Blondes Gone Wild

I’ve always said, surround yourself with blondes and life will be good. If it’s already good, it will be better. These beauties cost as much as your first house cost and while your house has a back door, you can’t play “Back Door Man” on it.

OK, now that I have your attention, the blondes I’m talking about are not the ones you were thinking about (or are they?). I keep a pretty close watch on the 335 market and, since I have a good sized piece of it, I have to reflect real world prices and trends. Over all, the 335 market has been really strong for anything from 59 but 58’s and 60’s have been pretty flat this year. Unless, of course, they happen to be the model designated as the TDN. Yep, the blondes. The ones that drop your jaw when you see them and drop it even further when you see the prices.

The big problem is that there are so few of them. They only shipped 211 335 blondes in 58, 59 and 60. Only 50 345’s in 59 and 60. There are a couple of known block necks-one from 63 and another (a lefty) from 64 but that’s all I know of until 68 when a few more show up. They have always commanded a premium-the price guides always suggested they are worth double what the typical sunburst of the same year sells for. Well, that ship has sailed. When I last looked, there were only five on the market. A stop tail 59 in New York at $130,000-now gone and a stop tail 60 in LA at $100,000. The rest are Bigsby’s and range in price from $40K (cracked headstock ’60 and other issues-a consignment that I have) to a Bigsby 60 in Nashville that just moved that was listed for $50K to a Bigsby 60 in Chi with 345 inlays for $77,500. It’s clear to me that all the “rules” are out the window. A Bigsby used to be a 15-25% discount. Now it’s closer to 40% on a blonde 335. I know of two blondes that have sold well in excess of $100K recently on the private market – both 59’s, both stop tail, both collector grade. With a good sunburst 59 in the $40K range and an exceptional one at maybe $45K, the “double the sunburst” rule is out as well.

I knew the market was going to get really thin. Every big collector I know has at least one blonde 335 and with only 71 59’s ever shipped (and a lot of them Bigsby’s), it was only a matter of a very short time that they would all be spoken for. Collectors sell off guitars now and then, so the market will still be somewhat active but I don’t expect to see more than one or two stop tails a year and maybe 3 or 4 Bigsby’s. When you consider the number of bursts out there (I know-it isn’t apples and apples), you wonder how high the blonde market can go. The burst market (with, what 1600 or so examples shipped?) is pretty healthy. Imagine if there were only one eighth as many made. When folks talk about the most collectible electric guitars on the planet, the five that come up most often are the ‘burst, the gold top, the Explorer, the blackguard Tele and the blonde 335. I’d throw in the Flying V as well. The rarest is the Explorer and next is the blonde 335. There are so few Explorers (32 made?) and Flying V’s (100 or so) that it’s almost impossible to put a value on them. I keep hearing $750K for a well documented no issue 58 Explorer. You all know where ‘bursts are these days. It seems to me that a blonde stop tail 335 has a lot of room for appreciation. A 60 can still be had for well under $100K. A 58 will probably run you $100K for a bound one and a 59 has passed the $125K mark. I think they have plenty of room to appreciate. After all who doesn’t appreciate a blonde?

By request-the only 63 blonde I know of. There a lefty blonde 64 owned by a gentleman who lives 35 miles from me. How weird is that?


11 Responses to “Blondes Gone Wild”

  1. RAB says:

    Gulp! Bee-oot-tee-full! Go for that reverse mortgage boomers! You can eat 10 cent a packet Top Ramen while noodling on yer blondie ES! 😉

  2. Mike McLester says:

    Random thought…
    It’s weird how a natural finish only really works on hollows, semi-hollows, V’s and explorers. I mean a natural finish LP or SG would just be odd…and fender guitars in natural finish have always looked bad to me. Maybe it’s just me?

  3. Joe Campagna says:

    Any pics of the blonde ’63 335 around anywhere?

  4. Dick Banks says:

    “…the blondes I’m talking about are not the ones you were thinking about (or are they?)…”

    Actually, those WERE the ones I was thinking about.

    Getting older….

    Actually, it’s OK because my wife is a redhead.

    Great looking guitars! I really like the variation in fading among these 6.

  5. RAB says:

    Here’s a photo of my old blonde ‘62 Epi Sheraton, long gone.

  6. RAB says:

    Here’s a photo of my current ‘62 Epi Riviera which looks blonde but it ain’t! Just a very light Royal Tan finish y’all!

  7. okguitars says:

    I’ll post a photo of the 63.

  8. RAB says:

    Man, that blondie ‘63 is the bee’s knees ain’t it?!

  9. Rick Lebleu says:

    Hi, I contacted you a while back regarding a 1965 335 you had but it was sold. I’m still looking for a early 1965 335 with 1 11/16 nut. Found a few but all with 1 9/16 nut. Anyway just thought I would follow up with you. I wish I had the $ for a 63 or 64 but I guess I’ll just have to be patient. Ps Red or Sunburst ok, will convert to stop tailpiece . Guitar will be played, not for ornamental use so a few bumps and bruises ok. Thnx Rick

  10. okguitars says:

    Keep an eye on my site and Gbase. I get them but I haven’t had one for awhile.

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