item.  Between you and I, I think the Luthiers quote that just to scare them away.

A few things to tell a potential buyer of a vintage Silvertone or Harmony:
  • If you are a fan of PRS do not apply.
  • If you are looking for a cheap vintage guitar, go to a shop and test one.
  • If you can't tweak the guitar to your specs, do not apply.
  • If you are knit picky do not apply.
  • If you want to send this to your Luthier to set up like a PRS.  They probably won't want to deal with you.  So again, do not apply.
  • If you understand and love the Catalog Brand era guitars and like the oddball intonation and looks.  Please apply. 

Waterloo Guitars a Regal Alternative

For those who may have a knit picky issue with the vintage market have other options.  AGC's man on the street recently stumbled upon Waterloo Guitars out of Austin, TX at NAMM 2017.  They make very high-quality versions and copies of Silvertone, Regal, and Stella acoustic guitars.

 Return to Waterloo

A quick chat with a salesman stated that the above issues with the negative sides of the vintage market are the model of the company.  As well as, the love of the vintage instruments.   The results are quite stunning.

Each model has a very convincing painted finish just like the vintage items.  The weight and build of the guitar are right on as well.  Beyond that, they actually are easy to play and sound good.  However, this does not come without a cost.  It seems each model runs about $2000.  Not an issue if you are used to that kind of price tag on your PRS or Martin.


On the other hand, for those who may be a little put off by the price tag.  A restoration of a vintage instrument is still an option.  As well as, testing an instrument in person at a vintage shop or just knowing your stuff.  All of which come with a price of time, wisdom, and the thrill of the hunt.

 buy it now

 Diffuser City

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