Simon Gauf, CEO at GuitarPoint, one of the leading shops in Europe for premium Vintage Instruments and Custom Shop Guitars (they’re Fender and Gibson Custom Shop Authorized Dealer) has just opened a beautiful new location in Frankfurt, which is assured to please both the collectors and the players!
Today here at Vintage Vault we’ve asked Simon to answer to a few questions regarding his story, passion and future expectations.
Question – Good morning Simon and thanks for being here today with us! So let’s start with the (only apparently) easiest question….What does “Vintage” mean to you?
Answer – I personally don’t care for “old things“ that much. Old cars, furniture, watches, even movies …whatever. I’m living here and now and never look back. But of course in the 50s/60s/70s many “things” were made with much more time, effort and out of much better, higher quality materials. More attention to detail, craftsmanship. That’s a fact. When it comes to guitars I want nothing but the best and that’s why vintage guitars mean the world to me – as a player and as a guitar enthusiast. When it comes to vintage Gibson and Fender guitars for me personally there is definitely the big cut in early 1965. Narrow nut Gibsons or F-plate Fender simply feel and sound different.
Q. – When did you buy your very first “vintage” guitar? Which one was it?
That must have been in the early 2000s (I was born 1980) when I bought a 1965 wide nut Melody Maker to convert it to a „poor man’s Junior“. It was a wonderful little guitar.
Q. – When did you realize that those “old guitars” had something special?
A. – When I played the first old guitar – back then I worked in a guitar store and the luthier took care of some collector’s inventories – big collections actually. I hung out with him every lunch break and he handed me all these vintage Fenders and Gibsons to play them and I knew from the beginning that there is a huge huge difference. These guitars made me play 30 minutes and forget time. made me play better – made me play things I never played before: inspired me. You will never get that from any new guitar – period.
Q. – When you opened your first “vintage” shop?
A. – Well I don’t own a shop, I’m CEO for GuitarPoint since April 2019. Before that I did various jobs in the music industry, retail, product management, marketing, artist relation and stuff.
Q. – A guitar you sold and then regretted selling?
A. – Not really. They come and go and it’s always for a reason. Not many people have the opportunity to keep em all. There is one I remember that was special, but it was a Custom Shop. I wish I never had traded that Marc Bolan Les Paul with a 55 Junior because it was a killer looking and playing axe. It had a great deep bass and I learned I prefer Grovers on Les Pauls because of the tighter bass response. Might need to buy one again!
Q. – The craziest/unexpected guitar find you ever had?
A. – Sometimes you find odd things on guitars that turn out to be original – like small notes on the bodies/in the cavities from the workers at the factory, things that the average guitar player/ even collector might not find worth mentioning at all. Barely anybody cares when you post that on Instagram! But things like that amaze me and make me smile since I know it’s rare. I don’t have a certain guitar model or custom color that comes in my mind. Well, I remember a 74 Les Paul Custom with stud bushings that were totally off and everything looks 100% factory.
Q. – The most underrated Vintage brand/model
I usually stick with the big two Fender and Gibson and have not much interest in other brands. Of course there are well made and great sounding guitars made by other companies – Guild made great hollowbodies that are still affordable of for example but to me it’s not only the sound – it’s what you associate with the brand and model. It’s always the 12 year old me who stares at his Guns N Roses poster and wants that Les Paul so badly. But yes, Guild Starfires are great guitars. Some Supro models with that uber-cool Vistatone pickup. I also love the look of the Gretsch Corvette Peppermint Twist – although they sound like crap! (Laughs)
Q. – Which is the rarest guitar you’ve found in your career?
A. – Since I’m buying mostly in Europe the access to super rare finds is more limited than being in the States and buying from first owners. I had the opportunity to purchase a couple of very nice 1957-1960 Les Pauls in my career so far and it’s always a thrill spending time to study them, take them apart and of course play them. There also was a cool Fiesta Strat with Gold Hardware or a factory P90 1958 Goldtop.
Q. – Which is your “desert island” guitar, and why?
A. – At the moment I’m in love with a 52 Les Paul because it’s got that special clarity and amazing pickups. But after all and being a 100% Les Paul guy I might still chose a good Banner J45 since the lack of electricity on a desert island would make me become an acoustic player (which I’m not!)
Q. – What is your perception about the future of “Vintage Guitars”?
A. – Regarding the vintage guitar market – There always have been ups and downs. During Covid, a mixture of extra free-time for many and of course inflation created a huge buzz. Now it’s calming down again but I definitely feel that there will always be young people coming into the market with a desire for vintage guitars. We don’t have big (young!) stadium bands anymore but since there are guys like Jared James Nichols for example who kicks ass using vintage guitars and attracts a younger generation, and also a lot of great guys doing stuff on youtube there will be a bright future. Many of my best customers are between 30-50 years old and making their dream come true. They might be influenced by players or bands that don’t exist anymore…but these old guitars – kind of witnesses of history- are still here. That’s the connection!
Q. – We are looking forward to meet you next May 14 at the Vintage Vault Guitar Show event In Milan…and we know you might bring one of your gems with you.
A. – Yes! It’s on my schedule and I might bring a Burst with me…!!!
Be sure to follow Guitar Point on Instagram and through his website www.guitarpoint.de